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Just throwing things out here, but measuring total income for the bottom 90% of the income distribution could be a more honest GDP-like measure. It's less of a radical departure from traditional economic statistics than other quality of life indexes--and might be an easier sell to economists and policy wonks because of it--but is considerably less vulnerable to skew from income inequality than GDP.

Most of the income gains in the past 40 years have accrued to the very top of the income distribution, so simply cutting these people out of economic statistics would give a much more accurate picture of how the average person is doing.

Another possible approach for comparing countries of reasonably similar development would be to measure how much free time people have after they've dealt with the essentials of life (work, commuting, shopping, cooking, interactions with government and business bureaucracy). This would capture a currently hidden impact of neoliberalism: theft of time through travel distances, long working hours, and the fact that resolving any problem with bureaucracy involves many, many hours wasted with "customer" "service."

nobody, yes, the bottom 90% is a good measure. other possibilities are measuring median incomes, or the percentage of people earning less than 1/2 the median income. Time use is another good quality of life measure, though there are a lot of measurement issues. The challenge is figuring out how to base policy on multiple numbers, like the ones you've suggested, rather than a single number e.g. GDP.

I agree it would be worthwhile trying to measure the bottom 90%, trying to collect good numbers would require cooperation. I can't see that happening. As for the 'quality of life' measurement it would be good for morale of a country as long as it doesn't become a measure of condescension or 'economies of contempt'.

Wondering if anyone has figured out what the total cost will be for not enforcing poaching and money laundering? Just roughly doing the numbers and well.....That whole money is worth more today than tomorrow argument just doesn't work with the inflation & GDP numbers.


GDP was adopted, in the US at least, as a way of measuring the impact of and recovery from the Great Depression in the 1930s. It served its purpose fairly well. We have new economic problems now, so it is time to dredge up some metrics that address them. I was in Bhutan last year where they are adopting "gross national happiness" as their metric. The country is small and relatively undeveloped. They seem to be doing a decent job of getting electricity (hydro) to even minor towns, building roads to connect their valleys, distributing medical care and so on within constraints of their situation. Bhutan has a population of about 750,000, a popular king and a geopolitically important location between China (via Tibet) and India, so I doubt their model could apply elsewhere. Still, it was nice to see a kingdom where the emphasis was on rural electrification rather than building magnificent palaces.

There is also a gap apps contribute to Q-of-L as we can consciously and subconsciously see inferior resolution/immersion/field-of-View. I suggest a Q-of-L metric during a mild pandemic must incorporate mental health/excellence but must be measured against the spread of disease; sometimes immediate spread is economically justified (workers don't want to be bored all pandemic long).
I suggest an immediate stimulus encompass: utility system construction, especially copper sanitary sewers. Fruit and vegetable production ideally with long shelf-life and storage equipment. Ventilation, heating, AC, refrigeration manufacturing. Farm, lawn, and garden machinery manufacturing and services; an edible garden is better but I do believe we have a subconscious desire to see nature. Novel catastrophic insurance products that reward a healthy supply chain and anti-microbial workplaces. Video game production ideally for Xmas release. Antimicrobial protective films and coatings. Antimicrobial, bleach cleanable, UV resistant textiles and indoor surfaces. Outdoor activities where socially distanced. Perhaps cabin construction where not high-density is included. For the winter the latter two don't apply, perhaps immune/vaccinated film technical crews can be identified.
Much of the computer media economy requires more immersive scenarios (I love google maps for letting me take a tour of my past walks in other cities). The subconscious can be addressed by good psych professionals but I don't know if people will trust pros remotely. Many of our resilience hangups are subconscious, there is a subconscious economy that is as just as uncosted now as is the app gap.

Dee: "As for the 'quality of life' measurement it would be good for morale of a country" - unless it showed quality of life was going down, as in fact it might! It's very likely the case that quality of life is harder/slower to increase than GDP.

Kaleberg - I think the kinds of considerations you mention are very much behind this government's present commitment to quality of life measurement.

Phillip - interesting suggestions.

We are going to need spare parts for a variety of future disasters, including a potential mutation. Power transformers. A way to effectively decontaminate different surfaces needs to be researchers using virus in human fluid secretions as well as airborne. Airport hangars, airplanes and trucks can be decontaminated and power transformers are light weight enough to transport easily. When a mining community is already afflicted, workers can reopen a mine. A mini-wave will follow cessation of SD-ing. It shouldn't be 18 months as this will result in a winter wave. It should end next May at latest. Certain supply chains can be decontaminated and function. Watyer utilities where there are lighter parts that can fit in a trucks; these parts should be made. Climate controls parts housings should be made, perhaps with a copper coating. Essentail elderly staffers for such should train a younger replacement. Our WW2 veterans should be givens vaccines and every opportunity to tell their lifes tales now using tele-media. We will need winter decontaminated indoor places and summer parks to wait out the heat waves. A tent coffee shop anti-viral should be ready ASAP with markings 10 meters apart on the ground. Cleaners can be trained to disinfect COVID.

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