Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happily retire!

This week many papers discuss variations on the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), and alternative to the widely used Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The core idea is that GDP does not take into account various "costs" to achieve the implied economic productivity. Costs such as environmental impact, depletion of resources, and employee stress. The in the news is because the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress published its first main report, and French President Sarkozy talked out it.

Today's Helsinki Sanomat demonstrates the essentials very well, but as usually doesn't connect the dots. In the opening editorial the idea of taking into account other factors than pure gross product is explained and welcomed. The GPI in Finland hasn't really raised since the ciris of the 90s.

At the same time Teija Sutinen reminds us (in a column in the Economy section) vigorously to postpone retirement because economic growth (i.e. an increase in GDP) is expected to be impossible without people working longer. Admittedly, she suggest that employers should focus on improving the atmosphere at work so that employees would actually like to continue working. I disagree.

If soon many people retire, partly because they don't like to work, we can expect them to be happier (once retired). This should dramatically increase the Finnish GPI, or any other measure that takes happiness into account.

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