Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Its not all about wealth

The way the right talks, you would think that government policy was all about wealth and increasing GDP. Today, we have a stark reminder that that is not the case, in the form of the European Quality of Life Index [PDF]. According to the index, the UK has the lowest quality of life in Western Europe - despite having the highest average after-tax family income. Partly this is because of the high cost of living in London, but there are other problems as well: they work longer, die younger, and get fewer holidays. In addition, they spend less on healthcare and education than other nations. And the result is reflected in their emigration figures: In 2006, 41,000 UKanians fled the UK for brighter prospects - the highest number in Europe.

This is where NeoLiberal growth maximisation gets you: a country where no-one wants to live and everyone feels miserable. The lesson for New Zealand ought to be obvious.