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The Meaning and Non-Meaning of GNP

Op-Ed Contributor G.D.P. R.I.P. * Sign in to Recommend * E-Mail * Print * ShareClose o Linkedin o Digg o Facebook o Mixx o MySpace o Yahoo! Buzz o Permalink o Article Tools Sponsored By By ERIC ZENCEY Published: August 9, 2009 Montpelier, Vt. Skip to next paragraph Enlarge This Image Nicholas Felton IF there’s a silver lining to our current economic downturn, it’s this: With it comes what the economist Joseph Schumpeter called “creative destruction,” the failure of outmoded economic structures and their replacement by new, more suitable structures. Downturns have often given a last, fatality-inducing nudge to dying industries and technologies. Very few buggy manufacturers made it through the Great Depression. Creative destruction can apply to economic concepts as well. And this downturn offers an excellent opportunity to get rid of one that has long outlived its usefulness: gross domestic product. G.D.P. is one measure of national income, of how much wealth Americans make, and it’s a deeply foolish indicator of how the economy is doing. It ought to join buggy whips and VCRs on the dust-heap of history. Read more →