Archive for June 2014
The continuing discussion about what Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should include in order to more accurately reflect the scope and health of the economy has entered a new and intriguing dimension.
From across the Atlantic comes this question: Why not include prostitution and drugs in GDP calculations, as Italy and the United Kingdom have done? After all, those are economic activities, right?
The U.K.’s Office of National Statistics announced that paying for drugs and sex adds about £10 billion ($16.7 billion) a year to the economy. So, the British government is now including prostitution and narcotics sales in its official GDP statistics.
While illegal activities are a small part of the U.K. economy—only 0.7 percent—according to the government’s estimates, the reason for the inclusion is to harmonize economic reporting across the European Union. Read the rest of this entry »
Matt Ridley, the UK author, journalist and member of the House of Lords, recently asserted in a Wall Street Journal article that the “world’s resources aren’t running out.” Well maybe, sorta. If you are into the mental gymnastics of conservative doublethink.
I could not let his piece pass without providing, shall we say, a different and more intellectually honest (I hope) viewpoint.
He asks: “How many times have you heard that we humans are ‘using up’ the world’s resources, ‘running out’ of oil, ‘reaching the limits’ of the atmosphere’s capacity to cope with pollution or ‘approaching the carrying capacity’ of the land’s ability to support a greater population? The assumption behind all such statements is that there is a fixed amount of stuff—metals, oil, clean air, land—and that we risk exhausting it through our consumption.” Read the rest of this entry »