An untold story of the lopsided GDP ⇒ Kirno Sohochari

Today’s world based on its GDP indexing has dazed us many extents. We believe only GDP, GNP, Per Capita Income ratio can reflect the real economic growth of a nation. As well, we consider the method is convincing for us when we use it to measure economic and social subsistence of people in light of it. This trendy prone of measured economic growth through GDP metric has appeared ineffectual in recent days. It says,  economic analysts now consider the GDP metric is dubious and incomplete to get the real picture of life with truth. They think this metric is incompetent despite its dependable dataset. We need a camera that can take the whole picture of a nation instead of some partial. 

GDP methodology is useless in that context. It can quantify life with ‘dependable dataset’, but cannot quantify behind the scene story of people. It cannot quantify the story that is Vittorio De Sica once illustrated in his magnum opus ‘The bicycle thief’. His film reflects the growth-phobic decadence of people’s daily life in the Italian context. Reminder, De Sica made this film after 14 years later of Simon Kuznets. The veteran American economist who first proposed GDP metric in American National Congress to measure economic growth, wealth and productivity ratio of people with GDP indexing. 

Kuznets’ proposal getting popular and diversified in progress of time but the struggle of life under deprivation that is De Sica picturized in his simple narrative has still remained around the globe. Kuznets’ GDP metric is unable to capture ‘behind the story’ of any growth-phobic nation. The phobia is so epidemic that it doesn’t hesitate to kill forest and mineral resources in excuse of economic development and social well-being of the people. GDP growth was perhaps relevant when Kuznets offered it in American National Congress, but now the meaning behind it specify something different which was might be absent in the 30s globe. 

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Asia society.org/blog: GNH

… We ‘ordinary people’ have already swallowed the immense pressure of market inflation, and have pleasing to take the new tax burden on our squat shoulder in excuse of progress in GDP index. Does the colorful econometric be able to debunk the fact that is, progress on GDP or Per Capita cannot make a nation happy until it covers all the untold and unfinished story behind it?
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It was the time when great depression captured the entire globe and Kuznets proposal sound rational in that context. The world is now having a chance to repeat 30s great depression. Due to avoid the risk, slight growth in GDP appeared crucial factor for the nations in all over the world. However, the meaning is apparently dashing than the previous eras. The growth of GDP metric now means more progress of the society towards the carbon emission and extinction of biodiversity. We are standing on the vis-à-vis reality; the ecology chain between humans and all other living organisms cannot be possible just depends on the GDP growth of a nation. If every nation has treated this ratio an ultimate insurance for assuring progress, prosperity, and happiness then it might be suicidal for them. 

It means reality sustained in the globe as it was in the late 40s, which Wang Xiaoshuai illustrated very recent in his film ‘Beijing Bicycle’. The story is different there due to the contextual changes of life in course of time, but the moral behind it remained unchanged, as it was unchanged in 50s growth-hunger budding Italy. Today China is trying to burgeon the same morality after passing its 60s cultural nightmare. The GDP metric seemed feeble in there, it cannot quantify why Guei the company delivery boy appointed all his effort to purchase the bicycle which he thinks help him to survive in this growth-monger cruel city. The same, extreme high growth of GDP in China cannot quantify Jain, another poor city boy who snitched Guei’s bicycle to impress the girl he loves. This high growth of productivity and wealth are lame to explain why both boys involved them in a series fighting for the urgency that is, —their happiness cannot be secured until they get the bicycle at any cost. Yes, China’s GDP metric is unable to explain why poverty, disparity, and despair exist in the society despite the massive industrialization in previous three decades. 

It is true, productivity inflated in China; money market inflated; people’s purchase capacity inflated; employment inflated; and, people consumption rate just inflated double in last two decades. This is not the end, China’s recent progress quantify plastic surgery now inflated at a rapid pace because people want to see them polished and gallant. Despite so much of this everything, China’s GDP growth is just helpless to guess why people lost their passion and pride to embrace each other! The attractive GDP and Per Capita metric of this giant economy are speechless to quantify why China people lost their precious feeling of togetherness and coherence now; after all, it was the core material of ‘Tao Te Ching‘ and it bonded them in a China society with strong ‘Bodhisattva’. As well, China’s policymaking metric keeps silent to answer this: why the country soon escaped from its Green GDP measurement to see the devastating loss and damages of ecology and its moral impact on other living organisms.

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Beijing bicycle: Google images

… What be the impact of saying this: the per capita income of a developing country now raised from 400 dollars to 1800 dollars? Does it really mean the growth and national well being of this particular country or its citizen? Does it cover the truth for a while? Which perhaps placed behind the hypnotic graphical statistics to hide the crude reality that this particular country has suffered by poverty, malnutrition, social injustice, corruption, bureaucratic red-trapism, and obviously, it has suffered by inequality in all extent?
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That’s the de facto reason for why GDP metric is now criticized lot in all over the economic forum. Even the great advocator of this metric ‘The World Bank’ and other financial establishments now realized, GDP metric can quantify the gross output of a nation to ensure development, anyway, it cannot able to quantify the ultimate essence of life which we called peaceful coherence of all living beings under the happiness. Robert F. Kennedy once mentioned the problem in his election campaign; very proactively mentioned his reluctance to measure America’s progress by this metric. His speech was so provocative that to some extent it might reflect the eternal essence of ‘Tao Te Ching’. He said:

“Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction —purpose and dignity —that afflicts us all.

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. If this is true here at home, so it is true elsewhere in the world.” [See: Bobby Kennedy on GDP: ‘measures everything except that which is worthwhile; The Guardian.com]

What Bobby Kennedy realized near fifty years back, the analysts now started hackled this largely. It is true we can quantify the economic growth of a nation with dexterity by using its GDP metric. Nonetheless, when we quantify the quality of life in light of happiness and social wellbeing this GDP metric has appeared false to us. Meaning: growth’ is fuzzy when disparity exists; ‘development’ is bleak where disproportion of the wealth remains; ‘progress’ is pungent when definition of life measured by the money-metrics; ‘social wellbeing’ is vagrant when it looks asymmetric; ‘human culture’ sound vulgar when it destroys natural resource in pretext of economic growth; and, ‘life’ is insipid when happiness declines.
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Robert Kennedy addresses an election rally in 1968. Photograph: Harry Benson/Getty Images 

… Anyway, what does ‘happiness’ mean to the end, does it exist or not is a different discussion. Maybe it is relevant to the ‘behavioral science’ and greatly depends on the relative philosophy where the perception about ‘happiness’ could be varied by person or nation. Bhutan tried to knock the door which at least leads the nation to feel the importance of Nature-bonded life with prudent consideration and simplicity.
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The problematic symptom of GDP indexing is ubiquitous. It is common in all over the world. Natural happiness lost its center position because of this. Sad, but pleasing the GDP-centric ambition has now appeared the only objective of life. Was it requisite at once when we move towards the settlement of humanity by leaving out the foraging state? Is it inevitable at one stage that we think this shifting could ensure certainty and happiness for us in all extent? Is it true, we have made this progress in remotest past just for achieved the security, togetherness, and happiness for all human being?

The common history of humankind is perhaps approved this with pleasure. It approved the trendy narrative that every movement, transition, and advancement of Homo sapiens from the nomad state to agriculture and agriculture to industrialization pulled out them to Nature dominated slavery and ensured a better life with happiness. It perhaps heralds following words like a vicious circle:

The great transition from foraging stage to agriculture stage increased productivity (P) and productivity creates wealth (W). Wealth increased growth and helped humans make another leap towards the industrial stage. After reaching this stage both P and W increased capital and capital increased labor division. Labor division then increased P, W and C and this trio then increased consumers. Consumers increased purchase capacity and purchase capacity again increased the trio through labor division. The increment of trio increased the GDP parameter so that it can measure the ultimate happiness of human life, by measuring its progress towards the money metric purchase capacity and consumption of wealth with a better productivity.

Sounds logical in light of Adam Smiths classical burgeon where he beautifully explained how wealth is created in the progress of ‘commercial society’. He explained how this society creates labor division among the members, and he explained beautifully how it makes an impact to settle down the morality of market price and exchanges. Smith interpreted how a ‘commercial society’ can viable for a free trading. It represents: ‘capital’ and social well-being is impossible without the division between ‘investor’ and ‘labor’

He was unaware about the term ‘capitalism’ but his discussion on wealth in light of labor division in a ‘commercial society’ was appeared relevant in the nineteen century; even he is relevant today with his phrasing. Today’s ‘free market economy’ more or else echoed Adam Smith’s ‘free trading’, obviously in a different contextual. A ‘commercial society’ represents the modern-age ‘over-capitalism’ where few people are the owner of maximum wealth, and rests are circulated in the labor-chain once Smith depicted them with care. GDP indexing is the part of that chain. It helped investors maintained the status quo in a society, also help them to maximize the wealth through individual labor segregation.

The GDP indexing means people are viable to segregate them as ‘individual product’. Everybody must have some skill so that the members can contribute in the total production-chain; so that wealth can increase to make capital maximize; and so that the sustainable individual growth can be ensured by reinvestment. Smith earnestly symbolized the ‘commercial society’ where every individual must address ‘by-layer’ through the production chain of a good, so that rebellion can check by the society operators. His thought considered all members as a part of total production-chain. If the society wants to increase the production amount of a particular good (suppose a ‘pin’) there must have segregation where each part of the ‘pin’ will not make by one, rather it will distribute segment wise to many of them who are capable to make it. Smith mentioned:

“one man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head; to make the head requires two or three distinct operations; to put it on, is a peculiar business, to whiten the pins is another” —then the factory could make approximately forty-eight thousand pins per day.”

We are not belong remote to his productivity mechanism and wealth increment throughput ‘free trade’, the difference is little and that is: Smith emphasized uniformity among the ‘commercial society’ where each individual can pay with satisfaction, but he missed the ‘surplus valuation’ of labor, from where Karl Marx symbolized the reality by ‘capitalist’ and ‘proletariat’. Today’s GDP indexing can quantify the number of ‘proletariat’ in a nation or percentage, but abortive to answer the question: why they exist in ‘capitalism chain’ despite the segmentation of skill and labor in a society.

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Adam Smith: Universal Images Group/Getty Images

… Today’s ‘free market economy’ more or else echoed Adam Smith’s ‘free trading’ but in a different contextual. A ‘commercial society’ represents the modern-age ‘over-capitalism’ where few people are the owner of maximum wealth, and rests are circulated in the labor-chain once Smith depicted them with care. GDP indexing is the part of that chain. It helped the investors maintained the status quo in a society, help them to maximize the wealth through individual labor segregation.
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The quantification of GDP index is not the sign that nations have moving forward to the healthy nutrition, family well-being, and happiness. History is now able to take a different look at it. As Yuval Noah Harari commenting in his text with pretty statistics:

“Farmers tend to eat a very limited and unbalanced diet. Especially in premodern times, most of the calories feeding an agricultural population came from a single crop —such as wheat, potatoes or rice –that lacks some of the vitamins, minerals and other nutritional materials humans need. The typical peasant in traditional China ate rice for breakfast, rice for lunch, and rice for dinner. If she were lucky, she could expect to eat the same on the following day. By contrast, ancient foragers regularly ate dozens of different foodstuffs. The peasant’s ancient ancestor, the forager, may have eaten berries and mushrooms for breakfast; fruits, snails and turtle for lunch; and rabbit steak with wild onions for dinner. Tomorrow’s menu might have been completely different. This variety ensured that the ancient foragers received all the necessary nutrients.” [See: Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind]

The impact of this difference is deep, as Hariri mentioned with clarity:

“Evolution moulded our minds and bodies to the life of huntergatherers. The transition first to agriculture and then to industry has condemned us to living unnatural lives that cannot give full expression to our inherent inclinations and instincts, and therefore cannot satisfy our deepest yearnings.” [See: Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind]

GDP-phobia of politicians and analysts could considerable through the historical fact. We have driven us to make a society by breaking the basic contractual that could ensure coherence instead of decoherence between productivity and wealth mechanism. The basic philosophy of human civilization has driven itself in a wrong direction. We prioritized ‘money metric productivity’ of every living organisms (includes our own self-ness) in course of the time and think little about the ultimate necessity of peaceful coexistence and happiness at any cost. GDP is the reflection of that craving desire where it always reflects an unfathomable chain of the demand-supply economy. The perception is:

Production of new goods can create new demand in the society and society will not resist until a new appearance of additional wealth has appeared there, and wealth will not exist if there no consume-ability creates by this production chain.

The philosophy of GDP metrics is interesting in the context. Remind again, economists and policymakers use it because GDP is effective to measure the quantitative growth of a nation. Once a time it has applied to overcome the great depression of the 30s in the previous century. After that, it gained popularity among governments and policy-makers due to its simplicity and statistical consistency. The trend yet continued where state heads are very frequent in quoting this if it favors them. 

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The famous people.com: Kuznets 

… Meaning: growth’ is fuzzy when disparity exists; ‘development’ is bleak where disproportion of the wealth remains; ‘progress’ is pungent when definition of life measured by the money-metrics; ‘social wellbeing’ is vagrant when it looks asymmetric; ‘human culture’ sound vulgar when it destroys natural resource in pretext of economic growth; and, ‘life’ is insipid when happiness declines.
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Sarcastic, they do not hesitate to deny when it goes against their hypnosis on GDP deflators. The political oppositions and their intellectual allies have depended on this to criticize government’s policy. Reminder, the datasheet that they use it might have produced by the expert opinion-makers of the World Bank, IMF, UNDP and likely the government agencies. Maybe the statistical measurement is indispensable for an economy expert. Might be the fact, the gross productivity of a nation and the income ratio of its citizens cannot be done in a much better way instead of this.

Anyway, there could be alternate, as Bhutan follows since to the early 70s. The little kingdom set its growth measurement by GNP, means Gross National Happiness. The former king Jigme Singye Wangchuck declared his kingdom would pursue ‘happiness’ the first priority for measuring economic progress. Bhutan then set 4 indicators that are: 

I. Ensure good governance through parliamentary democracy. Country people will select their leader by participatory election. Moral: it will save country’s sovereignty and as well save it to the one-man leadership or the kingship by birth. 

II. Protect the environment and natural resources by taking environment-friendly agriculture and industrialization, by keeping intact the forest valley and reserve it at least 60%. Notes: Bhutan forest reserve and biodiversity now raised 72%. Moral: Carbon emission is not enough, rather carbon negative stance and awareness of people is more necessary if we want to live with coherence and peace. Bhutan is now taking Carbon Neutral stance for this

III. Preserve cultural diversity and tradition with due respect to the modern globalization.

IV. Ensure sustainable socio-economic well-being for all citizens instead addressing the GDP inflation as vital for development. [Source article: 4 lessons from Bhutan on the pursuit of happiness above GDP, Antonia Gawel]

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Getting smart.com: Bhutan King on GNH

… It is true, productivity inflated in China; money market inflated; people’s purchase capacity inflated; employment inflated; and, people consumption rate just inflated double in last two decades. This is not the end, China’s recent progress quantify plastic surgery now inflated at a rapid pace because people want to see them polished and gallant. Despite so much of this everything, China’s GDP growth is just helpless to guess why people lost their passion and pride to embrace each other!
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However, it doesn’t mean everything has gonna right in Bhutan. Antonia Gawel mentioned the challenges Bhutan has faced recent. The little kingdom not freed to the immense pressure of global culture and unemployment crisis. However, live a Nature-bonded happy life with togetherness yet strong in the Himalayan kingdom. Bhutan looks poverty plagued to the GDP-monger but the country’s policymakers yet not convinced to shift them from GNH to GDP. This morality makes Bhutan a peaceful kingdom where people try to measure them ‘happy metric’, instead of ‘money-metric’. Perhaps Bhutan echoed John Lennon‘s intellection about life. Antonia Gawel quoted the Beatles singer’s famous intellection about life. Lennon said there:

“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.

Anyway, what does ‘happiness’ mean to the end, does it exist or not is a different discussion. Maybe it is relevant to the ‘behavioral science’ and greatly depends on the relative philosophy where the perception about ‘happiness’ could be varied by person or nation. Nonetheless, Bhutan tried to knock the door which at least leads the nation to feel the importance of Nature-bonded life with prudent consideration and simplicity. Moral: staying in simple necessity stage is more exigent than to test the ambitious GDP ketchup because it leads today’s world to the drudgery.
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Google images: Source Unknown

… We are standing on the vis-à-vis reality; the ecology chain between humans and all other living organisms cannot be possible just depends on the GDP growth of a nation. If every nation has treated this ratio an ultimate insurance for assuring progress, prosperity, and happiness then it might be suicidal for them.
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Sometimes the whole approach of GDP econometrics appeared perplexing for the mass people who have considered ‘essential’ for this measurement. Before ending this article, some question is inevitable:

Does a leap on GDP metric really mean something precious for the people when the state-head, economic experts or the news media quoted over again that the GDP growth of the country is now at 7, and it will peak at 8 by next year? What be the impact of saying this: the per capita income of a developing country now raised from 400 dollars to 1800 dollars? Does it really mean the growth and national well being of this particular country or its citizen? Does it cover the truth for a while? Which perhaps placed behind the hypnotic graphical statistics to hide the crude reality that this particular country has suffered by poverty, malnutrition, social injustice, corruption, bureaucratic red-trapism, and obviously, it has suffered by inequality in all extent? 

Does the pictorial analysis of GDP are enough to hide the unpredictability in market price? Is it prudent for making comment like this that, —the purchasing capacity of people under high inflation indicates the economy is advancing at a good pace? Does it sound plausible when the economist forum predict a bright future and progress of a nation by depends on the statistical gross rate of wealth and productivity of it, in where wealth ratio reflects a lopsided state between the affluent and poor?

Perplexing, when the economists predict and government delivers the speech like a broken record: the gross poverty of people has reduced if we compare it to the previously registered dataset! What does it mean to the end? Can poverty be reducible by increasing GDP and Per Capita? Why then the relativity exists even for the developed nation, for saying this: the healthy and stable GDP and Per Capita Income rate of a developed nation are not able to ensure the equality of its citizens, instead, the majority people have seized by the wealth-inequality at great extent

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The bicycle thief: player.bfi.org.uk

… We need a camera that can take the whole picture of a nation instead of some partial. GDP methodology is useless in that context. It can quantify life with ‘dependable dataset’, but cannot quantify behind the scene story of people. It cannot quantify the story that is Vittorio De Sica once illustrated in his magnum opus ‘The bicycle thief’. Reminder, De Sica made this film after 14 years later of Simon Kuznets. The veteran American economist who first proposed GDP metric in American National Congress to measure economic growth, wealth and productivity ratio of people with GDP indexing.
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What a joke it is we have no choice to defend this! Nor we have any freedom to deny the index which make-bound us to suck the monstrous penis of profit mongers. We ‘ordinary people’ have already swallowed the immense pressure of market inflation, and have pleasing to take the new tax burden on our squat shoulder in excuse of progress in GDP index. 

GDP econometrics maybe essential to get a plausible picture. Anyway, what be the benefit of this when it hides the reality that many people perhaps yet living ‘worst life’ under the immense pressure of global capitalism despite the provocative jingle of poverty reduction? Does the colorful econometric be able to debunk the fact that is, progress on GDP or Per Capita cannot make a nation happy until it covers all the untold and unfinished story behind it.
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… Sometimes the whole approach of GDP econometrics appeared perplexing for the mass people who have considered ‘essential’ for this measurement…

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The daily quotes.com: JohnLennon
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