Looking at the basic biological systems, the world is not doing very well.
Yet economic indicators show the world is .
Despite a slow start at the beginning of the eighties, global economic output increased by more than a fifth during the .
The economy grew, trade increased, and millions of new jobs were created.
How can biological indicators show the of economic indicators?
The answer is that the economic indicators have a basic fault: they show no difference between resource uses that progress and those uses that will hurt it.
The main measure of economic progress is the gross national product (GNP).
, this totals the value of all goods and services produced and subtracts loss in value of factories and equipment.
Developed a half-century ago, GNP helped a common way among countries of measuring change in economic output.
For some time, this seemed to work well, but serious weaknesses are now appearing.
As indicated earlier, GNP includes loss in value of factories and equipment, but it does not the loss of natural resources,
including nonrenewable resources such as oil or renewable resources such as forests.
This basic fault can produce a sense of national economic health.
According to GNP, for example, countries that overcut forests actually do better than those that preserve their forests.
The trees cut down are counted as income but no subtraction is made for the forests.