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Holistic View of Wealth September 25, 2009

Posted by Kavita Vora in As The Future Catches You.
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The format of Juan Enriquez’s book, “As the Future Catches You,” was interesting at first but then distracting. The varying style, size, and placement of the text mirrored a PowerPoint presentation.

Enriquez used GDP as a proxy for national wealth when categorizing countries as wealthy or poor:

“Countries whose economies remain natural-resource based…
Have to produce more and more…
To earn the same.
As their populations grow…
Most of these countries get poorer and poorer.”

This is an example of where he introduced an intriguing pattern but did not prove a causal relationship via evidence. It also did not seem to be a comprehensive view of wealth. There are inherent costs to the advancement of technology which have not yet been assessed. Some of the most technologically advanced and educated countries also are the producers of the most waste and pollution. So, I think you could argue the opposite position…more and more members of the educated class may be looking to regress technologically for the benefit of society. They are walking to local farmers markets and willing to pay a premium for organic food. They are also willing to invest in finding solutions to the damage being caused by climate change. The net wealth of a country could also include a deduction for environmental damage and quality of life which may change the order of the rich/poor list.

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