Gross National Product (GDP) is the common global metric for measuring economic growth, but it does not include the costs of development. The Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) seeks to add the costs of achieving GDP to reflect the social and environmental harm that growth incurs. The ultimate goal is to achieve a Steady State Economy, defined as a state of dynamic stability in which development is balanced with the positive and negative impacts that growth causes. The ISEW calculation begins with GDP and to that is added and subtracted all the factors reflecting the true impact on human lives and the environment. The ISEW is more complex which has slowed its adoption on a global basis. However, it has critics that believe it is too subjective. The long-term trend is increased adoption on a country-by-country basis which could eventually lead to its recognition as the global standard.
Diana Webb, is a graduate of the Kriger Institute and UMKC School of Law. She utilizes her analytical background and writing creativity to actively publish articles in journals and write blogs for GBRI. She teaches courses on International Green Construction Code, Green Globes and Energy Star. In her free time, Diana enjoys exotic traveling, ancient knife collecting, and international cooking.