If humanity had a brain – if we had a truly global society rather than a world of suspicious and antagonistic tribal nations – it would be obvious what we must do. We would collaborate on a massive overhaul of our buildings, transportation systems and economic infrastructure to improve energy efficiency and to shift away from burning fossil fuels. But we cannot wait for a slow process of consensus. Let us not whine about whether we will be somewhat disadvantaged by moving first in a direction which all must move eventually. It is better to take a small disadvantage ahead of the crowd, in order to gain the benefits of leadership.
GDP is killing us. What we call Gross Domestic Product is an attempt to sum all the value added, in every step of production, of every monetary good or service within our national economy. But GDP doesn’t measure the standard of living of anybody. And that’s where it fails us and leads us into ruin.
A sustainable economy can include a human society that delivers more good to its members, even while enriching, rather than degrading, the ecosystem we live in.
It is time to put aside, explicitly and decisively, the objective of higher GDP. GDP measures quantity, not quality of production. GDP presumes that a growth in production is a growth in quality of life, when in fact we have reached a point that the opposite is true. Not even our current level of goods production can be sustained, much less continual increases.