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Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Up

Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Up

Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Up

Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Up


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In February of 2008, amid the looming global financial crisis, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France asked Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, along with the distinguished French economist Jean Paul Fitoussi, to establish a commission of leading economists to study whether Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—the most widely used measure of economic activity—is a reliable indicator of economic and social progress. The Commission was given the further task of laying out an agenda for developing better measures.

Mismeasuring Our Lives is the result of this major intellectual effort, one with pressing relevance for anyone engaged in assessing how and whether our economy is serving the needs of our society. The authors offer a sweeping assessment of the limits of GDP as a measurement of the well-being of societies—considering, for example, how GDP overlooks economic inequality (with the result that most people can be worse off even though average income is increasing); and does not factor environmental impacts into economic decisions.

In place of GDP, Mismeasuring Our Lives introduces a bold new array of concepts, from sustainable measures of economic welfare, to measures of savings and wealth, to a “green GDP.” At a time when policymakers worldwide are grappling with unprecedented global financial and environmental issues, here is an essential guide to measuring the things that matter.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595585196
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 05/18/2010
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 7.72(w) x 5.38(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is university professor at Columbia University and chief economist at the Roosevelt Institute. He is the author of The Stiglitz Report, co-author of Measuring What Counts, and a co-editor of For Good Measure. He lives in New York City. Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and a professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University and was until 2004 the master of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1998 he received the Nobel Prize in Economics and in 2012 the National Humanities Medal. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jean-Paul Fitoussi is professor emeritus at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (SciencesPo), Paris, and professor at LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome. He is a co-author of Measuring What Counts and a co-editor of For Good Measure. He lives in Paris.

Table of Contents

Other Members of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress and Rapporteurs vi

Foreword Nicolas Sarkozy vii

Preface Joseph E. Stiglitz Amartya Sen Jean-Paul Fitoussi xvii

Executive Summary 1

1 Classical GDP Issues 23

2 Quality of Life 61

3 Sustainable Development and Environment 97

Notes 137

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