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Forum Post: America's Obsession, GDP and World Domination

Posted 2 years ago on Sept. 22, 2011, 2:36 p.m. EST by theOnlineGovernmentDotcom (97)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

One thing I've always noticed is how we are obsessed with GDP in America. Somehow we believe we MUST have the highest GDP or the sky will fall and the earth will end. We assume there is magical connection between GDP and personal happiness. Has it ever occurred to anyone that maybe that maybe we don't have to always be number one or that maybe GDP can't make us happy? Have you ever met someone who was ecstatic because of the GDP? Personally, I've never been number one at anything in life, yet I wouldn't call my life a waste. Certainly there is some amount of money needed to survive which needs some GDP and such, but the correlation is not direct. GDP might make some billionaires happy, but not the average person.

Some attempts have been made in order to measure domestic happiness - kind of like a psychological evaluations of average people on the street and guess what??? The happiest countries don't have the number one GDPs - there is only minimal connection between GDP and happiness. Thinking about the countries with the highest happiness they tend to look after one another, have many social services, keep their environment beautiful, have great (socialized) health care, great education systems, take time enjoy life and don't working 70 hours / week. To me happiness of the people is a true measure of the effectiveness of a government that supposedly represents it's people.

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3 Comments


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[-] 2 points by gmarceau (9) 2 years ago

hear hear!

400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined. This in turn gives them a massive amount of control on the country. To a certain extend, the focus on GDP follows from this. It is simply a reflection of these people's interest.

[-] 1 points by oftenon (12) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Used to be called the rat race. Is that term used any more?

[-] 1 points by anonrez (237) 2 years ago

"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product ... if we should judge America by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

"Yet the gross national product 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. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

  • Robert F. Kennedy

"At present, we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP.” -Paul Hawken