Gross Domestic Problem

Speaker: Lorenzo Fioramonti
Date: Thursday, 18 July, 2013
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: MTB L1 ,
Howard College
For about 80 years, the mantra of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was unquestioned, even though there were people within expert circles who actually raised objections since the very beginning. But nowadays, partly because of the global recession and partly because of climate change and the significance of environmental degradation for political and economic development, progressive civil society organisations with social, environmental and economic justice agendas are driving a critique of GDP. Some leading economists and politicians are following. Now the main question is: Are we going to be able to build the critical mass that will allow us to make the jump and build a different system or will we continue clinging on to a system that is represented by a number that has betrayed us?

Lorenzo Fioramonti ( is Associate Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), where he directs the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation ( He is also Senior Fellow at the Centre for Social Investment of the University of Heidelberg and at the Hertie School of Governance (Germany) and Associate Fellow at the United Nations University. Prof. Fioramonti is the first and only Jean Monnet Chair in Africa, a prestigious recognition awarded by the European Commission to distinguished academics. In 2012, Prof. Fioramonti received the UP Exceptional Young Researcher Award. His most recent book is Gross Domestic Problem: The Politics Behind the World’s Most Powerful Number (Zed Books 2013), which deals with the political interests behind the Gross Domestic Product and the dogma of economic growth. In 2014, he will publish two new books How Numbers Rule the World: The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Reinforcing Market Supremacy  (Zed Books 2014) and The Age of Participation: Civil Society and the Governance of the Commons (Bloomsbury Academics 2014). For a brief animation about the Problem, see


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