Redefining wealth : new indicators

Does GDP bring happiness? The need for new indicators

A nation is said to be rich when it produces and sells and when it shows a high level of economic trade, a definition in use since the Second World War. Well-being is economic and material and entirely dependent on economic growth. However, using this factor as the only measure for a country’s wealth has been widely criticized. Proposals for new concepts have also emerged, such as a redefinition of the term wealth to encompass more than just economic wealth, and the inclusion of well-being and happiness, as embodied by Bhutan’s gross national happiness indicator.

Social performance/social impact/social utility evaluation

A company’s financial performance can draw on the tried and tested tools so important to funders, but how is its social performance assessed? A number of funders are starting to look at the social added value of their investments, with the result that more socially responsible indicators are appearing every year.

Full-time employment or full-time activities (on dividing time between paid work and other activities)

The close link between wealth, employment and production is a 19th century legacy. Production provides the consumer with goods and services, so the work that enables this production is what “enriches” society. Redefining wealth raises the question of the notion of employment, paid or otherwise. Traditional representations of employment, work and activities, having already suffered from the transformation of forms of production, are currently being reshaped as part of the alternative vision of the economy. There are several ways of producing, strengthening social ties to varying degrees and offering varying degrees of social utility.