Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit 2 Share on StumbleUpon 2 Tell A Friend (5 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   1 comment

OpEdNews Op Eds

The Myth of Economic Growth (GDP growth)

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Become a Fan
  (3 fans)

Recently there was the news that the economic growth in India has slowed down to the lowest figure in past 9 years. The GDP had fallen to 5.3% in the last quarter of previous financial year for which data is available. This was thought to be of great concern and sent alarm bells ringing. The Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission in India characterized this as the "Anna" rate of growth, blaming the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare for the poor performance of the economy.

The concept of economic growth, in terms of GDP, is itself questionable. In India, the policy makers blindly follow the western model of development based on GDP growth. However many western thinkers themselves have discarded this model. It has only brought unhappiness to the society as a whole as explained by Med Yones in his paper -- The American Pursuit of Unhappiness: Gross National Happiness (GNH) - A New Economic Metric.

In India, policy makers keep betting on this failed model of development. A wiser model of development based on the seven types of wellness (as explained by Med Yones) and not just material wellness, is not only possible but is also a must if the kind of predicament the west finds itself in is to be avoided. It would take some imagination and political will to pursue a new model of development and our leaders and policy makers are not up to it.

Maintaining the GDP at a high level, it is claimed, is necessary to generate employment and eradicate poverty. But the recent high rates of growth since the 1990s, has in effect brought misery to the majority of Indians. The reason is the growth in GDP has been skewed in favor of urban rich leaving out the rural poor. If only the emphasis had been on GNH then policies would have been framed that were more equitable and more people-friendly.

After 20 years of "Misery" rate of growth, if one may call so, the Indian policy makers are still fond of GDP and talk of maintaining it at a high level. They feel safer chasing the mirage of well-being that economic growth (GDP growth) seems to promise. They cite the example of China and how it has transformed itself in the past few decades by maintaining a high GDP growth rate. However, well-being has eluded the majority of China and its society is at crossroads.

Even in the US the failure of "GDP growth model" is yet to be recognized at the political level. However the fact that social well-being is more important than material growth has become obvious since having jobs for all and health care for all is now the political talking point. The materialistic way of life perpetuated by "GDP growth model" has fallen into disrepute and it is a question of time before a sensible alternative to GDP, like the GNH, is adopted officially by the US as well as other governments.    

India would do well to dump the concept of GDP and adopt GNH to guide its policies and programs. The model of "GDP growth" has proved to be damaging to the ecosystem as well and is no longer sustainable. The decreasing forest cover, neglect of rural population as well as polluted and over-crowded cities is making daily news. Indian policy makers should set an example to the developing world by adopting a mature, people-friendly and nature-friendly model of development.

There is the argument that if India lags behind in economic growth (GDP growth) then China would pose a threat. China may feel that if materially it is not strong then India and the West would pose a threat. The West may feel the same way towards China, India and other developing nations. If the proponents of "GDP growth model" keep arguing in this manner and do not learn the lessons even now, then nature will teach its lesson through catastrophic climate change. Then everybody has to start from square one again.  

 

http://musingsonpartylessgovernance.blogspot.in/

Vijayaraghavan Padmanabhan is 56 years old, Physician by occupation, married and has two children. Based in Chennai, India. His interests include Spirituality, Politics and Economics.


Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Mr. Narendra Modi and the Economy

Restructuring the Global Economy

The Phenomenon of Aam Aadmi Party

The Anachronism of GDP growth rate

The Myth of Economic Growth (GDP growth)

TAPPING OUR SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

The proposed metric GNH measures socioeconomic de... by Vijayaraghavan Padmanabhan on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012 at 10:54:00 AM