Swedish right-wing newspaper criticises Gross National Product (GNP) forecasting

Yesterday, the Swedish National Institute of Economic Research issued a forecast of growth of 3.7% to 2012. In a manner rather atypical for the newspaper, SVD today slams into the Institute with an article heavily criticising them for measuring the wrong things. “They measure the trees but forget to assess the woods” says reporter Jacob Bursell. (my translation).

The article goes on to state how the clinical, detailed and lifeless analysis diverts attention from people and the real problems facing us.

He goes on: “Economic thinking is putting the whole world into debt. The cheques being written today cannot be paid either by coming generations or in Earth resources. We go running towards the abyss hoping someone will invent a parachute, not pausing once to consider if we are measuring the right things”.

We choose to measure our society against one single axiom -the indisputable good of economic growth.

I agree, and applaud the newspaper SVD in speaking up against the work of the Institute – accepting of course that the Institute is only doing its job. It is assigned to measure and forecast using GNP by a government who should know better. Furthermore, its assignment does not include discerning between good growth (i.e. sales of food ) and “bad growth” (i.e. economic activities that that harm humans or the environment – for example by churning out massive amounts of carbon dioxide ).

More critical thinking is needed if we are to develop society to be able to show resilience to the challenges ahead – including our climate, energy depletion and economic difficulties.

Read the article in Swedish here.

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