Summarized the debate in Italy, with the label “Beyond GDP” is almost as old as the economic discipline, or at least the national economic accounting. Angus Madison (“Monitoring the World Economy”, OECD 1995), who died recently, but certainly the largest specialist in the past six decades, has managed to rebuild the national economic accounting major (reconstruction, therefore, the global economic accounts) from 1830 or so. Before then, the techniques for collecting and processing data were not sufficient to allow even a rough estimate of what was produced and consumed in the economy of a country: it may concern that, according to the meticulous work of Madison, in 1830 more than 40 % of global GDP was produced and consumed in only two countries – China and India before the industrial revolution, in a world dominated by the economy of subsistence, it is natural that much of the production was for self consumption and, consequently, GDP was essentially the basis of population.
In my career, I was interested in technical / statistics related to national economic accounts only at the beginning of my career in the World Bank even then, many countries in Africa south of Sahara, subsistence agriculture accounted for about half of the GDP of a country and, consequently, the GDP was largely a function of population and of its production for own consumption (not always easy to estimate). In recent years, I returned to these themes as the implications for economic policy in countries with high levels of development and income that is technically and statistics. Read the full story