Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Value and GDP

Based on my sample of 43 countries, proportional increases in per capita GDP can be expected to equal or exceed increases in life expectancy up to about $2,000 (over this range, increases in resource use, measured by per capita ecological footprint, also either exceed or equal increases in per capita GDP). For happiness, this number is around $4,000.

Break-even for per capita GDP and life expectancy is about $27,000 and break-even for per capita GDP and happiness is about $24,000. Break-even for per capita GDP and resource use is about $6,000.

This data implies that economic productivity, as currently measured, translates into meaningful changes in people’s lives over a very limited range.

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