Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Well Being Economics: First Reflections on Jo's FIrst Leader's Speech #JoSwinson #LDConf

The key thing that made me jump out of my seat during Jo Swinson's leader's speech was when she questioned why we measure the state of our country by GDP (Gross Domestic Product). It took me back to one of my first Economics tutorials  a little over 30 years ago.

In that tutorial the tutor said that economics was basically powered by everyone getting out of it what is best for themselves. I questioned that said what about those who were concerned about giving others a fair chance, cared about the environment etc. It will probably not therefore surprise you to know that in my elective courses in my second and third year I focused on Environmental and Developmental Economics along with my third choice European. The fact that after the second year and carried all three on deeper shows you that I have been tuned into this for over 30 years.

As Jo said with the level of well being for our planet and indeed everyone in our society we need to act now. We are in a climate emergency, we need urgent action. We have a President in the White House and another in Brazil who seem to not see the importance and actually don't want others to see this either. But the facts have been there for years and looking at some of my Environmental Economics books from 30 years ago even the predictions then are way sort of the disaster we are in now. 

However, as Jo points out if we have any Brexit, especially if we have a no deal Brexit we will be furiously kicking under the flood waters to keep ourselves afloat without the time, energy or resources to be able to deal with such big issues. We'll be in survival mode, like those developing countries I learnt about 30 years ago, who said they had to follow our path to development burning fossil fuels, massive factories, chopping down their forests. This was because we refused to share with them the benefits their resources had given us in colonial times and they now felt left behind. But that will be the Britain post-Brexit. 

We need to deal with things in the round, in conversation and coalition with other nations to deal with these issues, not heading to isolation behind the hulking, shulking Boris running from people who think differently from him.

We need to act. We need to demand better. We need to do it now.

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