The report provided by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress was prepared by Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, and Jean-Paul Fitoussi in 2010. The main aim of the report is to conclude the results which were achieved by the Commission while examining the problematic question with measuring systems and the level of the public’s trust in the results of the data of statistics presented by the government.
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The major question of the investigation was the identification and analysis of the limits of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the indicator for measuring the economic performance and social progress of countries and the discussion of the effective alternative indicators which can be used for the assessment.
The target audience of the report is politicians, the academic community, statisticians, economists, and civil organizations. Such aspects as the necessity of changing the ‘production-oriented’ measuring system into that one which accentuates the well-being’s factors and the distinction between the assessment of the population’s well-being and economic progress are discussed in the report with focusing on positive and negative aspects of using this or that measuring system.
The United Kingdom is one of those European countries, which accentuates the necessity of changing the measures for the assessment of the population’s well-being and the determination of the rank of the country according to the economic aspect. If some years ago, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was considered as the decisive indicator for the assessment of the country’s standard of living, today this tendency is changed, and GDP cannot be used as the most effective indicator for measuring the social and economic progress in the country.
The results of the report provided by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, which were presented in 2010, gave the start for the development of new approaches to analyzing the measuring system in the United Kingdom. The results of the researchers conducted by famous economists and sociologists have accentuated the fact that today GDP cannot be discussed as an appropriate indicator for measuring the country’s socio-economic development and depending on separate social or economic aspects or their combination, it is possible to determine the alternative measures.
GDP is the most significant factor for measuring the country’s productive activity, but it is not successful enough to measure the national well-being, which depends on the range of social factors. British researchers use the notion of ‘happiness index’ to define these possible factors. There is the proposition to focus on such aspects as the state of the people’s health and the level of the health care system, social relations and connections, satisfaction with conditions provided at work, the level of education, and economic security as the confidence in the future. These factors reflect the social aspects of the population’s well-being.
There are also some economic indicators that are considered by British economists as the most effective for measuring. They are Net Domestic Product, Gross National Income, and Net National Income as the combination of these factors. According to these important indicators, the international rank of the United Kingdom varies greatly. Thus, GDP can reflect the economic increase, but the real situation in the country can be different because of the number of social factors that influence it.