This time it’s the letters page:
I find it deeply distressing that the Guardian does such strong journalism on for example, carbon bombs and the truths behind carbon offsets, and yet seems not to join the dots with economic growth. Surely you understand that GDP has an almost 1:1 relationship with both energy and materials use? And this isn’t going to change any time soon, certainly not in the handful of years we have to body swerve away from Earth system tipping points.
GDP does not have a 1:1 relationship with energy and materials usage. Not at all. So, that’s where you’re wrong, Love.
Both energy and materials usage per unit of GDP have been declining this past – oooh, roughly – 250 years. You know, since capitalism? Capitalists desire profit. So, they continually economise on the costs of inputs. Absent government control of prices they can only do this by lessening the use of those inputs – they can’t control the price. Volume is partly in their hands, price ain’t.
This is before we get to that point about having qualitative not quantitative growth. GDP measures value added. So, if we all value qualitative growth then as that happens then GDP will rise. In fact, we can – and do – insist that if energy and materials usage were held constant, or that only renewables were used, or whatever restriction you desire, then still GDP will rise as new methods of adding value occur to people.
And if – as it is – GDP is value added then of course it does not depend on ever increasing inputs, does it?
On Friday 27 January, I and six other women received suspended prison sentences for carefully cracking windows at Barclays global HQ in April 2021.
Honey, it’s really, really, worth trying to understand the things you’re willing to go to prison about…….