One of the most interesting questions from the audience at the Stiglitz interview in Wellington last week was whether he thought we were focusing unduly on “economic growth” as the sole indicator of societal wellbeing.
The point being that, as in the headline, it’s easy to imagine situations in which GDP’s rising but quality of life is falling.
Worldchanging report that it’s been 40 years since the famous Robert Kennedy speech (video below) in which he pointed out that:
“Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage [yet]… 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.”
Worldchanging go on to report that there’s work being done around the possibility of issuing a set of “satellite accounts” in tandem with the monetary accounts of GDP to try to give value to other things we might care about, and that there may be gathering political will to pursue such an initiative.