French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Tuesday that he has recruited two Nobel economists, Amartya Sen of India and Joseph Stiglitz of the US, to advise him on changing the way French economic growth is calculated so as to include quality-of-life factors.
Sarkozy said, “We must change the way we measure growth,” adding that gross national product must be calculated taking into account the quality of life in France. New indices would improve the impression of growth performance among French people who can no longer accept the growing gap between statistics that show continuing progress (in growth) and the increasing difficulties they are having in their daily lives.”
Sarkozy said he had asked the two Nobel prize winners, “who have done a lot of work on these questions,” to lead the analysis.
Amartya Sen, who won the Nobel Prize in 1998, is a unique modern economist. He successfully bridges philosophy, ethics and economics. An outstanding theorist, an authority on social choice and welfare economics, he has carried out path-breaking work on the economics of famines. His work has greatly influenced international organisations such as the United Nations, the ILO, and the World Bank. HT made repeated attempts to talk to him on Tuesday, but failed.
France has struggled for years to raise its rate of economic growth, preferring broadly to use the fruit of growth as a means to reform rather than implement difficult changes that would stimulate activity.