Dear Everyone, Please Care Less About the Dow


Ned Hodgman at the very underrated Understanding Government blog has had it with the media’s unrelenting need to put the stock market at the center of the American economic recovery.

Today’s Wall Street Journal front page headline, scanned this morning over coffee by the Journal’s 1.7 million subscribers, is “Stocks Drop to 50% of Peak.” I’d say we’re better off with 50% of the nonsense we had when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was the default indicator of the country’s economic health.

It’s not just the numbing predictability of the news every day — again with the Nikkei average, again with the S&P 500, and now every morning we’re supposed to care about the stock futures too.

That’s force of habit (and a lack of imagination) from the nation’s news outlets. The real problem is that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is only one measure of prosperity in this country, and certainly not the most reliable. Let’s look back a year or so and see if the Dow’s “peak” was a reliable indicator of anything except the coming crash.

Ned has some suggestions on what might make better indicators of the recovery. Might I suggest Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness?

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