imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

New Numbers for Progress: Alternative Growth

by Petra Pinzler Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 at 2:09 PM
mbatko@yahoo.com

The GDP measures the wrong things and conceals destruction of the environment, unhappiness and injustice. Politics tries to force up the gross domestic product. But what if this standard does not measure the right things and leads to a misguided policy?

NEW NUMBERS FOR GROWTH: ALTERNATIVE GROWTH

Criticism of the gross domestic product grows. The GDP measures the wrong things, conceals destruction of the environment, unhappiness and injustice. The German economic wise men hold to the figure.

By Petra Pinzler

{This article published in: DIE ZEIT 50, 12/8/2010 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.zeit.de/2010/50/Alternatives-Wachstum?page=all&print=true.]

Nicolas Sarkozy has a talent. Before others, the French president senses popular ideas – and quickly presents them on the great stage with a big fuss. However they often then quickly disappear again in oblivion, often for ever. An old theme captivated him and the German chancellor in early December 2010: the question of the meaning and nonsense of economic growth.

Stimulated by Sarkozy, the two heads of government began this philosophical debate a few months ago. Together they wanted to know whether growth, prosperity and progress must be judged differently than before and whether or not alternatives to the conventional gross domestic product are needed.

For a long while this standard was a synonym for prosperity. Countries gained their place accordingly on the list of successful nations. Governments are judged according to this. Therefore politics tries to force up the GDP, the gross domestic product, as much as possible. But what if this standard does not measure the right things and leads to a misguided policy?

This question haunted the heads of government, not only out of intellectual curiosity. Their interest in the famous number and its foundations had a different background. The economies of their countries collapsed in the middle of the financial crisis. The GDP brutally documented this.

The skepticism of citizens about the economic system grows. More and more people ask whether the growing (or shriveling) has anything to do with their personal well-being. They worry whether the earth will not become poorer in truth through an insidious eco-catastrophe – while they artificially count themselves rich. Therefore the leaders wanted to know: do we have the right policy?

A simple example drastically shows how misguided is the equation of GDP and progress. The economy grows when a car is smashed up and the driver lands in the hospital – since the insurance pays for the injuries and doctors render their services. Through the accident, the man and society are worse, not better.

What is more obvious than experts searching for alternatives? Together Merkel and Sarkozy commissioned their respective economic wise men to seek for new answers. These answers are now presented to them – in a time when the economic collapse is not as burning. For a long while, the GDP in Germany has been growing again and the government is taking a step forward – or backward – according to your perspective. In any case, the government revels again these days in marvelous economic numbers and acclaims “its” upswing. Is growth criticism still needed?

In any case, the economic wise men will not be troubled about this. After long reflection and much discussion, they came to the clear judgment: the GDP is the best standard for judging the economic output or performance of a country. They regard the GDP as imperative for judging the economic development or policy. They refuse any alternative indicator for social progress.

Was it a waste of time and energy? Economists do not make it so simple. A whole series of other figures are discussed as complements. At the beginning of the week, the Bonn sociologist Meinhard Miegel with his Denkwerk Zukunft institute (Think Tank for the Future) presented a similar conclusion though less extensively documented: The “replacement of the GDP by a prosperity-indicator” is wrong. To know how wealthy a country really is, four numbers should be emphasized and proclaimed according to Miegel: growth, distribution, exclusion and ecology. But summarizing this in a new “progress index” is wrong because this prevents the society from developing an awareness for the “importance and course of non-material prosperity indicators.”

Should there be many new numbers, not only one new number? This calls to mind the popular book “Wer bin ich – und wenn ja, wie viele?” Andreas Kraemer from the Ecology research institute regards such proposals as eyewash. For a long while all possible data on the destruction of the earth was published. There were the Global Footprint and the Happy Planet index. However all this accomplished little. Compared to the GDP, these numbers had hardly any political relevance. Therefore Kraemer sees the recommendations and answers of conservative economists as attempts to immunize themselves against criticism from society and the environmental movement.

Kraemer is not alone. In the last weeks, statisticians and researchers of different environmental institutes met in Berlin to discuss their data – and together admit their weaknesses. They do not trust an attack on the GDP – although they are constantly annoyed that this number conceals the eco-catastrophe.

Hardly one of the researchers believes other numbers will appear prominently on the nightly news alongside the Dax and GDP or that the real state of the planet will be reported. Institutional and political assistance for other numbers is lacking. Kraemer says: “Only politics can change this.”

In England politics did just that. At the end of November 2010, the conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would measure the “well-being” of his nation in the future and make the result the foundation of his policy. He will be motivated by a public that has discussed measurement of the good life longer and more extensively than the German public. Stimulated by economists like Richard Layard, the Brits discuss necessary changes of society, fairness and distribution, in a word welfare, not only environmental questions. Recent studies show ever more clearly: more material wealth does not lead automatically to more satisfied societies. The Brits are encouraged by happiness-research and researchers who emphasize welfare, distribution, environmental and economic questions.

In Berlin, the parliament now raises new questions. At the end of November 2010, the Bundestag founded the Enquete commission “Growth, Prosperity and Quality of Life.” The idea came from social democrats and Greens. After initial hesitation, the CDU and the FDP agreed. If everything goes well, an alternative to the GDP will appear at the end, the new commission chairperson Daniela Kolbe, said.

The commission may not have to seek for long. The Frankfurt economist Stefan Bergheim presented his ideal number summarizing growth, the environment and social well-being. The economist who long worked at the research institute of Deutsche Bank and has now founded his own “research center” is certain: The new figure for progress is feasible. If everything goes right, the German government some time or other will no longer only commission the wise men with a report on the economic situation including the GDP estimate. Then something will be discovered about the situation of the nation. “Progress,” Bengheim says, “is like a snail that now finally runs in the right direction.”

RELATED LINKS:

www.onthecommons.org

www.wearemany.org

Redefining Progress:

www.sustainable.org

Jeremy Rifkin, Redefining Progress, 15 minute video:

http://www.google.com/url?url=http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DcIOlVhJRqkw&rct=j&sa=X&ei=oVoPTebcG5K-sAOqxK2EDw&ved=0CFoQuAIwCQ&q=redefining+progress&usg=AFQjCNFrf6Iay5CbuFc5DEns6dPcX-sF_w&cad=rja

Jonathan Rowe, “The Growth Consensus Unravels,” 1999:

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/1999/0799rowe.html

Report this post as:

Local News

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen Heads to Portland, Oregon N20 8:39PM

Socialism in American English N20 12:04PM

Noske, noskisme réactualisé N20 11:29AM

Oprah Please Stop Selling Dead Animal Pieces N20 3:32AM

Down In Smoke SF N20 12:03AM

Credit Mr. Richard Enos with outstanding penmanship N19 6:08AM

Master list=====47 million american on foodstamp List State plus Federal N18 8:21PM

Cholesterol Medicine Causes Alzheimers N18 7:40PM

Lucifers Banker N18 7:38PM

Paraphysique du scientisme N18 9:19AM

USDA Withholds Names Of Turkey Companies Spreading Salmonella N17 7:51PM

Hebron, Ben-Gurion, and UNESCO N17 6:00PM

What Can Destroy Enclosure? N17 1:47PM

Please Help Mississippians Vote For Mike Espy On Nov 27th N17 7:42AM

The Incredible & Brilliant Work of Dr TOMO SHIBATA N17 5:19AM

October 2018 Honduras Coup update N16 9:22PM

Profit de guerre, guerre de profit N16 11:58AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen Heads to Seattle N15 7:22PM

Paraphysique du prodrome oukase N15 12:39PM

President Trump: Hurricane Relief Should not Pay Puerto Rico Debt N14 8:54PM

94 Of Rick Scott's, Brian Kemp's, the Mississippi GOP's & Other Republican Campaign Crime N13 9:42PM

30 Of Brian Kemp's Felonious Racist Vote Suppression Crimes N13 8:42PM

Help translation of From Islam To Womanism book on IndieGoGo N13 12:04PM

COP 21, 25, 32, de l'écocide organisé N11 11:45PM

fbi & fmj are ' Lord of the Flies ' N11 8:26PM

Parangon d'une grande infestation N11 12:03AM

Video: Beautiful Country Burn Again, 39 min N10 10:19PM

OBAMA WERE POW'S LEFTBEHIND IN AFGHANISTAN IRAQ AND LIBYA N08 7:57PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy