GDP is the wrong measure
The lead story on immigration (Mike Seccombe, “Inside the ‘just add people’ dogma”, May 5–11) was an articulate outline of what many well-informed community groups and leaders have been saying for some years – that governments of both persuasions have long been misusing immigration policy as an easy way of boosting gross domestic product (GDP). Yet as Mike Seccombe says, GDP is a truly awful way of monitoring human wellbeing anyway. Worse still, GDP conceals gross inequalities in wealth and income, and counts the costs of environmental damage as a positive. It is hard to imagine a less appropriate measure of progress. What the article did not do was explain how this abuse of immigration is just another example of the undue influence of large interests most able to make quick profits from rapid population growth, such as the big banks and the housing development sector. These interests have shown little concern for the health of the biosphere, the public good or the idea of a sustainable future. Meanwhile, the profits from high immigration are privatised, and the extensive costs and impacts incurred are largely socialised. Vested corporate interests have succeeded in selling the sham idea of trickle-down economics to political parties everywhere, and locked that in with lobbying and campaign funding.
– Peter G. Martin, Adelaide, SA