Why the return of economic growth is a neoliberal illusion

It’s true there’s a historical correlation between security, prosperity and growth. Those were the days when “trickle-down” worked. It worked because the trickling down occurred through higher wages and better social services at the insistence of a strong labour movement when our media weren’t just corporate mouthpieces. That’s all changed.

But isn’t GDP still growing? Sure. GDP can grow along with population, even while living standards stagnate. In that case, growth doesn’t help us. In fact, right now, poverty is also increasing in Australia. Shouldn’t that cancel out the boost to GDP from population growth? Something else must be increasing too. What could that be?


Once we adjust for population growth, much of our meagre GDP growth goes with it. If this affected the entire population equally, nobody’s wealth would be increasing. But, in fact, it’s the poor who are bearing the brunt, while the rich get richer. In simple terms, existing wealth is being redistributed upwards. So poverty and inequality are rising.

via Why the return of economic growth is a neoliberal illusion