Greener GDP required in economic growth

Updated: 2013-10-18 21:53


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The central government has announced an investment of 5 billion yuan ($820 million) to control air pollution in Beijing and the surrounding areas. A column on Southern Weekly advises that the money should not be included while calculating GDP (excerpts below).

Of all the economist jokes, the one about GDP must be among the most widespread: digging a hole on the road and refilling it means nothing for anybody except an economist, who would calculate GDP has grown twice.

After the central government announced a plan to investing 5 billion yuan to control air pollution in Beijing and nearby regions, some experts hailed it, saying it would promote GDP growth.

That's absurd. The fact that we have to invest a huge sum of money in fighting pollution means that enterprises in China have caused losses through pollution; that loss has never been cut from our GDP growth. In order to avoid repeated counts and leave an impression of false prosperity, the 5 billion yuan should not be calculated in GDP growth.

Further, the principle of making polluters pay should be applied in economic development, so that taxpayers no longer have to bear the cost of their pollution. That's also the only way of getting a greener GDP.

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