Summary of Vital Statistics?

The Slow Journalism Company,

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Vital Statistics? summary
Gross domestic product (GDP) is an inadequate measure of society’s progress. But what will replace it?


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Gross domestic product (GDP) has long been the go-to statistic for assessing a country’s economic achievement. In recent years, however, many economists have grown critical of the metric’s ability to take an accurate pulse of society’s well-being. They have sought to develop more comprehensive indices, particularly ones that gauge citizens’ well-being instead of production. getAbstract recommends freelance journalist Loes Witschge’s clear, concise and jargon-free navigation of this important economic concept to anyone seeking more nuanced and holistic ways to measure a society’s well-being.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How gross domestic product (GDP) became the go-to measure of economic achievement
  • Why the GDP metric is flawed
  • How to gauge progress better


Gross domestic product (GDP) – the total value of all goods and services produced in a country during a prescribed period of time – has become the primary measure of economic achievement across countries. The metric rose to prominence in the United States during the economic boom years of World War II. The US used its influence to make GDP the central measure of economic progress within the international financial system set up after the war.

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About the Author

Loes Witschge is head of digital at Delayed Gratification, the quarterly magazine from Slow Journalism.

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