An economic system created by and for moneyed interests:
Analyst Devinder Sharma writes about universities, educational institutes and business schools which are churning out graduates and postgraduates who are made to believe in the magic potion of growth. Newspapers are full of reports and quotes about growth. Finance ministers everywhere in the world swear by economic growth.
TV anchors, most of whom have not ventured out of their plush offices for years, are hung up on economic growth because that is what they have read in the university, and if they ever try to question the growth paradigm, the business house owning the channel will throw them out.
He concludes: basically, it’s all about protecting and saving your job. Whether you are a journalist, economist, academician, credit rating analyst or a politician, singing the growth chorus will help to save your job.
- When we are told 80% of Americans live in ‘near poverty’ we just ignore it.
- When we read that pollution levels in China and India are reaching dangerous levels, we take it as a small sacrifice that people must make for the sake of growth.
- When the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tells us that the world is getting closer to a tripping point, we go back to textbooks which tells us that every disaster is a business opportunity – meaning more growth.
The EU’s 5th Project: transitional Governance in the Service of Sustainable Societies
Over the years, a handful of thinkers, including some economists, have begun to question the sustainability of growth economics. Their number is growing with each passing week. While the objective of this piece is not to take you through the corridors of alternative to growth economics that is building up, look at the latest initiative by Olivier De Schutter, who till recently was the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. He called for a conference: The EU’s 5th Project: transitional Governance in the Service of Sustainable Societies, which has just been held in Brussels, May 8-9, 2014. Olivier says:
“We need alternatives to GDP growth as the goal of public policy, and we need alternatives to work and wealth accumulation as the driving forces in our lives. A genuine transition in the way we live is the only true path to sustainability. But it must be accompanied by a transition in the way we govern. This is Europe’s fifth project.”
The EU’s 5th Project Conference posed a few key questions. These are the basic questions that every sensible person should be asking:
- Must we change our measure of progress?
- How can we move to sustainable consumption?
- Are inequalities an obstacle to achieving sustainability? Can the redefinition of gender roles contribute to sustainability?
- Can finance be put in the service of sustainability?
- What role should social investment play in the sustainability agenda?
- Must we link trade to social and environmental standards?
- How can we re-imagine transitional governance?
There are already distinguished people working on a radical overhaul of the food system, making it more local and sustainable. There are social entrepreneurs, academicians, thinkers, writers and activists who are talking of the Economics of Happiness. There are environmental movements across the globe that are fighting for bringing in some sanity in the economic growth paradigm. Their voice is growing.
Sharma ends: “Meanwhile, stand up and be counted. It’s time to remove growth blindness. At stake is your own survival, and the future of your children. You can’t leave a dead planet behind”. #
Extracts from a post by Devinder Sharma to Ground Reality