What is growth?

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According to Joseph Stiglitz:

Growth is not just a matter of increasing GDP. It must be sustainable: growth based on environmental degradation, a debt financed consumption binge, or the exploitation of scarce natural resources, without reinvesting the proceeds, is not sustainable. Growth also must be inclusive; at least a majority of citizens must benefit. Trickle-down economics does not work

He adds:

[T]here need not be a trade-off between inequality and growth. Governments can enhance growth by increasing inclusiveness. A country's most valuable resource is its people. So it is essential to ensure that everyone can live up to their potential, which requires educational opportunities for all.


[T]he left now understands markets, and the role that they can and should play in the economy. The right, especially in America, does not. The New Right, typified by the Bush-Cheney administration, is really old corporatism in a new guise.

These are not libertarians. They believe in a strong state with robust executive powers, but one used in defense of established interests, with little attention to market principles. The list of examples is long, but it includes subsidies to large corporate farms, tariffs to protect the steel industry, and, most recently, the megabail-outs of Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

He's right. I'll be addressing these issues over the next week or so.