Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
... the insane idea of "a" metric for something as complex as a national economy is not the cause for a quiet chuckle before getting back to work.

There are at least five purely economic macro-level goals ... full employment, moderately low inflation, high standard of living, improving standard of living, and sustainable external relations.

The idea that any one metric can encompass all five ... indeed, that any one metric can inform us about any one ... is laughable.

Most of the "critique of GDP" is criticizing one quite important number for being unable to do what no single number can do. And of course, framing the question as "what is the right metric" ensures that the question is never answered satisfactorily, because every single other metric will indicate something about something less well than GDP does, so it will not be "unambiguously superior".

Current dollar value of newly produced goods and services is something we need to keep track of. Modifying it to try to accomplish the impossible is like looking for an alloy with mercury that does a better job of turning lead into gold than pure mercury does.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 08:53:56 AM EST
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