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New Economic Measurement Highlights North Carolina's Growing Wealth Gap

Simplicity is not always an indicator of good economic analysis.
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.

Host Anita Rao talks with economic analyst Juhi Modi about their new report calculating economic wellbeing in North Carolina.

“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.

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Grant Holub-Moorman is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina.