Back in 1968 Robert Kennedy lamented that GDP “measures everything …, except that which makes life worthwhile”. It is well known that GDP is only a measure of economic activity not of well-being, inequality or the long term sustainability of society.
More than 50 years have passed since Kennedy’s speech. Hundreds of alternative indexes, indicators sets and accounting frameworks have been proposed, but none of them come close to the power of GDP. The quest to replace GDP has so far been unsuccessful.
My book, Replacing GDP by 2030: Towards a Common Language for the Well-being and Sustainability Community, provides a viable strategy to overcome the dominance of GDP by 2030. The central thesis of the book is that economists have managed to build a “GDP multinational” which sends coherent message to societies around the globe. On the other hand the “Beyond-GDP cottage industry” is far too heterogeneous to provide a clear alternative. The problem is not the dominance of economic thinking but rather the lack of a coherent counter-message.
The book therefore proposes a community-building process which is crucial to institutionalize well-being, inequality and sustainability in society. An crucial foundation for such a community is a common language which is formalized in a harmonized multidisciplinary accounting system. This new way of measuring progress and re-formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will help societies move towards metrics and better policies that are focused on well-being and sustainability.
For more information see the endorsements and press coverage of the book.