By JR on Monday, March 05, 2012
Measuring the wealth of a nation by way of per capita GDP is universally acknowledged to be imperfect. So as far back as I can remember (over 40 years) there have been rumblings that a better measure is needed. But all proposals founder on the subjectivity required. How do we weight the various components that we want to incorporate into a new measure? There will never be broad-based agreement on that. And that is why GDP is still generally used. It is basically an accounting measure that does not require subjective decisions. It may be imperfect but it's the best we have got from a scientific point of view. So the aspirations below will not be met
Politicians, scientists, businesspeople, academics, economists and environmental groups are among a loose coalition forming to push for a radically new measure of the costs of economic growth as a tool to help estimate the looming risks posed by climate change.
Instead of using the universal yardstick of gross domestic product, which looks only at production and consumption, to gauge economic well-being, the unusual amalgam wants a far broader measure — or rather range of measures — that takes account of sustainability, environmental damage, biodiversity and social impacts.
The new measure, which some call GWB for Global Well-Being, will be among the larger issues raised at the so-called Rio+20 international talks in Rio de Janeiro beginning June 13. The U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development will mark the 20th anniversary of talks that led to the Kyoto Protocol to curb climate change…