Nobel-winning e-conomist Joseph Stiglitz would like gross domestic product (GDP) to go the way of the pyramid inch and the Arabic mile.

“The world is facing three existential crises: a climate crisis, an inequality crisis and a crisis in democracy,” he writes. “Yet the accepted ways by which we measure economic performance give absolutely no hint that we might be facing a problem.”

He’s right! In the United States, GDP is on the upswing, yet Los Angeles burns regularly, and the U.S. president faces impeachment.

The problem, he says, is that politicians see positive GDP figures and continue with the status quo. GDP gives no hint of environmental degradation or resource depletion, nor inequality, middle-class suffering, or lower standards of living.

“If growth is not sustainable because we are destroying the environment and using up scarce natural resources our statistics should warn us,” he says. “It is clear that something is fundamentally wrong with the way we assess economic performance and social performance.” Preach.

His new book, Measuring What Counts: The Global Movement for Well-Being, cowritten with French e-conomists Jean-Paul Fitoussi and Martine Durand, provides a blueprint for how countries can use more appropriate metrics that account for details such as sustainability and—imagine!—how people feel about their lives.
他的新书《Measuring What Counts: The Global Movement for Well-Being》是和法国经济学家Jean-Paul Fitoussi、Martine Durand合著的,这本书为各国如何使用更合理的指标提供了蓝图,要考虑到各种细节,如可持续性和人们的幸福指数。

This all began a decade ago, when Nicolas Sarkozy, then the president of France, asked Stiglitz and fellow Nobel winner Amartya Sen, along with Fitoussi, to set up a commission studying GDP. They published their early deliberations in a book called Mismeasuring Our Lives.
这一切从十年前就已经开始了,后来成为法国总统的尼古拉·萨科齐当时让斯蒂格利茨和同样获得诺贝尔奖的Amartya Sen,以及Fitoussi共同设立研究GDP的委员会,他们在《Mismeasuring Our Lives》一书中给出了早期的审议意见。

From an e-conomist’s perspective, metrics are the key to everything. “If we measure the wrong thing, we will do the wrong thing,” writes Stiglitz.