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The GDP Race

I love the local free papers in the communities that I have lived in. The are choc full of good stuff for me – they have fantastic art and music reviews, detailed schedules of community events, profiles of local restaurants, and a huge heap of economic nonsense.

In the latest anti-commercial society commentary, the author complains that we, as Americans, are worse off today than we were 28 years ago because, “the US GDP was greater than the next four largest national economies combined. Now the US GDP is little more than half as large as the next four combined.” He continues, “the US had the world’s largest economy for approximately 125 years, this appears to be about to end.”

Let’s not discuss whether aggregate GDP means anything (I suggest it does not), but let’s briefly look at the nature of the complaint. In the economic competition of the global economy, this author suggests things are terrible when the richest nation in the world (the US) loses its position as the richest nation, or when it is not richer than the next 4 nations combined, but rather is only 50% as large as the next 4 nations.

Now, simply exchange the name US with “wealthiest 1% in America” and next 4 nations with “lower 50% of Americans” and see how this complaint sounds. I hardly believe that the folks like this author that detest modern society, and the hard working individuals that brought it about, understand the irony in holding this view. How can you believe that America needs to have the largest GDP and be richer than the next 4 nations, as being a good thing, but then when it comes to the individuals that make up this same America, the OPPOSITE conclusion is true. In fact, this entire City Newspaper is a lamentation, bash, complaint against the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor.  Why is it OK for ALL of the individuals in America to get richer relative to ALL of the individuals of other countries, but then it is quite the opposite when it comes to these same individuals within the US (granting them the point that this is, in fact, happening within America).

I don’t expect them to recognize this inconsistency, but you can’t have it both ways. Either you think economics is a competition that is worth winning, and both the US winning and a few rich guys winning is a good thing or bad thing according to your values … or you understand that economics is not a competition, and that neither the US, nor the individuals that make it up get rich at anyone else’s expense … and if our relative position happens to fall, it in no real way means that any of us are worse off.

Keep writing those columns!

2 Responses to “The GDP Race”

  1. Speedmaster says:

    The Rochester City newspaper is a horrific socialist rag. That said, I still read it for entertainment. 😉

  2. […] what the folks writing for my local free newspaper say about anyone that is not poor. This again makes me chuckle, because on the same pages there are […]

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