Earlier I wrote about the Gross National Product – an indicator which measures the total amount of good and services produced at home and overseas in a given period by a nation. And the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) takes into account only what is happening at home regardless of who is producing the goods and services.
Governments and economists want the GDP to indicate growth, because it would mean the nation’s economy is healthy. But do the figures really mean just that?
This is what David Suzuki had to say about the GDP recently:
There is a good rationale for [growth], in that economic growth is tied to jobs and income, which are indeed to a certain extent tied to well-being. But the GDP also includes things like cleaning up oil spills, clearing car accidents and treating asthma attacks brought on by smog. And it includes things like strengthening process efficiencies to “improve the bottom line” – which actually means laying off workers so shareholders make more money. Is that really good for well being?
One of the only things that my psychology taught me that I still remember (and that is still useful) is that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. No more is this true than in the way governments use numbers.