New ways to measure progress

Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, at the request of the French Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, put out a report on alternative methods for measuring economic performance. Such methods include Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics, but the report calls for including social and environmental factors.

Herman Daly and many others in the Ecological Economics community have been calling for better measures of our economic, social and environmental progress for over twenty years.  Indeed, Redefining Progress already releases its Genuine Progress Indicator each year, though at a three year delay.

Edward Harrison of Credit Writedowns rightly points out (via Naked Capitalism) that GDP is an inadequate measure of our economic state.  Rather he wants to be sure that our economic statistics include not just income (GDP), but debt.  I completely agree with him and hope that such revised metrics, note the plural,  include measure such assets as our environment, the health & education of our people and other non-market debts and assets.

Hopefully this report will put a pressure on the world's governments to devise and track metrics that better reflect our economic, social and ecological progress.  Until then, we should create and track our own community indicators.

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