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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: December 26, 2001
CONTACT: Craig Cheslog or Janet Graesser, Redefining Progress
510-444-3041

REDEFINING PROGRESS' GENUINE PROGRESS INDICATOR (GPI) ROSE SLIGHTLY IN 2000: ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIC MEASURE REMAINS $23,947 PER CAPITA BELOW THE GDP

OAKLAND, Calif.—Redefining Progress today released its annual Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) update. While the GPI rose slightly in the year 2000, it remains $23,947 per capita below the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The GPI is an alternative measure of economic progress and well-being developed as a critique of the traditionally used GDP. Redefining Progress has updated the GPI annually since the organization's founding in 1994.

The GPI rose slightly in 2000 to reach $2.63 trillion (as measured in 1996 dollars). This represents growth of $64 billion (or 2.5 percent) over its 1999 level. Per capita GPI rose by $148 (or 1.6 percent) to $9,550. These figures compare to a GDP in 2000 of $9.22 trillion (as measured in 1996 dollars). The GDP grew in 2000 by $348 billion (or 3.9 percent). Per capita GDP rose by $978 (or 3.0 percent) to $33,497.

Large differences continue to exist between the GPI and GDP. While the GDP has many useful functions, Redefining Progress argues that it is a poor tool for evaluating the United States' economic health. The GDP merely tallies monetary transactions on an annual basis. It makes no distinction between economic transactions that add to-or diminish-our societal well-being.

Redefining Progress developed a different yardstick, the GPI, in response. The GPI subtracts costs (like those associated with crime, commuting, family breakdown, and pollution) and adds benefits (like the value of volunteering and parenting) that the GDP ignores by design.

Such distinctions are especially important to remember as political leaders and economists seek ways to stimulate a U.S. economy in the midst of its first recession in a decade.

"If our political leaders focus solely on trying to spark GDP growth they risk exacerbating the negative social and environmental costs that the GPI measures but the GDP ignores," said Redefining Progress Communications and Government Relations Director Craig Cheslog. "The GPI has been sounding warnings about our future since its initial release. It is time to stop ignoring them."

The 2000 Genuine Progress Indicator update can be downloaded in pdf format.

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