Diane Coyle

Economist, wrote some books on sustainable growth. Lots of quick, focused answers which support her view and ignore any difficulties raised by the questioner.

An idea from the discussion (not hers): Capitalism gains much of its legitimacy from the claim that it improves the lives of everyone. But in the last years* it has only improved the lot of the upper few percent. Is capitalism facing a crisis of legitimacy?

*US incomes for middle class stable or declining since the 70’s (that is 40 years now, two generations). Other examples from other countries, I am sure.

What this ignores is the tremendous gains in quality and variety of stuff. Cell phones, internet, etc all are near universally accessible now. The possibilities offered to the poor are much greater than they were 40 years ago.

She disagrees with the claim that increasing GDP does not lead to increasing happiness, noting that happiness is measured on a fixed scale while GDP can (theoretically) grow without limit. If one compares log(GDP) [which does have a limit] with happiness, then increasing GDP does associate with increasing happiness.

Need to work on my rant on this topic…

Next idea: Our society is suffering from a lack of faith in the future. No sense of progress, unlike (say) the Victorian age. This is another topic to develop further…

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Posted on July 7, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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