Sneak Peek! Chapter 13

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“You may not have heard of something called national accounting, but no doubt you would recognize its result, Washington’s most often cited number, the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. Politicians love to talk GDP in the same way Wall Street likes to talk about income statements and immediate earning potential.

        Both these numbered accounts emphasize an imperative to grow, while confusing paper dollars with a healthy economy. GDP only adds up money made from market transactions. Its numbers equate your value to your salary or wages. By GDP’s account, men are therefore more important than are women because they make more dollars. GDP accounting helps keep things that way

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP) The GDP began as the Gross National Product (GNP) when American economist Simon Kuznets at the US Dept. of Commerce created a new report called “National Income: 1929-1932.” It gave government a new economic profile of sales income industry-by-industry. When WWII broke out, it revealed industrial production abilities that enabled more efficient coordination of war production. GNP, which measured dollars of Americans no matter where they lived, was replaced by the GDP in 1991, as more multinational corporations appeared. GDP measures all dollars produced within a nation’s boundaries, including by foreign companies.

...Today GDP remains largely unquestioned by the general public in the US. It’s a boring subject, complex enough to make the eyes cross.       

         To wake you up, I’ll call its system of accounts the numerical tales of privileged global elites, who weave a complex royal robe of GDP threads to cover the naked power that money alone wields. Robert Kennedy gave a remarkable speech about the GDP’s misdirection in 1968, just weeks before he was assassinated. He said that GDP’s materialism failed to account for the things Americans most valued, such as “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 wouldn’t be until the ’90s that women’s challenges to GDP details began to be voiced…”