Several web-sources that I keep an eye on have recently been buzzing about GDP, and its potential replacements. So, I feel prompted to do another top-ten. This time it’s the top-ten things that I dislike most about GDP. And this is from someone who has done a lot of methodological development on the underlying detail of this measure. Beautiful work it was too that I did, but what is the point in further refining a fundamentally flawed measure?
Here we go…
- it says nothing about distribution
– probably the worst thing about GDP, but, ironically it is also a failure for many of the alternatives which measure society.
- it doesn’t value unpaid work…
- …and so it is gender and age biased…
and as a result destroys communities and doesn’t value intimacy
- … and thus promotes the wrong kind of development at the wrong speed.
- it ignores the use of irreplaceable resources…
- …including social capital.
- it values making silk-purses out of sows’ ears and undervalues social goods
meaning that a country can move forward by marketing cheap t-shirts as expensive designer goods instead of investing in, say, public education
- its relationship to any kind of well-being is proven to be poor
- “the tragedy is, the things we can measure well don’t matter, the things that matter, we can’t measure well” – name that quote!
- people know its faults but still insist on using it as a yardstick and comparator – even in writing ‘golden rules’.