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Yes, that is exactly what it means, as far as making any grand generalizations about individual well being from GDP figures are concerned.  That was his point, elucidated in further work by Sen -- that we really can't say that "a rising tide lifts all boats" when it comes to economics.

However, GDP, and its cousins GNP and GNI, are still quite useful in summarizing the total amount of market-based economic activity that is going on in an economy, which is their primary function in economics, if not in policy debates. Although many seem to forget their intro macroeconomics by the time they become journalists, it's pretty standard in the field, and in economics instruction, that GDP is useless as a stand alone data point.  It only makes sense in the context of other data to judge well-being, power, or economic activity.

by santiago on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 01:11:00 PM EST
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