Mehdi Muhammad Hakim
Grade 11, Tehran International School (TIS), Tehran, Iran.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been an essential indicator of a country’s economic status for many years. Indonesia and many other countries have incorporated it into their national vision. As part of its Golden Indonesia vision, the Indonesian Ministry of National Development Planning (26/9/2017) aims to boost its GDP and become the world’s fourth-largest economy by 2045.

There is a growing debate over whether GDP accurately reflects a country’s level of growth and development or exposes economic disparities between its affluent and underprivileged citizens. GDP measures the value of finished goods and services produced within a country during a specific time. It provides an economic snapshot that gauges its economy’s size and growth rate. To obtain a more comprehensive understanding, the calculation of GDP involves three primary factors—expenditures, production, and income—with adjustments made for inflation and population. Otherwise, GDP has flaws, as it needs to account for the wealth gap. It focuses on wealth concentration but ignores income distribution, leading to inequality and negatively impacting social policy and democracy.

Amartya Sen, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, has voiced his concerns about GDP being a measure of a country’s well-being. He argues that GDP fails to account for essential aspects of human development, such as injustice, social exclusion, and political freedoms. According to Sen, a more comprehensive measure of well-being should consider disparities in income, education, healthcare, and other social indicators. To address these criticisms, he has developed alternative measures of well-being, including the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI incorporates factors like life expectancy, education, and income to provide a more holistic view of human development, unlike GDP, which only provides a narrow view.

Sen is clear that GDP, while important, is a limited measure of a country’s progress. He proposes a more comprehensive approach to measuring welfare that is imperative to ensure that economic growth translates into tangible improvements in people’s lives. Although Sen’s views provide an essential contribution regarding HDI, especially the education aspect, which complements the shortcomings in measuring prosperity with GDP, his view needs to pay further attention to the role of youth in developing the future of the nation and state. Futures Literacy development has yet to include this factor as an essential criterion.

According to UNESCO, a nation’s education system must now include future Literacy as a critical component since 2012. Futures Literacy refers to a person’s ability to understand and prepare for future trends and developments, in addition to traditional literacy skills like reading and writing. This means that a country’s youth must be able to perceive and anticipate the future to succeed. Therefore, Futures Literacy should be considered an essential factor in a country’s HDI.

For several reasons, Futures Literacy and the youth are critical to a country’s national development. First, young people often bring new and innovative ideas with their fresh perspectives and high energy levels. They are more willing to challenge the status quo and strive for positive change. Second, they represent the nation’s future and aim to shape a better tomorrow. Third, a country’s future challenges in the next few years may differ from today’s. Future challenges are often complex, ambiguous, disruptive, not linear, and not continuous with the past and present. Therefore, they require the ability to think imaginatively, always process data, and think critically about domestic, regional, and global dynamics.

The youth’s imagination about the nation and state is closely related to their involvement in national development. When young people have a positive and forward-thinking imagination about their country, they are more likely to participate actively in activities that contribute to its development. These activities include volunteering, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and advocacy for social causes.

As a Diaspora Indonesian High School Student, we are proud and welcome what the Indonesian government promotes in the “Golden Indonesia 2045 Vision”, which targets Indonesia to become the world’s fourth most considerable economic power.

To achieve economic growth, it is imperative to prioritize the development of education and human resources, particularly concerning the younger generation. Failing to consider this aspect could render achieving better economic growth unattainable or, worse yet, have negative repercussions. Notably, economists such as Sen are concerned with the increasing gap between the rich and poor in numerous countries across the globe.

Including Futures Literacy in the primary education curriculum is essential to equip upcoming generations with the necessary skills to contribute meaningfully to society’s economic power. Prioritizing education and human resource development alongside GDP growth, particularly for the younger generation, is essential. Neglecting this aspect could make it impossible to achieve better economic growth or, worse, could produce adverse effects. Therefore, Futures Literacy must become an integral part of national education in Indonesia today.