Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Defending GDP: WSJ Opinion

On the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal Online, Brian Domitrovic poses a novel defense of GDP as a measure of national progress: President Sarkozy only wants to change the measure because he's "losing."

The argument goes something like this: The U.S. has high GDP. France once was on par with the U.S. France didn't follow Reagan and Thatcher in 1982 deregulation. So Frane's only interest in challenging GDP as a measure is to "move the goalposts" and develop a different measure of progress that shows them as competitive.

At no point in this article does Domitrovic display any hints that he has read the report of the Stiglitz commission (at one point, he suggests a measure of leisure time ought to be included in the report, because he says France is good at that. In the U.S., we work so much because we want to, and would spurn additional vacationif offered.)

We've talked about the flaws of GDP for some time now, and the need to measure progress more broadly. I don't think we need to re-hash those discussions. But you might want to see this op-ed piece just to remind yourself that change alwwys meets with resistance, even if that resistance involved merely sticking one's fingers in one's ears and extending the tongue in gratuitous French-bashing.


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