GDP met­ric fails to cap­ture nation’s health and val­ues

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices -

For more than a half cen­tury, the most widely ac­cepted mea­sure of a coun­try’s eco­nomic progress has been the Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct. If ever there was a con­tro­ver­sial icon from the sta­tis­tics world, GDP is it. It mea­sures in­come, but not equal­ity; it mea­sures growth, but not de­struc­tion; and ig­nores val­ues such as so­cial co­he­sion and the en­vi­ron­ment. Yet, gov­ern­ments, busi­nesses and prob­a­bly most peo­ple swear by it. It is the most widely cited eco­nomic in­di­ca­tor. As the old quip goes, we value what we mea­sure. The GDP does not ad­e­quately re­flect the true health of a nation and needs to be re­placed by more com­pre­hen­sive mea­sures. Eco­nomic growth is ba­si­cally an ac­count­ing mea­sure. It mea­sures how much money is chang­ing hands. The mis­use of GDP as a mea­sure of well-be­ing ne­ces­si­tates an im­me­di­ate cam­paign to change the in­di­ca­tors de­ci­sion mak­ers use in i eval­u­at­ing progress.

NDI­RANGU NGUNJIRI Nairobi

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