Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

2020 Submission: TOPIC 3: Sustainability (A)

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-03-18

This is the second of a series of blog posts detailing my submissions to Rudd’s 2020 gabfest (you can make your own submissions here). This covers "Topic 3: Population, sustainability, climate change and water", with this just the first of 3 dot-points.

I hope all of you who have been making blog posts or comments on the 2020 gabfest have been making your own submissions (add a comment on this page to get included in my hall of fame).

OK, here’s my submission with a bit of reformatting:

A: Improved use of more appropriate metrics

Decreasing a population and the consequent load on the land is politically difficult when governments are judged on economic management by total GDP, which will be decreased as a population becomes smaller and more sustainable.

Media releases headlining per-capita GDP would decrease the political risk, while better reflecting the economic well-being of individual citizens.

Ideally, governments could direct the Australian Bureau of Statistics to provide better and more timely indicators, including those required for human development indicators (mortality, morbidity, education) similar to those used by the UN Development Program, especially if they are linked to expenditure (e.g. dollars required for each year of average lifespan).

Creating metrics that reflect benefits to citizens from the social wage, where service provision can be more efficient, and not necessarily increase GDP because they can involve non-monetary transactions, might also make changes to sustainable societies more politically palatable.

More appropriate metrics will help planning, provide better information to guide individual behaviour, while rewarding political parties that improve efficiency.

This will be especially important if world treaties focus on per-capita emissions levels rather than national levels, something that is both more equitable and a probable shift for international negotiations.

See Also


5 Responses to “2020 Submission: TOPIC 3: Sustainability (A)”

  1. […] Infrastructure « Balneus on 2020 Submission: Topic 1 : Economy including Education2020 Submission: TOPIC 3: Sustainability (A) « Balneus on 2020 Submission: Topic 2 : Economic Infrastructure2020 Submission: TOPIC 3: […]

  2. Excellent point, by the way.

    Interestingly, Japan’s per-capita GDP has increased at the same rate as Australia’s over the past decade.

    Puts a rather different perspective on the wonders of Australian economic management, doesn’t it?

  3. Dave Bath said

    Thanks a lot for the compliment.

    I guess it’s like a lot of things in management: the quality of outcomes depends on the quality of the definitions of metrics. (A good example is if an organization gives a bonus to an IT services manager for how many requests are serviced, and how quickly, there is no incentive to spend an hour solving a problem forever if you can speed 2 minutes times 30 calls every day to do the quickfix)

  4. Balneus said

    […] 2020 Submission: Topic 9: Australian Governance refers to
    Topic 3: Sustainability (A) – (2003-03-18) […]

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