This article is part 3 from Chapter 6 of Richard Heinberg’s new book ‘The End of Growth’, published by New Society Publishers. This chapter looks at ideas for post growth economics.
- Increasing self-reliance means decreasing GDP. If you eat at home more, you are failing to do your part to grow the GDP; if you grow your own food, you’re doing so at the expense of GDP. Any advertising campaign that aims to curb consumption hurts GDP: for example, vigorous anti-smoking campaigns result in fewer people buying cigarettes, which decreases GDP.
- GDP does not distinguish between waste, luxury, and a satisfaction of fundamental needs.
- GDP does not guarantee the meaningfulness of what is being made, bought, and sold. Therefore GDP does not correlate well with quality of life measures.
- GDP is “Gross Domestic Product”; there is no accounting for the distribution of costs and benefits. If 95 percent of people live in abject poverty while 5 percent live in extreme opulence, GDP does not reveal the fact.
ISEW = personal consumption
+ public non-defensive expenditures
– private defensive expenditures
+ capital formation
+ services from domestic labor
– costs of environmental degradation
– depreciation of natural capital
- Time use
- Living standards
- Good governance
- Psychological well-being
- Community vitality