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President Renounces Economic Growth Goals

Obama Rejects Economic Growth Fetish U.S. President Barack Obama announced Saturday that “restoring robust economic growth is no longer Job One” at the White House. “All the rhetoric around job creation, economic growth, and the American Dream are just political necessities for anyone wanting to be elected or reelected,” the President admitted. ” I no longer need to worry about reelection, so from this day forward I vow to tell the American people the truth.”

What is the truth? In his weekly address on Saturday, President Obama explained it is time for the people to recognize that “economic growth has become uneconomic. We have filled up the planet with over 7 billion people who all want to drive Range Rovers and live in McMansions. We have arrived at the point where the costs of growth exceed the benefits.” The good news, he explained, is people can live very good lives without ever-increasing GDP and the vicious cycle of work and consumption that necessitates.

The President added, “It’s always been silly that we look to GDP growth as a reflection of well-being in our society. GDP is not a good measure of well-being. In fact, war, poor health and environmental disasters all increase GDP. It’s time for us to ‘get real’ about what really counts in life, and what is sustainable over the long haul, so that future generations have an equal chance to live good lives.”

In a White House policy paper released this morning, new White House economic advisor Herman Daly explains succinctly the President’s about-face on economic growth. Daly is a former senior economist at the World Bank, and author of Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development. The President recommended every citizen, especially economists, politicians and journalists, read all Daly’s books and subscribe to The Daly News, published by the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

Asked if Daly’s seminal work was what enlightened his thinking, the President remarked, “Actually it was this great movie my family watched last night – GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. You should check it out!” The President proceeded to show the White House press corps this trailer for the documentary, which examines the sustainability of our culture’s worship of growth everlasting:

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  • Avatar

    Brian Sanderson

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    Ah, and population growth is also used to increase the GDP — even though it decreases per capita GDP! We are all April Fools, every day of the year that we put up with business as usual….

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    • Avatar

      Dave Gardner

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      Yes, Brian! Thank you for bringing that up. We are all April Fools, aren’t we?

      Reply

    • Avatar

      Brian Sanderson

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      Thanks for the link, Dave. It’s an excellent exposition except that I very slightly don’t agree with the lady on two points.
      First she might have been a little more selective about alternatives to GPD. For example, Bhutan has a very selective idea of “Gross National Happiness” — just ask the Lhotshampas.
      Second, I think it’ll take a lot more than talk to change the GDP fixation. The reason why we are stuck with GDP is that it is the measure that most benefits the big-bucks people/corporations. Yes, war does make some very rich and very powerful people/businesses even more rich and more powerful. Similarly the sickness industry etc.

      Reply

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