Groping GDP

There is stuff here but it is wandering.

I often see GDP deprecated as a figure of merit of an economy. Seldom do I see any attempt to find a more relevant measure. GDP is a term from economics and as such attempts to capture value traded with money. I would like to find a number that measures end user utility delivered by an economy, instead of counting the money the end user spends to get that utility. Presumably we want to maximize total utility instead of GDP. When I walk along an urban sidewalk today I note that nearly one half of the pedestrians are consulting their smart phones as they walk. I posit some utility there that is omitted from the GDP.

Some desire a larger GDP as a way to provide employment, as if a good economy were for the purpose of making us work. People need to eat and in 1800 you could survive on the wages of a ditch digger. By 1900 you could not. A ‘basic minimum wage’ is the simplistic answer to this. The liberals and conservatives have different objections to this, both valid in my mind:

Yet I want the freedom from ‘make work’ that some plans amount to.

Many suggest that the technologies add jobs as fast, on the average, as they delete them. Even if they do, the new jobs tend to have higher requirements.

The Chinese ‘cultural revolution’ experimented in solutions to the respect problem. From what I hear it did not allow respect for those who could actually produce the wealth that modern nations need. Pol Pot’ Cambodian regime tended to exterminate people with glasses as undesirable bourgeois.

I don’t know which way is up!

Of course Bastiat exploited these conundrums to great effect.

two inadequate measures