Keywords: economic growth, human health, progress, quality of life, sustainable development, well-being, worldview, sustainability
Progress, sustainability and human well-being: is a new worldview emerging?
The human condition today is marked by paradox and contradiction. This situation reflects not just its inherent complexity and our incomplete understanding of it, but also parallel processes of cultural decay and renewal, a titanic contest as old ways of thinking about ourselves fail, and new ways of being human struggle for definition and acceptance. The dominant worldview of material progress, which gives priority to economic growth and a rising standard of living, is being challenged by a worldview based on sustainable development, with its aim of balancing social, economic and environmental goals to create a high, equitable and lasting quality of life. Our growing understanding of the social basis of human health and happiness can make an important contribution to this contest by allowing different priorities to be measured against a common goal or benchmark improving human well-being.