G20 – A plea for change: Leading adviser’s warning to ministers, the problem’s not bankers – its society.
April 02, 2009.
The economic system is broken, and attempts by governments to fix it by kick-starting growth and consumerism are “delusional” and “pathological”, the Westminster and Holyrood governments will be warned by their own advisers this week.
A ground-breaking report by the leading environmental advisers to First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister Gordon Brown will deliver a damning verdict on capitalism and demand a radical shift to a fairer, more sustainable society.
The report – [Entitled Prosperity without Growth?] – has been compiled by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), a group of 19 experts chaired by Jonathon Porritt which advises Salmond and Brown on environmental issues.
The pursuit of economic growth, founded on the increasing consumption of material goods, has failed to bring social justice, prosperity or happiness, the report says. “The narrow pursuit of growth represents a horrible distortion of the common good and of underlying human values,” the report concludes. “The market was not undone by rogue individuals or the turning of a blind eye by incompetent regulators. It was undone by growth itself.”
The report presents a fundamental challenge to the economic policies being pursued in London and Edinburgh, raising questions about some of the basic tenets of modern capitalism. We are living in an “age of irresponsibility”, it says. “Questioning growth is deemed to be the act of lunatics, idealists and revolutionaries, but question it we must,” says Tim Jackson, a professor at Surrey University and the SDC’s leading economics expert. “The myth of growth has failed us. It has failed, spectacularly, in its own terms, to provide economic stability and secure people’s livelihoods.”