Today the New York Times reported an upward revision of first quarter 2016 US Gross Domestic Product of 0.8%. Growth, they said, was “better but still weak.”
Better for who and what?
Certainly not for millions on minimum wage. Even if they actually got the extra 0.8%, or $100 or so bump on their annual salary, saying this would help a financially struggling family, is like saying if only the Yugo had had had better cup holders it would have been a truly great car.
What would help?
Awhile ago I wrote a post proving everyone on minimum wage could earn $70,000 and it would cost corporate America a fraction of their annual profits.
That would make a difference. But, how would we power growth, corporates would say? We need the profit to reinvest!
Ok, if that was true why is Corporate America which sitting on $1.9 trillion in capital?
We don’t need growth to survive. Actually, its quite the opposite. The planet is clearly telling us to consume less not more.
But we are hooked on growth. It’s a drug: GDP goes up, our adrenaline spikes. It goes down, we fear for our pensions.
There is no easy way off this roller coaster.
My guess is that if we reviewed our family budgets, we’d find a few things to not spend on. A modest start to be sure. But the savings would line our pockets and, more importantly, reduce our financial stress and ecological footprints.
Commercially manufactured aspiration to spend on things we could do without is at the root much that is unsustainable.
Celebrate the life, not the GDP.