From an Affluent Society to a Happy Society: Vital Signs Promising a Change and the Impacts on Industries


Facts and figures indicate a continuously increasing societal welfare. But what about its impacts on the environment? The growing wealth has been accompanied by environmental degradation, deforestation, losses in bio-diversity, global warming, air pollution, depletion of the ozone layer, and overfishing. Recent measurements have been performed related to the depletion of natural resources showing that humans currently use the resources of 1.25 Earths. At the current consumption levels of high-income countries, the world could only sustainably support 1.75 billion people, not the 6.5 billion living on Earth today.Fortunately ecological awareness is consensus today and reaches far more social levels than just greenies and do-gooders - see the LOHAS trend in this book as an example. Governments have recognized that environmental protection is a worldwide concern that can be solved solely through co-operation. Especially renewable energy has reached the top of the agendas of the United Nations, the G8, and other multilateral fora. At the last conference of the UN climate council the participants noticed that the technologies, required to limit the greenhouse gas emission, are available and affordable. Thus the framework for a change is established and available. It"s up to mankind to carry out the transformation.This book gives an insight into the current social transformation that is underway. Research indicates that societies are undergoing a decisive and formative value transformation, away from a pure materialistic and monetary mindset towards a lifestyle of health and sustainability and a better quality of life. Surveys also revealed that although people, especially in the developed countries, continuously got richer over the last 50 years they did not become happier. This finding was responsible that the science of happiness research experienced a tremendous increasing attention over the last 10 years and that even on governmental level the opinion became accepted that we have to go beyond GDP. Impacts of this value transformation are already visible today in several industries.Starting with a brief description of the historical evolution of the industries, followed by some critical words about welfare and environmental pollution vital signs indicating that societies worldwide are going through a change are highlighted. A deeper look will be taken into the powerful LOHAS trend, corporate social responsibility, governmental and non-governmental initiatives - especially the discussion to go beyond GDP and the mighty upcoming science happiness research - and the remarkable boom of the renewable energies. Before concluding with a short summary, the impacts of that transformation on several industries are identified and described.

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