GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, a strange statistic in modern political debate. Economists point out that it fails to capture the value of an increasingly digital economy but it remains the measure most politicians and journalists pay attention to.
According to GDP, if a mother decides to go out to work as a childminder and pay a childminder to look after her own child, rather than look after the child herself, that is increased GDP, despite the fact the same number of children are being looked after the same number of people.
So, should we be looking to alternative measures, perhaps ones which measure a country’s social and economic performance more holistically?
Recently New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has backed a ‘different approach for government decision-making altogether.’ “We are not just relying on Gross Domestic Product, but also how we are improving the wellbeing of our people,” said her Finance Minister.
So, are our leaders too obsessed with growth – with playing the numbers game and failing to build what Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson calls “an economy that puts people and the planet first”?
Joining the IEA’s Digital Manager Darren Grimes to discuss the best ways to measure a country’s economic performance is the IEA’s Senior Academic Fellow, Professor Philip Booth. You can subscribe to this podcast on Apple Music and Podbean.