The Growth Delusion

The Growth Delusion

Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-being of Nations

Book - 2018
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"A provocative critique of the pieties and fallacies of our obsession with economic growth We live in a society in which a priesthood of economists, wielding impenetrable mathematical formulas, set the framework for public debate. Ultimately, it is the perceived health of the economy which determines how much we can spend on our schools, highways, and defense; economists decide how much unemployment is acceptable and whether it is right to print money or bail out profligate banks. The backlash we are currently witnessing suggests that people are turning against the experts and their faulty understanding of our lives. Despite decades of steady economic growth, many citizens feel more pessimistic than ever, and are voting for candidates who voice undisguised contempt for the technocratic elite. For too long, economics has relied on a language which fails to resonate with people's lived experience, and we are now living with the consequences. In this powerful, incisive book, David Pilling reveals the hidden biases of economic orthodoxy and explores the alternatives to GDP, from measures of wealth, equality, and sustainability to measures of subjective wellbeing. Authoritative, provocative, and eye-opening,The Growth Delusion offers witty and unexpected insights into how our society can respond to the needs of real people instead of pursuing growth at any cost"--
"A provocative critique of the pieties and fallacies of our obsession with economic growth"--
Publisher: New York : Tim Duggan Books, [2018]
Edition: First U.S. Edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780525572503
Branch Call Number: 338.9 P645G 2018
Characteristics: 291 pages : charts ; 22 cm


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Mar 18, 2018

A very readable book by someone who’s been around the block economically, not just a statistics whiz; though the author has a good grasp of the fundamentals. Tracing the history of the invention of gross domestic product, better known as GDP, from its mainstream adoption after World War II, the author explains what is and what is not counted in this major “growth” statistic. Turns out most things that contribute to a quality life — like government services, education, green space, healthy forests and clean air —aren’t counted, whereas stuff that can be unhealthy — like weakening labor costs and bolstering clearcutting and strip mining — are counted, skewing the GDP number. Many alternative indexes, including the genuine progress index (GPI) and the happy planet index (HPI) are studied, but in the end the author advocates not to abolish GDP, but to link it to an index measuring progress in the trenches so that the heartless measure of profits and productivity aren’t the only way to measure the efficiency of our economy and maximizing who benefits from it. Suggested are GDP per capita (that is, per person instead of per economy), median income and net domestic product (NDP). Such changes will help us measure our transition from a messy “cowboy” economy to an efficient and clean “spaceman” economy. And the author reminds us that statistics are inherently political, because paying for the gathering of the numbers shows politicians thank they are important (even if they occasionally rail against the results). For instance, not counting government services in GDP becomes an argument to privatize them so they WILL be counted. Since people choose these formulas, they ultimately can be updated or we may well "fry the planet" because we can't shake the belief that growth is always good. It’s time to grow the good things in life in our societies, and we can be happier if profits and productivity gradually retreat to sustainability in our measurements.

Feb 13, 2018

Although I haven't read this book as of yet, I have read this journalist from the Financial Times in the past, and feel reasonably certain as with all the other FT types, nothing of value will be learned - - and some of them simply spew propaganda!
Also, hate the use of that item, // we \\ , kemosabe!
Essentially, the super-rich and global elites value all growth as they strive to inflate their financial assets - - it's that simply, just three words, // inflating financial assets \\!!!
Did not figure this out on my own, but by reading ALL the economists and financial types and realizing that Michael Hudson, Michael Perelman and E. Ray Canterbery knew what the heck was going on!
Take so-called Marxist economist, Richard Wolfe, whom this book is probably aimed at [that demographic, at least], who sounds intelligent in a recent interview on the two types of economic schools within our university system [economics and business schools], but then suggests we study the rapid and sustained growth of China - - as if he is completely IGNORANT of the long, unspoken agreement between China and America [and to a lesser degree, Japan and Europe] that they ship the jobs to China while China buys the debt.
This isn't rocket science and if Wolfe still hasn't figured this out . . .


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