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Study notes

What is GDP and why is it bad for us?

  • Levels: AS, A Level, IB
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

GDP was developed in the US and the UK as a response to the Great Depression in the 1930s but even the originators of GDP as an aggregate measure of economic value (income, output and spending) were aware of the deficiencies of GDP per head as a measure of sustainable and inclusive growth and standards of living.

This short video from economists at the LSE is an excellent primer on some of the inadequacies of GDP as a measure of how well an economy is doing. "In an era when GDP growth statistics are telling a different story from the lived experiences of so many in society, is it time to end its supremacy and establish a measure that better reflects and serves the values of society?"

There are now alternatives to GDP such as the Genuine Progress Indicator, the Human Development Index and subjective measures of economic well-being.

What is GDP and why is it bad for us?

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