The Growth Delusion: Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-Being of Nations

In This Review

The Growth Delusion: Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-Being of Nations
By David Pilling
Tim Duggan Books, 2018
277 pp.
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Pilling charts an unpleasant voyage of discovery. After spending years writing about trends in countries’ GDP growth as a journalist, the author has discovered what GDP actually means and how it is measured. His research has left him appalled that he and others—journalists, commentators, and politicians—have been extolling GDP growth for so long. It is not that growth itself is a delusion: after all, it has been associated with increases in living standards and reductions in poverty in many countries over the past half century. But growth often becomes a fetish for politicians and policymakers, who have given it priority over many other aspects of national well-being. This informative and sometimes humorous book serves as a useful antidote to that myopia. When it comes to the economy, Pilling argues, officials and leaders should pay a little more attention to quality and a little less to quantity.

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