Gross domestic product (GDP) was never intended to be a measure of wellbeing or progress. It was developed to fill significant gaps in information available about the state of the economy, namely how bad things had become in the Great Depression.
Thousands of papers, articles, books and speeches have been written on the failings of GDP. Yet it has continued as the primary metric of progress and economic wellbeing around the world.
In 2022, Carnegie UK commissioned a review of academic literature on challenges to GDP, and alternative measures of wellbeing. The work, undertaken by Dr Cressida Gaukroger, brought together evidence about why GDP has failed as a measure of social progress. We hope the findings can be drawn on to engage a new audience in conversations about collective wellbeing.
A shorter briefing paper summarising the findings of this project are also available on our website here.