If I hear one more economist forecast our GDP I’m going to vomit. I’m convinced economists are full of shit. GDP is supposedly a measure of the goods and services sold (Gross Domestic Product) but who really cares? Think about it. We’re supposed to feel good when our GDP rises. Why? What they don’t tell you is– over 17% of our GDP is Health Care. That’s over $2.5 Trillion! In other words, all our sickness and dying adds to the gross benefits of our economy. There’s a lot of profit in Cancer, Strokes, Diabetes and other unhealthy stuff. If we can have even more sickness and disease, it will add even more to that glorious GDP and the stock market will rise some more.
GDP is not really a measure of how WELL we are doing. It is, in fact, a measurement of industrial inefficiency and social degradation. The more you see the GDP rise, the worse things are becoming for personal , social and environmental integrity. It’s a simple formula: We have to create problems to create profit. Can you imagine the huge depression we would have if we cured cancer? Trillions of dollars and millions of jobs would disappear. No patients = No profit.
Take our justice system. A large portion of our 2 million prison population is housed in private institutions. No prisoners = No profit.
We have createf a strange economic paradigm. To keep this huge engine of our economy going (and GDP rising) we need CONSUMPTION….especially cyclical consumption. There are three actors on the Economic Stage…the employee, the employer and the consumer. The employee sells labor to the employer for income. The employer sells the goods and services created to the consumer for income. The employee and the employer become the consumer—spending their income on the goods and services to keep the economic cycle spinning. It cannot be stopped or even slowed down measurably if we want to keep our society alive. So, we assume there will always be enough goods and services to meet demand and we assume there will always be demand.
Now here’s where things get tricky. The faster the rate of consumption, the more economic growth and the higher the GDP—and so the big machine goes. Yet, there is no “economy” in our economy. We can’t economize or conserve because there would be no growth. Sorry, but we can’t make those 25 year autos, lifetime batteries, or simple cell phone software upgrades. No, no, we have to keep pumping fossil fuels that took millions of years to form and we have to keep using more and more minerals which took billions of years to form (and diamonds are a girl’s best friend).
We shouldn’t let our minds get bogged down talking about a finite planet with finite resources. Let’s just welcome the next one billion folks who will soon join us (and sooner than you think) on this small planet. And don’t forget to indoctrinate them into our eco-cidal insanity.