Steven Poole: beware growthspeak | Books | The Guardian

The term economic “growth” is so familiar we can easily forget that it’s a metaphor. Nothing is actually growing. What is happening is that some number representing GDP is higher than a previous such number. And there are well-known problems with taking GDP as a measure of how excellent everything is. The economy might be “growing” even as income inequality goes up at the same time. And, as a serious wag once pointed out, a car crash is very good for GDP, since lots of money will then be spent on hospital bills and auto repairs. If we had significantly more motoring accidents, our economy would “grow”, but we wouldn’t all necessarily be happier.

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