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Business & Economy

New Economic Measurement Highlights North Carolina's Growing Wealth Gap

A person with a wagon filled with baskets of red apples, one brown basket of apples fell off the wagon and there are 5 people jumping on the ground to attempt and pick up the fallen apples
Market Reports, Illustrated circa 1905
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Simplicity is not always an indicator of good economic analysis.

The inventor of gross domestic product — the sum of all goods and services of a particular nation — warned that it was not a good measurement of human welfare. Yet, since the 1940s, the single number has dominated policy recommendations, despite those foundational shortcomings. A recent report highlights the economic contributions and costs that GDP fails to take into account.

“Economic Well-being in North Carolina” uses state and federal data to account for the hidden cost of water pollution or divorce rates. Meanwhile, unpaid labor like parenting is given a dollar value and the report adds it into the overall economic picture. The author of the report, Juhi Modi, talks with host Anita Rao about how a new measuring stick for the economy can help policymakers prioritize human wellbeing over industrial growth. The report was supported and published by Gross National Happiness USA, a non-profit advocating for new measurements of progress and success.

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