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What’s the best country to live in?

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What’s the best country to live in? Is it the one with the best food? The longest life expectancy? The best weather? For the past 70 years, most governments have relied heavily on a single number: the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. But it was never intended for its current purpose; and some argue that we are addicted to making it grow. Explore the different ways countries measure quality of life.

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Meet The Creators

  • Director Xenia Galchin, AIM Creative Studios
  • Script Writer Harriet Constable, Elizabeth Cox
  • Narrator George Zaidan
  • Storyboard Artist Xenia Galchin
  • Animator Xenia Galchin, André Cunha, Ana Farinha, Daniela Carvalho
  • Illustrator Xenia Galchin
  • Music André Aires
  • Sound Designer André Aires
  • AIM Creative Studios Producer Tiago Ribeiro
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Producer Alexandra Zubak
  • Associate Producer Sazia Afrin
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer George Zaidan, Elizabeth Cox
  • Expert Consultant Jason Hickel, Andrew Fanning
  • Special Thanks Anna Bruce-Lockhart, World Economic Forum
Additional Resources for you to Explore
If you're looking to do a deeper dive into the history of GDP, as well as to consider some of the metrics that might come next, this blog post by the World Economic Forum is a good place to start.

Interested in ways a country might measure value without encouraging environmental destruction? This video gives an in-depth look at alternative ways to measure value beyond the monetary -- from community well-being, sustainability, to individual happiness. It includes an interview with Peter Vanham, co-author of Stakeholder Capitalism. If you're on the move, and can't watch the video, check out episode 1 of the podcast.

If you want to learn more about Bhutan and how they rolled out Gross National Happiness metric, read the report put out by Oxford University.

While cities contribute 80% to global GDP, they also account for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is a cool article that explores ways cities might integrate nature-based solutions that can help them adapt and be more resilient, while also drawing down their emissions and promote more sustainable growth. To see these principles in action, see how Costa Rica and Germany are putting nature at the heart of their recoveries.

Additional resources recommended by the World Economic Forum: 

Articles:
1. GDP: What is it and why does it matter
2. The regions most at risk of GDP losses due to climate change 
3. GDP is no longer an accurate measure of growth. So what can take its place
4. 4 lessons from Bhutan on the pursuit of happiness above GDP

Video:
- Davos 2020 session on GDP, feat Mariana Mazzucato and Gillian Tett

Podcast:
- ESG - how can we measure how ‘good’ companies are?

Reports:
While these reports aren’t directly related to GDP, they offer broader research:
1. The Global Risks Report 2022 identifies ‘social cohesion’ and ‘risk to livelihoods’ as the top global risks this year.
2. The Global Competitiveness report 2020. From 2020, it ranks countries according to categories beyond GDP.

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Xenia Galchin, AIM Creative Studios
  • Script Writer Harriet Constable, Elizabeth Cox
  • Narrator George Zaidan
  • Storyboard Artist Xenia Galchin
  • Animator Xenia Galchin, André Cunha, Ana Farinha, Daniela Carvalho
  • Illustrator Xenia Galchin
  • Music André Aires
  • Sound Designer André Aires
  • AIM Creative Studios Producer Tiago Ribeiro
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Producer Alexandra Zubak
  • Associate Producer Sazia Afrin
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer George Zaidan, Elizabeth Cox
  • Expert Consultant Jason Hickel, Andrew Fanning
  • Special Thanks Anna Bruce-Lockhart, World Economic Forum

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