Nonsensical accounting

One of the many topics I write about in Beyond Apologies is why GDP tells us almost nothing useful about how a country and its people are doing. There are a lot of problems with GDP as a measure. Among them is the fact that it is mostly limited to monetary exchanges. If a family grows healthy food for its own consumption, it isn’t recorded in GDP (unless that’s their main occupation), so encouraging more people to do likewise will not be reflected as economic growth. If people grow healthy food and then sell it to buy junk food, it will count in GDP, and thus it seems like a good idea. If someone takes care of her own baby and ailing relatives, it is not reflected in GDP, but it will be counted if she pays someone else to take care of them. That is, as long as we work for someone else instead of for our own families, it counts; if we do work in our homes, for our own families, without pay, it doesn’t count. Well, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and helps explain why reliance on GDP leads to such stupid decisions!