Economic growth or human well-being? Example Costa Rica
Humans are full of greed. Greedy for possessions and consumption. Our society is literally manipulated by mass advertising and oversupply of products. The consequence of this is a compulsion satisfaction by the constant purchase of new and current products.
Who of us doesn’t know the following scenario: you go to a shopping center to buy, for example, a new pair of pants. But in the shop-window of the countless shops you can see so many more clothes that seem to be nice and in the end you come home with a bag full of new clothes – which aren’t needed in any way! But what the hey, there’s just another unworn shirt in the closet. However, of course since nothing is free nowadays, there also shouldn`t be a lack of financial resources. Because who would bear it to watch his neighbor washing the new swanky Mercedes while driving the old junker?
Constant pursuit of more
To satisfy all this greed and envy, our consumption-oriented society has only one thing to be left over: the pursuit of money or to put it more general, of steady economic growth. How do we say so beautiful? money rules the world! Quotation of the “Zeit Online” of 15th August this year: “The gross domestic product in Germany is estimated to have increased by 0.6 percent. Reasons for this were government spending – and private consumption” Doesn’t this say anything?
What is meant by well-being?
We seem to live in a rather controversial world. Everyone is always looking for happiness and wishes themselves and others wealth and wellbeing. But how exactly is this well-being defined? Is it the twentieth pair of shoes in the closet? Or the latest iPhone? Or is it more the desire for a healthy life without illness? You definitely have to choose one of the two, because unfortunately you can’t have both. Because the goal of a growing economy is associated with constant consumption. And hopefully I don’t have to explain, that this mass consumption leaves a significant ecological footprint. This in turn leads to the destruction and pollution of our environment and ultimately it leads to diseases. So we are in a vicious circle!
GDP or HPI?
So if we want to something to avoid more disasters in terms of global warming, climate change, etc., we first have to get our addiction to “more and more” under control. And that does not seem to be as difficult as it may seems at first – at least in other countries it works quite well. For example in Costa Rica! Because there the well-being of the people is very good, the people are happy and the life expectancy is high.
And all of that without any economic growth, because if you compare the two countries in terms of GDP in 2016, you will find out that Germany reached a GDP of $3.467 trillion and Costa Rica only $57.44 billion. Costa Rica does not fare well in terms of economic growth. But it is very different with the Happy Planet Index, which rates the countries not only financially but also with other mattering factors: life expectancy, well-being and equality – and Costa Rica is right at the top of the list, to be exact #1! And there are so many more things that make Costa Rica the happiest country in the world and the so called land of green and happiness.
Less is more
The country has so many advantages, that money and consumption do not seem to play such an important role. The Ticos and Ticas are also not so greedy and jealous. Here it is completely sufficient to have a mobile phone with which you can make calls – it does not have to be the latest iPhone with facial or fingerprint recognition. Perhaps the secret recipe for wellbeing is not economic growth but rather a modest but happy life by the sea with more sunshine and less possessions.
German article “Wirtschaftswachstum oder Wohlbefinden? Beispiel Costa Rica” is also readable.
You can also visit the Samara Costa Rica Travelhotel.
But to be honest, there are also things that should work easier in Costa Rica. You can read about the telephone problems in Costa Rica.