(For an excelent look at problems within the financial system, go to the Web Site for COMER the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform.)
The Economic Problem
Societies around the world are being disassembled to make countries 'competitive' in the eyes of international money lenders. Their approval is considered necessary to continue growing. We feel problems would be more efficiently solved if decisions were based on sustainability (see below) rather than the perpetual expansion of economic activity.
The depreciation of education, health care, environmental protection and other services diminish the well-being and resilience of human communities. Fear of job loss is destabilizing and unemployment leads to a wide range of social ills.
The GDP accounting system is biased and misguided and is the source of many problems.
Policies based on sustainability will provide for human need more effectively than those presently serving the expansion of GDP.
Two points support this view.
A) The present system of accounts is flawed in two serious ways:B) Following advice based on the flawed accounts results in smaller revenues than needed to maintain society.
1) What it counts.
2) What it does not count.1) Corporations pay less tax than they used to.Details here.
2) The 'new economy' of financial trading is largely un-taxed.
3) Governments pays interest to private banks when it could pay interest to itself through the national banks.
Living within our means
While asserting that our mistaken accounting system is responsible for hard times in the midst of abundance, we have to acknowledge one premise of the cut-back mentality. We do have to live within our means. Our means, however, are the constraints of sustainability not the figures calculated using the heavily biased system of national accounts.
Reframing the notion of 'our means' in this way would be a public relations victory on the side of survival.
Examples of policy measures that can or are being taken to advance sustainability:
Waste taxes in Europe.
Making Markets Work for Sustainability: a review measures to make the best price reflect the most sustainable choice.
Deduct environmentally sustainable living expenses from taxable income.