Robert Kennedy on the GNP

 

 

*** try and ignore the sentimental background music & the bombastic American rhetoric …

 

March 18, 2008 is the fortieth anniversary of one of
Robert F. Kennedy’s most famous speeches, given just months before his
assassination.  In it, RFK performed a rhetorical evisceration of the US national economic report card, Gross National Product. You can watch a new video of his remarks. He said:  "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. . . . 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."

 

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