A number of agencies, and even countries, have attempted to create measures of ‘happiness’ – as an alternative to using GDP to value the work undertaken by people.

This needs further work – but shows some promise. Lots of activity is currently not ‘caught’ in official GDP figures.  The work of volunteers, for example … or the work of people that goes into ‘free’ services.  When you use ‘free’ apps on your smartphone of tablet, your work might be ,more productive – and this might contribute to a ‘better’ GDP figure …. but often it won’t.

The whole point of productivity is to make people more ‘wealthy’ – but we need to measure wealth in ways that reflects the priorities of citizens and workers.  If people value leisure time over consumer goods, we might prioritise reduced working hours over increased GDP – and we might prefer to measure something like ‘well-being’ (or even ‘happiness’) over simple economic activity.