Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion a year, but the GNP–if we should judge America by that–counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead…and 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…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.
–Robert F. Kennedy
March 18, 1968