Paul Keating when Treasurer, I remember, was once quite dismissive of official gross domestic product figures showing that Japanese were on average better off than Australians. In that cutting and direct way of his the then Treasurer commented that he didn’t think many Australians would prefer to be living with a family in a one room Tokyo flat than where they were in Australia. GDP was interesting but far from the sole measure of the quality of a person’s life.
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France certainly agrees with that. Overnight our time he released a report by a panel of international economists led by Joseph Stiglitz, the US Nobel Prize winner which proposes new measures of economic output that would include things like happiness, long holidays and a sense of well-being along with traditional measures of production.