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Economic Quality Over Quantity: What's Our GPI?

University of Vermont

McHenry County College kicks off its environmental speakers series tonight at 7:00. The first of the “Bioneers” is ecological economics professor Jon Erickson of the University of Vermont. 

  His state is now using a different way to evaluate the health of its economy: Erickson says most governments use Gross Domestic Product, which only takes into account the monetary value of all goods and services. It doesn’t count the negatives.

We shouldn’t count as a benefit dirtier waters or dirtier air. We shouldn’t count as a benefit every time we deplete our non-renewable resources. These are costs. They’re the costs of an expanding economy.

Vermont will now evaluate its economy using the“Genuine Progress Indicator.” It takes environmental and social costs into consideration, as well as economic benefits. The GPI measures quality of growth, not just quantity – and Erickson says that’s what’s needed for a 21st century economy

Erickson  says measuring the quality of growth, not just the quantity, is important in today’s world -- especially when the effects of climate change are considered.

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.