Measuring wealth

The British economy is a football match without the goalposts. Here’s why.

Football pundits these days measure every aspect of the game, like possession, the number of passes and the distance each player runs.

But everybody knows what really matters: the number of goals. So deciding what constitutes a goal is very important, and we’ve had goal line technology and various other innovations to try to help with that.

The British economy is measuring possession all right. Possession means the value of all the assets in the economy, which are mostly owned by the wealthy.

It’s also measuring the number of passes. This is the total value of money transactions taking place, which is called GDP.

And it’s measuring how far everyone runs, too, by adding up the total number of paid working hours that they do.

But the economy is not measuring any actual goals, because it can’t see the goalposts.

Goals are scored when people’s quality of life is good – when they feel secure in their families, their communities, their environment, their relationships and their mental and physical health. But the economy is not concerned with any of that.

People score goals for themselves, but they need opportunities. The economy can create those opportunities or it can take them away.

To create more opportunities, we need to stop obsessing about the amount of money activity and think more about its consequences for people’s lives.
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