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Wednesday 22.01.2020 | Name days: Austris

Iceland’s prime minister urges making welfare a budget priority

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Iceland, welfare, budget, prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir urges the government to focus on priorities that serve the interest of families and nature, not focus exclusively on economic growth, BBC reports.

Jakobsdottir proposed thinking about a future based on welfare and inclusive growth. The prime minister believes it is necessary to establish new social indicators for growth, not just base everything on GDP growth.

The prime minister explains that climate crisis was one of the main factors that pushed Iceland towards considering other factors, not just GDP, during budget creation.

«It’s about how you prioritise in the public budget – you can always have an emphasis on well-being,» said Jakobsdottir, answering the question if welfare budget is appropriate for developed and developing countries. According to her, developing countries «need to take a leap» to use renewable energy, not repeat world’s industrialization model.

According to the prime minister, GDP focus on economic growth leaves an impact on matters of quality of life. There is also the damage caused by inequality.

Jakobsdottir admits nonetheless that in spite of family-friendly policy, Iceland still has multiple challenges ahead – for example, improvement of public transport services and fight against depression, which is something that directly affects a large number of Iceland’s residents.

Nobel prize winner and economist Joseph Stiglitz is one of the people who claim GDP is not enough to determine the effect of climate change and digital services, as well as other factors that affect modern society.

He is confident the crisis of 2008 proved the modern economic measuring approach has its flaws. GDP in USA failed to outline the real estate bubble that caused the crisis.

Read also: Lithuanian lawmakers set to backtrack on «Norwegian-type» child welfare protection

Jakobsdottir, Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are country leaders who stand in favour of better labour welfare.


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