The Little Big Number: How GDP Came to Rule the World and What to Do about It

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In one lifetime, GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, has ballooned from a narrow economic tool into a global article of faith. As The Little Big Number demonstrates, this spells trouble. While economies and cultures measure their performance by it, GDP only measures output. It ignores central facts such as quality, costs, or purpose. Sustainability and quality of life are overlooked. Losses don't count. The world can no longer afford GDP rule―GDP ignores real development. Dirk Philipsen demonstrates how the history of GDP reveals unique opportunities to fashion smarter goals and measures. The Little Big Number explores a possible roadmap for a future that advances quality of life rather than indiscriminate growth.

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From the Back Cover:

"GDP is not just a number but is code for a set of economic values and principles that we're not supposed to question. Philipsen breaks that taboo by critically assessing the origins and impacts of our overreliance on this flawed metric. Anyone who wants to understand our economy's weaknesses--and how to make them better--needs to read this book."--Annie Leonard, author of The Story of Stuffand executive director of Greenpeace USA

"Philipsen brilliantly exposes the skeleton hiding in the economist's closet--the dangerously misleading talisman of GDP. He uncovers the extraordinary story of how good intentions morphed into the monstrous misconception of public progress and economic value that reigns over politics and public opinion. If society fails to heed Philipsen's message about developing new ways to measure economic gain and loss, the sustainable future is not going to be possible."--William Greider, author of The Soul of Capitalism

"The Little Big Number makes the case that GDP has become counterproductive and we need better goals and measures of progress. An excellent and timely book."--Robert Costanza, Australian National University

"Philipsen presents a well-researched, persuasively written book on what is wrong with the economic system we live in and live by. Showing that the GDP measure binds all the different fallacies of our economic world together, he offers a call to action on what we need to change now."--Floris Heukelom, Radboud University

"The Little Big Number demonstrates that the reigning measure of economic policymaking worldwide is not only inadequate but perverse in its impact on any possibility for sane social and economic discourse. This impressive and lively book will become the authoritative text for critiquing GDP."--Thad Williamson, University of Richmond

From the Inside Flap:

"Philipsen brilliantly exposes the skeleton hiding in the economist’s closet—the dangerously misleading talisman of GDP. He uncovers the extraordinary story of how good intentions morphed into the monstrous misconception of public progress and economic value that reigns over politics and public opinion. If society fails to heed Philipsen’s message about developing new ways to measure economic gain and loss, the sustainable future is not going to be possible."--William Greider, author ofThe Soul of Capitalism

"The Little Big Number makes the case that GDP has become counterproductive and we need better goals and measures of progress. This excellent and timely book communicates this argument in a style suitable for general audiences."--Robert Costanza, Australian National University

"Philipsen presents a well-researched, persuasively written book on what is wrong with the economic system we live in and live by. Showing that the GDP measure binds all the different fallacies of our economic world together, he offers a call to action on what we need to change now."--Floris Heukelom, Radboud University

"The Little Big Number demonstrates that the reigning measure of economic policymaking worldwide is not only inadequate but perverse in its impact on any possibility for sane social and economic discourse. This impressive and lively book will become the authoritative text for critiquing GDP."--Thad Williamson, University of Richmond

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