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Introduction to Week 2

In this video, Professor Henrietta Moore introduces the main topic in week two
Welcome back. Last week, we talked about the history of GDP. This week, we’re going to talk about the alternatives to GDP. But before we get there, let’s just recap on the question of why we measure, and what does GDP do for us? Well, we started measuring because of the Great Depression. We continued to measure to find out whether the economy could be stable during the Second World War. And we continue to measure because of the Cold War– we wanted to know whether we could use the economy to be resilient against those we felt were against us. And we’re continuing to measure now, because we believe that GDP is a sign of social stability.
But one of the things we learned last week is that it doesn’t really address the question of the quality of people’s lives. We’re going to focus on things which are not just economic indicators, but on things that go beyond the economic– to look at well-being, and flourishing, more generally. And we’re going to take you through some of the IGP’s groundbreaking work in this area, and our ideas about how to get communities on the pathway to sustainable prosperity.

This week, we’ll explore different ways of measuring progress in society. We learnt last week that only measuring the material and the economic simply is not good enough. GDP was also never intended to be a measure of general progress, but because of the historical context of its emergence, it eventually reigned supreme.

If GDP isn’t working, we need to measure something else. There have been efforts to develop alternatives that would inform policymakers differently, and make real progress in improving the quality of people’s lives. To prioritise something other than GDP, we need to change what we measure, and put these new measurements front and center of policymaking.

One of the new measures pioneering the case for alternative measurement is the Social Progress Index, but there are others. This week, we hear more from Michael Green, the founder of the Social Progress Imperative which produces the Social Progress Index.

We’ll also delve into the IGP’s approach to measuring prosperity, and our latest research on building prosperous lives in our three sites of exemplification.

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Global Prosperity Beyond GDP

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