What is Gross Domestic Product ( GDP ) ?

Today, most of us have at some point, analysed the growth of our countries or our own standard of living using this term. Politicians use it to let you know whether or not you made the right choice during the elections. Governments use it to ascertain the strength of the country. The Economic Shadow Men use it to decide who they want to ‘help’ and how.

Well it is certainly a vital statistic right? How many of us do, truly understand it?

We have repeatedly pointed out the ill-effects of Policies that are made solely based on the numbers, here on Fatsmeagol. Simply because although humans are made up of numbers we are not: numbers.

It is a bit sad, that the best way to answer the question that we have used as the title of the post is a speech that is 47 years old. Sad because its been so long and we still internationally make crucial policies that affect human life based on this vital number.

“Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product 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.  And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”
For full speech go here.


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