ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Measuring the Well-being of Digital Goods Users

The e-Bubble Conjecture

The connections between the personalities of people consuming digital goods and their valuation of the well-being it generates for them, and their collective behaviour are examined. The socio-psychological concept of the e-bubble, which envelops users of social networking platforms, wields significant power to disrupt their vision, and this fact has powerful implications for governance in India.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is defined as “the final value of the goods and services produced within the geographic boundaries of a country during a specified period of time, normally a year” (Economic Times 2017). The metric was formulated by the 1971 Economics Nobel Laureate Simon Kuznets in an attempt to develop a tool which would aid policymaking in tackling the unprecedented social crisis called the Great Depression in the 1930s. The idea of societal upliftment was embedded in the conceptualisation of the GDP from its inception (Wolverson 2013). However, well-being (the essence of better individual life) seems to be a mirage we chase in the desert of economic progress, which we measure solely by the magic metric called GDP.

A wide body of research elucidates and emphasises upon the limited understanding of well-being provided by GDP and suggests that the way out of this conservative (and flawed) thinking is to rely less on GDP and devise alternative metrics (Fox 2012; Kumar 2009). Constructs vital to welfare estimation and not captured by the GDP (but which might be associated to it, for example, the Human Development Index calculated by the United Nations is strongly correlated to GDP), are happiness, sustainability, health and education levels, leisure, women’s contribution to the household, pollution and “defensive expenditure” (Kramp 2010). Moreover, GDP’s formulaic procedure of counting production has also been contested strictly, and experts have pointed out the detrimental effects of the aberrations this leads to (Credit Suisse 2018b; Ivković and Strossmayer 2016).

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Updated On : 15th Feb, 2019

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