GDP growth is no measure of societal progress

[Articles and opinion pieces published in this blog do not necessarily reflect the policies and opinions of the organizers of the International Conference on Degrowth in the Americas. They are posted here to stimulate discussion and debate on issues relevant
to degrowth.]

Nick Marks, Centre for Well Being, New Economics Foundation, 27 May 2011

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has become virtually every society’s default measure of progress, yet it is neither fit for this purpose nor was it ever designed to be – and it is now long overdue that we find a much better replacement… Indeed, Simon Kuznets, one of the principal architects of what became the standard way of creating national accounting systems, declared as long ago as 1933 that “the welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of the national income”… So, if one of the creators of GDP never thought it was supposed to be a measure of welfare, how has it come to be used as precisely that? The answer is probably due to World War II.

Read the article here

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