Beyond GDP: From Measurement to
Politics and Policy
Development of a compelling narrative
Paris 24 March 2014
1. The challenge
2. Labour markets, green economy and the narrative
3. Theoretical underpinning
4. Next steps
A narrative creates appeal and
credibility
• A good narrative wins votes – it has to have appeal but also give
credibility...
1. The challenge
2. Labour markets, green economy and the narrative
3. Theoretical underpinning
4. Next steps
The ‘GDP’ approach to labour
market policy…
GrowthEfficient
Labour
markets
Jobs
…is associated with a slogan
summarising the narrative
GrowthEfficient
Labour
markets
Jobs
Jobs and growth
The ‘beyond GDP’ approach
aims to maximise wellbeing
GrowthEfficient
Labour
markets
Jobs
Good Jobs
(security,
work life
ba...
…and recognises there is
sometimes a trade-off
GrowthEfficient
Labour
markets
Jobs
Good Jobs
(security,
work life
balance,...
It is difficult to optimise
GrowthEfficient
Labour
markets
Jobs
Good Jobs
(security,
work life
balance,
conditions,
pay et...
So the aim is to create the
conditions to soften trade-off
GrowthEfficient
Labour
markets
Jobs
Good Jobs
(security,
work l...
…requiring a full range of
government actions…
GrowthEfficient
Labour
markets
Jobs
Good Jobs
(security,
work life
balance,...
…and an alternative narrative
GrowthEfficient
Labour
markets
Jobs
Good Jobs
(security,
work life
balance,
conditions,
pay ...
Can this convince?
• We are not there yet – growth is still seen as the sign of economic
policy success
• However…
– jobs ...
As sometimes framed, the green
economy problem is unsolvable
x
Maximise
wellbeing by
maximising
aggregate
consumption
Live...
There are two strategies dealing
with this – green growth…
A green
economy
Maintain
growth and
jobs by
investing in
the gr...
…and decoupling wellbeing
from consumption
A green
economy
Maintain
growth and
jobs by
investing in
the green
economy
Live...
Both involve lower/changed
aggregate consumption vs b.a.u.
A green
economy
Maintain
growth and
jobs by
investing in
the gr...
So other elements have to balance
consumption in the narrative…
For example…
• FAIRNESS
– Those who can afford the burden pay their share
For example…
• FAIRNESS
– Those who can afford the burden pay their share
• SECURITY
– Reducing environmental risk – but a...
For example…
• FAIRNESS
– Those who can afford the burden pay their share
• SECURITY
– Reducing environmental risk – but a...
For example…
• FAIRNESS
– Those who can afford the burden pay their share
• SECURITY
– Reducing environmental risk – but a...
1. The challenge
2. Labour markets, green economy and the narrative
3. Theoretical underpinning
4. Next steps
There is a wealth of theory that
can be drawn on – for example…
• Outcomes
– Subjective wellbeing data as a guide to what ...
1. The challenge
2. Labour markets, green economy and the narrative
3. Theoretical underpinning
4. Next steps
Next steps
• Democratic renewal
– Work with people – including at local level – to define what is important, eg jobs
– Lin...
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BRAINPOoL Final Conference: Towards a Beyond GDP Narrative

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BRAINPOoL Final Conference: Towards a Beyond GDP Narrative

  1. 1. Beyond GDP: From Measurement to Politics and Policy Development of a compelling narrative Paris 24 March 2014
  2. 2. 1. The challenge 2. Labour markets, green economy and the narrative 3. Theoretical underpinning 4. Next steps
  3. 3. A narrative creates appeal and credibility • A good narrative wins votes – it has to have appeal but also give credibility to a party‟s programme – by also explaining • So Reagan‟s narrative had appeal and credibility – Cut taxes (direct voter appeal) – We would be better off if we got the government off our backs (explanation) – Based on a neo-liberal version of neo-classical economics (theory, credibility) • It is easy but not enough to attack this kind of thing – we need a Beyond GDP narrative of this type and we don‟t have one • „Wellbeing‟ and „sustainability‟ associated with what have been at best politically weak messages (happiness, constraints) • So what is electorally appealing about new policies? • And what kind of theory will give this credibility?
  4. 4. 1. The challenge 2. Labour markets, green economy and the narrative 3. Theoretical underpinning 4. Next steps
  5. 5. The ‘GDP’ approach to labour market policy… GrowthEfficient Labour markets Jobs
  6. 6. …is associated with a slogan summarising the narrative GrowthEfficient Labour markets Jobs Jobs and growth
  7. 7. The ‘beyond GDP’ approach aims to maximise wellbeing GrowthEfficient Labour markets Jobs Good Jobs (security, work life balance, conditions, pay etc)
  8. 8. …and recognises there is sometimes a trade-off GrowthEfficient Labour markets Jobs Good Jobs (security, work life balance, conditions, pay etc)
  9. 9. It is difficult to optimise GrowthEfficient Labour markets Jobs Good Jobs (security, work life balance, conditions, pay etc)
  10. 10. So the aim is to create the conditions to soften trade-off GrowthEfficient Labour markets Jobs Good Jobs (security, work life balance, conditions, pay etc) Economic structures and norms
  11. 11. …requiring a full range of government actions… GrowthEfficient Labour markets Jobs Good Jobs (security, work life balance, conditions, pay etc) Economic structures and norms Active government – the ‘entrepreneur -ial state’
  12. 12. …and an alternative narrative GrowthEfficient Labour markets Jobs Good Jobs (security, work life balance, conditions, pay etc) Economic structures and norms Active government – the ‘entrepreneur -ial state’ Jobs and growth The state securing good jobs
  13. 13. Can this convince? • We are not there yet – growth is still seen as the sign of economic policy success • However… – jobs always feature in polling as a top concern, and – some (UK) evidence of shift in focus from growth to whether life is getting better • Potentially opening space for – median real wages – other job related drivers of wellbeing…security, equality (fairness), decent living standards for all, good work • And the broader message: – markets deliver growth but growth doesn‟t deliver these good things – so we need collective (government) action….
  14. 14. As sometimes framed, the green economy problem is unsolvable x Maximise wellbeing by maximising aggregate consumption Live within environmental limits
  15. 15. There are two strategies dealing with this – green growth… A green economy Maintain growth and jobs by investing in the green economy Live within environmental limits
  16. 16. …and decoupling wellbeing from consumption A green economy Maintain growth and jobs by investing in the green economy Live within environmental limits Maintain wellbeing growth but restrict or change aggregate consumption growth
  17. 17. Both involve lower/changed aggregate consumption vs b.a.u. A green economy Maintain growth and jobs by investing in the green economy Live within environmental limits Maintain wellbeing growth but restrict or change aggregate consumption growth
  18. 18. So other elements have to balance consumption in the narrative…
  19. 19. For example… • FAIRNESS – Those who can afford the burden pay their share
  20. 20. For example… • FAIRNESS – Those who can afford the burden pay their share • SECURITY – Reducing environmental risk – but also jobs, housing, income, health – Language of “securing” and “protecting”
  21. 21. For example… • FAIRNESS – Those who can afford the burden pay their share • SECURITY – Reducing environmental risk – but also jobs, housing, income, health – Language of “securing” and “protecting” • WEALTH – Collective and individual; linked to security – and basis for quality of life – Language of “building” and “improving”
  22. 22. For example… • FAIRNESS – Those who can afford the burden pay their share • SECURITY – Reducing environmental risk – but also jobs, housing, income, health – Language of “securing” and “protecting” • WEALTH – Collective and individual; linked to security – and basis for quality of life – Language of “building” and “improving” • QUALITY OF LIFE – Now and in the future – Based on public engagement to define the important, therefore local
  23. 23. 1. The challenge 2. Labour markets, green economy and the narrative 3. Theoretical underpinning 4. Next steps
  24. 24. There is a wealth of theory that can be drawn on – for example… • Outcomes – Subjective wellbeing data as a guide to what to aim for (Wellbeing science) – Worker interests – including fulfilment (eg Marxists) – Social relations (Communitarians) – The resources and capabilities needed to function (Capabilities approach) • Explanations – The natural tendency of markets to create inequality (eg Galbraith) – The natural tendency of financial markets to create instability (eg Minsky) – Institutional power relations rather than markets as key to explaining (Institutionalists) – Land as a factor of production (Ecological economists) – Social reproduction which occurs in the home (Feminist political economists) • What we do to get there – Government as the legitimate and effective driver of outcomes (Social democrats) But more work needed of course – both to synthesise and create theory
  25. 25. 1. The challenge 2. Labour markets, green economy and the narrative 3. Theoretical underpinning 4. Next steps
  26. 26. Next steps • Democratic renewal – Work with people – including at local level – to define what is important, eg jobs – Link to work with parliamentarians (participative with representative democracy) • Identify policies – What is needed to deliver what is important? How is this new? • Communications – Different messages and language for different audiences – same fundamentals – Positive messages reflecting what is important • Indicators – Part of the narrative: research effectiveness of alternatives (index/dashboard) – Statisticians to develop their role as agents of change • Business – Establish the business version of the Beyond GDP narrative • Link to theory of the economy – Synthesise existing work (eg how will the economy work at low/zero growth?) – Test starting axioms (neo-classical vs positive economy) • Progress reports – (eg mapping of the 28 EU governments)
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