gdproblem
“Our mis-leading indicators”: book review featuring “Gross Domestic Problem”

gdproblemThe book review website Public Books features GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti‘s “Gross Domestic Problem” in its article on GDP “Our mis-leading indicators”.

“GDP became the yardstick for measuring progress and still often serves as a proxy for overall national well-being. Policymakers think of national economic life in terms of GDP: raising GDP is a primary policy goal and people across the world look to GDP growth rates to assess how well their leaders are guiding economic policy choices. Yet today GDP is under fire from a variety of sources. Why?”

Gross Domestic Problem is reviewed along with Diane Coyle’s “GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History” and Zachary Karabell’s “Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World”. In his in-depth analysis Stephen Macekura, postdoctoral fellow at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College (US), says of Fioramonti’s book:

“Fioramonti presents the most scathing critique. He criticizes the deeply held faith that raising GDP can solve all political and social problems—what he calls the “dogma of infinite GDP growth.” For him, the reliance on GDP derives from a technocratic worldview that glorifies experts, corrodes communal values, and devalues the natural world. In addition to inveighing against this worldview throughout his book, he highlights contemporary social movements that are challenging both the use of GDP and mainstream society more broadly. He explains the “transition” and “de-growth” movements, which seek to downscale production and consumption, encourage participatory decision-making, decentralize power towards the community level, redistribute resources along more equitable lines, and lower humankind’s ecological footprint. Similarly, he recounts the efforts of communities that use their own currencies and banking systems to break free of the larger financial power structures (states, multinational corporations) that dominate economic transactions worldwide. In general, he sees technocracy and its GDP “dogma” as powerful centralizing and anti-democratic forces, and he celebrates grassroots, local movements that show “alternative ways of life are not just possible but also desirable.” His prescriptions are thus cultural and political; no merely technical fixes will suffice.”

Read the full article on Public Books

Land matrix in action: “Among the Senegalese Mother-Earths

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera features result from our LandMatrix  land monitoring project to describe the struggle of Senegalese women against land-grabbing multinationals. Read the full article here [Italian]

Private sector must address challenges of the 21st century

THE Corporate Governance Index 2014, which GovInn released last week in partnership with the Institute of Internal Auditors of SA, provides a worrying snapshot of the state of business performance in SA.

The index finds that the leadership skills, accountability and overall conduct of public and private corporations have worsened over the past year. GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti comments on the perilous relationship between economic and political powers on Business Day, South Africa’s leading business newspaper.

If public officials take bribes to favour a few at the expense of the public good, then it is worth asking: where does the money come from? And the answer usually is: from business.

The simplistic juxtaposition between corrupt government and virtuous business does not pass the reality check.

Read the full article here

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iiasa.org.za/resource/collection/1FD175F0-82CB-40AF-9127-7A91E5C1058C/2014_Corporate_Governance_Index_report.pdf

GovInn, in partnership with the Institute of Internal Auditors of South Africa, has just released the results of the Corporate Governance Index 2014. To download the report please click here: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iiasa.org.za/resource/collection/1FD175F0-82CB-40AF-9127-7A91E5C1058C/2014_Corporate_Governance_Index_report.pdf