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This is the point I regularly try to make to people (most often, unsuccessfully)... you get what you measure.

Virtually every economic measure (or societal measure for that matter) boils down to measuring some form of consumption... how much of XXX can we chew up and spit out and how fast can we do it? GDP and the oft-referenced "standard of living" are the poster-children for this behavior. Catastrophic storm damage? Adds to GDP. Building and staffing more prisons? Adds to GDP. More financial innovation and the crashes they create? Adds to GDP. War on abstract nouns? Definitely adds to GDP?

Productive in any way? Not so much. Beneficial to the inhabitants of the planet (even the human ones)? Not so much.

If everything you measure is about consuming something (usually, in the end, something finite) or collecting more money (usually for the purpose of consuming more of something), then this is what you will see happen. If that's what you measure, that's what you'll get.

Aw, hell... at least we have good music.

Dave Cohen


Your comments are often very good, and today's is a case in point.


-- Dave


Music is the only bright spot. If I didn't have a drumming class once a week, and a jam session with some friends once or twice a month, I would be a quivering heap in some corner. Come to think of it ...

It's a beautiful tragedy this life:


Mike Roberts

I used to think that the positive impact on GDP, of repairing extreme weather damage, would be a one off and GDP would eventually fall, as that repair work got done. But with every year seeming to bring more extreme weather events (as insurance records seem to show), there would be a constant stimulus to the global economy. Until resources run low.


I like your posts. GDP as measured is based on growth. Any effort to curb CO2 requires a reduction on fossil fuels the following presentation by Tim Garrett leads to a conclusion that one cannot have business as usual and reduce emissions. The interesting analysis is how he equates money = energy!

Part I (Garrett lecture)

Regarding Mr Tol he is a well known denier and is at odds now with IPCC see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/28/ipcc-climate-costs-estimate-meaningless

Until we address climate change as a survival issue that no longer allows pursuit of economic growth nothing will change regardless on if its already too late or not.

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