Sarkozy is also quoted as saying, “The crisis not only makes us free to imagine other models, another world. It obliges us to.”
Sarkozy was responding to a report from a commission headed by Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz which called for measures of growth to be expanded to include concepts such as work-life balance, environmental sustainability and mental health.
One observation made in tha report is that “There often seems to be a marked difference between standard measures of socio-economic variables like growth...and widespread perceptions of these realities.”
Here is one observation of the GDP:
GDP is a basic measure of a country’s economic performance and is the market value of all final goods and services made within the borders of a nation in a year.
Revered for 60 years as a benchmark of performance, progress and prosperity, and referred to slavishly by politicians eager to point to a number going upwards, this measure of economic output has itself fallen on hard times, embarrassed by the crisis it failed to foretell and discredited by the large disconnect between the ‘growth’ it suggests and the grubbier realities of everyday life.
To put it bluntly, few people really trust GDP as a measure of anything any more. The fact that it has started rising again in most developed countries while millions struggle joblessly onwards merely underscores the point: GDP is anachronistic, a throwback to an era last century when the material privations of life meant it was important to know how much stuff we were producing.
Nowadays, it’s just a Grossly Dated Parameter. As one analogy puts it, measuring progress by calculating GDP is like measuring a person’s health purely through the amount of food he takes in.
Many leading economists have been suggesting this for years, but until now only one country — Bhutan — has moved to a more qualitative measure of life, incorporating factors as diverse as pollution, noise, serious illness, divorce rates and democratic freedoms into its assessment of social progress.
I fully and wholeheartedly support this move. There is so much neurosis building up in the modern urban human that is caused by GDP as the measure of the idea of success. The GDP measure may have contributed to a misplaced value system that extols materialism at the expense of true happiness.
Many of us know that GDP cannot measure the economic value of a home-making and parenting? Is it any wonder that these roles have been trivialised in urban living?
How many people do you know have expressed a belief that they would be better off (career-wise) without a spouse, children or ageing parents? That, I believe, is an attitude and value that can be traced back to the use of GDP as a measure of economic success.