chapter  2.2
5 Pages

Redefining Progress

WithRichard Eckersley

The crux of the debate about progress is the direction of change. Both expert analysis and public opinion suggest the need to canvass more openly the possibility and feasibility of new directions, towards new personal and social goals. The rationale for continuing economic growth in rich countries seems flawed in several important respects: it overestimates the extent to which past improvements in well-being are attributable to growth. Economic expansion may be better than contraction in increasing employment, but it is also creating more over-work and under-work, more job insecurity, and a widening income gap. The chapter explores the fundamental assumptions about economic growth- that it enhances well-being and is environmentally sustainable. The health data suggests that the quality of the social fabric, rather than increases in average wealth, may be the prime determinant of the quality of human life.