The Growth Delusion

Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-Being of Nations
Narrated by: Elliot Hill
Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A provocative critique of the pieties and fallacies of our obsession with economic growth

We live in a society in which a priesthood of economists, wielding impenetrable mathematical formulas, set the framework for public debate. Ultimately, it is the perceived health of the economy that determines how much we can spend on our schools, highways, and defense; economists decide how much unemployment is acceptable and whether it is right to print money or bail out profligate banks.

The backlash we are currently witnessing suggests that people are turning against the experts and their faulty understanding of our lives. Despite decades of steady economic growth, many citizens feel more pessimistic than ever and are voting for candidates who voice undisguised contempt for the technocratic elite. For too long, economics has relied on a language that fails to resonate with people's actual experience, and we are now living with the consequences. 

In this powerful, incisive book, David Pilling reveals the hidden biases of economic orthodoxy and explores the alternatives to GDP, from measures of wealth, equality, and sustainability to measures of subjective well-being. Authoritative, provocative, and eye-opening, The Growth Delusion offers witty and unexpected insights into how our society can respond to the needs of real people instead of pursuing growth at any cost.

©2018 David Pilling (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Engaging and enlightening, The Growth Delusion explains not only why the emperor has no clothes, but why he wasn't really the emperor in the first place" (David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas)

"David Pilling is a witty, well-informed, and well-traveled guide to our obsession with growth, even when it is poorly defined or fails to measure what we care about. He appreciates what growth has done for so many, but his skepticism about GDP - and its alternatives - is an invaluable primer as we try to do better. If he sometimes makes fun of measurement, he also makes measurement fun. A real achievement." (Angus Deaton, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics)

"In The Growth Delusion, Pilling makes an important yet complicated subject accessible to experts and non-experts alike. The book offers a most insightful and at times witty guide to the essential question: what precisely is economic growth for, and how can it be harnessed to improve the lives of people in poor countries as well as rich ones?" (Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the UN)

“It’s not often, as in ‘never,’ that I’ve been able to recommend a book about economic measurement that’s both important and downright entertaining. Yet, in The Growth Delusion that’s precisely what author David Pilling provides.” (Jared Bernstein, The Washington Post)

"The Fed needs to read this economics book.” (Forbes)

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Fascinating view point

Thoroughly enjoyed this listen and plan to buy the hard copy for my home library, too many great references, people, and analogies to remember.

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Well written and easy to understand

Gave me a new perspective on GDP and the way we measure our society/economic successes. Some of the tables didn't translate well into spoken word. The readers "raspy voice" when quoting was sometimes difficult to hear.