Forget the GDP
More than a million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year, and that's good for the US gross domestic product. In fact, the more we spend on medical bills, the healthier the gdp looks. Back in the 1930s, when Wharton economist Simon Kuznets came up with the idea of tallying the total value of goods and services produced by an economy, he noted that "the welfare of a nation can...scarcely be inferred" from this exercise. And in 1968, Robert F. Kennedy said, "Gross national product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage...It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile."