EVERYTHING” does not necessarily get better when GDP increases. If you chop up all your forests now, next year’s GDP report will be golden. But the country would have regressed (probably). How that growth is achieved matters.
Point is that when GDP is rising, that means that people are working and wages are rising; and that means that living standards are rising, and people are less uptight and worried about their financial situation. It’s a formula for a happier society overall.
If you look at all the s**t that’s going on politically, all the hatred, all the infighting…..this is what happens when you have two major recessions in the same decade, and two presidents with relatively feckless fiscal policies (Bush and Obama) to combat that mediocre performance.
And, you elect a guy like Trump. Nothing happens in a vacuum.
Sure, even Milton Friedman agreed that environmental issues don’t really track with economic growth; he referred to enviornmental matters as “neighborhood effects”, and it was one of two “exceptions to the rule” where he believed that the free market would be slow or unable to respond to trouble and the government might need to step in. So, your point is made, no objection.
The whole point of Kennedy’s beautiful speech is that GDP is just one measure of the success of a society -an incomplete measure- yet over time it became the be all end all number. We don’t even think twice about it anymore.
Hm. I’d argue that although it is “one measure” it is a rather all-encompassing one. I’d hate to see it downgraded to the level of the unemployment rate, which is indeed a misleading stat when taken in a vacuum.