Why Credit Suisse says ‘happiness’ is key, GDP only measures economic welfare of people narrowly

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Published: June 2, 2018 3:57:33 PM

The role of Gross Domestic Product (GST) in measuring economic progress across all the societies has been in question for many years now.

India economy, GST, GVA, Agriculture growth, demonetisation, GDP growthIn the report, leading experts discuss the benefits and drawbacks of GDP as a core measure for growth and social well-being.

The role of Gross Domestic Product (GST) in measuring economic progress across all the societies has been in question for many years now. Covering the same topic, a report “The Future of GDP,” has been published by the Credit Suisse Research Institute that discusses the main worries around measuring progress based on GDP figures as well as alternatives worth pursuing. The report says that how ‘Happiness Index’ is far more effective in gauging what matters to the economic welfare of the country than GDP. Therefore policy makers should look for policies that promote happiness and prompted the idea of a happiness index as an alternative to economic output in measuring progress, the report mentions.

Urs Rohner, Chairman of the Credit Suisse Research Institute and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse Group, said: “The fixation on GDP as ‘the’ indicator of progress by both public and private decision-makers has led to a neglect of multiple side-effects of economic growth. Also, with an increasingly digital global economy, we tend to become less capable of precisely measuring productivity of entire sectors.”

In the report, leading experts discuss the benefits and drawbacks of GDP as a core measure for growth and social well-being. The power of GDP as an indicator of economic health and performance is based on the assumption that it adequately reflects the state of the respective society. However, as the world is becoming increasingly complex, interconnected and digitalized, GDP does not accurately reflect these changes and their impact on society.

Meanwhile, the Indian economy posted a growth rate of 7.7 per cent during the January to March quarter, enabling the country to retain its position as the fastest growing major economy, data released by the Central Statistics Office showed on Thursday. India shot past China’s 6.8 per cent growth for the January-March quarter.

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