Beyond GDP and Earth's limited resources - How can our societies move on without the dependency on economic growth?
We all know about Earth’s limited resources. When consumers buy less, it’s actually a good thing. Well, at least from Earth’s point of view, if our planet had one. Everyone talks about changing our lifestyles. To many it makes sense that we only consume what we really need. We should buy less, not more. But corporate leaders are horrified by this notion. It will destroy our economies, they say. We need economic growth! Let’s invest more into advertising our products. Let’s trick people into buying something they don’t need. Back to business, for heaven’s sake.
Really? What do you think? Are we trapped? Is progress linked to economic growth?
Here’s a recent initiative called “Beyond GDP” and this is its mission:
“Spurred on by the success of the 2007 conference, the Beyond GDP partners continue to work on improving our measures of progress, wealth and well-being. This website reflects this effort and aims to more widely share information on recent developments and ongoing work on indicators to assess social, economic, and environmental progress.
Economic indicators such as GDP were never designed to be comprehensive measures of well-being. Complementary indicators are needed that are as clear and appealing as GDP but more inclusive of other dimensions of progress – in particular environmental and social aspects. We need adequate indicators to address global challenges such as climate change, poverty, resource depletion and health.
In November 2007, the European Commission, European Parliament, Club of Rome, OECD and WWF hosted the high-level conference “Beyond GDP” with the objectives of clarifying which indices are most appropriate to measure progress, and how these can best be integrated into the decision-making process and taken up by public debate. The conference brought together over 650 policy makers, experts and civil society representatives to address these critical issues. Preceding the main conference, an expert workshop was held, wherein leading practitioners discussed the development and application of indicators of progress, true wealth, and well-being.”
Is this the way forward? Can it get us out of the dilemma?