WorldChanging has a great post on the move to replace GDP with a better metric – one that better reflects human quality of life as opposed to mere economic activity. This has been underway since RFK [Robert F. Kennedy] excoriated GNP (GDP's predecessor) as "not allow[ing] 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."
A National Academy of Sciences panel, for example, has laid out an exhaustive, sober, and detailed plan for issuing regular reports on several "satellite accounts" in tandem with the monetary tally of GDP. The present administration stopped the Department of Commerce from adopting the improved methods.
A new president, supported perhaps by Senator Dorgan and like-minded leaders, will have the opportunity to seize the challenge RFK threw down four decades ago. The implications could be broader than you'd imagine. For example, whether we're in a recession or not depends entirely on what our system of national accounts includes and excludes.
Imagine the news stories that might follow if satellite accounts were published along with GDP figures: "GDP up; parents' time with kids plummets." "GDP flat; education surges." "GDP and resource depletion both soar."
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