The struggle for alternative well-being metrics - Deepstash

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How Money Became the Measure of Everything

The struggle for alternative well-being metrics

  • The working-class Americans at the beginning of the 20th century were not as eager about the rise of economic indicators because they believed the human experience to be "priceless." They also viewed the figures as tools to be used to justify increased production quotas, more control over workers, or reduced wages.
  • Using prices to measure daily life was then highly contested. Some labor unions and Populist farmers succeeded in pushing state bureaus of labor statistics to offer up a series of alternative metrics that instead measured urban poverty, gender discrimination, leisure time, indebtedness, discrimination, rent-seeking behavior, and exploitation of workers.
  • But the interests of businessmen reigned, and by the mid-20th century, economic indicators focused on monetary output.

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