Other ways of measuring the economy

GDP per capita of selected OECD countries

GDP per capita of selected OECD countries

I’m nerdy enough that I really enjoyed editing the economics entries, which we launched last month as part of the Economy and the City theme. Through editing them, I finally came to understand those acronyms – GDP, GNI, PPPs – that economists like to throw around.

Since finishing work on that theme, I’ve continued reading about economics, and have recently been finding out about the GPI, genuine progress indicator. This adds on to GDP (gross domestic product) the value of unpaid work – such as housework, parenthood or volunteering – and deducts things like the cost of crime, household rubbish disposal and environmental degradation. Green economists see this as a truer measure of economic wellbeing. Applied to the US economy, GPI showed that while GDP per person had risen steadily since the 1970s, the GPI was flat or declining.

In New Zealand the Auckland Regional Council is keeping track of GPI for Auckland. Economists are now beavering away at measuring GPI for the whole country. It will be interesting to see what it shows, and might require us to make additions to some of our entries.

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