Wonky Thoughts: In Praise of GDP

The authors made the claim that GDP is a poor measure of a country’s wealth, because it does not include externalized environmental costs. This may be true, but the authors went a step further. They said “….using GDP to measure a country’s true wealth is remarkably poor at best, and highly damaging at worst.”

Source: Wonky Thoughts: In Praise of GDP, by Doug Robbins

RE: Greening of the Gross Domestic Product | EARTH Magazine, by Garrett C. Groves and Michael E. Webber


Data visualization on Gapminder shows that increasing wealth, measured by GDP, is correlated with nearly doubling human lifespan in almost every country on earth:

The data show stunning (>95%) reductions in child mortality as GDP rises:
(Note the logarithmic scale for both child mortality and income.)

And perhaps most importantly, how fertility has fallen from 5 children per woman to about 2 children per woman (stable population!) as prosperity has risen, as measured by GDP:

A remarkable aspect of these relationships is that they hold for every nation in the data. As shown in an earlier post, per capita GDP even shows a strong positive correlation to integrity, as measured by the corruption index published by Transparency International.

Imagine for a moment, that there was an economic indicator that showed the reverse correlation: that as the indicator rose, human life expectancy was cut by half; child mortality increased twenty-fold; population growth rose from zero to doubling in every generation; and corruption flourished. Would the authors dismiss such an indicator as remarkably poor and highly damaging?
Does there exist any other indicator, other than GDP, that is so useful in measuring the progress of a nation in improving the lives of its people?

Chain Emails, Democratic Citizenship, and Social Responsibility

Premise: It might not be criminal by the letter of the law, but it is at least extremely socially irresponsible to go around perpetuating propaganda, or any other literature, media, or information, that is composed primarily of outright lies.

I realize that the Republican party does not monopolize mass public deception, including misinformation and one-sided propaganda failing to convey the whole truth. However, I do not receive vitriolic Democratic propaganda at present while publicity of recent Republican misinformation has been rampant. Also, the Republicans have coughed up some larger than usual whoppers lately.

It is imperative that American citizens as members of a democracy participate in politics (defined as communicating peaceably with fellow citizens in order to find common ground, compromises, and agreement for the public good and to the benefit of the nation as a whole). However, it is equally important that such engagement and discourse be conducted with respect for all involved participants and without lies or deception.

The policy outcomes one wishes to see occur in pursuit of preferred agendas are based on personal morals, beliefs, and convictions. However, it is fundamentally important that policies themselves be founded in reason and formulated with tolerance in regards to not encroaching on other citizens’ rights or freedoms. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the spirit of the Constitution. This is supposed to be the United States of America, land of the free and home the brave, not America the divided, terrified police security state of debtors.

Before you forward that next piece of juicy political sentiment you received in your email inbox, please do everyone a favor and fact-check it first. No one likes a liar and you do not get off the hook just because you did not originate the misinformation – perpetuating it is just as bad.

Thank you for your time in reading this response and for respecting my freedom of speech, even if you do not agree with what I had to say.

SEC looks to rein in trading battlebots, maybe | Ars Technica

This is the point where the agency throws up its hands and turns the question on the public, but mostly in a manner that weakly attempts to disguise rhetorical questions as real ones. … And this is why, instead of issuing a public request for comments, the SEC would have done better to issue a public request for better questions first.

Source: SEC looks to rein in trading battlebots, maybe | Ars Technica