Gross Domestic Politics

Some new guys on the block, Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi, just let us know that the GDP doesn’t represent the economy correctly: it may be leaving out the world.

Choices between promoting GDP and protecting the environment may be
false choices, once environmental degradation is appropriately included in our
measurement of economic performance.

“Choices between promoting GDP and protecting the environment may be false choices, once environmental degradation is appropriately included in our measurement of economic performance.”

Indeed. So once a controversy is “appropriately” built into the measuring device, beyond politics, no arguing is necessary. Same old game.


  1. I love the title of this post. But don’t scoop my whole research agenda in a short blog post! :)

    What’s fascinating, among other things, is how recurrent these problems are. I’m right now reading through Bell’s “The Coming of Post-Industrial Society”, and he makes a very similar point. So did RFK. So did the feminist critics of structural adjustment programs. And so, in a loose sense, did Simon Kuznets when he helped craft the statistics themselves, and certainly when he criticized their institutionalization. And yet the numbers seem to speak for themselves, and to hold out against such criticisms. We’ll see if Stiglitz and Sen can do any better.. I am doubtful, but not without hope. Perhaps they will not be able to succeed, however, within the framework of “the economy” but instead we will need to find a new object to optimize, with a new measure as its main parameter. I fear the economy is too tightly linked in to market measures to let the environment, or other excluded bits, in.

  2. foamsociety

    It’s time to build a new Financephalograph!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MONIAC_Computer




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