Bobby Kennedy said the passage below in a speech three months before he was assassinated. Coincidence? Meh. Probably. 
For  now I’d rather focus on the fact that it was said almost a year to the day before I was born. 
Should I retain hope that at least some in previous generations also believed an economy is a subset of a society and not vice-versa, or should I despair that western “civilization” has learned little or nothing from these words since they were spoken? 
Meh. I’ll go for the hope thing. But it was close. JLP 

Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.  It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them.  It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.  It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities.  It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, 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, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.

University of Kansas
March 18, 1968

Advertisements