Statement Voorzitter DNA tijdens 128ste IPU conferentie
"Good morning to all of you
I want to thank the Parliament of Ecuador for this opportunity.
Today we are discussing the theme: from unrelenting growth to purposeful development. I am really glad that this theme is finally on a very important global agenda.
For a long time now, it has been clear to many that relentless and endless growth is not possible since the earth is a finite system.
The fact that this finally is on our agenda is important but, sadly, probably due to the undeniable structural problems of the current global economic system.
Regardless of the fact that growth cannot continue unabated, we have seen that a system that only measures prosperity of countries by economic growth, has been at the heart of many of the problems we regularly discuss on the international fora. From pollution to climate change, war and invasion.
If we analyze where the economic growth of the past few decades went to, we can see clearly that this growth in financial wealth accumulated overwhelmingly in big banks and corporations, now declared too big to fail, which in fact means that they now have more influence than even Rich and powerful governments.
Ordinary people received a lot less and many workers in many countries even experienced a decline of income, especially in relation to hours of work.They make less then they did a few decades ago while their workers rights often have been eroding.
The pursue of unrelenting economic growth resulted in policies that put wellbeing of people and the sound management of our natural environment which supports all human live, second to achieving this growth, almost at any cost.
I hope that we realize that in order to achieve change, we will have to confront this system of unrelenting growth and more specifically the skewed growth that benefits the few and ignores the interests of the many.
Are we able and willing to do that? We are not just nicely and academically discussing a subject here today. There are interests that benefit from the system.
If we really want to start exploring possibilities for change, we will need to start using different indicators to assess the performance of our economies. Just assessing GDP growth has shown to be deficient.
There are other ways of looking at economies and I would like to propose that the IPU takes action and starts the study of existing initiatives like the Genuine progress indicator.
If we can start there we might be able to proceed and start a process of change. It will not be easy.
Cosmetic actions will not work. Endless growth is not possible. A sustainable system is also a just system. Not because of pity for the poor, but because of common sense. Everybody needs to contribute and everybody needs to be able to live.
If we could really start this change I would be very glad. I wish all of us strength.