It’s official: I’m an economic contributor


Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

Yes, it’s been a long time coming, but as of this week, I can be counted among those who contribute to the growth of the economy. The U.S. Commerce Department will adjust its criteria for measuring the growth of the gross domestic product to include “intangible” creations such as arts and entertainment and research and development, Jeff Sommer writes in the New York Times.

As Sommer explains:

This is to take place on Wednesday, when the bureau releases the results of an immense revaluation of the size and composition of the American economy from the Great Depression to the present. It undertakes this exercise every five years or so, altering its methods as the economy and data quality change. Among the bureau’s revisions is a change in its treatment of research and development and the creation of what it calls “entertainment, literary and other artistic originals.”

“Artistic originals” includes books, movies TV shows, music, photographs and greeting cards, Sommer writes. Of course, there’s a catch. To contribute to the economy, writing must enduring value. Perishable writing, such as daily journalism, won’t be counted.

Most of my career was spent writing for newspapers and new organizations, which means my contribution to the new GDP won’t reflect much of my work. However, with a couple of books under my belt and hopefully more on the way, I’ve made a few lasting contributions.

It’s nice to know that in some small way, I’m adding to the country’s economic growth, even if its something smaller than a rounding error.


About lorensteffy

Loren Steffy is a writer, speaker and consultant. He is the author of Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit published by McGraw-Hill in 2010 and The Man Who Thought Like a Ship, published by Texas A&M University Press in April 2012. A journalist for more than 25 years, he was most recently the business columnist for the Houston Chronicle.
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