“GDP growth is, ultimately, an indicator of the welfare of capitalism. That we have all come to see it as a proxy for the welfare of humans represents an extraordinary ideological coup.” (Jason Hickel)
|This post belongs to a reading series of Less is More by Jason Hickel. For quick access to all chapters, please click here.|
Disclaimer: This chapter summary is personal work and an invitation to read the book itself for a detailed view of all the author’s ideas.
The iron law of capital
For most of human history, economies were organized around the principle of “used value.” In capitalism, by contrast, the goal of buying and selling is not primarily to acquire something useful but to make a profit; it is the “exchange-value” of things that matters, not their use-value. But once the economic system stands on making profits rather than earning commodities, it is not enough to generate a steady profit. The goal is then to maximize profits by endlessly reinvesting them.
We are so used to this logic that we often conflate it with entrepreneurship itself. Here is how the author clarifies their difference: