Guest Writer for Wake Up World
“Anyone who believes that exponential economic growth can go on forever on a finite planet must either be a madman or an economist” ~ Kenneth Boulding, economist, educator and peace activist.
Countries’ economies are driven by an obsession – continuous growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And our manic obsession with never-ending economic growth is driving our planet to ruin.
The absurdity of this becomes clear with a little bit of thought. Never-ending growth that relies on extracting resources from a finite planet is, of course, a mathematical impossibility. But well before we reach that point, this obsession will render our planet uninhabitable.
If our concern is the well-being of our citizens, is GDP the appropriate indicator of that? GDP is defined as “the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time.” This implies that a cleaning-up operation after an environmental disaster for example gives a boost to GDP.
Dan O’Neill of the Centre for the Advancement of Steady State Economics (CASSE) makes the point that many bad things – such as family breakdown, wars and environmental disaster – contribute to GDP, but good things, where no money is exchanged, do not — such as volunteering.
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