A NEW book could help steer us away from the dominance of gross domestic product (GDP) as a key measure of economic progress, according to a former MP.

Roger Mullin, a member of the Sustainable Growth Commission set up by the First Minister, says Replacing GDP by 2030, written by environmental economist Rutger Hoekstra, “should be required reading for every economic minister and spokesperson” and every research body in Scotland.

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Writing in The National, ex-SNP MP Mullin says: “My problem is not with a critique of GDP.

“My problem is I am also very critical of a lack of progress regarding replacing GDP by something that both works better and has sufficient rigour to command widespread respect.”

He says the book highlights the 1000 or so measures which have been created in recent decades to challenge GDP – all of which have failed.

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Hoekstra, he says, is convinced that GDP has to be replaced, but recognises the challenges we face while calling for a new strategy until we reach a point where a replacement can be found.

“Although I agree with much of his critique of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals lacking a sufficient scientific basis and lacking effective integration of targets, I do think the international political movement around them can play a stronger role in the future than described in the book.

“But the overall analysis presented is impressive and convincing. The intellectual rigour is outstanding.”

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Mullin adds: “From my perspective, at last we have a contribution to the beyond-GDP debate that may just help move things forward to the benefit of mankind.

“Scotland has been at the forefront of a range of recent initiatives regarding environmental impact. Hopefully Scotland can play its part in the challenge to move beyond GDP.”