it cannot be expected that economies will grow steadily indefinitely into the future, however, and we cannot depend on consuming ourselves into becoming a healthy society. there is a point at which more stuff is no longer better.
experts are proposing different measures of health of nations based on varying statistics. it sounds much more appealing and accurate to measure happiness or life satisfaction rather than consumption levels. from these improved measures we could read health levels...job satisfaction...education availability...maternity care and leave policies...health care availability...and then work to improve them.
the quote that rolled over and over in my mind was this one from joseph stiglitz: "what we measure affects what we do."
this is a crucial statement in this conversation. we know it to be the case. we experienced GDP as the measure of our economy's (and therefor our countries') health in recent years as we heard presidents and prime ministers encourage shopping as a healthy response to the 911 attacks and the recession. was that really what we needed?
we can certainly influence our society as a whole to rethink what we want the measure to be...but only after we've decided for ourselves, what measure we will use in our own families.
"what we measure affects what we do." as a family we need to sit down and discuss how we want to measure our family's health and well-being. if we do not take the time to discuss it...or decide it...consuming and stuff will eagerly fill the gap. it is the default today. i need to take the time to thoughtfully consider my answer...and to listen to the thoughts of my husband and girls on this topic. i know that i do not want how much stuff we have...or how big and nice a house we have...or even how great of vacations we have...to be our measure. the book proposes experiences be the measure, but i reject that as well. it is just a different sort of consuming.
the first step is to figure this out...what will my measure be? only then can i decide the way forward.