GDP = pollution

16th September, 2009 - Posted by admin - Comments Off

Joseph Stiglitz has written a report for the French Government “Happiness and Measuring Economic Progress“. He also has  “The great GDP swindle” in the Guardian. He argues that increased GDP may actually contribute to a worsening of living standards. He says:

Recent [studies] verify and quantify what should be obvious: the loss of a job has a greater impact than can be accounted for just by the loss of income. They also demonstrate the importance of social connectedness.

It’s good for economists talkabout “happiness” – since Bentham and Marshal were scorned and dismissed – but Stiglitz needs some good examples of what is counted in GDP (Gross Domestic Product, the measure of economic progress)  and what is not counted.

Non-economic activity – not counted in GDP:

  • Riding your bike
  • Digging your allotment
  • Watching village cricket
  • Making love

Economic activity – counted as part of GDP:

  • Crashing your car
  • Flying to Ibitha
  • Drinking in your pub
  • Visiting a brothel
  • Eating a hamburger

Some economic activity pollutes more, some less. So in order of pollution:

Economic activity in pollution order (lowest pollution first)

  1. Visiting a brothel – see
  2. Drinking in a pub – see
  3. Eating a hamburger – see
  4. Crashing your car – see
  5. Flying to Ibitha – see

Posted on: September 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized

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