It was great to see Jimmy support Craig’s questioning of his school economics, in the face of his parent’s reluctance to do so. Jimmy referred Craig to the book called ‘What’s the Economy For Anyway?
It was actually co-author David Batker who was the geologist in the coalmine that Craig read about. He couldn’t help questioning the mining of only three from ten coal seams; not due to safety, not due to logistics, but rather, the mining company actually walked away from a large percentage of a resources due to ‘accounting rules’, so as to maximize current year earnings, which is simply a number on a piece of paper.
How crazy that numbers on a page determine mankind’s behavior in such ways.
We liked the way the authors saw similar logical limitations between the mine’s accounting rules and the economic measures of GDP ‘Gross Domestic Product’ and GNP ‘Gross National Product, which are alternative ways to measure all goods and services produced in a given year.
Early on, limitations in GDP in terms of foreign production, resulted in GNP being developed by Simon Kuznets, who, the authors note at page 16 warned that
“The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from the measurement of national income.”
We wish it was as obvious to today’s politicians as it was the late Robert Kennedy, and we think it’s shocking that they blindly use a system without heeding the warnings of the very man who created it.
As the author’s note, the horrific BP Deepwater oil spill would contribute much more to GDP than if the oil was actually refined and sold as usual.
How crazy is that?
What a great example. Well done David Batker and John De Graaf, we couldn’t recommend this book more highly.
We hope it’s that obvious to readers, as it was to Craig. We need to replace GDP and GNP and their soul-less inhuman focus on just numbers, with new measures and new systems. Craig said sarcastically,
“Like, oh my goodness, how could anyone question the multiplier?”
We at Its Our earth Too say “How could anyone NOT question the multiplier?”