Friday, December 11, 2009
The capitalism conundrum
In 1934, renowned economist Simon Kuznets warned the US congress that “the welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from the measurement of national income”. Decades later, his words sound prophetic. While receiving the Nobel Prize in 1961 for his pioneering work on computing national incomes, or what has since then been termed GDP, Kuznets anxiously argued that distinctions must be made between quantity and quality of growth.
Contemporary research clearly demonstrates how right Kuznets was, as economic growth triggered by increased personal consumption does not necessarily translate into overall well-being. A recent quality-of-life study among young people in the UK has proved that 76% of people are regularly tired; 47% have difficulty sleeping and 42% suffer from depression. Such trends are no longer restricted to Western societies; each of around 80 million new citizens arriving on this planet every year are vulnerable to such lifestyles....more