On 16 October 2014, Professor Lorenzo FIORAMONTI gave a lecture related to his book “Gross Domestic Problem – The Politics behind the world’s most powerful number”. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is arguably the most well-known statistic in the contemporary world. The work of Professor FIORAMONTI attempts to discover to which extent the use of such statistics drives government policy and sets priorities in a variety of vital social fields - from schooling to healthcare, from the environment to the digital world.
Does our quality of life really improve when our economy grows 2 or 3%? What’s behind the GDP mantra? What is included and what is not? Do we care about externalities and climate change? What about sharing and local economies? The powerful political interests that have allowed it to dominate today's economies can encounter, in reality, new alternatives which will be discussed during the lecture.
Mr Lorenzo FIORAMONTI is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and he is the founding director of the Centre of the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn). 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. Professor Lorenzo FIORAMONTI is the first and only Jean Monnet Chair in Africa and also holds the UNESCO-UNU Chair in Regional Integration, Migration and Free Movement of People. In 2012, he received the UP Exceptional Young Researcher Award. His most recent books are “How Numbers Rule the World: The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Global Politics” (Zed Books 2014) and “Gross Domestic Problem: The Politics Behind the World’s Most Powerful Number” (Zed Books 2013), which deal with the political interests behind economic statistics and market governance. Professor FIORAMONTI's opinion pieces have been published, among others, by The New York Times, The Guardian, Business Day, Die Presse, Das Parlament, Der Freitag, The Mail&Guardian and on openDemocracy.