A family does not have to be wealthy to respect the rights of each member. A nation does not have to be affluent to treat women and men equally.

Valuable social and cultural traditions can be and are maintained at all levels of income. The richness of a culture can be largely independent of the people’s wealth.

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Moreover, human choices extend far beyond economic well-being. Human beings may want to be healthy.

But they also want to enjoy long and healthy lives,’ drink deep at the fountain of knowledge, participate freely in the life of their community, breathe fresh air and enjoy the simple pleasures of life in a clean physical environment and value the peace of mind that comes from security in their homes, in their jobs and in their society. Thus, the real wealth of a nation is its people.

The excessive obsession with the creation of material wealth can obscure the ultimate objective of enriching human lives.

It is because of these reasons that many countries have a high GNP per capita, but low human development indicators and vice versa. Countries at similar levels of GNP per capita may have vastly different human development indicators, depending on the use they have made of their national wealth.

For example, Brunei, Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritius, Qatar, Senegal and Uganda have high per capita GNP but their human development indicators are relatively low, while Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Jordan and Peru have relatively low per capita GNP but their human development indicators are high.