Traditionally, the economy has been measured by looking at the gross domestic product (GDP) or the stock market. Employment rates and household income are also used to measure how the average worker is doing.
However, even the creator of the GDP admits that it doesn’t really reflect the full story. And, as economic inequality rises and the fruits of society’s labors accrue to fewer individuals, it’s become obvious that we need to expand our definition of economic prosperity past a single number. The bottom 80% of Americans only own 8% of stocks and rising GDP has virtually no relationship with each citizen’s wellbeing.
When you measure something, you implicitly set your policy goals. By focusing our measurement on GDP, we’ve promoted production over all else. It’s time to start measuring economic prosperity using a wider index that measures human as well as monetary indicators, such as (but not limited to):
- Quality of life and health-adjusted life expectancy
- Happiness/Well-Being and Mental Health
- Environmental quality
- Childhood success rates
- Income Inequality
- Consumer and Student Debt
- Work and civic engagement levels
- Infant mortality
- Quality of infrastructure
- Access to education
- Marriage and divorce rates
- Substance abuse and related deaths
- National optimism
- Personal dynamism/economic mobility
In short, why use GDP as a proxy for how Americans are doing when we can easily measure that well-being directly? Let’s start an American Scorecard, directly measuring the things we should be focusing on.
Our economic system needs to be updated for a new era. GDP and profitability are increasingly unrelated to how most of us are doing in real life. We need to implement a new set of measures like mental health, happiness, childhood success and quality-adjusted life expectancy that actually indicate our progress as a society and then channel resources to improving them. We don't exist to serve the market. The market exists to serve us.
Problems to be Solved
- Focus on a single number skews policy directives.
- GDP doesn’t take into account economic inequality.
- Human Capitalism
- Refocus our measuring tools to better capture the actual economic/well-being of the American people
- Set policy goals against measurable indicators of well-being
- Make an American Scorecard to measure progress on these goals
As President, I will…
- Create the American Scorecard to:
- Expand our measurement tools to account for other human factors that should be used to determine policy.
- Let these numbers set our policy focus and set goals against them.
- Task government departments with improving performance against various new measurements.
- Ensure that income and wealth inequality do not continue to grow in America by adopting Universal Basic Income of $1k/month per adult.