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French President wants to measure well-being, dump GDP

Draws on report headed by Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

French President Nicholas SarkozySeptember 14, 2009 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy pushed Monday for a "revolutionary" change in how the world measures economic progress, one that would give more weight to the well-being of citizens and less to a country's raw economic output. Sarkozy was speaking at the presentation of a study led by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who spent 18 months looking into whether the gross domestic product - the most broadly used measure of a nation's economic strength - should be supplanted by statistics that give a fuller picture of how satisfied a country's people are.

"For years, statistics have shown greater and greater economic growth to the point where it appears that this growth, which imperils the future of the planet, is destroying more than it creates," Sarkozy said. "The problem is that the world, the society, the economy have changed, and the way we measure it has not."

The report finds that "the time is ripe for our measurement system to shift emphasis from measuring economic production to measuring people's well-being." It argues that policymakers put too much stress on how much a country produces, drawing attention away from important factors such as how much its citizens earn and consume...

To read further or to download the Joseph Stiglitz report, please click on the links below:

Links and sources
  French Urge Happiness Over Wealth, by James Graff, AOL News, September 14 2009
  Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress website
  Report of the commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress, by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Jean-Paul Fitoussi, September 2009

Posted: September 16, 2009

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