贫困国家GDP的问题

西雅图——即使在财政充裕期,发展援助预算也不会富裕。政府领袖和捐款方不得不决定将有限的资源用在哪里。你如何确定哪国该拿到低息贷款或廉价疫苗,哪国有能力为自己的发展计划出资?

关键在于我们对发展和人民生活改善的衡量方式。传统上人均GDP(即一国生产的年度商品和服务价值除以该国人口)一直是重要的指导因素。但最贫困国家的GDP指标可能并不准确,不仅决策层和像我这样看过很多世行报告的人关注这一问题,想用统计数据为世界最贫困人口提供帮助的人都应该注意。

我一直认为即使在计量手段相对精确的富国,GDP也因为很难比较不同时期的一揽子商品价值而对经济增长产生低估的效果。比方说20世纪60年代美国一套百科全书售价非常昂贵,但它能为有好学孩子的家庭带来的价值却不可低估。(这个问题上我有资格现身说法,因为我曾花了大量时间研读父母为姐姐和我购买的多卷本《世界图书百科全书》)。而现在的孩子从网上免费获取的信息量远比这多得多。如何在GDP中衡量上述因素?

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