When I wrote about Slavery in Disguise and How We Broke the Debt Cycle, I mentioned that our current economic system works in such a way that it needs growth to survive. This is not a sustainable system and we are drawing down on our natural resources rapidly, without thought for the future.
That economic growth could be good or bad and it is all counted towards Gross Domestic Product or GDP. GDP is the economic indicator that economists and governments use to work out if we have growth. Negative GDP is seen as bad and positive GDP is apparently good.
However, not all is as it seems. Things like increased weapons production, coal mining, building fossil fuel power plants, more prisons are all counted towards GDP among other things. So as you can see from my simplistic example, GDP is not a very good indicator of societal health or happiness.
So what about solutions? Well I found some good examples in video form.
Firstly, The Story of Solutions. This video was made by the same people who brought us The Story of Stuff, and presented by Annie Leonard. It talks about a better way of living, without measuring it with GDP and the power of people when they engage for the greater good.
The other is the documentary The Economics of Happiness presented by Helena Norberg-Hodge. It really opens your eyes to what business as usual, globalisation, and our economic system really provides us. You can guess that it is not happiness!
Here is the trailer;
It too, is eye opening and inspirational. If you want to see the full movie you can find it here as an ondemand video http://vimeo.com/ondemand/theeconomicsofhappiness
If you don’t want to fork out for the full doco, you can checkout Helena talking at TED, and get basically the same message. She urges for a fundamental change in our economy to solve many problems we are now facing. She has a great message to share.
Hopefully I have given you lots to think about.
Lets change the world for the better. After all, it is the only one we have.