16 December 2006

Who cares about quality of life?

A couple of posts ago I castigated the New Zealand Prime Minister for her making GDP per capita as the Government's target par excellence - even at the expense of the welfare of infants and children. Perhaps this isn't the worst possible default target. The current 'Economist', describing UK Finance Minister Gordon Brown's Pre-budget Report says:
Mr Brown has little to say about the quality of people's lives; tellingly, he seeks to boost growth in GDP rather than GDP per person. Stripped of the verbiage, much of his speech could be seen as opening the way to more development in the crowded south-east, whose residents would be less able to object under the proposed planning reforms.
While you can increase GDP per capita by substituting paid childcare for unpaid, you can increase GDP merely by letting more people into your country. Et voila! A visionless politician's problems solved! A high GDP means influence, power; a seat at G8 summits. Quality of life? Who cares?

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