Crime and inequality climb with economy
UK crime and inequality have soared in tandem with economic growth, says a study released in advance of the latest Budget. Research by think-tank the New Economics Foundation tracks social progress against gross domestic product (GDP) rises and shows how the UK’s drive for economic growth has led to a fall in the quality of life.
The study uses a new gauge dubbed the ‘Measure of Domestic Progress’ (MDP). This is meant to reflect advances in the quality of life -as opposed to economic progress – by subtracting things like the cost of family breakdown from overall GDP levels.
It reveals that MDP has struggled to take off in spite of rapid GDP growth. Between 1950 and
2000, GDP rose from £5,000 to over£14,OOO. Yet MDP has broadly remained at £2,OOO – its 195O level.
Hetan Shah, director of NEF’s well-being programmes, said that Bhutan wants to replace GDP with a Gross National Happiness gauge. ‘We should follow their lead by going back to basics and asking ourselves what exactly it is we are trying to maximise.’
Chasing Progress – Beyond Measuring Economic Growth is available from NEF (tel) 020 7820 6300.
(Source: Regeneration & Renewal magazine, www.regenerationmagazine.com)