The UK should stop obsessing over GDP. Wellbeing is more telling

“GDP measures what is produced and sold, but says nothing about whether this is desirable or not.”

Writing in The Guardian, Dan Button says:

“This morning, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the latest set of GDP figures. It is a familiar exercise common to most countries: a day when the broad state of an economy is judged according to small changes in a single indicator.

Yet last week, New Zealand broke new ground by eschewing GDP in favour of wellbeing as a guiding indicator when setting budgets and assessing government policy. Bids to the Treasury for money from now on will not only need a cost-benefit analysis, but an assessment of their wellbeing impact. Decisions about spending will be made on the basis of a project’s contribution to the wellbeing of the population, measured through four dimensions: human capital; social capital; natural capital; and financial and physical capital. It follows the Welsh government’s innovative Well-being of Future Generations Act, which places a legal requirement on public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term social, cultural, environmental and economic wellbeing impact of their decisions.

These are radical steps in the right direction that the UK should learn from by adopting a broader range of indicators when deciding how to spend money …”

Read more here.

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