May

30

 One wonders if in Europe politicians want to replace GDP as an indicator
because the old continent is clearly incapable of growing economically
(with unemployment problems and so forth) and they are not able to show
the public how well they perform. Or rather if it is true that in
developed countries efforts should go into other endeavors and that
growth does not mean better quality of life:

"The European Commission has held a series of conferences focusing on measuring sustainable development and the need to think Beyond GDP, and its statistics agency Eurostat has started to work on developing well-being indicators for the European Union."

"There is a huge distance between standard measures of important socioeconomic variables like growth, inflation, inequalities etc… and widespread perceptions. Our statistical apparatus, which may have served us well in a not-too-distant past, is in need of serious revisions."

"…governments should adopt new headline measures of sustainable well-being and progress that encapsulate this vision of national success. But that these new measures will only matter if they actually influence government policy."

"Creating new measures of progress will be a statistical and political challenge. But if we want to create a world that is happier, fairer and more sustainable then we really do urgently need to find a replacement for GDP."

Full article here.


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  1. Kumar on May 30, 2011 11:24 pm

    Isn’t that the “Gross Happiness Product” idea from Bhutan?

    From Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_national_happiness

    The concept of gross national happiness (Dzongkha: རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་དགའ་སྐྱིད་དཔལ་འཛོམས་; Wylie: rgyal-yongs dga’a-skyid dpal-’dzoms) or “GNH” was developed in an attempt to define an indicator that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than gross domestic product (GDP).
    ..coined in 1972 by Bhutan’s former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, …used the phrase to signal his commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan’s unique culture based on Buddhist spiritual values. ..At first offered as a casual, offhand remark, the concept was taken seriously, as the Centre for Bhutan Studies, under the leadership of Karma Ura, developed a sophisticated survey instrument to measure the population’s general level of well-being. The Canadian health epidemiologist Michael Pennock had a major role in the design of the instrument, and uses a “de-Bhutanized” version of the survey in his work in Victoria, British Columbia. ..

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