Monday, 9 March 2009
Mark Forskitt, over at A view from the West , posted that a wall fell down on his property and he needed a couple of dangerous trees taken down. He called a neighbour with a wood burning stove and a chainsaw and both got satisfaction - Mark got his trees dealt with; the neighbour got logs for fuel. Mark also got the branches to turn into wood ash to fertilise his organic smallholding. No money changed hands and so this transaction did not register in society's measures of success, the GDP and GVA.
I posted the following comment on his blog. Note to readers - I often use irony to make a point so if you are not familiar with this technique don't jump to conclusions!
You're a very bad person Mark! Our success is measured by the movement of small green pieces of paper (after Douglas Adams). If you operate in a manner that moves fewer of them about, then when society measures how successful it is, it will note fewer pieces of paper being moved around so we will be measured as being in a recession. People will lose heart and try to stop spending their paper to make ends meet so society will then measure itself as even less successful and so will proceed ad infinitum down the economic plughole.
Looking at the above, it seems obvious that it may be the method of measurement of success itself that causes all the instability problems... The very nub of this is that conventional economics, as used by governments and accountants and economists worldwide, only measures a very few things to come up with its "bottom line" - by discounting other important factors, it does not account for the full costs of business, work etc. Put a value on the "externalities" and the whole unsustainable mess will sort itself out very quickly
Posted by Nick Palmer at 11:33