Gross National Happiness as a measure of India's Growth- Say no to GDP

Gross National Happiness as a measure of India's Growth- Say no to GDP

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Genie started this petition to Nirmala Sitharaman (Defense Minister of India)

Focus shift from Gross Domestic Product to Gross National Happiness (Well-being) as an indicator for India's progress.

GDP- A faulty Indicator:


What is so gross about gross domestic product?

Major policy decisions in India are taken with the focus on growth of GDP rather than the well-being of the people and environment. This has led to following problems:

GDP growth is responsible for climate change & pollution. 

GDP growth is responsible for depression among people. 

GDP growth is responsible for inequalities in the society.

GDP growth is responsible for extinction of animals and bird species and deforestation. 

GDP growth is responsible for plastics in the oceans. 

GDP growth is responsible for rising diseases and cancer cases. 

GDP growth is responsible for deteriorating work-life balance leading to mental health issues in the society. 

GDP is born of the manufacturing age. It measures “things you can drop on your foot”. Yet in advanced economies such as the US, up to 80% of production is in the service industry.

GDP doesn’t do services - at least not very well. It is good at quantity, but lousy at quality. If the food or service improves in your local restaurant, GDP will not notice. Ditto, if an airline’s safety record improves. In fact, GDP might prefer a plane crash - so that it can build a new plane.

GDP is flummoxed by the Internet. If I buy my own cheap airline ticket, check myself in online and pick my own aisle seat, my convenience has gone up. But GDP has gone down. I am my own travel agent, a job that would once have been performed by a fully paid-up GDP-producing employee. Wikipedia provides all human knowledge free of charge. In GDP terms, it is worth zilch.

GDP deals in aggregates; GDP per capita in averages. In an age where a huge cause of social dislocation is inequality, GDP has nothing to say about distribution. Averages are misleading. Medians are better than means. A rise in average GDP could actually be retrograde, if it leaves 99% of people resentful at how the 1% is making good.

From GDP’s perspective, bigger is always better. In the real world, that is not always so. When the financial sector got bigger and bigger, it ended in financial crisis. When the US health service gets bigger and bigger, it means costs are out of control.

In general, GDP measures only cash transactions. However, volunteer work, housework or looking after an ageing relative count for nothing. GDP has skewed priorities.
In poor countries, the informal sector is practically invisible to GDP. Yet in much of the world, the informal economy counts for most. Monitoring economic activity from space, through satellite images of nightlights, might be more accurate than on-the-ground GDP, academic studies have found.

Solution?

We need to pay more attention to other measures to complete the picture, some of which already exist and some of which we may have to invent. Measures of wealth, equality, leisure, wellbeing and net domestic product, adjusted for negatives like pollution, are places to start. 

By moving our focus away from GDP growth to Well-being growth we can create heaven on this earth. 

You can make that choice today by signing this petition!

 

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