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gross national product (GNP)

  This comprises gross domestic product (GDP) plus net income from abroad (i.e. GNP equals GDP plus profits, dividends and income earned overseas minus such overseas payments). GNP at factor cost is the market value of GNP net of indirect taxes and subsidies. Although many industrial economies favour GDP as a measure of domestic economic performance, Germany and Japan currently use GNP. International comparisons of GNP avoiding exchange rate fluctuations may be facilitated by the use of purchasing power parities (a measure of the quantity of a \'basket\' of goods that nominal GNP will buy in each country) in converting currencies to a common base.

GNP is seriously deficient as a measure of economic activity (see GDP for discussion) as it omits major productive contributions to social reproduction (Murgatroyd and Neuberger, 1997), fails to include the social and environmental consequences of growth as well as including measures which are subtractions from rather than additions to social welfare (e.g. the costs of prisons, defence and the treatment of preventable disease) and is subject to severe foreign exchange distortions in international comparisons (see UNDP annual).

Of course, there are moral geographies here constructed around what might be defined as \'goods\' and \'bads\' in society (a conflict illustrated most readily by the debate over moves towards banning smoking in public places) but the prevailing discourse represented through GNP is that of the overwhelming salience of quantitative economic values in measuring the level, quality and sustainability of social reproduction. (RL)

References Murgatroyd, L. and Neuberger, H. 1997: A household satellite account for the UK. Economic Trends 527, October: 63-71. UNDP(United Nations Development Programme) annual: Human development report. New York: Oxford University Press.



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