Letter: In brief

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The Independent Culture
Sir: On his return from holiday you greet Tony Blair with news of a booming economy ("UK spending spree echoes 1980s boom", 1 September). But who benefits, and is the economy really in such good shape?

Significantly your report (2 September) on the changing face of childhood revealed that one in three children are now living in poverty. If the economy is measured in terms of the quality of life it is possible to identify progressive decline: public services decimated, grossly over-priced public transport, 30 per cent of the UK population out of work or in low-paid insecure jobs, nearly 12 million living on less than half the average wage, more people homeless and sleeping on the streets, and the rest of us working in excess of a level compatible with mental and physical health.

There does seem to be increasingly compelling evidence that the captain has lied, and that traditional economic thinking and practice is unjust and unsustainable in both its human and environmental consequences. There is certainly a need to replace the current misleading economic indicators of GNP and GDP with alternative indicators such as the ISEW - Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare.

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