Thursday, June 24, 2010

GDP as a tool to set economic policy - time for change:

I'm so puzzled why we still use GDP as the main tool to measure 'progress': here is a 42 year old quote from Robert F. Kennedy, speech at the University of Kansas, March 18, 1968

GDP measures everything “…except that which makes life worthwhile.”
“Our Gross National Product…counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances
to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the
people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural
wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored
cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities..., and the television programs which glorify
violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the Gross National Product does not allow
for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not
include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public
debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage,
neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country,
it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us
everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”
Robert F. Kennedy, speech at the University of Kansas, March 18, 1968

found on page 12