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date: 12 December 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Economic growth, defined by rising levels of gross domestic product, is assumed to be a necessary prerequisite for development, and has contributed to advances in healthcare, increasing rates of employment, and rising levels of education. However, the increased demand for energy, food, services, and consumer goods that has driven economic growth has also been the key driver of damaging environmental change. This chapter explores the extent to which sustainable development—that which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”—is compatible with well-being. After discussing the conventional economic account of the well-being/consumption relationship, the authors develop a new model that provides a useful way to begin unpacking the relationship between sustainability and happiness. The authors conclude by asking whether it might be possible to deliver well-being without materialism, and thus without the associated material throughput and environmental impact: to live better by consuming less.

Keywords: well-being, environmental sustainability, economic growth, consumption, materialism

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