Rebalancing the Economy:
‘It’s the economy, stupid’ is one of the most well-known phrases in politics and it perfectly highlights the problem with politics today. However, you cannot blame the politicians that they prioritise the economy over everything else; the problem lies in how we measure their success. GDP is the most quoted statistic about any country’s economy with economic policies being judged mainly by their effect on GDP.
Most other policies are heavily judged on their effect on this one statistic. Governments have risen and fallen on the back of this one statistic. In 1934 Kuznets warned against equating GDP with well-being. However, for the last 70 years that is what it has become.Growth will always trump other objectives and so these politicians only want to measure growth. This has become even more relevant since the recession, when many governments have focused on growth. Governments are voted in on their short term agendas.
One fundamental truth must be recognized: the planet cannot accommodate high income status for all 7 billion plus of its inhabitants.For every country to attain per capita GDP of $13,000 (the World Bank’s definition of high income), global GDP would need to rise to $91 trillion. If, however, we already use the equivalent of 1.5 Earths to provide the resources we consume and to absorb our waste, how can we? The planet can sustainably support a GDP of around $50 trillion. If the planet already exceeds its sustainable carrying capacity, we need to be reducing our demands on it – not adding new ones. Simply put, we can no longer depend on GDP growth, and the limitless wealth accumulation that it implies, to solve our social and economic problems.
About the Authors:
Christopher Brook, (Cambridge University) Christopher Brook is an economist . His interests lie in sustainable development and poverty alleviation. He worked in Nicaragua on a sustainable watershed management project where he began to understand the needs and challenges that those in poverty face. He hopes to use this gained knowledge in the future to help relieve poverty sustainably all over the world. He currently works for the Green Economics Institute and ran the 9th Annual Green Economics Institute Conference at Oxford University in July 2014
Miriam Kennet, is a specialist in Green Economics. She is the Co-Founder and is CEO of the Green Economics Institute. She also founded and edits the first Green Economics academic journal in the world, The International Journal of Green Economics, and she has been credited with creating the academic discipline of Green Economics. Green Economics has been recently described by the Bank of England as one of the most vibrant and healthy areas of economics at the moment. Having researched at Oxford and South Bank Universities, she is a member of the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University. She has been featured in the Harvard Economics Review and Wall Street Journal as a leader. Ban Ki Moon invited her to his Global Leaders Conference on Climate Change at the United Nations. Recently she was named one of 100 most powerful unseen global women by the Charity One World action for her global work and won the Honour Award from the Luxembourg Ministry.
Helene Albrecht holds a Bachelor in Music from Musikhochschule Koln, Germany and an LLP and LLM Specialist degree from Westminster University, London and University College London respectively. Following an intensive career as teacher and performing artist her recent research interest is dedicated to the current entanglement and progressive humanization of law and economy.
Joyce Appleby is an American historian. She is Professor Emerita of History at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She served as president of the Organization of American Historians (1991) and the American Historical Association (1997).
Joel Bakan, a professor of law at the University of British Columbia, wrote the awardwinning and widely-translated book and film (co-created with Mark Achbar) The Corporation, as well as, more recently, Childhood Under Siege. Highly regarded as a teacher, scholar, and social commentator, Bakan makes his home in Vancouver, Canada
Christopher Brook is an economist at the University of Cambridge. His interests lie in sustainable development and poverty alleviation. He worked in Nicaragua on a sustainable watershed management project where he began to understand the needs and challenges that those in poverty face. He hopes to use this gained knowledge in the future to help relieve poverty sustainably all over the world. He currently works for the Green Economics Institute and ran the 9th Annual Green Economics Institute Conference at Oxford University in July 2014 and is a deputy editor of the International Journal of Green Economics
Professor Graciela Chichilnisky, (USA and Argentina) has worked extensively in the Kyoto Protocol process, creating and designing the carbon market that became international law in 2005. She also acted as a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which received the 2007 Nobel Prize. A frequent keynote speaker, special adviser to several UN organisations and heads of state, her pioneering work uses innovative market mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions, conserve 14 Rebalancing the Economy biodiversity and ecosystem services and improve the lot of the poor. She is a Professor of Economics and Mathematical Statistics at Columbia University and the Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Professor at Monash University.
Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). He co-edits the web resource, www.inequality.org, an online portal for analysis and commentary. He is author of the book, 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It (Berrett Koehler Publishing, 2012).
Richard Cooper is a Maurits C. Boas Professor of International Economics at Harvard University. He has published widely and has served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and as Under-Secretary of State for Economic Affairs in the US State Department
Dr Craig Duckworth is head of the department of Economics and International Business, and principal lecturer in Economics and Business Environment at Anglia Ruskin University. His research interests lie at the interface of economics and ethics.
Aart Heesterman has a degree in political and social sciences of the University of Amsterdam. After four years as a civil servant in The Hague he moved to the University of Birmingham, UK. He has published a number of books related to economic forecasting ands planning. In retirement he started what eventually became a joint publication with his wife Wiebina: the more environmentally orientated book Rediscovering Sustainability. Wiebina Heesterman is also Dutch by nationality, living in the UK since the mid 1960s. She has a PhD in Law on children’s rights from Warwick University as well as degrees in information science and IT. She read extensively on biodiversity and climate change while writing Rediscovering Sustainability jointly with A. R.G. Heesterman, then wrote a chapter on climate change for a book aimed at engineers and followed a climate change course.
Hazel Henderson, D.Sc.Hon., FRSA, president of Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil), is a futurist, evolutionary economist, author of award-winning Ethical Markets: 15 Rebalancing the Economy Growing the Green Economy and many other books. She has advised the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Science Foundation. She founded the EthicMark(R) Awards for Advertising, created the Green Transition Scoreboard(R) and the Principles of Ethical Biomimicry Finance(R), and co-developed with Calvert the Ethical Markets Quality of Life Indicators. In 2012, she received the Award for Outstanding Contribution to ESG & Investing at TBLI Europe; was inducted into the International Society of Sustainability Professionals Hall of Fame in 2013, and in 2014 was again honored as a “Top 100 Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business Behavior” by Trust Across America.
Manan Jain, An economist from India, specialising in the Gift Economy. Manan addressed the Green Economics Institute’s Conference at Oxford University in 2012 (India)
Miriam Kennet, is a specialist in Green Economics, she is the Co-Founder and is CEO of the Green Economics Institute. She also founded and edits the first Green Economics academic journal in the world, the International Journal of Green Economics, and she has been credited with creating the academic discipline of Green Economics. Green Economics has been recently described by the Bank of England as one of the most vibrant and healthy areas of economics at the moment. Having researched at Oxford University, Oxford Brookes and South Bank University, she is a member of the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University. She has taught, lectured and spoken at Universities and events all over Europe, from Alicante to Oxford and Bolzano, and to government officials from Montenegro and Kosovo to The UK Cabinet Office, Transport Department, National Government School and Treasury and spoken in Parliaments from Scotland to Austria and The French Senat and Estonia. She is also a regular and frequently speaks at public events of all kinds, and after dinner speaker. She has a delegation to the UNFCC COP Kyoto Climate Change Conferences and headed up a delegation to RIO + 20 Earth Summit: Greening the Economy in RIO Brazil. She regularly speaks on TV around Europe, most recently in Belgium, and Estonia and this year the BBC has made a special programme about her life and work. She runs regular conferences at Oxford University about Green Economics Publishing regularly and having over 100 articles, Chapters and other publications. She has been featured in the Harvard Economics Review and Wall Street Journal as a leader. 16 Rebalancing the Economy Recently she was named one of 100 most powerful unseen global women by the Charity One World action for her global work and won the Honour Award from the Luxembourg Ministry for her work.
Martin Koehring is a senior editor in the Content Solutions team of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), where he works on bespoke research programmes with a focus on sustainability and healthcare. Previously he was Europe editor in the EIU’s Country Analysis team. Prior to joining the EIU, Martin worked as a senior Economist at business intelligence provider D&B. He studies International Politics in Wales, European Studies in Belgium and Economics in London
Professor Dr Maria Alejandra Madi, holds a PhD in Economics. She works at the intersection between macroeconomics, finance and socio-economic development. Retired Professor at the State University of Campinas, Brazil, she is currently Director of the Ordem dos Economistas do Brasil and Counselor at the Conselho Regional de Economia – SP. Besides her participation as co-author in chapter books edited by the Global Labor University, she is a regular author with the Green Economics Institute.
Alastair McIntosh is an independent scholar, poet and broadcaster who holds or has held honorary fellowship or professorial positions at the universities of Ulster, Strathclyde, Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as the Centre for Human Ecology. Best know for his books Soil and Soul, Hell and High Water and Rekindling Community, his writing has been described as “world changing” by George Monbiot, “life changing” by the Bishop of Liverpool and “truly mental” by Thom Yorke of Radiohead.
Kari Marie Norgaard is Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at University of Oregon. Her research on tribal environmental justice and gender and risk and climate denial has been published in Sociological Forum, Gender and Society, Sociological Inquiry, Organization and Environment, Rural Sociology, Race, Gender & Class, and other journals, as well as by the World Bank. Her research has also been featured in The Washington Post, National Geographic, High Country News, and on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Her first book “Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life” was published by MIT Press in 2011. 17 Rebalancing the Economy Norgaard is recipient of the Pacific Sociological Association’s Distinguished Practice Award for 2005.
Vandana Shiva is world-renowned environmental leader and recipient of the 1993 Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award), Shiva has authored several bestselling books, most recently Earth Democracy. Activist and scientist, Shiva leads, with Ralph Nader and Jeremy Rifkin, the International Forum on Globalization. Before becoming an activist, Shiva was one of India’s leading physicists.
Rosamund Stock is completing a PhD in the social psychology of distributive justice. She has worked within NGOs developing ideas about the nature of social relationships and recasting the economic narrative. She has worked for the ILO on their Socioeconomic security survey providing the social psychological underpinning for the project. She has also advised research teams on the relevant social psychology for their project as well as publishing in the International Journal of Green Economics.
Joss Tantram is a founding partner at Terrafiniti LLP, a pioneering sustainability and systems consultancy. He has 20 years private and not for profit experience in the UK, Europe and world-wide. He leads Terrafiniti’s strategic services and their R&D and innovation initiative, Towards 9 Billion.
Sir Crispin Tickell is a former British Diplomat who worked for several organisations including President of the Royal Geographic Society, Warden of Green College Oxford, Chancellor of the University of Kent and is currently director of the Policy Foresight Programme.
John Weeks is Professor Emeritus of the University of London, School of Oriental & African Studies. He is author of over 100 scholarly publications including 12 sole authored books. He has consulted for many international organizations and advised numerous governments on economic policy