I once proposed using life expectancy as the primary indicator of what society should try to maximize.
Recently there have been reports that life expectancy is negatively correlated with standard measures of economic growth. I accept the conclusion that depressions and recessions are less harmful than is commonly believed, but I want to point out the dangers of looking at only the life expectancy in the same year as an event that influences life expectancy. Depressions may have harmful effects that take a decade to show up in life expectancy figures (e.g. long-term wealth effects, effects on willingness to wage war, etc). So I’d like to see how life expectancy averaged over the ensuing 10 or 15 years correlates with a year’s gdp change.