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Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Digitally disrupted GDP

Digitally disrupted GDP | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Digital technologies are having dramatic impacts on consumers, businesses, and markets. These developments have reignited the debate over the definition and measurement of common economic statistics such as GDP. This column examines the measurement challenges posed by digital innovation on the economic landscape. It shows how existing approaches are unable to capture certain elements of the consumer surplus created by digital innovation. It further demonstrates how they can misrepresent market-level shifts, leading to false assessments of production and growth.
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Interesting article on how the digitalisation of our economy impacts GDP measurement and leads to wrong policies.

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Infinite happiness

Infinite happiness | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Measuring happiness and letting it grow infinitely just as we used to do with GDP does not absolve economic activity from its ecological and societal impacts.
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Thought-provoking article on the need for new 'beyond GDP' indicators questioning the 'happiness' as the new economic goal narrative. Reichel is right that 'beyond GDP' debate has diverted the discussion from issue of growth, but throws away baby with the bathwater. When shelving GDP, we need an alternative. Maybe happiness is too subjective as a goal. What about 'quality of life'?

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The BRICS of collapse? Why emerging economies need a different development model

The BRICS of collapse? Why emerging economies need a different development model | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

They have pursued GDP growth with little or no investment in human, social and natural capital. This does not bode well for the future of the world economy.

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summary of an excellent report by Demos and others which can be found here: http://www.demos.org/sites/default/files/publications/BRICS.pdf

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GDP Growth and Diminishing Returns

Tighten your belts. A new paper suggests the optimum gross domestic product (GDP) may be only $7,000 per person.
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good article on 'beyond GDP' inspired by new paper in Ecological Economics.

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When Growth Outpaces Happiness

When Growth Outpaces Happiness | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
It is startling to find that Chinese people’s feelings of well-being have declined in a period of such momentous improvement in their economic lives.

 

Richard Easterlin in NY Times: China demonstrates that "growth alone, even at sustained, spectacular rates, has not produced the kind of life satisfaction crucial to a stable society — an experience that shows how critically important good jobs and a strong social safety net are to people’s happiness."

 

Another piece of evidence that it is time for a new economic and social development model.

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Building a civil economy

"The current crisis of global capitalism provides a unique opportunity to chart an alternative to the complicit collusion of central states and free markets that characterise liberal political economy. From this perspective, the proposed shift of focus from a self-interested pursuit of power or wealth (or both at once) to the quest for the common good opens the way for transforming modern economics. The alternative that this essay has outlined is a ‘civil economy’ whereby markets and states are embedded in the social relations and civic bonds that constitute society."

 

At OpenDemocracy Adrian Pabst sketches the contours of an alternative economy beyond free market and state, beyond austerity and neo-Keynesianism.

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L’insoutenable indicateur global de richesses (IWI) des Nations Unies

L’insoutenable indicateur global de richesses (IWI) des Nations Unies | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Very critical analysis by French economist Jean Gadrey of the latest UNEP tool to measure sustainability, the Inclusive Wealth Index.

 

Gadrey's conclusion: "Un indicateur de plus dans le concert international. Un de plus aussi pour nous faire prendre des vessies insoutenables pour des lanternes vertes. Il figure dans un énorme rapport mis au point par des composants ou des satellites des Nations Unies, dont le PNUE (programme des Nations Unies pour l’environnement), institution dont les évolutions récentes sont inquiétantes. On a parlé, y compris sur ce blog, de « capture » des Nations Unies par le monde des affaires. Ici, il s’agit plutôt de capture par les méthodes des économistes néoclassiques."

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Green growth or steady state? Rival visions of a green economy |

I’m not convinced that either side – green growthers or steady-statists – has yet won the argument, even after forty years of doing battle. The historical evidence for green growth is threadbare, even nonexistent – though this should give no-one, not even the steady-statists, any cause for pleasure. What’s more, we can’t assume the past will determine the future (in this debate, if it does, we’re stuffed either way). Rather, the two sides ought to take one another far more seriously, and see the merits of a combined programme for transition.

 

Excellent article in openDemocracy with an honest appraisal of the inadequacies of both theories.

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Talking happiness

Talking happiness | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Once it becomes clear that further GDP growth will be ever more difficult to achieve, national leaders will desperately need ways to make life tolerable for their increasingly restive constituents. It’s plain that environmental, psychological, and social well-being must be the new goal, and we can thank the government of Bhutan for realizing this and blazing a trail that others may follow."

 

Good resumee by Richard Heinberg of the UN's special conference on wellbeing and the need to define a new economic paradigm.

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The Economy of Gross National Happiness

The Economy of Gross National Happiness | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
On April 2, the UN hosted a High-Level Meeting on Happiness and Well-Being.

 

Good article in Project Syndicate on the changing paradigm from (un)economic growth to a multidimensional model of sustainable welfare economics, founded in human well-being. If political elites would only understand that this is the real alternative to the destructive and anti-social austerity policies now in place.

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New Report "Life Beyond Growth" : good summary of new economic thinking beyond GDP

The Tokyo-based Institute for Studies in Happiness, Economy, and Society (ISHES) recently released a new interesting report, "Life Beyond Growth", which summarises the search for new economic thinking beyond GDP.

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Use Rio+20 to overhaul idea of growth, urges EU climate chief

Use Rio+20 to overhaul idea of growth, urges EU climate chief | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Connie Hedegaard says GDP model of growth causes overconsumption, drives up commodity prices and ignores the environment...

 

In this interesting article in the Guardian, climate commissioner Hedegaard questions current model of economic growth but hangs on to the illusion that just measuring growth differently will solve the new "limits to growth" predicament.

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Rethinking the Growth Imperative

Rethinking the Growth Imperative | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Modern macroeconomics often seems to treat rapid and stable economic growth as the be-all and end-all of policy. But, while that is the message from graduate classrooms to central-bank boardrooms to newspapers’ front pages, is it true?

 

Great article by Kenneth Rogoff at Project Syndicate. When traditional economists like Rogoff follow in the footsteps of Stiglitz questioning our fundamentalist obsession with economic growth, that is something to feel positive about at the beginning of this new year.

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Weekend read: The trouble with growth

Weekend read: The trouble with growth | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Clearly, belief in the indispensability of economic growth, while deeply rooted in governments virtually worldwide, is quite recent. The common view that growth has always been an important objective of government is mistaken.

That growth is inextricably bound up with human nature is an even greater mistake, if it makes us think that there really is no alternative to economic growth. Understanding that growth is not a necessary goal of government policy is critical if we are to imagine alternative economic futures.
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Great, must-read article by Tim Jackson and Peter Victor - from the new State of the World Report 2015

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Larry Glover's curator insight, April 12, 2015 7:47 PM
What we measure reveals both our worldview and our values. It is time to wildly revision what it is to be human... and in doing so to also revision what it is that makes life richly fulfilling. What is it we really want to grow in our lives?
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Well-being is more than a side-show to neoliberal economics

Well-being is more than a side-show to neoliberal economics | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"A post-growth agenda is not necessarily about making sacrifices, but about superceding a broken economic model that is failing to make us better off. 

At its best, the well-being agenda is not just a sideshow to neoliberal economics: it points towards a new economics, one which values equality, stability and community rather than simply growth for growth’s sake."

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Good Open Democracy article on the growth versus well-being debate.

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Herman Daly: Why GDP Growth No Longer Leads to Increased Employment

Herman Daly: Why GDP Growth No Longer Leads to Increased Employment | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Real wages have been falling for decades, yet our corporations, hungry for cheaper labor, keep bleating about a labor shortage. Something doesn't add up.
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Great article by Herman Daly. "We are constantly told it is because growth is too slow — the single cause of all our problems! That we would be better off if we were richer is a definitional truism. The question is, does further growth in GDP really make us richer, or is it making us poorer by increasing the uncounted costs of growth faster than the measured benefits? That simple question is taboo among economists and politicians, lest we discover that the falling benefits of growth are all going to the top 1%, while the rising costs are “shared” with the poor, the future, and other species."

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Social Progress Index: another instruments to go "Beyond GDP"

The Social Progress Index measures the extent to which countries provide for the social and environmental needs of their citizens. Fifty-two indicators in the areas of basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity show relative performance in order to elevate the quality of discussion on national priorities and to guide social investment decisions. 

Willy De Backer's insight:

How many of these instruments do we need before political and economic elites will get it? As I feared when the whole Beyond GDP debate started, there is a danger that the search for the best tool will become more important than building the blueprint for a new economy.

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Social Innovations for Economic Degrowth

Social Innovations for Economic Degrowth | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"... a growing community of scientists and social activists, sharing the basic insight that a reduction of energy and material use implies a reduction of gross domestic product (GDP), is gathering under the heading of sustainable degrowth.3 Degrowth obviously entails a fundamental transformation of economic structures. But what precisely are the necessary steps?"

 

Very good article in Solutions Journal on the need to scale up social innovations for sustainable degrowth if we want to move from the failing growth paradigm to a new paradigm of the good life.

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Rio+20: Jeffrey Sachs on how business destroyed democracy and virtuous life

Rio+20: Jeffrey Sachs on how business destroyed democracy and virtuous life | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The world famous economist on corporate control, the search for happiness and why a multi-disciplinary approach is the only way to find solutions to sustainability challenges...

 

Excellent article from the Guardian's Sustainable Business blog.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, March 11, 2014 2:56 PM

It will be taken back.

 

Society will either die or not stand for this stuff.  There is no room for a middle way between survival and death.

 

Think about it.

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New Inclusive Wealth Index shows lower growth and future risks for major economies

"Some large economies show significantly lower growth when natural assets such as forests and water are factored into growth indicators, an index showed on Sunday, a few days before an international sustainability summit starts in Rio de Janeiro."

 

Interesting new report from two of the UN's environmental institutions shows that the Beyond GDP debate needs more and faster progress.

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At U.N. Happiness Summit, A Coal Pile in the Ballroom

At U.N. Happiness Summit, A Coal Pile in the Ballroom | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The fact that economists were at the podium questioning the equivalence of happiness and GDP is a hopeful sign, a sign of a deep crack in the foundation of the economics discipline. But it is one thing to say there is more to happiness than economic growth; it is quite another to propose that economic growth is inimical to generalized happiness."

 

Great article on the recent UN happiness conference organised by Bhutan. The author questions GDP but is also critical of some of the Beyond GDP ideas.

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China's rapid economic growth means population is 'wealthier but unhappier’

China's rapid economic growth means population is 'wealthier but unhappier’ | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The average personal income in China has risen by five per cent a year since the mid 1990s. Yet according to experts, this recent wealth does not equate with personal happiness.

 

A new research project confirms that fast economic growth does not automatically translate into more life happiness as rising social inequality and environmental pressures create tensions in Chinese economy.

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Redefining Progress to meet Human Needs

Redefining Progress to meet Human Needs | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Good contribution by Daniela Kolbe (SPD Member of Parliament in Germany and Chairwoman of the Bundestag Enquete Commission on Growth, Prosperity and Quality of Life) on the Beyond GDP debate.

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New report: Act NOW to get through 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems'

New report: Act NOW to get through 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Celebrated scientists and development thinkers today warn that civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies.

 

This absolute must-read report urges political and economic leaders to go beyond GDP, bury the myth of perpetual growth and to start the fundamental fight against poverty and social inequalities.

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Quatre ans après, bilan de la Commission Stiglitz en interview croisée

Quatre ans après, bilan de la Commission Stiglitz en interview croisée | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Le 8 janvier 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy proposait la création d’une Commission sur la mesure des performances économiques et du progrès social, qui aboutira à la création de la Commission Stiglitz ...

 

Very interesting interview in the French "La Gazette" on the international lack of follow-up to the  Stiglitz report on alternatives measures to GDP.

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