Not everything can be measured in dollars and cents. That's why economists and politicians who measure progress strictly according to Gross Domestic Product and claim that our lives are better just because the number goes up seem increasingly out of touch.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) quantifies just one part of the equation - economic output. It doesn't count the cost of achieving those gains, whether it's environmental degradation or a work-life imbalance that stresses families and saps joy from lives. It also says nothing about the distribution of all that additional wealth. As Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots show, most people do not think that the rich getting richer while everyone else falls further behind is laudable progress.
Now, finally, Canadians have a more comprehensive measure. One that doesn't just tell us how the economy is performing (as vital as that is), but tries to get a broader sense of how people are living. The Canadian Index of Wellbeing measures eight major areas: living standards, community vitality, democratic engagement, education, health, environment, leisure and culture and how we spend our time.