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Ignorance on display in The Guardian

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…….

12 thoughts on “Ignorance on display in The Guardian”

  1. Is GDP just a magic totem?

    Do you srsly believe that reported GDP number has anything to do with your actual life, or mine, or anyone’s, except to the degree that we let ourselves pretend it has a real meaning?

    Do you realize GDP is over half imputed by government bureaucrats who lack the intellectual honesty to even include error bars?

  2. PS can you talk to Martin Shkreli about who sets price?

    Can you see OPEC’s invisible hand raising the premium they charge?

  3. @?
    GDP is an imperfect model for measuring economic activity; just like all the other models. As long as you don’t change how the model is run, you at least get some historical insight as to how the economy did compared to how it is doing now. This is why you really, really don’t want the government controlling the economy. They would be using crappy models to try and run things.

    If you want to get rid of OPEC controlling the price of oil, get Emperor Joe Palpateen to start fracking again. That goes as well for the European countries.

    Are you really that stupid?

  4. Looking back at recent history, it seems pretty clear that communist regimes seemed to be most wasteful with resources and caused greatest environmental danage.

    Did they even have GDP ? ( Or has real GDP never been tried ?)

  5. A) Surely you understand that ***GDP*** has an almost 1:1 relationship with both energy and materials use?
    B) Both energy and materials usage ***per unit of GDP*** have been declining this past – oooh, roughly – 250 years

    Comment: A /= B

    Know nothing about the subject, just noticed not same thing…

  6. For avoidance of doubt, there are two relationships that seem to have been conflated. GDP has a 10^2 or 10^3:1 relationship to energy and metals use; change in GDP has -ve correlation with energy and/or metals use.
    gareth is pendantically correct

  7. Well swiss toni, if they ‘cracked’ MY windows, I’d want them suspended from a rope. But I’m naturally selfish and self-centered.

  8. Is gareth even dumber than Mojackoff Weenie?

    Can either of them even read at a first-grade level? Did gapeth completely miss the “does not” in the original text? Wtf kind of illiterate morons are we dealing with here???

    《they can’t control the price. Volume is partly in their hands, price ain’t.》

    Has Tim the Smiter ever heard of hedging price out of your revenue picture using futures and options markets?

    Do you think Cargill cares what commodity prices do, because they’re hedged six ways from Sunday and can have their trading desk engineer gamma squeezes by selling long OTM calls to drive prices up (and if not they simply buy back the calls at a lower price)?

  9. The fact that governments can’t measure GDP with 100% accuracy is quite different from it existing.

    We don’t know my exact income either, especially in advance. But I do not therefore consider it unimportant.

    And shut up about hedging! That only covers the short term. You can’t hedge away long term changes in prices. Or inflation, or anything, for that matter.

  10. Breaking those windows will have raised GDP very slightly.

    Er spot the guy who has never heard of Bastiat.

    Or was that double secret irony?

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