Five Ways to Combat Misleading Information about Economic Growth pp. 1-29
Authors: (Roefie Hueting, The Hague, The Netherlands)
Abstract: Welfare, to which all economic action is directed, is defined as the satisfaction of wants derived from our dealings with scarce goods. It is a category of personal experience and not measurable in cardinal units. Therefore we have to make do with indicators that are measurable in cardinal units and that are arguably influencing welfare. The cardinal indicator and the ordinal welfare have, of course, to develop in the same direction. Economic growth is generally defined as increase of national income (NI) (or GDP) as a measure of production. However, according to the subject matter of economics economic growth can mean nothing other than increase in welfare. Welfare is dependent on more factors than solely production. It is also dependent on employment, income distribution, labour conditions, leisure time and the scarce possible uses of the nonhuman-made physical surroundings: the environmental functions. These objectives or ends are often conflicting. Therefore welfare can increase with decreasing production.
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