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Date: 2024-06-23 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00006170

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Social Capital Markets

David Richins ... Discussion: Is Economic Growth Good or Bad?


Peter Burgess

Social Capital Markets Social Capital Markets 3,808 members Member

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Is Economic Growth Good or Bad?

David Richins Content Marketing Strategist Top Contributor

There are problems with the way we approach the issue of growth. Some people are against economic growth altogether, arguing that we cannot extract infinite growth out of a planet with finite resources. Others see growth as essential in eradicating poverty and improving our quality of life.

Abundance vs. Growth

In a previous post, I argued that we can achieve sustainability by changing the way we invest. I summarized some of the suggestions that I’ve made elsewhere on this blog, which include avoiding business debt and seeking value through dividends rather...

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Peter Burgess Peter Burgess Founder/CEO at TrueValueMetrics developing Multi Dimension Impact Accounting

I liked the Abundance -v- Growth article, but at the end of the day it did not get into the deep issues that make the present socio-economic structure sustainable.

I came to America about 50 years ago because I admired enterprise, and I was impressed with the performance that the American enterprise system was delivering. I was of the view that redistribution of wealth through welfare was not something that encouraged effort and progress,

For the past 30 years I have watched as the American economic powerhouse has been highjacked by corporate interests who have then become the beneficiaries of corporate social welfare. The global economy that is essentially unregulated has become the domicile of corporate enterprise, with little social responsibility.

Growth of GDP makes it easier to make profit and satisfy stock value growth goals. Growth of GDP may or may not do anything meaningful for quality of life.

We absolutely need a new framework of metrics. I am arguing for what I call Multi Dimension Impact Account as described in this 2 page paper:

If we don't change the modus operandi of the corporate world we are heading into disaster. My thinking on carbon is set out in this short paper:

Many young people 'get' the issues. Most of my generation is terribly stuck in the ideologies of the past, which is very sad!

Peter Burgess - TrueValueMetrics Multi Dimension Impact Accounting

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David Richins David David Richins Content Marketing Strategist Top Contributor

The real question is - how do you get people to change, or even care? I agree that we need new metrics. But I think that before we can push solutions, we have to get people to think differently about themselves and the world around them so they can get a better sense of the big picture.

As a society, we can't even agree on what the real problem is. That why in my blog I like to explore and question some of the underlying assumptions that we have about the economy and society in general.

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Peter Burgess Peter Burgess Founder/CEO at TrueValueMetrics developing Multi Dimension Impact Accounting

David ... I think I understand your point of view, though I am not sure how much I agree with you.

I think you believe that we have to know the solutions before we can design the metrics. In my view that is the wrong way round. You observe that as a society we cannot agree on what the real problem is ... which will always happen when the selection is being based on opinions and arguments rather than on data / metrics. Well designed metrics are agnostic relative to what is being measured.

One of the reasons the metrics we need do not exist is that this will not be good for many big corporations. The big corporations have created a world where everyone is influenced by product advertising ... and more advertising ... and more advertising. The idea is that more is better ... when it is patently clear that more is better for corporate profit but leaves the environment in a shambles.

Advertising is an incredibly important part of the modern economy and it is consistently telling the story that life will be better if we buy more of their product. Much of this story does not stand up to any full set of data. Against this advertising onslaught it is going to be difficult to get people to care and change, so that we start to do things that are really better for people and planet and responsible with respect to profit.

I want to focus on metrics, because metrics can be a common language that will help us to move to a more equitable world. The metrics show that there is profligate use of energy in North America relative to everywhere else in the world except the oil rich countries of the Middle East. This is an easy talking point that can have legs.

At the same time metrics also informs us that energy has been a huge help in improving standard of living over the past 200 years. The old industrialized nations have had this benefit. What is the moral argument for denying this to emerging nations, like China and India which have populations that dwarf the populations of North America and Europe.

Though we seem to have the fossil fuels to support ongoing profligate consumption of this type of energy, we don't have a safe place to put the pollution. Change is needed ... but it is not a little bit of change at the margin, it is something way more radical.

Change is not going to be easy ... but it is vitally important.

Peter Burgess - TrueValueMetrics Multi Dimension Impact Accounting

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David Richins David David Richins Content Marketing Strategist Top Contributor

I'm talking more about the motivations for wanting to use such metrics in the first place. You're starting with certain assumptions about corporatism and the environment, etc. But not everyone shares those views. You said yourself that corporations will not like these metrics. How are you going to get companies to use them? Regulations?

I think you and I are in agreement on a lot of things. I just think that in addition to offering a tool or solution, we have to consider people's underlying thinking and motivations and help them come to an awareness. I got into media production because I wanted to find effective ways of persuading people to change their thinking.

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