19 Sep '12, 5pm

The Mismeasure of All Things | Orion Magazine

How GDP distorts economic reality Steven Stoll Published in the September/October 2012 issue of Orion magazine ON A ROAD NOT FAR FROM MORGANTOWN, West Virginia, my guide pulled over to show me the peculiar color of a certain river. It was orange. The rocks and creek bed were a hue somewhat brighter than rust but duskier than the reflective vests worn by utility crews. Years of drainage from coal mining tailings, high in the acid produced during the washing of the coal, had killed everything in the watercourse, rendering the water a moving hazard and contributing to the economic decline of the area. Coal had also sickened the bodies of miners, as well as the atmosphere. Yet the years when rivers like the one I saw became industrial sewers were some of the most prosperous in the history of the state of West Virginia, when men and women were relatively well employed, cashing ...

Full article: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/7008

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