GDP = Government’s Dumb Plan?

For decades now, countries all around the world have used GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as their main indicator to define growth and to measure the progress and growth of a country. Is that really a smart move? India and China have displayed the highest GDP growth rates consistently for the better part of last decade. But does that really mean that the average Chinese or the Indian is actually progressing more or happier than his counterpart in western countries which are witnessing negligible GDP growths?

Here’s an interesting thought put forth by Robert Kennedy in 1965 – “Too much and far too long, we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community value in the mere accumulation of material things. Our GDP… 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 redwoods and the loss of our national wonder in chaotic sprawl. it counts napalm and it counts nuclear warheads, and armored cars for the police to fight riots in our cities.

Yet the GDP 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; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.” 

Is that the best we can come up with to measure our progress and growth? Seriously?


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