We need to modernize how we measure national wealth

phys.org | 10/16/2018 | Staff
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I recently tried an experiment. I changed several light bulbs, and since one required a little rewiring, I sent my wife (also known as the majority shareholder) a bill for $110.50 (plus GST). In return, she sent me a bill of $457.98 for her preparation in late December of a sumptuous meal, plus her work managing all social connections associated with the holidays.

Our process of issuing (and paying) the invoices for "services to the household" means we boost our own personal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with every invoice. This is because GDP only recognizes market transactions and not donated services.

Feminists - Observers - Economists - Household - Work

Feminists and other observers have long chided economists for failing to count household work as they assess national wealth. They have identified the "gendering of the holidays" as a major emotional and administrative burden borne largely by women in heterosexual relationships, and which common measures like the GDP fail to count. Some estimates contend that value of housework could be as high as US$40,000 annually.

Of course, defining the nature of housework is important. Household surveys on time use show that men are assuming increased (but not yet equal) participation in housework, essential when all adults work full-time. Identification of new categories of household tasks, such as the time spent managing social networks, have fuelled debate on the failings of our current measures of economic well-being.

Look - Wealth

But let's take a look back on how we first started measuring national wealth.

In response to the Great Depression, the United States Senate commissioned a report to measure the country's national income. That report, overseen by economist Simon Kuznets, spawned the system of national or macroeconomic accounts and the identification of the GDP as the core gauge of national wealth. For his efforts in developing economics as an empirical science, Kuznets received the Nobel Prize in Economics...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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