1 Feb 2011

Time to look beyond GDP

GDP_Growth_Oct_Dec_2010I had been meaning to write a letter about the nonsense of pursuing evermore economic growth in the way this government - and indeed the last - has done. Well our local Green Party Press Officer, Liz Hillary has saved me the job - see below her letter:

Dear Madam/Sir,

The UK’s economy contracted by 0.5% between October and December 2010 ending a year of growth. Public services are being severely cut but the private sector is not picking up the slack as the Coalition Government promised. And how could it? Too much money has been taken out of the economy too quickly.

It casts further doubt on whether the Conservatives and LibDems actually know what they are doing. Especially as the Centre for Social Justice (a Tory-linked thinktank set up by Iain Duncan Smith) says it has identified a dysfunction in Whitehall where cuts are being made on the basis of "hunches" instead of sound analysis of whether or not a programme is productive (i).

However, instead of seeing everything in terms of GDP and supporting the lie that it can continually increase (which it quite obviously cannot as it is fundamentally limited by the limits to the earth’s resources) the government could take a different view of the country’s economy. One that is long overdue.

We need growth that is appropriate in areas that will move us towards a low-carbon economy and mean that we can withstand the economic and climatic shocks of the future. This requires radical thinking and investment in areas such as renewable energy, an integrated public transport system and an overhaul of our ageing housing stock to name just a few.

A fairer system of taxation and proper regulation of the banking industry would make all this possible with cuts where they would be appropriate: to trident and our continuing involvement in damaging and pointless overseas conflicts.

Yours truly

Liz Hillary, Green Party Press Officer

Notes (added by me!):

(i) See more at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jan/24/government-cuts-mismanaged-says-csj-thinktank

Note: The graph shows real GDP quarterly growth from Oct to Dec 2010 from the Office for National Statistics website: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=192

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