Alternatives to GDP

The Green Party is opposed to the current importance given to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Ireland by government and policy makers. We believe that it has been the policy of successive governments to pursue absolute economic growth, often to the detriment of Irish society and environment.

GDP focuses entirely on the absolute increase in economic activity, regardless of external effects such as; carbon and methane emissions, habitat degradation, air and water pollution, unemployment, over-work, poverty and economic inequality. Neither does it give any value to unpaid workers like carers or volunteers. While technological advances could improve these externalities, GDP and political decisions led by it will continue to be blinded by the value and necessity of the labour and natural capital that it ignores.

Key Policy Points

Achieve equal weight given insofar as possible to a basket of other indicators; developing well-rounded, holistic view of how our society (not an abstract economy of factors) is coping. There could include: Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, Economic equality, Human Development Index, and/or Measures of the System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting.

In terms of macro-economic analysis, these could include: Percentage of people in employment earning above living wage and House prices and average rents vs. Median Incomes.

Stakeholder Engagement: Adequate resources for the CSO and other relevant agencies to allow them to collate the necessary data in collaboration with academics, NGOs and other experts to agree upon useful measures.

Carbon Budgeting: An annual carbon budget (as was done in the past) that itemises sector by sector and intervention by intervention, how Ireland will achieve its 2020 and 2030 greenhouse gas emissions targets (20% by 2020 and 30% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels) as well as making provision for militating circumstances such as population growth and expansion growth and expansion of livestock numbers.

Equality Proofing Budgets: the permanent adoption of Equality Budgeting in annual budget agreements to provide greater information on the likely impact of budgetary measures across a range of areas such as income, health and education, and how outcomes differ across gender, age, ethnicity etc. Equality budgeting helps policy-makers to better anticipate potential impacts in the budgetary process


Policy revised: 2019

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 1, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16

Share on