Rethinking Corporations And The GDP

In “The GDP is accorded far too much respect”, Tracy Fernandez Rysavy suggests it it is time to replace the GDP with better metrics of  economic well being.

She quotes David Korten who “recommends adding non-financial indicators to the GDP, as 150 other countries have already done. The Human Development Index (HDI), conceived by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, replaces a country’s GDP with a collection of measurements that examine the overall well-being of its people by looking at statistics on health, education, and standard of living.”

She also quotes Neva Goodwin, an economist at Tufts University, who suggests we re-examine the role and regulation of corporations in our society and return them more to their originally conceived purpose. “In the 19th Century, it was understood that a corporate charter was given to allow a group of people to do something that was in the interest of society,” says Dr. Goodwin. “Corporate charters were sometimes given for limited periods of time, and if the producer wasn’t living up to its part of the bargain, the charter could be taken away.”

The current economic crisis we are facing, along with the growing general desire in our culture to create a more sustainable society, may hopefully lead to examining some of the sacred cows of corporate dominance of our economy and our political establishment. If that positive agenda of real hope can overcome the politics of fear being peddled to justify giving trillions to Wall Street banks, the crisis that is upon us can become a real opportunity to create a better world.

We are living in interesting times.


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Filed under Economic Policy, Fundamental Perspectives

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