The Growth Delusion: Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-Being of Nations

The Growth Delusion: Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-Being of Nations

by David Pilling


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A provocative critique of the pieties and fallacies of our obsession with economic growth

We live in a society in which a priesthood of economists, wielding impenetrable mathematical formulas, set the framework for public debate. Ultimately, it is the perceived health of the economy which determines how much we can spend on our schools, highways, and defense; economists decide how much unemployment is acceptable and whether it is right to print money or bail out profligate banks. 

The backlash we are currently witnessing suggests that people are turning against the experts and their faulty understanding of our lives. Despite decades of steady economic growth, many citizens feel more pessimistic than ever, and are voting for candidates who voice undisguised contempt for the technocratic elite. For too long, economics has relied on a language which fails to resonate with people's actual experience, and we are now living with the consequences.

In this powerful, incisive book, David Pilling reveals the hidden biases of economic orthodoxy and explores the alternatives to GDP, from measures of wealth, equality, and sustainability to measures of subjective wellbeing. Authoritative, provocative, and eye-opening, The Growth Delusion offers witty and unexpected insights into how our society can respond to the needs of real people instead of pursuing growth at any cost.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525572510
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/29/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 627,059
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David Pilling is an associate editor at The Financial Times, where he has reported on business, economics, and politics from London, Chile, Argentina, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. He is currently the Africa editor, based in London.

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Excerpted from "The Growth Delusion"
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Copyright © 2019 David Pilling.
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Table of Contents

The Cult of Growth 1

Part 1 The Problems With Growth

1 Kuznets's Monster 17

2 The Wages of Sin 31

3 The Good, the Bad, and the Invisible 43

4 Too Much of a Good Thing 59

5 The Internet Stole My GDP 73

6 What's Wrong with the Average Joe 89

Part 2 Growth And The Developing World

7 Elephants and Rhubarb 103

8 Growthmanship 123

9 Black Power, Green Power 137

Part 3 Beyond Growth

10 Wealth 157

11 A Modern Domesday 169

12 The Lord of Happiness 193

13 GDP 2.0 223

14 The Growth Conclusion 241

Notes 259

Acknowledgments 281

Index 285

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