In Do Nominal GDP Numbers Mean Anything (Very Much)?, Chris White has some stern words for how useless a measure Gross Domestic Product has become, and excoriates some "progressive" economists who recently used GDP "in a nominally uncritical way." And he takes aim at some of the results of economists' unwillingness to accept the need for normative judgements:
It may be helpful though to think of some branches of the economics profession as really part of the world of advertizing, or publicizing, or maybe the better nominal value which could have constant appreciation potential would be "propagandists". I think that is translated from some language where it came from a word that meant "spreaders". Farmers know something about that field of study, and bookies know how to recognize betters at analyzing transactions.
Self-sufficiency in this context does not mean abandoning trade. It is outrageous that the US can no longer feed itself, because its agriculture has been corporatized, and shamelessly feels free to take the food out of the mouths of others world wide. It is outrageous that the US does not produce the equipment which could enable others to solve problems like sanitation water, food supply, housing and other construction, on their own when these problems reflect the degradation of all our lives and the environment. Someone said, You can give a hungry man a fish, or you can show him how to use a line and hook. We should be providing lines and hooks not taking other peoples' fish. But they should be really lines and hooks, and not just invoices for non-existent transactions that have made off with the wealth of the country in the name of growth because people are no longer able to understand what they think they are looking at, or what goes into making an economic transaction a transaction that counts.