The RI economy index misses the boat

To the Editor, On Tuesday December 15 2015 the Providence Journal published its monthly report on Professor Len Lardaro’s RI monthly economic index “RI takes hit in economic index”. I have followed the discussion of the RI economy for quite some time, and more and more Professor’s Lardaro’s index reflects a lack of understanding of the conditions Rhode Island is immersed in. The very fact that the index is biased towards growth, at the same time that the long term growth machine of modern economies is grinding to a halt is indicative of a economics profession that has lost touch with what is actually needed in our communities.

The index is biased towards the desires of the rich and completely ignores how climate change and ecological collapse are being driven by the demands of growth. It also completely misses the economy most Rhode Islanders are living in, as what is reported as growth is usually just the poor getting poorer as the economy becomes less equal.

What is even more problematic is reports like this are then used to bludgeon the community into giving even more goodies to the rich. Considering the amount of information now coming out that says giving tax breaks to the rich is among the dumbest ways to try to make an economy work, Professor Lardaro would be doing Rhode Island much more of a service if he started measuring the things that are really going to help our communities.