Greens challenge Scottish government to listen to Nobel Winner on GDP


  The Scottish Green party is urging Scottish Government Ministers to heed the advice of respected economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz.
Speaking as the Nobel prize-winning economist prepares to give evidence to Holyrood’s Economy Committee on alternatives to GDP, the Scottish Greens are challenging SNP ministers to adopt more meaningful measures of success.

Professor Stiglitz has previously said chasing GDP growth can result in lower living standards.

The Scottish Greens have consistently warned the SNP government and other opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament that their economic priorities will do nothing to close the growing gap between rich and poor.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and Economy Committee member, said:

“US senator Robert Kennedy famously said gross domestic product – gross national product in America – measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile.  I hope Professor Stiglitz prompts SNP ministers and the other opposition parties to review their relentless focus on growth.

“Economic recovery should be about improving people’s quality of life, rather than offering tax cuts to big business.  Scottish Greens have long said a nation’s success should be judged on factors like health, wellbeing and social equality.

“The public is fed up hearing about bankers’ bonuses and tax dodging companies while poverty continues to worsen. The time for an economy with ethics has come.”

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper in 2009, Professor Stiglitz said: “Any good measure of how well we are doing must also take account of sustainability.”

The academic is a member of First Minister Alex Salmond’s Council of Economic Advisers.  Last month Professor Stiglitz was part of a group who produced a report that concluded Scotland needed full powers over tax and welfare in order to tackle inequality.

The Fiscal Commission Working Group’s report made clear that since 1975 income inequality in the UK has increased at a faster rate than any other OECD country, damaging economic growth and limiting the potential of people in Scotland.

The paper concluded that “without access to the relevant policy levers – particularly taxation and welfare policy – there is little that the Scottish Government can do to address these trends.”


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