A thoughtful and thought-provoking Josef Zboril

A heavily-charged plenary session ran on into this afternoon. It’s always invidious to single out one opinion when there were so many, but one by Josef Zboril (Employers, Czech) caught my eye. It was about going beyond Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measurement of progress and was in response to a communication from the European Commission. I think we are all now pretty familiar with the argument that GDP has become insufficient as a measurement of progress, since it does not take into account such less quantifiable or more subjective goods as, for example, well being. But what I hadn’t realised was just how long it took for GDP to become an internationally recognised and accepted standard for statistical comparison. It is so ubiquitous (think of any economics textbook) that it is impossible to imagine it somehow being replaced. Nor was I aware how many alternative forms of measurement have already been proposed.