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Ditch GDP says Sarkozy

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by David Masters

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called on world leaders to scrap economic growth as a measure of progress.

Measuring a nation’s well-being through gross domestic product (GDP) has resulted in an economic system that is destroying more than it is creating, Sarkozy said.

The president made the comments at the launch of a report he commissioned from Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

According to Stiglitz, “GDP has increasingly become used as a measure of societal well-being, and changes in the structure of the economy and our society have made it an increasingly poor one.”

Sarkozy agreed. “For years statistics have registered an increasingly strong economic growth as a victory over shortage until it emerged that this growth was destroying more than it was creating,” he said.

According to Sarkozy, the banking crisis has left world leaders obliged to rethink their approach to progress.

“The crisis doesn’t only make us free to imagine other models, another future, another world. It obliges us to do so,” he said.

Stiglitz’s report does not propose a new measure of progress, but suggests adjusting GDP to measure other influences on the well-being of a nation including national happiness and environmental conservation.

In related news, Sarkozy has threatened to walk out of next week’s G20 summit if world leaders fail to agree on measures to curb bankers’ bonuses.

“If there is no concrete decision, I will leave,” he said.

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News posted: September 15, 2009

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