Pollution & Cigarettes are Good!!

Measuring what truly matters … or not … how long will we play the same game before we get it??? Our government & society still runs everything primarily based off Gross National Product and/or Gross Domestic Product

Here are some words from former US President Robert F Kennedy that will knock this wide open …

“Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.  It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them.  It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.  It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities.  It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.  It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.  It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.  And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”

Robert F. Kennedy, March 1968 @ University of Kansas

Kind of makes one think hey???

If thing intrigues you, consider reading Mark Anielski’s book where he has paired down all kinds of intriguing evidence & perspectives on “genuine wealth”,i.e. truth wealth. For the record this *does* include financial capital.

See below for the five factors he brings into play:

1) human capital

2) social capital

3) economic & financial capital

4) built capital

5) natural capital.



P.S. Your comments are welcome … post them below. This is how dialogue can easily be opened in the “web 2.0 world”, so let’s take advantage of this!


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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey Kyle,

    I enjoyed reading the JFK exerpt. I find those to be very inspiring words with great perspective on the value of life.

    • Inspiring indeed … just unfortunate that in the last 30-40 years that perspective and approached seemed to be “swept under the carpet”. Mark Anielski and other researchers have massive amounts of evidence that says when GDP goes up, happiness (i.e. quality of life) goes down … which is in total contradiction to what is typically assumed. That said, it’s positive to bring these findings to light!

  2. Indeed. This perspective has been ‘swept under the carpet.’ Check out just how far, here!
    (prosecution of George W. Bush)
    Thanks for bringing this up again, Kyle! Deserves some light.


  3. This reminds me of Buckminster Fuller’s concept of wealth vs. “illth.” It certainly points out some horrible flaws in our economic accounting system that need to be fixed ASAP!

    • From the looks of the site you attached, you’re quite familiar with these deficiencies …? What’s your background? I’m curious 🙂

      • The website is not my own (I don’t have one), but a friend’s. She has indeed done exhaustive research into the topic and is now working on a book.

        I did hear Bucky Fuller speak in NYC in 1978. He warned that we would soon see “nations toppling like dominoes,” and said the USA would be the last to go, but we should not despair, because this would usher in a better era. As he predicted the downfall of capitalism, his (largely Yuppie) audience gave him a standing ovation.

        Fuller had great faith in the ability of technocracy to right all wrongs. He was aware of power abuses, but felt corporations would rule better than governments because they wouldn’t wage war on their own subsidiaries! If he had lived long enough to see the consequences of having military functions auctioned off to contractors who are answerable to no one, I wonder if he would have changed his mind.

      • Intriguing stuff, thanks for sharing.

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