Measuring wealth “Beyond GDP”

Indicators such as GDP and the Human Development Index are insufficient to measure true wealth, according to Sir Partha Dasgupta. In this video, the professor of Economics (University of Cambridge) talks about the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 of which he was a key contributor. The report is a joint initiative of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP). It is the first actual attempt to measure the total wealth of nations – including forms of wealth not generally accounted for, such as natural and human capital.

According to the report, GDP and the Human Development Index (HDI) fail to reflect the state of natural resources or ecological conditions and both focus exclusively on the short term, without indicating whether national policies are sustainable over longer periods of time. The Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 presents an index that measures the wealth of nations by carrying out a comprehensive analysis of a country’s capital assets, including manufactured, human and natural capital, and its corresponding values: the Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI). Results show changes in inclusive wealth from 1990 to 2008 and feature a long-term comparison to GDP for an initial group of 20 countries. The report aims to provide policy-makers and planning authorities with a tool to assess the state of a country’s productive base and its development over time.

Sir Partha Dasgupta has contributed to the theme “Economic growth and sustainability” worldwide. He has dedicated himself to the challenges of poverty and population in relation to natural resources at, among other institutions, the World Bank and the United Nations.


This video was taped during a visit of Partha Dasgupta at the Tilburg Sustainability Center of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, where he received an honorary doctorate.

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