The shortcomings and biases of traditional macroeconomic indicators are even more obvious if we analyse them from the point of view of sustainability. There are different goods and services behind monetary units measuring the economy. Some goods serve life while others can lead to death. Indicators measuring economic growth, e.g. GDP, completely conceal this difference. The growth of GDP is slowly becoming the only goal and in many cases this is not compatible with the idea of sustainability. Mainstream economics still assumes that all goods produced serve welfare. We have to consider the external effects of our activities, realising that negative externalities result in public bad and not public good, and that hidden positive externalities may result in social losses. In the case of negative externalities the growth of positive GDP is misleading, because society has to pay a high price for this positive image (with degradation of the natural and built environment, health problems, loss of biodiversity etc.). The main difference between traditional, growth oriented economic strategies and sustainability is how economic development is seen. Thus, in the case of sustainability, the aim is development instead of simple growth, quality instead of quantity, and the economy serves as a tool. In this context, how coherent and consistent various goals, programmes and strategies are in practice was also investigated. From the point of view of realising sustainable development, we consider the regional level important for several reasons, therefore, in the second part of our study we analyse the relationship of sustainability and convergence.


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