Forget GDP. We Need ZDP

A rich nation is one with Zero Domestic Poverty


You are only rich if you have room at your table. We Live in Silence XVI, 2017 by Kudzanai Chiurai

If Jeff Bezos moved to Sri Lanka, my entire country’s GDP would double. Just from his white ass moving next door. But my life would be the same. It’s not like he shops at the grocery store 3 million times more. It’s not like he pays real taxes. Dude wouldn’t even loan me a cup of sugar. This is how meaningless GDP is. We average out our richest assholes and call ourselves rich.

We need to measure something else.

We need to stop measuring the rich and start measuring the poor. We need to stop measuring greed and start measuring good. We need to stop measuring GDP and start measuring ZDP.

Zero Domestic Poverty.

It’s a simple measure. How many people do you have below the poverty line? Rich nations should have zero. Otherwise you’re not rich are you? Because you have poor people. Stop measuring exploitative dipshits with their money in obscure assets and tax shelters. Start measuring the people on the street, or more specifically, people not living on the street.

We should rank nations by how few poor people they have. The richest nation is the one with zero poverty.

Burning Down The House

This is a different way of looking at things, but I must tell you, the way we look at things today is insane.

If I dig a hole and fill it up, GDP goes up. Hell, you can use fossil fuels to dig a hole, fill it with more fossil fuels, light the whole thing on fire, and that increases GDP. This is a stupid measure, designed to be gamed, and the house always loses. By house I mean the Earth. Your house.

You know what’s not measured in GDP? Caring for a child. Caring for an elder. Sharing a meal. Under GDP a tree has no value until it’s cut. A sunset has no value until its Instagrammed. A mountain has no value until its stripped bare.

You know what GDP values the least? Growing and picking food. Nursing. Care work. Sex work. Cleaning toilets. All of our essential work pays the least and the non-essential, exploitative, destructive work pays the most. We’ve gone mad, and we’ve gone mad round a metric.



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at