Our Gross National Product now is over 800 billion dollars a year.
But that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage,… special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them,… the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl,… napalm,… nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities,… the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learnings, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country.
It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud to be Americans. www.jfklibrary.org