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The GNP Irony

My students in Bawean Island presenting their wall magazine assignment, May 2012

“Yet the gross national product (GNP) 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.” 
– Robert F. Kennedy Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968

Beautiful speech, isn’t it? Real life is more complicated, comprehensive, challenging yet strangely beautiful in its own way. While GDP, GNP, etc, remain the most common measures of economic performance, we have to realize that they are actually never meant as indicator of welfare.



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