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Environment Magazine September/October 2008

 

January-February 2011

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Reviewing the Research: Report of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress

You could certainly say that it has been a long time coming. The Report of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress1 (more popularly known as the Stiglitz Commission) was released in June 2009. The commission itself was established in February 2008 when President Sarkozy of France, “unsatisfied with the present state of statistical information about the economy and the society,” asked Nobel prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen to form a Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. If it was prescient of the enormous financial crisis that was about to plunge the world into recession, it was already almost 40 years after Robert F. Kennedy's famous indictment of the limitations of the gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of progress.

Tim Jackson is a professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey and author of Prosperity without Growth – Economics for a Finite Planet (www.earthscan.co.uk/pwg).

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