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Often times on this blog I will post things about GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which is a simplistic measure of all the transactions in the economy over a given period, which adds up to a reasonable measure of economic health.  If GDP is growing, we are making progress.  If GDP is negative, we are going backwards.

But it should be pretty clear that GDP is not the only measure of national well-being and likely not the best either.   To mention a couple of directly related items:  we could have a fast growing GDP which is largely produced by going to war with other nations.  I think I can say pretty definitely that a nation at war is worse-off than a nation at peace.  Additionally, we could have growing GDP in times of high-unemployment (such as now), when workers are working longer hours (enjoying less leisure), or unsustainable periods of GDP growth based on consumer credit expansion which will be paid for with debt defaults and foreclosures later on.

Separately, the GINI coeffecient is a measure of income equality.  The US ranks near the bottom (at .45 on a scale of 0 being perfectly equitable and .50 being perfectly unequitable) alongside such luminaries as Cameroon, Uganda and Rwanda.  The Atlantic recently published an article here.  Now, this isn’t to say that those countries have a higher standard of living than we do, but the point is telling.

Finally, we have more subjective measures such as ecological well-being, Gross National Happiness, and the Genuine Progress Indicator.    Economist Herman Daly pioneered what he called steady-state economics, which contained ideas about maintaining population growth and use of physical resources to the limits of ecological sustainability.

In any event, it should be clear that GDP is simply one metric to be used in determining a holistic economics.

From now on, this website is dedicated to finding the best mix of democracy and national well-being possible.

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