The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the best-known “number” in economic governance. It drives national policies, sets priorities in the social fields (e.g. there exists a ratio between GDP and how much spending in welfare is considered appropriate by many countries) and ultimately affects the societal landscape of a country (e.g. by determining labour-business relations, work-life balances and the type of consumption patterns adopted by citizens). The type of industrial model supported by GDP dominates physical and infrastructural geography, from the shape of cities and their relation with the countryside to the management of parks and natural resources. Marketing strategies, advertising and lifestyles are permeated by its influence. Yet, we cannot eat GDP: this number is indeed an abstraction of real wealth and a very skewed measurement of economic performance, let alone human welfare. Therefore, a variety of alternative indicators was created to promote different ideas of progress and incorporate concepts like sustainable development and wellbeing.
Read the full article by Lorenzo Fioramonti “We can’t eat GDP…” on Global Trends: Prospects for world society