Magazine article New Internationalist

The Growth Delusion

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Growth Delusion

Article excerpt

The Growth Delusion by David Pilling (Bloomsbury, ISBN 978 1 408893 708)

This is a rare beast: a book on economics that is well written, accessible and - whisper it - entertaining! David Pilling advances the notion that our means of measuring economic growth is neither accurate nor moral. He points out that the standard yardstick, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is not only wildly arbitrary in what it counts, but also a relatively recent invention - the brainchild of US economist Simon Kuznets in the 1930s as a strategy to tackle the Great Depression. Kuznets himself became dissatisfied with what he saw as a blunt instrument. He realized that, in measuring growth per se, it fails to distinguish between desirable and undesirable growth, valuing drug use and rising crime equally with the construction of hospitals or schools. Pollution is good for GDP, war is even better. …

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