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GDP Pulse Check

Monday, August 02, 2010

Diane Brady, senior writer at Business Week, and WNYC's business and economics editor Charlie Herman talk about the latest gross domestic product numbers and what they mean for the economy.

Guests:

Diane Brady and Charlie Herman

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Comments [5]

Arthur from NYC

I refer you to Robert F. Kennedy's speech about the GNP:

"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 Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968

Aug. 02 2010 03:29 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Williamsburgh, Brooklyn

Hi,. I do think that the big financial crisis is a great big mess that seems to have no end in sight. The people who have lost their homes are not getting their money back and there are very few jobs. What are we supposed to do? How long will this continue? Eugenia Renskoff

Aug. 02 2010 02:38 PM
ericf

What ever became of Paul Samuelson's Net National Product (which was GNP less asset depreciation) ?

That would account for the depreciation of the fisheries as well as the clean-up effort to use your example.

Aug. 02 2010 10:22 AM
Hugh Sansom

1. It's not at all clear that GDP is a good measure of overall economic performance. Many economists now raise this issue, including Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen.

Clearly, _most_ Americans do not see the economy improving, regardless of how the GDP is doing.

2. Social mobility in the US is at an all-time low and is much lower than _any_ other nation in the G20.

3. It is not just that business has learned how to do well regardless of the well-being of the average American, it is also (and more importantly) that the wealthiest Americans are not completely insulated from the vast vast majority of Americans. The bailout especially was aimed, in effect, at the wealthiest Americans.

4. European 'socialist' nations are doing far better than the US with regard to average people even though their GDPs are performing worse.

5. There is a growing consensus among economists that we are now BOUND to see a double-dip recession.

6. In the midst of this, Republicans AND Democrats (including Republicrat Obama) are making noises about shredding Social Security.

In short, the political and oligarch class have no intention of doing anything to really help people.

Aug. 02 2010 10:15 AM

workers need to be retrained

Aug. 02 2010 10:13 AM

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