Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Society

Science should boost well-being, not GDP

To achieve a more socially equitable society in which science benefits everybody, we need structural changes in the way that our economy works to remove the quest for constant growth of gross domestic product (see www.positivemoney.org). Spending billions of dollars on better versions of existing facilities risks entrenching unsustainable and destructive industries, which will not address the global challenges we face (see go.nature.com/kyamxu).

Consider, for example, the eviction of indigenous communities in parts of the world where increasingly large areas of land are being sacrificed to mining activity — a situation currently facing populations in southeastern Ecuador (see go.nature.com/1mlkki). Furthermore, poverty and ill health are on the rise in affluent countries such as the United Kingdom, despite resource-intensive technologies (see go.nature.com/xznlni).

If science is to serve the public good, we have to shift to more ecosystem-centred systems that also take human rights and well-being into account. Good examples include the farmer field schools set up by the United Nations, engaging farmers in agro-ecological research (see T. MacMillan and T. Benton Nature 509, 25–27; 2014).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mark A. de Vries.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

de Vries, M. Science should boost well-being, not GDP. Nature 513, 487 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/513487d

Download citation

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing