GDP http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12429/all en-US 5 Latin American Markets to Watch http://www.wisebread.com/5-latin-american-markets-to-watch <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-latin-american-markets-to-watch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/south_america_globe_000006090971_0.jpg" alt="Learning which Latin American markets to watch" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The <a href="http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2015/update/02/">International Monetary Fund (IMF)</a> projects that for 2015, the U.S. economy will grow a modest 2.5%. And some analysts predict single digit returns for the S&amp;P 500 for 2016.</p> <p>Emerging economies in Latin America have stronger growth prospects. In general, emerging markets are projected to grow two to three times faster than the U.S. over the next several years. According to the <a href="http://blog-imfdirect.imf.org/2015/11/09/bad-debt-in-emerging-markets-still-early-days/">IMF</a>, from 2009 to 2014 the largest emerging economies grew a total of 48%. As Latin America continues to adapt free-market policies, here are five emerging Latin American <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-stock-markets-in-the-world-in-2015">markets to watch</a>.</p> <h2>1. Peru</h2> <p>The Peruvian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. It is the world's third largest copper producer, and receives a significant portion of its revenue from the mining sector and exportation of metals such as gold, lead, iron, and tin. It also gets about 10% of its revenue from petroleum. While many commodities have taken a hit recently, Peru's current GDP growth of 5.1% is attributed to an expected increase in mining production and infrastructure projects.</p> <p><strong>Projected growth</strong>: 5.0% (2016 est.)</p> <p><strong>GDP Growth (2013 to 2017)</strong>: 27.4%</p> <p><strong>Inflation Rate:</strong> 3.5%</p> <p><strong>Government Debt as % of GDP</strong>: 15.9% (2014 est.)</p> <h2>2. Chile</h2> <p>Chile's moderate growth of 3.3% is attributable to an increase in demand for its exports, thanks to the weakening of the Chilean Peso. But Chile is also an unusually stable economy by Latin American standards, and deserves to be on this list, given the relatively lower risk investors may face. Planned infrastructure deals and changes in business tax policies &mdash; expected to attract outside business investors &mdash; are also good news for the Chilean economy.</p> <p><strong>Projected growth</strong>: 3.3% (2016 est.)</p> <p><strong>GDP Growth (2013 to 2017)</strong>: 24.2%</p> <p><strong>Inflation Rate</strong>: 4.6%</p> <p><strong>Government Debt as % of GDP</strong>: 16.5% (2014 est.)</p> <h2>3. Colombia</h2> <p>Colombia is Latin America's fastest growing economy, thanks in part to a surge in foreign direct investment, and an improving security situation. It's also less dependent on oil than most oil producing countries &mdash; representing only 16% of GDP. Though the Colombian Peso has weakened recently (to approximately 2,900 Pesos per USD), several industries stand to gain from the weaker currency, such as manufacturing, financial services, telecommunications, tourism and transportation.</p> <p><strong>Projected growth</strong>: 3.7% (2016 est.)</p> <p><strong>GDP growth (2013 to 2017)</strong>: 21.9%</p> <p><strong>Inflation rate</strong>: 5.25%</p> <p><strong>Government debt as % of GDP</strong>: 41.9% (2014 est.)</p> <h2>4. Mexico</h2> <p>Mexico has the second largest and strongest economy in Latin America. Its main exports are petroleum, automobiles, and a variety of manufactured parts and electronic equipment. Its expected growth is due to strong U.S. demand for its exports (the U.S. imports 70% of all Mexican exports), and planned spending on infrastructure projects like Mexico City's new international airport.</p> <p><strong>Projected growth</strong>: 3.3% (2016 est.)</p> <p><strong>GDP Growth (2013 to 2017)</strong>: 17.5%</p> <p><strong>Inflation Rate</strong>: 2.88%</p> <p><strong>Government Debt as % of GDP</strong>: 41% (2014 est.)</p> <h2>5. Brazil</h2> <p>Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America, with a population of just over 200 million people. Though corruption scandals have plagued recent governments, foreign direct investment to the South American nation remains strong, and the country's growth prospects reasonable.</p> <p><strong>Projected growth</strong>: 1.0% (2016 est.)</p> <p><strong>GDP Growth (2013 to 2017)</strong>: 22.3%</p> <p><strong>Inflation Rate:</strong> 14.25%</p> <p><strong>Government Debt as % of GDP</strong>: 59.3% (2014 est.)</p> <p><em>Have you added any of these markets to your portfolio?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-latin-american-markets-to-watch">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cool-things-bonds-tell-you-about-the-economy">7 Cool Things Bonds Tell You About the Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying">9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt">9 Reasons Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World&#039;s Butt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Economy foreign markets GDP inflation latin america market growth Fri, 04 Dec 2015 14:00:03 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1618127 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Reasons Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World's Butt http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/children_race_000029170966.jpg" alt="Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World&#039;s Butt" title="Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World&#039;s Butt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may be hard to believe, but the U.S. economy is giving the world a run for its money. Compared to most major developed nations, the U.S. is out-performing in terms of most major economic indicators. It seems we've managed to escape the grip of the Great Recession more quickly (and with perhaps less lasting damage), than many other wealthy countries. Read on to learn why today's American economy is the envy of the world.</p> <h2>1. Higher GDP Growth Rate</h2> <p>The U.S. economy's <a href="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/gdp-annual-growth-rate">2.4% GDP growth rate</a> in 2014 was the best since the recession &mdash; and it's expected to grow an even stronger <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2015/01/30/u-s-economy-grew-2-6-in-fourth-quarter-2-4-in-2014/">3.4% in 2015</a>, according to Forbes and the Economist Intelligence Unit. Our GDP growth also exceeds that of many other developed nations; the Euro area grew by a modest 0.9% in 2014, while Japan's economy actually shrank by 0.8%. And while emerging market powerhouses like China are still clocking growth rates of over 7%, this is a lower level of growth for them that actually poses some concern for their economic prospects. The U.S. economy, meanwhile, is on an upward trajectory.</p> <h2>2. Lower Unemployment Levels</h2> <p>Greece's unemployment is over 25%. France's is over 10%. Even Canada and Australia's are over 6%. But the <a href="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/unemployment-rate">American unemployment rate</a> currently stands at about 5.5% &mdash; a marked decline since its peak of over 10% during the worst of the recession, and a good deal lower than many other developed nations'.</p> <h2>3. Stable Inflation</h2> <p>Both too much inflation, and its opposite, known as deflation (or negative inflation) are of concern to economists. That's because stable prices are essential for maintaining a healthy rate of growth and employment. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, for example, some years clocked deflation of about 10%. Meanwhile, the recession of the early 80's came packed with whopping inflation rates some years of over 13%!</p> <p>So, it should come as no surprise that America's relatively stable <a href="http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/">2014 inflation rate of about 1.6%</a> is the envy of other developed countries &mdash; such as many in the Euro area, where negative inflation has developed. In fact, some economists say the U.S. could actually stand to have a little more inflation for optimal results.</p> <h2>4. Resource-Rich Economy</h2> <p>The political instability in places like Venezuela, the Middle East, Ukraine, and Russia terrify many countries who rely upon their energy exports to fuel their economies. But it isn't only oil that's a concern &mdash; grains, food products, and a variety of other raw materials or agricultural good imports are also important to many countries who don't produce enough of their own. The U.S. finds itself in an advantageous position in this regard, thanks to its ample domestic supply of many essential resources.</p> <h2>5. Younger Population</h2> <p>A younger population means many things. It is more dynamic and innovative, leading to new ideas and companies. There are more able-bodied workers to fuel our industries. And of course, having a larger supply of younger workers is also a buttress for social programs, such as Social Security, which are largely financed by their contributions. Many European nations and Japan are rapidly aging, and face dire economic consequences, as a result. The U.S. has higher birth and immigration rates to thank for this advantage.</p> <h2>6. Stronger Banking System</h2> <p>American regulators responded effectively to the banking crisis, instituting programs such as The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and requiring banks undergo scrutiny of their financial position via the so-called &quot;stress tests.&quot; The Fed also backed the acquisition of troubled or weaker banks, such as Washington Mutual, by larger banks, thus helping ensure the stability of the financial system. Today, the U.S. banking system is relatively strong and well-capitalized. Meanwhile, banks in parts of Europe, where stress tests took longer to be implemented, still face concern.</p> <h2>7. Effective Use of Stimulus</h2> <p>The stress tests and TARP are just a couple of examples of how the U.S. took the lead during the recession in ways many of its developed country counterparts didn't. The U.S. responded to the recession more quickly and aggressively, instituting strong stimulus measures to combat the downturn early on, including bond and asset purchases known as Quantitative Easing, sharply lowering interest rates, extending unemployment benefits, bailing out the now-profitable auto industry and financing shovel-ready projects. Europe and Japan took much longer or didn't implement stimulus as aggressively; the result, some economists say, is a markedly weaker recovery in those countries.</p> <h2>8. Strong Dollar</h2> <p>Not everyone is thrilled by the strength of the U.S. dollar (exporters, for example, find it tougher to sell their wares abroad), but the strength of the dollar is great news for U.S. consumers, who enjoy cheaper prices on imported goods. The strong dollar is also evidence of America's relative economic strength (after many years of trading for less than the Euro, the two currencies are now nearly at <a href="http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=EUR&amp;to=USD&amp;view=10Y">parity to the Euro</a>, for example). It's also partly based on the belief that we'll soon begin raising interest rates; a stronger economy means interest rates can finally rise, and higher rates draw more investors into the U.S. economy, thus boosting the dollar.</p> <h2>9. Strong Stock Market</h2> <p>&quot;The stock market is overvalued and due for a correction any day,&quot; say pundits. &quot;It's a bubble &mdash; people but stocks only because interest rates are so low and they can't get returns anywhere else.&quot;</p> <p>Even if those two statements were true, they still don't negate the fact that U.S. equity markets have been on a tear in recent years (the S&amp;P 500 and NASDAQ are both near <a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/13063690/1/stocks-add-to-february-rally-as-nasdaq-hits-15-year-high.html">record highs</a>). And that's in part because investors from around the world still trust our companies and stock markets.</p> <p>But there's something else happening here, too: Merger and acquisition activity, as well as IPOs, are by some measures <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-2014-u-ipo-activity-163600415.html">back to pre-recession levels</a>. That' the stuff the economy runs on &mdash; new companies being launched, and existing companies being bought and sold. That this type of activity is up is further evidence of trust not only in U.S. markets &mdash; but in the U.S. economy, as a whole.</p> <p><em>Are you benefiting from the strong U.S. economy? Tell us how in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janet-alvarez">Janet Alvarez</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy">Do These 8 Things to Profit From the Improving Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt-and-income">Peak Debt and Income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-gdp-still-important">Is GDP Still Important?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-miss-about-the-recession">What I Miss About the Recession</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Economy GDP growth US economy world economy Tue, 17 Mar 2015 21:00:12 +0000 Janet Alvarez 1344238 at http://www.wisebread.com Peak Debt and Income http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt-and-income <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/peak-debt-and-income" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000001512809Small_1.jpg" alt="Rich person giving money to poor" title="Rich person giving money to poor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The big argument in the debate on the stimulus packages was between two groups. The demand-side folks wanted to make sure that the money got into the hands of the poor, because they'd spend the money, boosting the economy. The supply-side folks wanted to keep money in the hands of the well-off, because they'd invest it, providing increased productive capacity to boost the economy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-ways-to-invest-during-a-weak-market">5 Creative Ways to Invest During a Weak Market</a>)</p> <p>If you're interested in looking into the issue a bit more deeply than the economic pundits in the mainstream media usually do, check out <a href="http://www.philipbrewer.net/wpx/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Peak-Debt-Income-v7.25.10p.pdf">Peak Debt and Income</a> (PDF), a new paper by&nbsp;Ronald M. Laszewski. (I linked to his previous paper in my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a> article.)</p> <p>There are two threads to Laszewski's argument.</p> <h2>Maximizing Household Assets</h2> <p>Laszewski creates a simple model of the economy as a tool for investigating the question of how to get household balance sheets back in order after suffering the problems diagnosed in the earlier Peak Debt paper:</p> <blockquote><p><a id="fck_paste_padding"></a>At the time it appeared that a peak in consumer purchasing power had already been reached, and that it was likely that there would be a long period of economic decline to follow. Three ways in which the consequences of the large over-hang of debt might be ameliorated were examined: (1) a significant growth in real personal income, (2) a default on outstanding debt, and (3) a central bank induced hyper-inflation.</p> </blockquote> <p>The earlier paper had gone on to demonstrate that options two and three would probably have little effect in boosting future economic activity. Option one, on the other hand, could be effective.</p> <p>The result of Laszewski's further analysis is that growth in GDP is strongly dependent on how total income in the economy is divided up.</p> <h2>Consumption by Income Group</h2> <p>From the end of World War II until the early 1980s, the top 10% got about 34% of total income. In recent years the share taken by the top 10% has grown sharply; they now get almost 50%. If the income fraction received by the top 10% was returned to its historic value, the current incomes of the other 90% of households could be increased by 30%.</p> <p>As the demand-side analysts have been pointing out, the rich spend much less of their income. The poorest folks spend almost 100% of their income, average folks spend about 90%, and the top 10% spend only a little more than 50% of their income.</p> <p>Putting these facts together, Laszewski calculates the effect on the economy if the income distribution were returned to something like its <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/patriotism-and-personal-finance-a-brief-walk-through-american-history">post-war norms</a>. If the richest 10% only got 34% of the national income (instead of the 50% they're currently receiving), the increased spending on consumption would boost GDP by 4.2%. Other assumptions about how the money might be redistributed could add as much as 10.5%.</p> <p>The math in this paper isn't as complex as in the previous paper. So, if you're interested, take a look at Laszewski's <a href="http://www.philipbrewer.net/wpx/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Peak-Debt-Income-v7.25.10p.pdf">Peak Debt and Income paper</a>&nbsp;(PDF).</p> <h2>Key Takeaways</h2> <p>The supply-side folks are wrong. At this time, additional business investment will produce very little additional growth in GDP.</p> <p>The demand-side folks are right. Getting extra money into the hands of the bottom 90% of the population would produce substantial growth in GDP.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt-and-income">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt">9 Reasons Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World&#039;s Butt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-gdp-still-important">Is GDP Still Important?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-miss-about-the-recession">What I Miss About the Recession</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy">Do These 8 Things to Profit From the Improving Economy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Economy GDP peak debt poor wealthy Tue, 15 Mar 2011 12:00:09 +0000 Philip Brewer 504638 at http://www.wisebread.com Is GDP Still Important? http://www.wisebread.com/is-gdp-still-important <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-gdp-still-important" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4775722590_c65b34ee9a_z.jpg" alt="measuring growth" title="measuring growth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="178" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every pundit, politician, and economic forecaster (even smarmy financial dilettantes such as myself) have remarked that the recent recession was the worst economic calamity since the great depression.</p> <p>It's a very dramatic, historic and urgent thing to say &mdash; something that you want to have on record that you said &mdash; if for nothing else than to be part of history.</p> <p>Yeah, except it's dead wrong, in a manner of speaking. How would we know whether this past recession is actually the worst recession since the Great Depression? The measure of what is or isn't recession, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), wasn't even invented and implemented until after 1941. And wouldn't you compare it to other recessions, and not to the Great Depression, when there was no SEC, no Social Security, no FDIC no HUD, etc. back then?</p> <p>So why is GDP so important? Or is it even important anymore? One critic of GDP, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qmkRmrWxRA">Alan Atkisson</a>, even goes so far as to call GDP the &quot;Manhattan Project of Economics.&quot;</p> <p>I wouldn't resort to nuclear and apocalyptic allusions, but I will say that perhaps it's time to reevaluate how we measure economic growth and how we psychologically mind-bomb people by telling them that if there is no GDP growth they have to get scared.</p> <p>In a nutshell, GDP measures economic growth based on production and consumption of goods and services, or to be more accurate, it is a measurement of &quot;final goods and services officially made&quot; quarter by quarter through a full calendar year.</p> <p>I asked a friend, a former investment banker for Goldman Sachs and other institions, what he thinks of GDP. He said, &quot;Ask yourself what we're 'officially making' in this country right now and you have my answer.&quot;</p> <p>Elaborating further, he said the formula for GDP is flawed and has outlived its usefulness: Private consumption + Government Spending + (Exports-Imports).</p> <p>What does that equal? Well in typical I-banker vernacular which I won't repeat here, he said the country, based on this formula of measuring economic health, is headed for the same fate as a nut or bolt twisted and fastened to a wall.</p> <h2>Alternative Measurements</h2> <p>Since I'm a solutions-oriented man, I won't spend the whole post whining. In that vein, there are three upstarts that could, should, or might make a run at the shiny title belt GDP now holds around its bloated consumption-dependent waist.</p> <ol> <li>The <a href="http://ideas.repec.org/p/usi/wpaper/449.html">Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare</a>: Expenditures balance against mutually-assured environmental destruction.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genuine_progress_indicator">Genuine Progress Indicator</a> (GPI): Production growth that actually demonstrates the betterment of human beings.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The <a href="http://www.happyplanetindex.org/">Happy Planet Index</a> (HPI): Are we happy with our stuff? Is killing the planet and contributing to standard of living inequities actually fulfilling in the long run?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Gross Personal Product (GPP): All of the stuff that we buy: plastics, deliberate obsolescence polymers, and really gross food packages that aren't biodegradable. Oh, and the sticky oil from the Gulf of Mexico &mdash; ewww, grosssss.</li> </ol> <p>OK, so the &quot;GPP&quot; is something that you saw here first and exclusively (maybe) &mdash; I made it up. But doesn't it start with our personal attitudes? Are you tired of having your homeland measured by cold, impersonal, flawed statistical comparisons? What makes you happy: what you produce or what you consume?</p> <p>I now leave you with the words of <a href="http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Kuznets.html">Simon Kuznet</a>, commissioned by the State Department to study political economy in the late 1930s and early '40s and often considered the inventor of GDP. (Ironically, he then essentially said in the 1960s, &quot;don't use this measure.&quot;)</p> <blockquote><p>Distinctions must be kept in mind between quantity and quality of growth, between costs and returns, and between the short and long run. Goals for more growth should specify more growth of what and for what.</p> </blockquote> <p>With pressing environmental concerns and an unsustainable economy based more than 70% on the consumption of stuff &mdash; more than 90% of which we basically don' t need &mdash; those &quot;distinctions&quot; that Kuznet spoke of are what we have to figure out as individuals and as a nation.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jabulani-leffall">Jabulani Leffall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-gdp-still-important">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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