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May 31, 2016


Bud Byrd

Unfortunately and telling of our consumptive societies worldwide, environment as a measurement comes at the end of the last sentence of the last paragraph ...for the most part an afterthought. The damage done by extractive industries, timbering, electricity generation, automobiles, large agribusiness cattle and hog feedlots, chicken and fish production farm-factories are seldom accounted for in economic measurements. While we may prosper in monetary terms, the Earth continues to diminish as a habitat for the long term. Hopefully, science will look favorably on our descendants. Certainly, we have failed to do our part to ensure a secure environmental future for our children. Let's move environment more forward in measuring our economic health.

Scott Hofland

This brings up some good ideas about how we should be measuring income and wealth. Question: Is it possible that real standards of living have gone up significantly even though real incomes up and down the bottom 90% of the income ladder have shown little gain in the past 40 years? Maybe changing the way we measure such things would give us the answer.

Richard Bullock

Totally agree that the GDP measure, while a big step forward in its day, has been shown to have serious inconsistencies. I don't have an answer as to what is better or next. I do have some thoughts on how we may improve our macro measures of our economic system.
1. develop multiple measures: GDP, GDC C=consumption in real terms, GDW W= wellbeing, Net Domestic E E=entrepreneurship, and 2. a more realistic measure of unemployment ie our present method of defining labor force participation is very suspect in my opinion
3. we have to move beyond the concept of "services" as a definition for economic activity for 80% of our economy. Do we really consider education a "service" industry. Education is a neuro-biological transformation aimed at altering the neurobiological processes occurring in a students brain when stimulated by certain cues related to the subject matter being taught. To the extent we as a society "outsource" this work to educators, it is.
4. In my work I define "products" in two broad classes: a) primary transformations performed with humans, thoughts and materials; and b)sustaining transformations performed on humans, materiel products and thought products. The remainder of our economic activity is devoted to "transvecting products" (selling, buying, bartering and fulfilling transactions) and consumption of the above two classes of products. An exception arises when we elect to perform sustaining transformations in "do-it-yourself" work, which as we know reduces GDP since we did not "outsource" the work to a "service" provider.

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