A lot has been written about this over the last year. I can recommend Diane Coyle’s book GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History.
Gross domestic product, the total money value of goods and services sold, has become fundamental to economic policy in most countries. But there are other essential assets, qualities and conditions that GDP can’t measure, like the health of the environment or society. Paul Solman of PBS News looks at another way of measuring progress that takes more of these variables into account. In the video there is an excerpt of a speech by Robert Kennedy which says it all.
ROBERT KENNEDY: It counts napalm and it counts nuclear warhead, yet the gross national product doesn’t allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.