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Living standards better growth gauge than GDP

China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-17 11:33

Developed and developing countries alike should emphasize living standards over absolute growth as the best measure of economic performance, according to the organizers of the annual World Economic Forum.

Per capita median incomes declined by 2.4 percent between 2008 and 2013 across 26 advanced economies, the forum said in a report released on Monday, highlighting the "insecurity and inequality accompanying technological change and globalization".

Countries should gauge their economic progress based on "inclusive development" and increase spending on programs such as job training to ease the burden of inequality, the report said.

"Most countries are missing important opportunities to raise economic growth and reduce inequality at the same time," the WEF said, saying that measurements such as life expectancy, productivity and poverty rates should be the priorities for economic policymaking to prevent further declines.

Inequality and the frustrations of those who feel left behind by globalization will be one of the main topics of discussion at the forum's annual meeting in Davos, which begins on Tuesday. The gathering of political leaders, corporate executives, investors and academics has been at the forefront of advancing the economic integration opposed by US President-elect Donald Trump as well as European populist parties, a tension that will be obvious at this year's event.


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