Essay Writing

Is GDP an adequate measure of national economic activity?

Is GDP an adequate measure of national economic activity?



GDP and Per Capita GDP are two of the most basic and most widely used economic measures. These broad measures provide interesting and useful information about a nation’s economy as a whole, and per capita GDP is the standard measure of the standard of living.

Is GDP an adequate measure of national economic activity?

These measures are often criticized for not being a measure of the quality of life (whatever that means, as there is no standard definition of quality of life). However, GDP was never intended to measure quality of life, just output and the income that the production process produces.

Please read these handouts to learn more about GDP and Per Capita GDP.

Discussion Questions — Answer All

Please share your thoughts on the following:

  • Is GDP an adequate measure of national economic activity?
  • Should GDP be replaced by a new quality of life measure?
  • Or should there be separate measures of economic output (GDP) and quality of life?
  • Or some combination?


An answer to the initial set of questions you choose. Your post should be least 300-350 words long and include two quotes or specific references to vocabulary or concepts in the Learning Materials with citations in MLA format.

Option #1: Terminology 

Choose five terms from the vocabulary list for this week that are new to you or discussed in our readings in a way you have not thought about. Make sure you choose a few terms from the readings on culture and a few from the readings on technology.  

For each of your five terms: 

  1. Provide a brief definition in your own words. This should be a paraphrase of the definition from one of the readings. Please see tips on paraphrasing here.  
  2. Cite where you got the definition from in MLA format. 
  3. Explain in a few sentences how you think this term might help you look at technology and culture in a new way in this class.

Here are the readings: 

Please see attached for readings. 

Option #2: Quotes 

Review the following quotes from the article “From Technological Autonomy to Technological Bluff: Jacques Ellul and Our Technological Condition” in the Learning Materials. 

“A technological society, Ellul reasoned, begets autonomous technique, a condition in which technology’s values drive technology, and following from this technology will determine the rest of society…Ellul theorized that once human beings enter the technological society (our current situation), technology is not controlled by anything.”

“While the means–the technologies–become ever more complex…Goals such as freedom or wealth are seldom questioned, but it is often unclear what these mean, for whom, and at what cost. The focus is on extending the means of development, pursuing new technologies. Goals are given such content as will the technological means available. Thus “success” becomes not a state of flourishing but as acquiring more possessions. “educated” no longer connotes wisdom but possessing measurable and marketable skills.” 

“We now generally, if sometimes grudgingly, accept new technology. This is the case even when it creates new difficulties, when it raises profound ethical questions, when it might work less well, or when it exacts greater demands than previous technologies.” 

“Through advertising of particular devices or propaganda for acceptance of technologies in general, the marketing of technology persuades the public to accept new technologies. This process denies that technologies are simply freely chosen by the public in the marketplace and emphasizes the ability of advertising to sell the technologies to the public.”

Choose one of these quotes and do the following:  

  1. Place the quote at the top of your post. 
  2. Paraphrase the quote in your own words. Please see tips on paraphrasing here.  
  3. Discuss how it relates to your relationship with technology in your everyday life OR why you disagree with something in the quote.  
  4. Use at least one or two specific examples from your life or our culture to illustrate your points.  
  5. Use at least one additional quote from this article in your discussion.  
  6. Make sure to cite your quote in MLA style. 
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