January 8th, 2012
In the U.S., the pursuit of happiness of the human constitution. Even the economists are, in principle, always in search of happiness – directly and indirectly. However, the luck was not always lucky, but often referred to as wealth or welfare. And so the problem begins even to know: What exactly is happiness and how can it be measured? This was recently discussed by Rainer Maurer in public policy blog.
The current search
Of economists and statisticians for happiness swings in the newly re-emerged and wide-ranging discussion with the measurement of welfare. Under the label “Beyond GDP” new ways are being sought to measure the welfare of an economy better than can be done with existing resources. Critical observers of this debate also mention here of course political-economic aspects, some of which mature and with the traditional concepts no longer quite as dynamically growing economies to the emerging countries are falling behind. With new metrics can then perhaps make the old rank again.
In the following essay is not about luck, but an important part of the conventional measuring wealth. Not “Beyond GDP” but “about GDP” is the next topic. The discussion and the arguments that the gross domestic product, the welfare of a country – let alone the luck – can not be measured are not really new. Economists like Pigou, Hicks, Kuznets and Samuelson had been exploring in the first half of the century, before following with the question whether the GDP is an adequate measure of welfare, and in general can be.
What should be measured by the GDP, anyway? It is intended primarily to capture the markets unfolding economic performance and the resulting labor, property and entrepreneurial income. It is based on a self-consistent and internationally applied system. Wohlstandmaß as it has always stood for the following reasons in criticism:
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On the one hand sizes are included in GDP, the wealth-effect of reducing or offset such effects only. On the other sizes are not included in GDP, increase prosperity..