A comprehensive NY Times article from 2010 delves into the vast benefits and more modern concerns of equating growth exclusively with GDP (Gross Domestic Product). If nothing else, it provides a fascinating description of the calculations of official GDP statistics.
“For an entire day, the suite of offices where Landefeld’s group works is placed under what he calls ‘lockup.’ By tradition, no one in the room says the final number aloud — a throwback to the old days, apparently, when the fear of hidden microphones prompted silent acclamation.”
According to the article, the opposition to the superiority of GDP over all other indicators seems to fall within two camps, the economical and the philosophical. The former poses reform to the model itself, maintaining that it is useful if not necessary, but needs improvements. The latter takes issue with the notion of GDP as an indicator of progress altogether.
I enjoyed this holistic approach because all too often it seems economists and the remainder of the population are pitted against one another, but this debate transcends profession and politics and hopefully we can continue to improve the metrics for our well-being and progress.
Check out the State of the USA, an organization described in the article, for a way to visualize various indicators and metrics.