Economic growth does not produce well-being

Jul 04, 2013
Economic growth does not produce well-being

Over the last three decades global society has grown richer, but not better off.

"Although the global economy has tripled since 1950, global human well-being, as estimated by the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), has been flat or decreasing since around 1978," said Dr Ida Kubiszewski.

A study from The Australian National University (ANU) led by Dr Kubiszewski compared the GPI to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 17 countries representing the majority of the world's population.

GPI is calculated through the measure of 25 different variables including consumption, income distribution, volunteer and household work, and importantly, environmental and social costs.

"Interestingly, 1978 is also around the time that the human exceeded the Earth's capacity to support life on it. Other global indicators, such as , also began to level off around this time."

Dr Kubiszewski said that both natural and social capital have decreased over the past decades.

"The depletion of natural capital can be seen through the decreased quality of air and water in many countries, climate disruption, deforestation, of our oceans, and many other impacts humans are having on the environment.

"On national levels, the deterioration of social capital can be seen through the significant increase of inequality."

Dr Kubiszewski said that the research highlights the need for taking a more considered approach to measuring success in societies.

"The original creators of GDP never meant it to be an indicator of societal well-being and it's a mistake to continue using it for this purpose," she said.

Explore further: New 'Surveyman' software promises to revolutionize survey design and accuracy

More information: The paper 'Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress' was published in Ecological Economics.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Main Street' economic conditions misread by GDP

Feb 18, 2010

Traditional gauges of economic activity severely overstate the standard of living as experienced on 'Main Street,' say University of Maryland researchers, who have worked with their state officials to apply ...

Resilience in trying times—a result of positive actions

Jun 12, 2013

Communities that stick together and do good for others cope better with crises and are happier for it, according to a new study by John Helliwell, from the University of British Columbia in Canada, and colleagues¹. Their ...

Programming model for supercomputers of the future

Jun 10, 2013

The demand for even faster, more effective, and also energy-saving computer clusters is growing in every sector. The new asynchronous programming model GPI from Fraunhofer ITWM might become a key building ...

Recommended for you

World population likely to peak by 2070

Oct 23, 2014

World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and ...

Bullying in schools is still prevalent, national report says

Oct 23, 2014

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers ...

Study examines effects of credentialing, personalization

Oct 23, 2014

Chris Gamrat, a doctoral student in learning, design and technology, recently had his study—completed alongside Heather Zimmerman, associate professor of education; Jaclyn Dudek, a doctoral student studying learning, design ...

User comments : 0