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The gross domestic product, the GDP, allegedly is an indicator of the well being of a society. Since powerful forces in banking and public policy are driving attempts to increase growth to solve the financial crisis it is important to listen to the critics of growth.
The GDP formula was invented by John Maynard Keynes who wrote a pamphlet during World War II entitled: The British National Income and How to Pay for the War. In 1953 that Keynesian set of rules was imposed on everybody. The rules are called The United Nations System of National Accounts. All countries must use them or they will not be allowed to be a member of the UN, or deal with the World Bank and IMF. These unquestioned rules have been used to make public policy for the last 61 years.
Marilyn Waring says that the GDP system counts only cash transactions in the market. In other words it recognizes no value other than money. This means there is no value to peace to the preservation of the environment, and no value to unpaid work. This system leaves out half the population of the planet and the planet itself.
Marilyn Waring's work and intriguing life is described in a documentary film by Terre Nash. I'm bringing back the soundtrack of this film to support a debate on changing the current National Income Accounting using the GDP.
Marilyn Waring is an author, former member of the New Zealand Parliament, and goat farmer. She is Professor of Public Policy at AUT University in Auckland, New Zealand. The film is available on line at the website of the National Film Board of Canada <http://www.nfb.ca/>
Thanks to Terre Nash for making this film available.
New Zealand, New York City, Africa, Phillippines etc