Activity 6-1
What Helps the GDP



  • To read and cite specific examples of how growth in sGDP may not reflect an improvement in the quality of life
  • To understand different views with regard to the value of GDP as a measurement of progress


Student handout: What Helps the GDP?


One class period


Students should demonstrate their understanding of GDP and its drawbacks as a measure of quality of life by answering the questions provided. They should participate actively in their group and be able to generate original ideas when called on concerning how various human accomplishments and disasters affect the GDP.


  • sustainable
  • GDP
  • resource
  • depletion
  • durable
  • renewable

Suggested Procedure

1. Break students into pairs.

2. Pass out the handout, What Helps the GDP?, and read through the oil spill example as a class. Clarify any questions and then have the students work in their pairs to determine whether each scenario helps or hurts the GDP.

3. Have students report to the class what they came up with for No. 2 and have the class discuss whether different examples are appropriate or not.

4. For the rest of the class period or for homework have the students read the three- page excerpt from Lester Brown called, "A New Economic Yardstick" as preparation for Activity #3. The reading is a little difficult so have them keep a list of words and concepts they do not understand.


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