Top of Mind
Economists routinely use GDP growth as shorthand for well-being but that’s not actually what it measures. Introduced by the UK’s Treasury in 1941, it provided policymakers with a much improved summary of economic activity, particularly mass production.
But today, the reality presented by government statistics shows "the 'information sector' of the economy—which includes publishing, software, data services, and telecom—has barely grown since the late eighties, even though we’ve seen an explosion in the amount of information and data that individuals and businesses consume," writes James Surowiecki in the New Yorker.
Should we revisit GDP? Diane Coyle, writing in Aeon magazine, looks at the history and possible next steps for measuring economic activity and well-being.