The case for abandoning GDP – An intersectional perspective Pt. 2 GDP is a flawed guide to prosperity. What else should we measure if we want to do better?
“The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income”. Those were the words of Simon Kuznets, who developed the first national income accounts in the United States. And yet, we look back on decades of appropriating GDP as a measure of social welfare and progress.
As the current default indicator for economic and social ‘progress’, GDP is the most broadly established measure of a country’s economic performance relative to that of other countries. Conceived as a tool to measure economic quantity, GDP is widely used to assess economic quality, although it ignores a range of vital economic activities, most notably care work. read more
Since 2018, a coalition of grassroots environmental groups and progressive politicians in the United States have brought into the public debate the idea of a Green New Deal. The plan is inspired not only by Roosevelt’s New Deal, but also by the subsequent wartime mobilization in response to a large-scale threat. The difference is that this time around the threat is not represented by the Axis powers, but rather by runaway climate change.
Growth is no option, considering that an absolute decoupling of growth and resource use has historically proven impossible – This position unites everybody who contributes to the Degrowth-conference. In the media too there is an increasing presence of growth critique. Even the German liberal weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” (No. 10/2013) ends an editorial on this topic saying “The Germans […] have grown up”. This conclusion stems from an analysis of the possessions of a (non-existent) average youngster called Jan Müller compared to his fictive predecessor, Wilhelm Müller, hundred years ago and also set in relation to a Leon Müller in 2038 who – if assuming the often-targeted growth-rate of 3% per annum – would have to eat, shop or generally consume already twice as much. read more