Sunday, 16 July 2017

Want to know how society's doing? Forget GDP – try these alternatives

an article by Mark Rice-Oxley published in the Guardian on 27 January

Crude financial instruments dominate the headlines, but it’s metrics like grain price and inequality ratio that really reflect the world we live in

Industrial plant in China
‘Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere goes up every year. If this carries on for another couple of decades, people won’t be inspecting their portfolios – they’ll be foraging in the woods.’ Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Here are the week’s leading indicators.
  • The Dow Jones industrial average topped 20,000 points for the first time.
  • British GDP grew 0.6% in the final quarter of 2016.
  • The FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX 30 persisted close to record highs, while US GDP softened slightly.
Bored yet? I am. As a former financial journalist, I’m well acquainted with the merry-go-round of indicators that blip in and out of our lives like digital dopamine, telling us how well we’re doing.

As a human being, I’m increasingly alarmed that these are just irrelevant numbers that have little or no bearing on how well we are really doing.

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