THEORY: A Gauge of Well-Being

For decades, gross national product, the estimated money value of a nation's total output of goods and services, has been popularly accepted as the most significant gauge of prosperity. But the G.N.P. is a crude and sometimes misleading measure. As conventionally calculated, it fails to adjust for such nonmonetary penalties of industrial growth as pollution and the nightmare of city congestion, or for such additions to material well-being as the pleasure a husband derives when his wife cooks a gourmet meal instead of popping a TV dinner into the oven. Now, a...

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