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Are we measuring the right thing?

Robert Kennedy, March 1968:

Our 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.

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Comments

  1. Kurt January 30, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    Thanks for this post, I have now added “Defining and increasing GPH (Gross Personal Happiness) to my 2012 goals. And I’ve got a gut feeling that it may be the most important, if not the only truly worthwhile goal of 2012.

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