Alternatives to economic growth are needed, because the present system of GDP simply doesn’t work. Growth relies on buying stuff to throw away, and we can’t keep doing that on a finite planet. For example, GDP increases with more sickness and crime (because more nurses and prison staff and police are employed). The Exxon Valdex oil spill disaster was good for economic growth, because of the money generated for clean-up.
Alternatives usually revolve around zero growth (where people still earn, but we leave this obsession with a growing economy) and a return to basing economics on happiness. You likely have heard that the Buddhist king in the tiny kingdom of Bhutan has ‘economics of happiness’?
Canadian economist Mark Anielski who wrote The Economics of Well-being was instrumental in creating a similar scheme in his native Alberta, Canada. The book Doughnut Economics has praise from Green MP Caroline Lucas.
The Case for Degrowth is an interesting book about a subject that you will rarely hear about in the mass media. Mostly because the papers and TV channels have vested interests, to keep present economic system afloat, as it pays for the ads, as people buy less papers. But the relentless pursuit of economic growth is what’s gone wrong in society. It benefits few, and leads to monstrous social and ecological sacrifice. Is there a viable alternative?
Happy Planet Index is a nice alternative to GDP. Instead of the UK and USA being top, with this they are nowhere near. The winner is Costa Rica that rigorously protects its rainforests and wildlife, and got rid of the military budget to spend on education.