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Economic and other fairy stories

You probably would have noticed the media attention given to the Australian economies historic 26 year reign of economic growth which has been claimed is breaking that held by the Netherlands. Apart from being incorrect, (The Netherlands’ real GDP declined by 0.3% in the June quarter of 2003, and by 0.01% in the September quarter of that year) that record should go to Japan. In fact, if Japanese GDP data were available on a quarterly basis earlier than 1960, it’s likely that this run of continuous economic growth would have been even longer, perhaps as long as 38 years, inferring from annual data available back to 1955. Not bad for a nation mocked for its decision to abandon population growth and actually reduce its population.

Redefining growth - by William Bourke of the Sustainable Population Party

The Group of 20 (G20) is meeting in Brisbane this week to discuss the global economy. William Bourke says we should focus less on the GDP and instead look at real progress indicators like high employment, a diverse economic base and sustainable resource management.

How economists misuse per capita GDP to depict income decline as income growth

Our supposedly steadily increasing per-capita Gross Domestic Product GDP figures are the basis of politicians' claims that their policies, including "free market" "reforms" and population growth, have increased our prosperity. An example is a graph by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which purportedly shows that average income has increased $10,000 in real terms in the ten years to 2008. In fact, the use of the GDP in this way is contrary to the intentions of its originator Simon Kuznets (pictured). Many Australians must wonder why, if their prosperity has increased so much in only 10 years, at least two incomes, instead of only one income, are necessary for most families.

See also: Living standards and our material prosperity of 6 Sep 07 and comments, What is Australia's population "carrying capacity"? of 31 Dec 10.

What is Australia's population "carrying capacity"?

The population of Australia is now over 22.5 million and increasing rapidly, currently at a rate of 1.7% increase per year. Despite the deceptively small number, it still means a doubling of population every 41 years, and the subsequent increases of food, water, infrastructure, environmental degradation and housing. Opinions differ, but economic and politics demand ongoing and maximum population growth for their own agendas.

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