Robert Kennedy on GDP

Gross Domestic/National Product
See more common sense indexes at foot of page

It measures everything, except that 
which makes life worthwhile

"We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. 

We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. 

It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior.

It grows with the production of napalm and missiles and nuclear warheads.... 

It includes... the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children.

"And if the Gross National Product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend.

It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play.

It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike.

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... the Gross National Product 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 whether we are proud to be Americans."

Robert Kennedy

- Human Development Index, combining normalized measures of life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment, and GDP per capita
- Genuine Progress Indicator, measuring whether or not a country's growth, increased production of goods, and expanding services have actually resulted in the improvement of the welfare (or well-being) of the people in the country (includes resource depletion, pollution, farmland and natural parks area and health, etc.)
- Gross National Happiness, a complex set of subjective and objective indicators to measure 'national happiness' in various domains (living standards, health, education, eco-system diversity and resilience, cultural vitality and diversity, time use and balance, good governance, community vitality and psychological well-being)

- Happy Planet Index, a measure of each country's average subjective life satisfaction, life expectancy at birth, and ecological footprint per capita

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