Tag Archives: indicators

Beyond GDP indicators: to what end?

In 2009, the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission submitted a report to the French President on the new measures of societal progress (Stiglitz et al., 2009). Against a backdrop of financial crisis and the questioning of an unsustainable and unequal growth model, the critiques that for many years had been levelled against the gross domestic product (GDP) resonated anew (Van den Bergh and Harmen, 1999; Daly, 1977; Meadows, 1972). These critiques underline the inability of this key economic indicator to capture worrying developments such as widening income and wealth inequality or the degradation of the environment and public health.

Several countries, such as the U.K., Belgium or Bhutan, have developed new accounting frameworks and officially adopted new prosperity measures. Beyond-GDP indicators represent an opportunity on several counts for policy makers that know how to seize it. The current abundance of new indicators is helping to reshuffle the cards of political discourse, thus making it possible to legitimise new issues (Röckstrom et al. 2009). Beyond-GDP indicators in fact offer political actors the possibility of constructing an innovative narrative: faced with the exhaustion of our current growth model (Demailly et al., 2013), they can help to open up a new space for public action and breathe life back into the democratic debate in a context of indepth reconsideration of political action and discourse….

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