What GNP Doesn’t Measure – Bobby Kennedy

Below is part of a speech that Bobby Kennedy gave at the University of Kansas while campaigning for President of the United States in 1968. He has some very profound things to say about GNP as a measure of well-being, which are worth repeating.


“Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.  It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them.  It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.  It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities.  It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.  Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.  It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.  It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.  And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”

Bobby Kennedy
University of Kansas
March 18, 1968

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Welcome to Sufficiency Economics

Hi and welcome to sufficiency economics.  This site is dedicated to the exploration of sufficiency and how it relates to economics.  Although there are various pages to review regarding my thoughts about the concept of sufficiency economics, the site is relatively new and the concept is relatively untested.

The term sufficiency describes a state of being, in which there is an awareness of completeness.  It is an awareness of self as fully whole, conscious that nothing or nobody can add or take away from that self.  It is the foundation for happiness and indeed all states of mind and it is also the foundation for free choice.  As such, it is an important concept that has implications for all that we do but it is rarely talked about by metaphysicians, philosophers, psychologists, environmentalists let alone economists.

The reason I became interested in the concept is that I believe the exploration and development of sufficiency may be integral to human happiness, to a new human development paradigm and perhaps even our survival.

If sufficiency is indeed a fundamental type of awareness, the development of which is important to our well-being, it is worth exploring.  And if it is worth exploring, why not look at the economic implications of the concept, since the economy is such an integral part of our daily lives.

If sufficiency was to be the goal of economics, what would economics and the economy look like?  How would we measure our progress?  What would it mean for capitalism?  What would it mean for money?  What approach would we take to economic development?  What approach would we take to trade, banking, the stock market or taxation for that matter.  These and other questions are the goal of this site and I welcome you to share your insights and your questions, so that we can explore the concept of sufficiency economics thoroughly together.

Please feel free to browse the various pages of the site for background reading but also raise your own questions or comments.  My thoughts on sufficiency economics are by no means complete or perhaps even coherent but your thoughts may be, so join in and submit your input and  I will respond as best I can.

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