Richard Eckersley writes: The core flaw in the dominant model of progress arises from the equation of progress with modernisation, especially the processes of cultural Westernisation and material progress (measured as economic growth). Global politics is based on this outmoded and increasingly destructive model of human progress and development. Can science change a dire situation?
Gross National Happiness
Ariana López Peña writes: Costa Rica was the most environmentally advanced and happiest place on earth last year, followed by Mexico, Colombia and Vanuatu, according to the Happy Planet Index, which measures life expectancy, well-being, environmental footprint and inequality to calculate nations’ success– all areas where Costa Rica’s government has made significant effort and investment.
Modernity’s dominant narrative of material progress– which represents an industrial model of development–gives priority to economic growth and a rising standard of living. It is being increasingly challenged by the alternative narrative of sustainability, which seeks to balance social, environmental and economic priorities and goals to achieve a high, equitable and lasting quality of life.
Western liberal democracies dominate the top rankings of progress indices. But are they the best models of development when their standard of living is unsustainable and their quality of life is, arguably, declining? Only when environmental impacts are given significant weight, as in the Happy Planet and Sustainable Society indexes, does this ranking change substantially.
Conventional economic analysts argue that achieving adequate human development indicators require a country’s economy has to grow continuously at an appreciable rate; but, a densely populated and resource-constrained society such as ours cannot afford to ignore the implications of high energy and material consumption (which will be a consequence of high growth of the economy).
Aniket Motale writes: Many new age economists have realised the limitations of GDP as a measure of development, including a few Nobel Laureates like Joseph Stiglitz. US politician Robert F. Kennedy once criticised GDP saying, “It measures everything, except that which makes life worthwhile “. Let’s take a closer look at the arguments against GDP.
Deep in the Himalayas, on the border between China and India, lies the Kingdom of Bhutan, which has pledged to remain carbon neutral for all time. In this illuminating talk by TED, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shares his country’s mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation.
The Industrial Society or the Carbon Society The present social system that we are living is called Industrial Society. It began with the Industrial Revolution (1760 -1830) in the West and was followed by social revolution in various countries – Holland, France, England and the USA, ending the age old feudal society and ushering in