Below is a quote from Bobby Kennedy on what the Gross National Product means and more importantly...


Below is a quote from Bobby Kennedy on what the Gross National Product means and more importantly what it does not mean.

"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product ... if we should judge America by that - 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 those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armoured cars for police who fight riots in our streets. 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 (1) health of our children, (2) the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the (3) beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; (4) the intelligence of our public debate or (5) the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our (6) wit nor our (7) courage; neither our (8) wisdom nor our learning; neither our (9) compassion nor our (10) devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

Kennedy mentions at least 10 things that aren't measured by GDP. YOUR task is to argue that he is wrong. Find a way to prove that we can somewhat account for the factors he mentions in our GDP.

Answer and Explanation:

While it is true that GDP does not directly measure any of the items on Bobby Kennedy's list, it can be argued that none of them would be possible without GDP - more specifically growth in GDP and in GDP per capita (more GDP for each person).

All of these measures depend on a country and its economy doing better than the basic level of subsistence. All of these are higher up on Maslov's hierarchy of needs. Although people might vary in their opinions I think we can all agree that the listed items are at the higher levels of the pyramid.

The levels are:

physiological - food, air, shelter

safety and security

love and belonging



There is no concern for the needs on the list until and unless the basic needs are met. And increasing GDP and GDP per capita is a necessary condition for meeting these higher-order needs, according to Maslow.

Learn more about this topic:

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Definition, Theory & Pyramid

from Psychology 101: Intro to Psychology

Chapter 7 / Lesson 8

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