We have been bombarded with media reports of the UK’s recent increase in GDP as a sign of the new economic prosperity. Chanting this magic mantra is the new age therapy for most politicians. So what is ‘GDP’ and how relevant is this to the real growth of a state.
Robert Kennedy once said that GDP ‘measures everything except what makes life worthwhile’. Ironically this is so true of the way the term GDP has been repeatedly abused.
My mapping below gives some of the key aspects of GDP which you can read further (whilst on coffee or something more sinister and deadly fueled) on a trawl of the internet.
Looking at this map, we can see that the news that the UK will spend £2.5bn on buying new F-35 fighters will certainly add to the GDP whilst ignoring the fact that 20000 children in the UK spent Christmas without presents and ‘real’ food (read the story here http://bit.ly/1m4kTYm ). This dire fact will not be picked by the GDP chanters. It will also hide the fact that the UK trade indicators presented a deficit of £7.7 billion on goods while we recorded a surplus of £6.7 billion on services, a vast chunk of it from the financial sector.
Quoting Hamlet, I leave you to decide on whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer’ further abuses of the GDP measure or ‘to take arms against a sea of troubles’ caused by the misuse of GDP.