Tuesday, September 15, 2009

France to Count Happiness in GDP - Why Singapore is Still Nowhere Near World Class

Very interesting article in the Financial Times Today. I quote it here, editing it for my purposes.
France to count happiness in GDP
By Ben Hall in Paris

Published: September 14 2009 15:48 Last updated: September 14 2009 19:35

Happiness, long holidays and a sense of well-being may not be (Singapore’s) yardstick for economic performance, but Nicolas Sarkozy believes they should be embraced by (Singapore) in a national accounting overhaul.

France’s president on Monday urged other countries (like Singapore) to adopt proposed new measures of economic output unveiled by a panel of international economists led by Joseph Stiglitz, the US Nobel Prize winner.

Mr Sarkozy, who set up the Stiglitz-led commission last year, said that (Singapore) had become trapped in a “cult of figures”.

Insee, the French statistics agency, would set about incorporating the new indicators in its accounting, Mr Sarkozy said.

One consequence of the commission’s proposed enhancements to gross domestic product data would be to improve instantly France’s economic performance by taking into account its high-quality health service, expensive welfare system and long holidays. At the same time, the commission’s changes would downgrade (Singapore's) economic output.

The commission suggested a series of improvements to the way GDP was measured. It proposed accounting for people’s well-being and the sustainability of a country’s economy and natural resources. “(In Singapore), citizens think we are lying to them, that the figures are wrong, that they are manipulated,” said the president. “And they have reasons to think like that.

Certainly, I do not think we will expect to see the Singapore Government incorporate citizen happiness, well-being or the state of the welfare system into its GDP accounting system.

Because that would make us look like a third-world country. Let's face The Ugly Truth - Singaporeans are stressed out chickens & unhappy rat-racers. They work hard their entire lives just to be able to buy that condo or that landed property & that BMW/Mercedes Benz. Many of them can't wait to get out of the country to some place where they will not be treated as second class citizens in their own back yard.

Indeed, as I explained before, GDP is a lousy indicator of a people's wellbeing. And it's what the Singapore governnment has been using all along to measure its performance and to justify the astronomically inflated salaries of its ministers.

God bless the day we finally depose of the Leegime and have someone who thinks like Mr Nicholas Sarkozy.