Episode 34: The Economics Of Enough

In this episode, Owen talks with author and economist Diane Coyle about her latest book ‘The Economics Of Enough, How To Run The Economy As If The Future Matters’.

In the first section, Diane shares her thoughts on economic growth as a satisfactory goal for economic and social policy, and discusses the measure of Gross Domestic Product in relation to indicators of happiness and welfare.

Diane Coyle

In addressing the challenges of economic growth, Diane highlights the need for a measure of wealth that transcends money and natural infrastructure to factor in human capital, environmental capital and natural resources.  Diane argues for going ‘back to basics’ on GDP, and introducing systematic asset measurement to monitor and control long-term change and assess how much is taken from future generations.

Diane explains the implications of, and offers solutions to, the ‘crisis of capitalism’: the financial crisis; the underlying problem of public debt and the structure of the welfare system; inequality and the loss of trust and social capital; and the lack of customer-focused financial innovation. Diane explains these challenges in relation to the related ‘crisis of governance’ that enables them to persist.

In the last section Diane discusses her ‘manifesto for enough’ in relation to how it addresses the challenges discussed earlier, along with how much it leaves unresolved.

Running time 1 hour and 7 minutes; size 44.5 Mb.

Download transcript (pdf)

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Comments

[…] Forrester then goes on to present possible ways of avoiding catastrophic population collapse cautioning that transitioning from the contemporary path of unsustainable growth to one of sustainable equilibrium will involve painful readjustments and unpopular policies (sound familiar? See this entertaining clip of Paul Krugman talking about fiscal consolidation during a recession, or any one of a million of his brilliant blog posts on the subject.) This stuff reminds me of the hugely impressive Diane Coyle, and her work on The Economics of Enough. […]

This is a fantastic listen. It gets a shout-out in my rather long but, hopefully, moderately entertaining blog post about viewing development as a system, rather than issue by issue.

http://aidcomplexity.blogs.casa.ucl.ac.uk/2013/01/23/from-growth-to-equilibrium-the-work-of-jay-w-forrester/

[…] finished listening to the latest edition of the Development Drums podcast, where Owen Barder from the Centre for Global Development interviews Diane Coyle about her new […]

I really enjoyed listening to this podcast. Especially your example of German policy in the 70th that made companies responsible, and yes everybody complained, jobs will get lost, our products get to expensive, companies will shut down. And guess what, yes some companies didn’t make it. But for the majority of German companies as Diane puts it it put them ahead of many other companies in other countries, her example UK, that could offload these costs to consumer directly.
So I was a little bit astonished when later in the podcast you said that you don’t know the answer to who should bear the cost of more sustainable production. The same question as in the 70th. Whoever is producing a good or service should be responsible, this will make them innovative and ensure companies stay competitive. In the end the consumer will pay the cost, but for the most competitive product.

Also your comments about Mpesa ( I live in Kenya and am involved in initiatives to make finance accessible to smallholder farmers ) and your critical look at the hype about credit to small producers are fully to the mark. We just had the example of a credit market forcing money on people, like the housing credit crisis in US, and many development partners are doing the same with smallholder farmers in Africa. In my eyes very unethical.

Thanks Diane

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