If the goal of all our collective activities is to have a more equitable society that is economically thriving and offering citizens a meaningful quality of life, then we need to stop measuring progress in GDP, which measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile, and it isn't connected with the lives of average citizens.

Focusing exclusively on GDP and economic gain to measure development ignores the adverse effects of economic growth on society, such as climate change and income inequality. GDP, by definition, is an aggregate measure that includes the value of goods and services produced in an economy over a specified period. There is no scope for the positive or negative effects created in the process of production and development.

For example, GDP takes a positive count of the cars we produce but does not account for the emissions they generate; it adds the value of the sugar-laced beverages we sell but fails to subtract the health problems they cause; it includes the value of building new cities but does not discount for the vital forests they replace.

With a change in what we measure and in an economy with well-being at its heart, economic growth would still be a measure, just not THE measure, and the focus would instead shift towards more desirable and actual determinants of citizens' welfare.


Inspired by: Harvard Business Review - GDP Is Not a Measure of Human Well-Being, by Amit Kapoor and Bibek Debroy