Grand Parade Investments Limited (GPI
), the active empowerment investment holding company with investments predominantly in the food, gaming and leisure sectors, increased revenue by 53 per cent to R363.2 million in the six months to end December as the group intensified execution of its strategy in the food industry.
"We want people to rethink what progress is all about," says Mathis Wackernagel, director of Indicator Programs at Redefining Progress, the San Francisco-based policy organization that developed the GPI and other social progress indicators.
economists, including Professor Herbert Simon, a Nobel laureate, and the late Robert Eisner, a former president of the American Economics Association, have backed a GPI initiative stating that the GDP ignores social and environmental costs and is thus "inadequate and misleading as a measure of true prosperity." Despite increasing interest, however, an intractable political and corporate culture has successfully arrested efforts to change the nation's system of tallying accounts.
But it is precisely because the GDP is so clearly skewed in favor of natural resource exploitation that the GPI is such a compelling idea for environmentalists.
Although ecologically-minded organizations are often associated with political liberals, proponents of the GPI have discovered unlikely bedfellows in the form of conservative groups that are joining the attack on the nation's main index of progress.
Like the GPI, the Fordham Index shows steady declines, from 73.8 out of a possible 100 in 1970 to 40.6 in 1993.
Like the GPI, these indicators are a way of measuring the health of a community; they do not measure the success of a particular policy or program.
Many textbook economists are critical of the GPI because they are convinced of the absolute value of measuring market activity; by the same token, they argue that it is difficult to quantify activities that take place outside of the marketplace.
Most controversially, it makes an adjustment for income distribution; that is, even if overall income levels increase, the GPI labels greater income inequality as a negative for economic and social progress.
Implicit to the market-based critique of the GPI is that the new measure substitutes value judgements for the objectivity of the market, an argument that updates age-old questions about economic theory for the end of the millennium.
"It says many things have the value zero, such as housework and the environment" The GPI figures aren't perfect, he says.