Yesterday I was at the launch of the new book “Growth is Dead. Long Live Growth! The Quality of Growth and Why it Matters” published by JICA, AFD and IDS (Editors: Haddad, Kato and Meisel).
The book is a collection of papers looking into the different dimensions of the quality of economic growth: for example when does it reduce poverty, undernutrition and unemployment and minimize the emissions of greenhouse gases?
My introductory powerpoints are here. The table of contents is here. The overview chapter is here. The full book will be available online in early February.
My takeaways from the launch.
2. Governments need to be more discerning about growth. Don’t trumpet your latest IMF backed GDP/capita figures unless you know something about their ability to reduce unemployment, reduce poverty and what they have done to the environment. It would be great to hear politicians on the radio say “the growth numbers appear to be good, but we will wait to see what they have achieved before we run on them”
4. On measurement we talked a lot about all-encompassing indices that wrapped everything up into one mega-measure of quality. These will always be contested and difficult. Perhaps a simpler approach would be to specify the resource use per unit of growth, or flipping the numerator and denominator, asking how much poverty was reduced by a unit of growth. These simpler measures might make the measurement debate less charged.
5. Politics is so important. If citizens get the politicians they deserve, perhaps we also get the growth we deserve. In other words we can choose the growth we get. Options around the rules that govern markets need to be more explicit and the choices made more transparent.