Grandpa's Favorite Stat Needs an Update

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An out-of-touch statistic?  A state of mind? A window into the economy's soul?

Call it what you will, the Gross Domestic Product (consumption + investment + government spending + exports - imports) still matters. Conceived as the single statistic to end all statistics in the aftermath of the Great Depression, it provides a way to take the economy's temperature with one unequivocal number. To this day, politicians use it to try to win campaigns, the Federal Reserve watches it as the bank makes decisions, and policy makers use it to justify (or kill) programs.

But in the age of the iPhone and Android, that super-number of the 1930s is showing its gray hairs.

Money Talking host Charlie Herman asks Rana Foroohar of Time and author Zachary Karabell, author of The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World and head of global strategy for Envestnet if the GDP matters and what economic numbers might pack more punch in directing policies and helping individuals and businesses make decisions.