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The many absurdities of GDP

Reading Lorenzo Fioramonti’s book The World After GDP recently, I was struck again at how simplistic Gross Domestic Product is. It remains our primary measure of national success because it’s now deeply embedded in our institutions, but it’s blind to what really matters. We urgently need our politicians to consider a wider set of metrics, […]

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The World After GDP, by Lorenzo Fioramonti

The book that I have been writing with Katherine Trebeck has been out for expert review recently. One of the people who has read it is Lorenzo Fioramonti, a professor of political economy and an expert in GDP and its limitations. Our draft was returned to us with lots of helpful comments and several notes […]

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What comes after the stages of economic growth?

According to the traditional theory, countries go through a series of ‘stages of growth‘. They were first codified by Walt Rostow in 1960 as he observed American capitalism in full swing. Nations start out as traditional societies, he suggested, with limited technology and a subsistence economy. From there come the ‘pre-conditions’ for growth, as commercial […]

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Prosperity without growth – foundations for the economy of tomorrow

One of the books I recommend most often on this blog and elsewhere is Tim Jackson’s Prosperity Without Growth. It came out in 2009 and introduced a whole new audience to the dilemma of economic growth on a finite planet. If you haven’t read it yet, now’s a good time, because a new edition has […]

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After growth, maturity

I’ve written a fair bit about postgrowth economics, and it’s a term I’ve never been entirely happy with. It’s better than many of the alternatives, as it leaves it open: it is whatever comes after the age of economic growth as our highest ambition. The downside is that it’s not particularly inspiring or aspirational. It’s […]

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Will capitalism bore itself to death?

As I mentioned on Monday, I’ve recently been reading William Davies’ book The Happiness Industry. There’s a chapter in the book about worker dissatisfaction, pointing out that two thirds of US employees do not feel engaged in their jobs, and one in five is actively undermining their workplace. Engaged workers are those who are interested […]

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Britain’s population growth dilemma

Britain faces a bit of a conundrum at the moment. Actually it faces several, as you may have noticed, but there’s one that I don’t think has been articulated very often. That’s the problem of population, and its connection to the health of the economy. There are many things that governments do to try and […]

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The IMF on the downsides of neoliberalism

For several decades, there has been a shared understanding of how development works among the world’s biggest financial institutions, governments and economists. The shorthand for it has been the ‘Washington consensus’, or neoliberalism. The central tenets have been open markets, privatization, small government and balanced budgets, and the primacy of economic growth. Since this philosophy […]

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Book review: A future beyond growth

Month by month, the detail around the idea of an economy on the other side of growth is being filled out. There are conferences, papers, books, all filling out the picture of how it might work and how we get there. The idea of a postgrowth economy isn’t new, but in the last decade or […]

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Smaller people in a bigger world

This week I’ve been reading a collection of essays in a book called A Future Beyond Growth, and I came across an innovative idea from Herman Daly. In an essay on population and our growing need for food and materials, he writes that “smaller people would be the simplest way of increasing metabolic efficiency. To […]

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