Sunday, February 11, 2007

Waste Management

Jonah Goldberg bows before the god of GDP. Americans aren't wasteful because we produce a lot with our energy consumption: "we are actually pretty energy efficient in the United States. The relevant issue isn't our population but our energy consumption as it relates to our contribution to global GDP. And on that score we do pretty well."

I won't argue whether Americans are wasteful or not. Ultimately, that is a value judgement. But Goldberg should read Joseph Pearce before simply dividing American energy consuption by the sum of our economic output:
GNP is the total price (not value, since value is qualitative not quantitative) of all the traded goods and services produced in a country during a year. Any economic activity that does not involve a monetary transaction is not included. On the other hand, any activity that involves the spending of money is included even if it has a detrimental effect in socioeconomic terms. This is a peculiar view of what is deemed "economic."

More from Pearce here.

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