DOI link for Economic Transition
Economic Transition book
In the previous chapter, we explored how energy was fundamental to a modern (possibly any) notion of economic development. Further, we noted the re-emergence of debates about progress and economic activity in an era being circumscribed by rising concern about the environmental impact of unfettered burning of fossil fuels. This raised an intriguing debate – explored further in this chapter – about whether material prosperity was the same phenomenon as prosperity, and whether material wealth is automatically synonymous with health for the public. This is part of a deeply philosophical debate about whether social progress, growth-based economics and health advances can be mutually reinforcing. Human labour, access to capital, and the role of land as the primary source of wealth (by dint of it ‘holding’ the ecological stock of the planet) are all woven into the huge changes exhibited over the last 200 years of human history. In a sense, the notion of the Economic Transition is very simple, that over time all societies are drawn into a process of change which increases wealth, transforms labour and alters how people relate. The arguments are over the direction of change, the drivers, the distribution of benefits and the health impact.