3: Growth – The Celtic Cancer: Why the Global Economy Damages our Health and Society
Feasta Review number 2 Green Books, £9.95 ISBN 1 84351 062 6
The title of this book is somewhat misleading. Its 207 pages contain a collection of articles and book reviews on topics of global concern, even where the data do relate to Ireland, where Feasta is based. They do not suggest that the Celts are responsible for the Global Economy!
The range of topics, all relating to the Global Economy, is wide, and coverage well informed and thought- provoking.
In its first article, “Unprecedented growth, but for whose benefit?”, Elizabeth Cullen shows with many graphs that, although the average income in Ireland doubled between 1989 and 2002, the nation's health and the bonds between its people have been seriously damaged, with the increasing gap of income between rich and poor, a drop in life-satisfaction, growth of working hours despite a drop in unemployment, and increasing poverty in old age, among many other factors she illustrates. She attributes this to inequality, as a direct result of government policy. This situation is of course common to most ‘developed’ countries, but she compares the Irish situation with other countries to show the effect of differences in government policy, and to make a list of recommendations for change, including introduction of basic incomes and study of why economic growth is needed to avoid collapse.
In this issue of SustEc is a link to James Robertson’s article – see item 2.
Other articles concern the concept of ‘poverty’, the need to develop a new economics putting human health before profit, the coming of ‘peak oil’ and the impending crash of the world economy, the tribal view of property and land ownership, development of cooperative links between producers, consumers and investors, the need for localisation, the Dollar vs. the Euro, Green taxes, quotas vs. taxes, interest-free banking – etc.
A truly worthwhile set of essays, which if you prefer can be read online at www.feasta.org/documents/review2/ index.htm.
– Brian Leslie