Here's the full essay that I wrote with my students for the question below.
Many governments think that economic progress is their most important goal. Some people, however, think that other types of progress are equally important for a country.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
People have different views about how governments should measure their countries’ progress. While economic progress is of course essential, I agree with those who believe that other measures of progress are just as important.
There are three key reasons why economic growth is seen as a fundamental goal for countries. Firstly, a healthy economy results in job creation, a high level of employment, and better salaries for all citizens. Secondly, economic progress ensures that more money is available for governments to spend on infrastructure and public services. For example, a government with higher revenues can invest in the country's transport network, its education system and its hospitals. Finally, a strong economy can help a country’s standing on the global stage, in terms of its political influence and trading power.
However, I would argue that various other forms of progress are just as significant as the economic factors mentioned above. In particular, we should consider the area of social justice, human rights, equality and democracy itself. For example, the treatment of minority groups is often seen as a reflection of the moral standards and level of development of a society. Perhaps another key consideration when judging the progress of a modern country should be how well that country protects the natural environment, and whether it is moving towards environmental sustainability. Alternatively, the success of a nation could be measured by looking at the health, well-being and happiness of its residents.
In conclusion, the economy is obviously a key marker of a country’s success, but social, environmental and health criteria are equally significant.
(262 words, band 9)