“The Growth Delusion explores how we prioritise growth maximisation without stopping to think about the costs. So much of what is important to our well-being, from safe streets to sound minds, lies outside the purview of statistics.”
The creation of a wellbeing society is vital if we are to foster long-term improvements in general emotional and psychological health.
Yet in any new vision of mental health, many of the largest negative impacts on wellbeing stem from a relentless and unbalanced striving – across governments of all shades – for never-ending growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This pursuit has become a surrogate for societal ‘wellbeing’, despite the stress-and-anxiety-inducing effects that trail in its wake: more urbanisation, less work-life balance, more community disruption, less social cohesion, more roads, more traffic, more airports, more runways, more noise, fewer green spaces, less countryside and so on.
The rise or fall in monthly growth figures, the change in stock market indices … these pieces of information are presented to us as key indicators of how well we are doing as a society, when in reality they often show the opposite. For instance, road traffic accidents cause a rise in GDP figures, whilst a ban on the expansion of strip-mining may well cause the stock market to fall.
The Growth Delusion: The Wealth and Well-Being of Nations, written by David Pilling, thus covers a major subject that is highly relevant to the question of mental health. The publishers say:
“According to the economy, we have never been wealthier or happier. So why doesn’t it feel that way? The Growth Delusion explores how we prioritise growth maximisation without stopping to think about the costs. So much of what is important to our well-being, from safe streets to sound minds, lies outside the purview of statistics. In a book that is both thought-provoking and entertaining, David Pilling argues that our steadfast loyalty to growth is informing misguided policies, and proposes different criteria for measuring our success. …”
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