Forget about GDP: It’s time for a wellbeing economy
It would be funny if it wasn’t so distressing. After every recent election in the West, the reaction of so many pundits has been to ask: Why are the anti-establishment parties so strong again when GDP has been picking up recently? But perhaps the pick-up in GDP is so removed from what really matters to people that voters are seeking significant change.
Voter’s intuitions – that our economies are not aligned with what really matters to them – are mirrored in the evidence. The research is clear: growth in GDP has not been widely shared, instead it is the wallets of the already wealthy that have expanded. Moreover, while policy makers strain to squeeze more GDP from a stagnating economy, we know that, beyond a certain threshold, increases in GDP per capita don’t bring greater progress. Quality of life is about more than gains in average incomes. GDP doesn’t capture the value of non-monetized or non-marketed work, like housework, raising children, caring for the elderly, or volunteering. It is blind to the carrying capacity of our environment.