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Have We Finally Moved Beyond GDP?


Have We Finally Moved Beyond GDP?

Sam Pizzigati

Organizers of last week’s fifth OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy could barely contain their sense of satisfaction when the three-day event opened in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Why all the good cheer? Officials at the OECD, the official economic research agency of the developed world, feel they haven’t just been organizing gabfests since the first of these triennial forums in 2004. They believe they’ve been helping change how the world — or at least the global public policy community — thinks about inequality.


The GDP-maximazation model reduced people to chattel. Tying health care to jobs reinforced this state. As computers and robots increasingly perform the work of society, jobs become more scarce. There is a great opportunity to use this moment in time to increase the number of teachers, increase the social safety net, and increase the quality of life for ALL. The GDP-maximazation model will have none of that, however. It is time for the people to wrest power away from the banksters and the economists who serve them and not the people.


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In my view, attempts to address wealth inequality by taxation have failed and are doomed to failure. I don't see how we can even the economic playing field when those at the top will always make the tax laws by proxy. Even when elites consent to paying more taxes, tax revenues are directed right back into their pockets and often results in higher taxes for the 99%. The tax game is rigged. Its time to try something else:

Ending all taxation, capping personal wealth democratically, by yearly referendum and electronically distributing excesses to all citizens will result in economic equality immediately afterwards. The key is to keep the wealth cap high enough to preserve the profit motive, but low enough to prevent wealth and power from concentrating to dangerous levels.


Nothing will change until we have an "emperor's clothes" moment, where someone (not some old nobody like me, but someone who will be listened-to) says "they're psychopaths! They have no consciences!" and everyone listening will realise that yes, that's what they are. And they should not only not have wealth or power, but should not be allowed to run around loose.


Why? What comes from the profit motive apart from wealth for the few?


In my view, the profit motive stimulates creativity and scientific and technological advantages. In capitalism, it could be bringing more and better food to the table. In communism, the profit might be the general welfare.

Profit motives have an undeniably sexual component also. Every boy wants a Ferrari and every girl wants a good provider.

Capping personal wealth would generate excess wealth for all.


I don't think you'll find much support for that. Creative, scientific, and technical people are internally motivated by the desire to create and/or discover. If you research internal (rewards from self) vs external (rewards from others) motivation, there's quite a strong dividing line.


Whether internal reward or external, a reward is just that. Some people feel rewarded by money and power, by discovery, or by sex. Others by doing good for others to get their eternal reward when they die. Others are rewarded by earning the love of their family. In all cases, they wish to profit and gain a reward.

The profit motive has been misused and has caused such disasters that many have a gut dislike for the term. But in my view, it is closely tied to natural selection and like everything else, can have a positive side.


Of course. But the point is that different types of people are attracted to each.

There are people trained in science or math who are attracted by money - but they don't work in their field, they work at Wall Street or its equivalent abroad. They trained in their field not because they're excited by discovery, but because they know that the owner class will pay them well to prostitute their training!

Do the research if you still don't believe me. Try to find people who are motivated by money who are trained AND working in creative/scientific fields. I doubt that you could find 100 in the US, possibly not even 100 in all the world.

For the vast majority of people, money is a "hygiene" item: it's important up to where people have their needs met and have a few luxuries, and then it abruptly stops being important. Once that cutoff point is reached, people won't bother to change jobs just for more money - they have to be offered something more important, like control over their work, sabbatical years, edu, etc.

But really, do the research yourself. Information is plentiful - motivation is one of the most-studied subfields in psychology.

"Shoddy" is the sole product of the profit motive.


Material rewards like money, or immaterial rewards like "control over their work, sabbatical years, edu, etc.," can be profitable. Do the research.


Furthermore, the sooner we get it over with the sooner we can move on to an economic system that benefits and rewards the workers who actually produce and create the products and services.

I truly believe I am going to see the collapse of the U.S. in my lifetime and I am 60 years old. This excites and motivates me to get up every day to fight for what is right.

Game on oligarchs!


"The profit motive" is a term of art with a particular meaning, namely the prospect of becoming rich through other people's labor. Isn't that what you were advocating for? It certainly looks like it:


"Profit" is a loaded word that can imply different things:

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? "
Mark 8:36

I meant "wealth or resources in excess of what is democratically decided that a person could hoard without denying others a fair share while avoiding the plutocratic or hegemonic dictatorship that extreme wealth and power concentration inexorably leads to."