Re: "bean counters who value ... index of growth"
"a symptom of a much larger problem wherein everyone focuses on what can be crudely measured instead of looking at more subtle, nuanced indicators of "goodness". "
Related issue - using GDP growth as a measure of a country's advancement even though
(a) GDP whether absolute or per capita doesn't take into account that all or most of the increase could be going into the pockets of a select few while the plebs are stuck in a status quo and
(b) some factors correlating with higher GDP can include more traffic, longer commutes, more expensive housing, more polluted air and water, overcrowding, more pressure on infrastructure and other common resources etc etc. In other words, quality of life can be tanking and the bureaucracy doesn't care because Yay! GDP growth!
Whatever is being measured is what will get optimised for (see also chip speed benchmarking, diesel emissions measurements... )