Mill said it first

It’s a bit annoying when you read or learn something new, that you think is the best thing since sliced bread and will result in a great change as soon as everyone learns the new info (if only the world really worked like that) and then it turns out the idea has been around for ages and perhaps just having the idea is not enough. After reading The Spirit Level, I came across this quote:

It is only in the backward countries of the world that increased production is still an important object: in those most advanced, what is economically needed is a better distribution.

Mill, 1848, Principles of Political Economy.

Though to be fair, we hadn’t invented GDP back then. If Mill had known what a wonderful number that is, that counts only paid work, but not unpaid (mostly women’s) work, that counts pollution and the effort to clean it up as two pluses, then  he might have thought twice about this.

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