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GDP Paper - Essay Example

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Even though Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been employed as a statistical measure of economic development since the 1950s, it does not qualify as an accurate reflection of a nation's developmental status. Not withstanding the fact that GDP significantly contributes to overall understanding of a nation's economic status and its population's living standards, it provides neither an accurate nor an in-depth understanding of either…
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Download file to see previous pages These countries are not democratic, do not uphold gender equality and have been repeatedly cited by Amnesty International for human rights abuses (Amnesty International, 2006). In direct comparison, the United States, Great Britain and France, to name but a handful, are all democratic nations which uphold gender equality. While they have been cited for human rights abuse, they have been at a significantly much lower rate than the previously mentioned nations (Amnesty International, 2006). Yet, in accordance with GDP per capita statistical measures, these countries rank as the seventh, the twenty-first and the twenty-fifth on the global GDP scale (IMF, 2008). This is a clear indication of the extent to which GDP contributes to inaccurate readings of national development status and, indeed, fails to provide an accurate reading of the living standards and quality of life enjoyed, or suffered, by populations. As the weakness of GDP ultimately lies in that which it does not measure, it needs to be supplemented with poverty index, human development index and gender development index measures.
GDP is a weak statistical indicator of national development ...
As may be deduced from the foregoing, therefore, it does not discriminate between the rich and the poor, thereby indicating poverty levels and, does not calculate literacy and gender equality levels, to name but a few critical indicators. Added to that, and as Chant (2008) explains, in its calculation of the total amounts spent on healthcare in a given country within a specified time frame, it interprets higher expenditure levels as a positive indicator of well being rather than as an indicator of possibly worsening health conditions. The implication here is, therefore, that not only does it exclude critical indicators from its measurement of national developmental and economic status but, that the GDP and the GDP per capita measures are inherently incapable of providing an accurate indicator of economic and developmental status because the measure is non-discriminatory and tends towards generalizations.
Even though GDP and GDP per capita fail to provide an accurate picture of a country's economic and developmental status and most certainly do not reflect the standards of living enjoyed by populations in question, the measurement has its uses. It may not accurately calculate standards of living and economic well-being but it is an indicator of the size of an economy (Ezcurra, 2007). Through the calculation of the monetary value of the goods and services which are produced within the economy and the financial exchanges which occur therein, the measure quite accurately conveys the size of the economy and by calculating the said size in relation to per capita income, it functions as an indicator of whether or not the economy has the capacity to sustain and maintain its population or not (Ezcurra, 2007). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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