The Growth Delusion
A revelatory and entertaining book about the pitfalls of how we measure our economy and how to correct them, by an award-winning editor of The Financial Times In The Growth Delusion, author and prize-winning journalist David Pilling explores how economists and their cult of growth have hijacked our policy-making and infiltrated our thinking about what makes societies work. Our policies are geared relentlessly towards increasing our standard measure of growth, Gross Domestic Product. By this yardstick we have never been wealthier or happier. So why doesn't it feel that way? Why are we living in such fractured times, with global populism on the rise and wealth inequality as stark as ever? In a book that is simultaneously trenchant, thought-provoking and entertaining, Pilling argues that we need to measure our successes and failures using different criteria. While for economic growth, heroin consumption and prostitution are worth more than volunteer work or public services, in a rational world we would learn how to value what makes economies better, not just what makes them bigger. So much of what is important to our wellbeing, from clean air to safe streets and from steady jobs to sound minds, lies outside the purview of our standard measure of success. We prioritise growth maximisation without stopping to think about the costs. In prose that cuts through the complex language so often wielded by a priesthood of economists, Pilling argues that our steadfast loyalty to growth is informing misguided policies - and contributing to a rising mistrust of experts that is shaking the very foundations of our democracy.
A revelatory and entertaining book about the pitfalls of how we measure our economy and how to correct them, by an award-winning editor of The Financial Times
A most thoughtful and profound philosophical reflection on how we live our lives, organise our societies and shape the future of humanity. It should be compulsory reading for everyone who is interested in making the world a better place -- Ha-Joon Chang, author of '23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism' David Pilling is a witty, well-informed and well-travelled guide to our obsession with growth, even when it is poorly defined or fails to measure what we care about. He appreciates what growth has done for so many, but his skepticism about GDP-and its alternatives-is an invaluable primer as we try to do better. If he sometimes makes fun of measurement, he also makes measurement fun. A real achievement -- Angus Deaton, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics Engaging and enlightening, The Growth Delusion explains not only why the emperor has no clothes, but why he wasn't really the emperor in the first place -- David Mitchell, author of 'Cloud Atlas' If you thought that GDP did not necessarily translate into increased welfare, David Pilling shows you convincingly why you were right. One of the Financial Times' most brilliant columnists, Pilling has produced a book that will become a classic -- Jagdish Bhagwati, author of 'Why Growth Matters' and 'In Defense of Globalization' Briskly and engagingly, David Pilling alerts us to our impoverished sense of reality in an age that has sacrificed quality to quantity. The Growth Delusion should be read by everyone who wants to make sense of the political earthquakes of our time -- Pankaj Mishra, author of 'Age of Anger' This is an excellent and timely book which should be mandatory reading for policymakers, economists, investors and, yes, journalists. It exposes the folly of our modern obsession with a narrow concept of economics and our reliance on gross domestic product data as a sign of well being - and does this in a lively, well written, and easy-to-understand way -- Gillian Tett, author of 'Fool's Gold' and 'The Silo Effect' In The Growth Delusion Pilling makes an important yet complicated subject accessible to experts and non-experts alike. The book offers a most insightful and at times witty guide to the essential question: what precisely is economic growth for and how can it be harnessed to improve the lives of people in poor countries as well as rich ones? -- Kofi Annan, seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations and Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize This is a fascinating and extremely readable book which engagingly challenges many of our assumptions about what makes for a successful economy and a happy life -- Chris Patten, the last Governor of Hong Kong and author of 'East and 'West' A rare beast: a book on economics that is well written, accessible and - whisper it - entertaining! ... Witty, widely travelled and well-informed, David Pilling is an excellent guide to the pitfalls and shortcomings of GDP and a trenchant exponent of the need to move beyond the `cult of growth' * New Internationalist * What economics needs now, what we all need, are people who can bring it back to life. In The Growth Delusion Pilling does exactly that, charting the idea of economic growth from its birth to the present through countless vivid stories -- Joe Earle, author of 'The Econocracy' Pilling combines a historian's breadth of vision, an anthropologist's clearheadedness, an investigator's knack of knowing what questions to ask, an economist's grasp of the circuitry of money and a top-notch journalist's curiosity about the human effects of political causes. The result is a probing, nourishing and independent-minded book -- Praise for 'Bending Adversity', David Mitchell Fascinating and well-researched ... Pilling's experience as a journalist lends Bending Adversity a welcome veracity it might otherwise have lacked ... poignant, insightful, understated, heart breaking but also often uplifting -- Praise for 'Bending Adversity' * Independent * Bending Adversity does an excellent job of reappraising [Japan's] lost years of economic deflation and social and political stagnation ... There has to be a way, says Pilling, that we can live without growth. This fascinating and timely book shows us where to look for it -- Praise for 'Bending Adversity' * Spectator *
David Pilling has been a prize-winning reporter and editor for the Financial Times for twenty-five years. Currently the Africa editor and one of their featured columnists, he was previously the Asia editor, running coverage across the continent. His first book, Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival (Allen Lane, 2014), received outstanding reviews. He lives in London but travels frequently to Africa. @davidpilling