Some years ago, Marshall Poe (of the Univ of Iowa) started a podcast entitled “New Books in History”. There, one could listen to long-form interviews of historians providing context to many topics that had long-term relevance, but were not always front and center in the news. As such, these types of interviews were not accessible elsewhere in audio form. Well, this podcast has grown to what is now referred to as the “New Books Network”, featuring many interviewers in diverse subject areas (politics, economics, philosophy, science, etc.).
In a recent episode, on a topic that relates to some of the conversations that occur on Sam’s podcast, Dave Pilling, who is a Financial Times journalist discusses his book “The Growth Delusion” with author/lecturer Stephen Pimpare. His theme is an examination and critique of the concept of “GDP”. Pilling is not offering a general critique of capitalism and he doesn’t want to abandon GDP; rather he describes its history (surprisingly recent), its makeup (a set of choices and conventions, rather than something absolute), and its role in politics, economics, and culture. If Pilling has a main message, it is that GDP should not be the only indicator of the health of a society (there may other indicators that are important to factor in, e.g. like let’s say, the actual health of its citizens). In the interview (which is about 45 min) he provides a number of interesting and clear examples to support his arguments.