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When Economic Growth Indicates Failure


When Economic Growth Indicates Failure

David Korten
For the well-being of most everyone—including the rich—equality is more important than growth.


Thank you Mr Korten. With a high DOW and profits for the few in the Wall Street Casino plus low (but low paying) unemployment, voters may go for the orange one in a race to the bottom.

Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of a WS based GDP, we had something like Bhutan’s GNH (Gross National Happiness index)? And a UBI (Universal Basic Income) sooner rather than later?

Direct Democracy



OK - but this has been going on since the first civilizations.

So there must be a good reason why this is so.

While it is helpful to know how the system works - we need also to address the reasons the system has always been like this.

One answer might be that it is the most efficient & effective way to defend one’s country or empire - against similar countries and empires.

If this is so - what is really needed is an alternative method of guaranteeing as much as is humanly possible one’s own country or empire.

The League of Nations, the United Nations - and International Law - these were attempts at such an alternative system.

But neither the League nor the UN has ever had the funding or the police/military to back up these International Laws.


Excellent article Thank you so much Mr. Korten.

I can remember when this was a part of political discourse many years ago. Simple but incredible.


According to Italian economist Christian Marazzi we are suffering to violence of financial capitalism. The manipulation of money to extract real value from the citizenry. The financial collapse of '07-'08 extracted real equity from average home mortgages by lowering the equity value of the overall investment. The bankers backed by the government risked private money backed by public funds resulting in a theft of around $20-30 TRILLION. No one got locked up for this!! Bernie Madoff doesn’t count because he ran his own scam ripping of around $60+ billion from investors. The stock market Mr Trump is crowing about is over valued by at least 120%. The correction that’s coming will be huge, really huge. The is hidden violence on the American people. Financial!!


And there you have it, the undeniable truth that refutes the “Free Market” ideology!
“Trickle-Down” is a hoax and a con job. It always was. It still is.


Mostly because of the unwillingness of the U.S.!


You have never been more correct, John!

BTW, they made Madoff the poster boy for financial malfeasance, then went right back to speculating with their bailout money. Compared to the Big Banks, Madoff was like a kid stealing a Snickers bar.


The reason the banksters were able to skate was the government. If the government didn’t work hand in glove, the banks would have failed. And lo and behold, it would have been those with wealth who would have lost it.

Only the government can remove economic risk. Only the government can confiscate money from everyone else for the chosen few.


When most northeastern US railroads failed during the 70s, GOP POTUS Ford and Congress created Conrail (Consolidated Railroad Corporation) in 1976 that took over the bankrupt railroads, reorganized them, turned them into a gubmit owned but publicly traded company whose revenues grew to the extent that two of the 6 major North American railroads acquired Conrail by the end of 20th century. US taxpayers came out ahead in the deal.

Contrast Conrail with the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks crashing the global economy in 2008 when the Dubya/Obama/Congress duopoly put US taxpayers on the hook for 20 plus trillion bucks to bailout those banks that controlled 25% of US bank assets at the time. Thanks to the politicians they own, those banks now control more than 50% of US bank assets and will get even bigger taxpayer funded bailouts the next time they crash the economy. Paul Ryan and his band of pirates are cutting Social Security, Medicare and other “domestic programs” so they will have the boatloads of dough they need to bail out the banks.

Railroading is inherently far more complex than banking (banks create complexity so they can screw us) so if the gubmit can succeed at revitalizing railroads the gubmit can succeed at revitalizing banks.


The usual supposition in a forum such as this is that serious government socialism is needed to take money from the 1% and gradations of .1% above that and repurpose it to the good of the masses.

But consider this viewpoint

Google and you can find several opinions, including one from Common Dreams in Nov. 2017 that denies that capitalism and free markets had anything to do with it.

But what we do know is that doctrinaire socialist countries have stagnated for years and decades, such as India. Some such as China suffered a lot. Some such as the USSR both suffered a lot, and succeeded enough so that people thought they were economy #2 on the planet, until the fall of the Berlin Wall pulled back the curtain. When countries like India and China relaxed the principles of socialism a bit, and let people make their own contracts and economic arrangements, their economies grew and extreme poverty fell.

I will also suggest that small ‘t’ trickle-down works to alleviate inequality. When people shop for the best value, productive people selling at a lower price make the sale and get the wages. That is why lower cost and priced steel from India and South Korea beats out American made steel. And thus Indian and South Korean steelworkers (and automakers, etc.) get a bump up in wages, while American steelmakers (etc.) lose their jobs. In one regard, free markets tend to reduce inequality.


Well, no. There can also be a very bad reason that something is so.

It is indeed helpful to know how the system works. But that will involve knowing that it does not work the way purveyors say that it does. GDP does not measure what a country produces, let alone how well off it is or how well it might defend itself against attack by other countries or empires.


In part, but one reason government can skate and wishes to is the banksters as well. And another, in both cases, is the media. And when a bank issues credit out of thin air, we say it grants money, but of course it also takes money away, since this causes inflation. It thereby confiscates money.

Of course, that does not mean that businesses will not pay government as their agents to confiscate more and to enforce their holdings. You are correct that government is a mission-critical factor here. It is just not the only one, nor necessarily the most nefarious.


You are so sadly correct. The correction will be massive and global. My thinking is it will begin in the auto sector which heavily based on debt. Because of that I am still driving my car of 18 years, a 1989 Chrysler New Yorker.


Olhippy…you are wise, you are smart, have you thought of writing for Commondreams?


I am saddened that a title like this explains absolutely nothing. It’s just another rehash of the inequity resulting from bullies taking over world governments so they can further line their own pockets and destroy cosmic powered biology on Earth.

Want humanity to survive? Stepping onto an airplane even once fairly well dooms one to having already exceeded the pollution recycling capacity of Earth. Liberal dreamers that fly on an airplane to go help the world are a nightmare that should stay home and haunt the greed in their country that is making poor people poor. This idea doesn’t even lift the lid on destruction of diversity via habitat destruction for resource extraction and final disposal. A person jetting around the world in the name of poverty is destroying Earth as surly as a Trump shooting wildlife for personal egomania.

Need for change is obvious? Avoid meat and sea food. Eat locally grown fruits, beans, rice, greens and corn. Wear long underwear indoors.

Write in None of the Above for elections with politicians who have been in office while the US has been murdering millions of completely innocent people for no reason other polluting war profits.

Politician claims to be a socialist yet supports war contracts and religious states? That’s another bad grade to avoid.

This is a short checklist. The author has the right idea that an economy should support fun, health and personal growth but what should we do? Suggestion for additions?


Today, what “growth” means is that we are getting ever closer to the extinction of our species!


But capital can migrate between nations while workers can’t. See the problem?


First, which of the paragraphs in my comment does your response most apply to? I don’t see the problem, right away. What is it?

Yes, workers can migrate between nations. They are having a dispute about that in Washington DC right now.

Last, what is capital? Physical capital, such as oil refineries, factories and machines, often can’t be moved. Skilled labor capital often moves to where it is treated well, not ill-treated. An example are the Jewish diamond-cutters of Amsterdam, who relocated as a result of WWII and the Holocaust to Israel.


Immigration of people is a blip on the radar screen compared to movement of investment capital.

The debate they’re having about immigration in DC is centered on limiting it.

As for the diamond-cutting industry, 90% of it moved to India, where children do the work. Too bad those kids don’t have a holocaust to set them up in a new country carved from someone elses’ land: