Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Further Indicators (Communication)

The GDP was already developed in the 1930s. In the meantime it has become the best known indicator of macro-economic activity. According to the Commission there “is a clear case for complementing” GDP with indicators covering social and environmental issues “on which people’s well-being critically depends” but which are not taken account of in the current GDP calculation. In its Communication the Commission presents its ideas regarding new indicators.


The social and environmental indicators proposed by the Commission have severe deficits – as they have to cover different issues the values of different measure units must be arbitrarily summarised in one single figure. Moreover, it is dangerous that such indicators might be abused to serve certain interests. The proposed social indicators create the impression that policy-makers would be directly responsible for the citizens’ well-being. Last but not least, the practical benefits of environmental indicators are not evident.