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Measuring Growth; Maturity

November 8, 2017

Author: Bianca Yang
Email: ipacifics@gmail.com

Growth is goal we should all be striving for. We should seek each day to better ourselves and those around us for the glory of God. We are imperfect creatures, but that cannot stop us from reaching for higher ground. Even if there is no hope for us individually, there is always hope for someone else. We must move forward as a race towards greater understanding and good.

A common measure of country-wide growth is GDP. I’m sure you could come up with analogous measures of growth for other human organizations. But why GDP and the economy must keep growing was a question that bothered me for some time. The measure is completely artificial and merely our way of coping with complexity. But it’s a reasonable measure that tries to capture value creation over time. I once read a blog post on the necessity of GDP growth and saw a comment that was quite insightful (sic):

“Resources are not all that is involved in growth. The idea is more ‘how do we meet more and deeper human needs?’ That doesn’t always involve more resources. Many kvetch over how we aren’t making as much in our economy — we have more and more of an economy based on services. That’s as it should be. Meeting material needs is relatively easy, but making life meaningful, or at least fun, is more challenging, and more ingenuity gets thrown at it, and not more resources. The economy can grow on a resource-light basis if the services delivered make life more pleasant and productive. Largely, that has been the case. That doesn’t mean that GDP is the right measure for progress — most of the alternatives are worse, but my measure would be increase in net wealth plus consumption. That would avoid the fallacy of GDP growth showing progress as the economy rebuilds from Katrina, Tohoku, etc., or the fallacy that our economy is growing when the government borrows money to stimulate the economy. Net wealth plus consumption does not grow from that. Finally, we need to adjust for externalities like pollution, lousy public schools, etc. Where a dollar spent does not yield a dollar of long-term value, the value should be discounted, the same was that China’s ghost cities should not be counted at all in GDP statistics (but they are counted at full cost).

Growth is good, and generally, more growth is better if it is measured fairly. It means that society can do more to meet human needs.” – David Merkel

END QUOTE I apologize for the laziness of the large block comment, but I have not much to say on this topic. I just wanted to share with you something I found exciting.

Maturity is a state of being where you know what needs to be done and you get it done appropriately. You don’t complain, you don’t whine, you don’t argue, and you don’t make excuses. You just roll up your sleeves and make sure everything is put in its place and is functioning as should. Mise en place.

I thought of this while I was cooking today, because I felt like I didn’t have significant intuition on how prepare tasty foods. I don’t know how much sauce is appropriate; I’m not sure what sauces mix well; I am not great at ingredient preparation, and I don’t have feel for portion size. But these things come with practice, I’m sure. One can only hope to become great if one is willing to put in the effort to break down walls to achieve greatness. The journey to enlightenment is painful and horrendous, which is why only those who challenge themselves beyond what others are willing to challenge themselves with can achieve transcendence.

I’m learning, bit by bit, to lose my childish behavior and predilections and see the world as a responsible adult. It is time for me to take the reins of my life and make great things happen. I choose to make things and allow things to happen. Luck rewards the prepared.

無聊是自由的腦的特免。我這幾天因為功課不多、工作的時間緊緊地限制在於比較空的時間,就覺得比較無聊。我平常無聊時都會看漫畫、讀書、或動畫,想辦法去解決那樣不良的感覺。但是我最近體認無聊對腦筋的引響有多美。我因為無聊才可以去深想著我的未來、動腦筋去發出我的創意性。我朋友們常說我想太多。我雖然有時候會想太多,但我認為我想多一點就有更多機會發現更精彩的理論。每一個經驗都讓我改造我的世界模型 (models of the world)。我們必須先造出合理、實證正確的 (empirically true) 理論才能真正的瞭解世界。

很多人覺得理論研究太難所以想去工業賺錢,活更輕鬆的日子。但理論家才是真正讓人類進步的領導人。我們如果沒有做長期地研究、去投資月亮射擊 (moon shot),我們以後的生活就跟今天的差不多一樣。

人生的意義是從掙扎出來的。人生的意義也是從進步出來的。我們必須跟世界、無知戰鬥,才能獲得值得過下去的生活。讓我們一起戰鬥下去吧!