GDP measures the wrong things: Here’s something better — Marilyn Waring, TEDxChristchurch

“Because humankind and our planet need another way” — Marylyn Waring

In 1953, a group of economists got together to create the Gross Domestic Product: a way to measure everything that involves a market transaction. But GDP doesn’t measure the single biggest contributor to almost every nation’s economy—the unpaid labour performed every day in homes, in families, and by volunteers—and it doesn’t account for the cost of externalities like the environment. In this funny, engaging and enlightening talk, noted economist Dr Marilyn Waring makes a compelling and accessible argument for finding a better way to measure what counts.

Dr Marilyn Waring is a prominent New Zealand economist and feminist, and a leading activist for human rights.

At 23 years old, Marilyn was one of the youngest New Zealanders ever elected to Parliament. She pushed to have marital rape criminalised and threatened to cross the floor to vote with Labour on a nuclear-free New Zealand, precipitating the 1984 snap election.

On leaving Parliament, Marilyn earned a PhD in Political Economy; her research has been influential in establishing the field of feminist economics. She argues for the economic importance of women’s unpaid work and the environment, revealing the serious policy consequences caused by ignoring these when calculating national economic measures such as GDP.

More recently, Marilyn’s work has focused on the inequities of globalisation and the importance of acknowledging women’s work as an international human rights issue. She has undertaken a range of projects dealing with these issues for the United Nations. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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