the never-ending story...
Our manic obsession with never-ending economic growth is driving our planet to ruin, writes Dr Adnan Al-Daini.
COUNTRIES' ECONOMIES ARE DRIVEN by an obsession — continuous growth in the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 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?
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.
Research shows that while in developing countries there is a strong correlation between GDP per capita and people's well-being, in developed countries – such as in Western Europe and the United States – such a correlation no longer applies. For example, in the U.S. and UK, GDP per capita has tripled since 1945, but perception of happiness amongst the population has since flat-lined.