What Is Prosperity and How Do We Measure It? — Roger Bate

A year ago, French president Nicolas Sarkozy created the Commission on the Measurement of Economic and Social Progress. Sarkozy believes that economic growth, as measured by GDP, is not a sufficient measurement of our well-being. He has a point. While GDP encompasses myriad economic variables-broadly representing a nation’s income and, hence, economic progress over time-it fails to capture important ingredients of prosperity, such as health, personal freedom, and security. The Sarkozy commission has issued its first report, but it nevertheless fails in some crucial respects.

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