chapter  15
6 Pages

The benefits of greener and healthier economies

ByJULES PRETTY, JO BARTON

It has long been assumed that increased material consumption and rising per capita gross domestic product (GDP) inevitably leads to increased wellbeing. We now know this is not true. The GDP:wellbeing gap has been partly caused by the negative environmental and health externalities of material consumption. Pollution causes harm, costs money to clean up, but appears on the positive side of the balance sheet for economic growth. Over-consumption of food contributes to GDP, but can cause obesity, which in turn costs to treat, again appearing to contribute to measures of GDP.