GDP, the Stock Market, and well-being

The following blog post was authored by Anna Callahan and was originally posted on the Movement 34 Blog.

Quick reminder that GDP isn’t synonymous with human wellbeing.” Well said.

Our pro-corporate establishment on both sides loves to look at our GDP and the stock market as if those accurately measure how well our country is doing. Not only do they not measure human wellbeing, they aren’t even good measures of the economy.

As to human wellbeing, our GDP puts us near the top of richest countries per capita. But our life expectancy, our infant mortality rate, our maternal mortality rate, our incarceration rate, even how our education system ranks, it is clear that our people are not doing well.

As far as the economy goes, the vast majority of the wealth is in the hands of the top ten percent. This means that much of our money is captured by people who have maxed out in their ability to buy goods and services, and that many of our people have no discretionary income and are struggling just to pay rent and food. Our GDP does not include unpaid work like unpaid household and child care work; over 80% of our stock market is owned by the top 1%; there are many glaring issues with both these measures.

We need other measures to turn to for measuring the health of our country — what are your favorites?

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