GDP (i.e., gross domestic product) is the market value of all finished goods and services, produced within a country in a year. When people talk about how “the economy” is doing, they are often referring to GDP, because GDP is a measure of the wellbeing of a society.
GDP isn’t the most important thing in life, but it is an important measure of our standard of living. It helps us know if we’re ‘better off’ than before, and is correlated with many of the non-monetary improvements that contribute to human flourishing.
Recently, Jaime Albella created an animation that charts how GDP has changed over the last 57 years for the world’s 10 largest economies. The effect of watching the changes is hypnotic. What’s most encouraging about this video is that it represents millions of people being lifted out of extreme poverty in what is, from the perspective of human history, a very short span of time.