Use new measure for quality of life
Watching the news today talking about economics it gives the impression that an increase of GDP (Growth Domestic Product) should have us jump for jubilation and its decrease should put us in a time of despair. Why is this?
It is because we have mixed up the accumulation of things with well-being. A confusion that started with economists use of the very ambiguous word of utility that is supposed to be the satisfaction given a product or service.
However that connection between a product or service is highly linear and what satisfaction they give vary because they are imbued with social and psychological meaning but to simplify economists have equated utility with price paid and adding up all prices paid for the products and services you get the GDP.
The equation is flawed though explained succinct by Bobby Kennedy talking about GDP. It
“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. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, 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” https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/may/24/robert-kennedy-gdp
Furthermore GDP doesn’t take into account the environmental destruction or the one-way use of our resources that is making us in a way poorer everyday. It also make us believe one dollar for a rich person is of the same utility as one dollar of a poor person and completely ignores those without money.
So if we don’t want to be Yogi Berra who fittingly to our situation said
“We may be lost but we are making great time”
and want know where we are going not only how fast we are going, we should start measuring, and such measures exist, how well we are doing in flourishing within limits. References and quotes