Good god y’all.
What is it good for?
Say it again.
Or wait. Its good for something.
Maybe we economists should learn from those environmentalists and reframe the debate. GDP isn’t a measure of the amount of “stuff” we consume. This invokes a terrible image of an overweight American, driving their SUVs, stuffing the second pound of McDonald’s french fries down their throats (e.g. me circa six years ago).
Instead, GDP is a measure of our interconnectedness. A hundred years ago most families produced everything they consumed — food, clothes, entertainment, etc. Now most families buy those things in markets, growing measured GDP. We are all much more interdependent. As GDP grows, our community grows.
Best of all the interconnectedness has the neat side effect of making it possible for us to specialize. We each get to produce what we’re best at and most likely this means we specialize in producing those things we enjoy producing. Because each of us specializes, we each get more efficient and in the end we all create much more or much better goods and services.
Also, most of GDP growth is in services.
Growth isn’t the production of more and more stuff, its increasing reliance of people on each other.