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Cameron going for growth… and wellbeing?

October 25, 2010

David Cameron has spoken critically in the past about GDP and its limits, suggesting that we ought to develop ‘national accounts of wellbeing’. We haven’t heard anything about it for quite some time, but in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry today he dropped a hint:

In the weeks ahead, we will be setting out how we will bring a new emphasis on well-being in our national life, and how we will work with business to spread social and environmental responsibility across our society.

Interesting words. However, today’s event was all about growth. In a statement that echoes Gordon Brown’s promise that going for growth would be “the government’s number one priority”, Cameron assured business leaders that a “forensic, relentless focus on growth is what you will get from this government.”

No surprises there perhaps. I also noted this little passage:

Right now, every part of government is thinking about what it can do to support growth from environmental regulation to local government through better incentives for development so let us know what you think, give us your ideas.

Every part of government? The role of environmental regulation is to support economic growth? That may the most backwards statement of the year from the man who promised us the ‘greenest government ever’.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 12, 2011 11:22 am

    “Right now, every part of government is thinking about what it can do to support growth from environmental regulation to local government through better incentives for development so let us know what you think, give us your ideas

    So says Cameron, proving he’s a hypocrite, saying one thing and doing another.

    However, the quotation does raise an interesting question : as steadystaters, we should recognize that we could grow in the environmental sector with green technology.

    Together with other changes, such as reducing our consumption of unnecessary things, we could have a no-growth society.

    Flowing from this, the next question is, what things are unnecessary?

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