The Political Element In Empirical Data?

by Mario Rizzo  

In a recent article in the Financial Times Joseph Stiglitz argues for a more comprehensive measure of social well-being than Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  

As all principles of economics students know, GDP leaves out many interesting things. When I was a student the prime example was: When a man marries his paid housekeeper GDP falls. I am not sure how to adjust this if the housekeeper is also a man and they move to a state with gay marriage. Humor aside, you get the point. GDP misses stuff.  

Nevertheless, Stiglitz has bigger fish to fry. This is just a sample:  

“What we measure affects what we do. If we have the wrong metrics, we will strive for the wrong things. In the quest to increase GDP, we may end up with a society in which most citizens have become worse off. We care, moreover, not just for how well off we are today but how well off we will be in the future. If we are borrowing unsustainably from this future, we should want to know.” 

Did I get all the “we’s”? Continue reading