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Economic statistics neglect family values

August 15, 2011

Economic statistics can provide misleading testimony on the health of a society, and even on its economic strength, notes a report from Ireland’s Iona Institute.

One of the most common measures of an economy, GDP (gross domestic product) includes all financial transfers in its analysis of economic growth. Thus the sales of pornography are included, despite the damage done to society; and gambling profits are included, although they are perforce taken from losers. A divorce is counted as evidence of economic activity, insofar as it produces work for lawyers and court officials; the inevitable losses of the household are not figured into GDP.

The Iona Institute report relies heavily on a paper by Robert Patterson for Family in America: Growth with a Purpose: Why Policymakers Should Grow the Family, Not Just GDP.


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