simple living, home grown food, clean air

GDP numbers tell only part of the story

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Vandana Shiva the Indian environmental activists and scourge of Monsanto writes in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper. You can read the full article here. The ideas discussed are very relevant to our well being and that of our children and grandchildren, please share the article or this post.

“Limitless growth is the fantasy of economists, businesses and politicians. It is seen as a measure of progress. As a result, gross domestic product (GDP), which is supposed to measure the wealth of nations, has emerged as both the most powerful number and dominant concept in our times. However, economic growth hides the poverty it creates through the destruction of nature, which in turn leads to communities lacking the capacity to provide for themselves.

The concept of growth was put forward as a measure to mobilise resources during the second world war. GDP is based on creating an artificial and fictitious boundary, assuming that if you produce what you consume, you do not produce. In effect , “growth” measures the conversion of nature into cash, and commons into commodities.

Thus nature’s amazing cycles of renewal of water and nutrients are defined into non-production. The peasants of the world,who provide 72% of the food, do not produce; women who farm or do most of the housework do not fit this paradigm of growth either. A living forest does not contribute to growth, but when trees are cut down and sold as timber, we have growth. Healthy societies and communities do not contribute to growth, but disease creates growth through, for example, the sale of patented medicine.

Water available as a commons shared freely and protected by all provides for all. However, it does not create growth. But when Coca-Cola sets up a plant, mines the water and fills plastic bottles with it, the economy grows. But this growth is based on creating poverty – both for nature and local communities. Water extracted beyond nature’s capacity to renew and recharge creates a water famine.”

My own thoughts.

Our contribution  to GDP growth is small and getting smaller,  the odd pack of nappies for baby Serena and bits of food, the electricity bill and a tank of petrol every now and again, we have no part in funding the recently revealed “intelligence activities” through taxation and by not talking on debt we refuse to help banks steal any more money and impoverish us all further.

We are effecting in our life the transition from consumer to producer that Bill Mollison talked about, our needs are few now and our life is simple but still quite comfortable, full of joy and free from pollution and stress. Sure there are things I miss about the city and my former lifestyle, but there is no way back and I am learning to live with it.

I strongly believe that this is the way forward and welcome anyone with an interest in stepping of the treadmill to share experiences and help each other along the road to a happy and sustainable life.  This year’s rice is nearly ready for harvest (no pesticide, weedkiller or chemical fertilizer), this provides the basic staple for us and our animals for the whole year, we have a constant supply of fresh fruit and are working on doing the same with our veggies.rice 2013


Author: marco

growing food and making do with less

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