General Question

dotlin's avatar

What has more correlation on our well being?

Asked by dotlin (419points) September 30th, 2010

Scientific advancement or economic growth?

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20 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Define “well being”.

dotlin's avatar

Being happier.

It’s like defining medical health there is no way you can really do it but of course some people are heather than others

Brian1946's avatar

For me it depends on what group or area is being considered.

In the US, I’d say that economic growth is presently more important in regard to helping people who are in need of recovering their financial well being.

Eventually though, once the US has recovered from its current economic woes to good financial health, I’d say that scientific advances that improve the health of the environment, humans, and other beneficial organisms, will be more important to our well being.

A distilled example of my latter point is that as of now, there are no cures for some diseases, so no matter how wealthy one is, they’re gonna die if they get one of those level 4 babies.

However, there are cases where they’re mutually dependent and not mutually exclusive.

Harold's avatar

Depends whether you’re sick or poor!!

phoebusg's avatar

The economic system in essence is one that is about getting things done. X receives credit for doing Y, and then can use said credit for needs/wants etc. Economic growth is really dependent on the criteria for said growth – and how short sighted those criteria are. Consider non-environmental practices that stump instead of creating growth, taking something away that endangers the biosphere but do not replenish it.

Scientific advancement requires research – which is mediated by funding (economic system) – and said funding is usually distributed unequally depending on governmental or industrial interest.

Therefore, in a system or configuration where scientific advancement was fairly unaffected by such an extremely biased system – it would be much more benefitial. Given so many useful research projects don’t get enough funding. (Neuroscience, cell bio, anti-aging – to mention a few).

Cruiser's avatar

The human body needs shelter and nourishment just to survive. A stable growing economy will do more to provide for that outcome than science could ever do. Plus no matter what new developments science can discover you still need money to make it and then purchase it which again a stable growing economy will be required for that outcome as well.

phoebusg's avatar

@Cruiser in the current system, sure. Some movements such as zeitgeist and RBE (resource based economy) – advocate in favor of a money-less system with a completely different paradigm. Make what is required with limited resources in mind, and find alternatives. We don’t always have to be slaves to the current system just because we found it as such.

everephebe's avatar

Scientific advancement, “Good for your well being.”

The economy of the U.S today is gigantic, it does not need to grow, rather shift. What and where we spend can change as can the allocation of wealth, allotment of financing, and cutting through massive amounts of red tape. Wars, subsidies including but not limited to oil & big food, if we stop printing money (yes that costs money, the literal, “It costs money to make money”), change our eating habits, getting rid of standardized testing which takes your taxes and ensures that our children don’t actually learn, legalize marijuana and more importantly stop incarcerating people caught with it or selling it, if we STOPPED ALL PRODUCTION on planned obsolescence goods, if we remembered that reduce and reuse come first on the “recycle” triangle in the waste hierarchy, if we all lived healthier then we’d save huge amount of money too. So really let’s just tighten our belts, vote well with your money, enable the middle-class, cap the amount of money rich people can make per year, stuff like that.

We science we can save ourselves, come up with renewable energies, more efficient and pleasurable living and perhaps even longer life. We can maybe reach out into the stars and make sure the human race survives earth and not the other way round.

I personally believe that if we advance towards certain technologies, that an economy won’t be necessary to continue growth and advancement. And I’m not talking about trade either. How would it work? We all can work together, to further ourselves and the human race. If we just got over ourselves, and realized this is it, let’s have fun, let’s learn, let’s live and love and grow, and let’s work our asses off in order to be remembered, as more than a mere blip in time.

everephebe's avatar


You said:
“The human body needs shelter and nourishment to survive. A stable growing economy will do more to provide for that outcome than science could ever do.”

Actually it doesn’t take a scientist of any sort to tell you that, shelter and nourishment exist in abundance on this planet, it’s only money that prevents us from that shelter and nourishment by divine right (as in what has been divined). Yes, yes we are over populated but that doesn’t seem a strong case for a bigger economy, it’s actually not a strong case for much except contraception & science for developing a way to feed us all. Science provides us better shelter too, for not just now but our future as well.

Cruiser's avatar

@everephebe So what is your point? BTW, who is going to pay for your science? Who is going to fund the research? How are the consumers going to purchase this science? Would a growing or shrinking economy better provide for this scientific shelter and food??

everephebe's avatar

Science should not be thought of as a commodity to be bought and sold. However it is one, and if you don’t see how science’s innovations in technology are valuable for an economy, get off your computer you are taking it for granted. Who is going to pay for science well, everyone will pay if we don’t pursue science. Who will fund it? The same rich people who got us into this mess, and all their friends. There isn’t a shortage of money, it’s all just stacked somewhere other than you’d like it. The human race has survived so far, growing and shrinking economies aside. I am saying this science has a higher correlation to our well being, economic growth less so. The growth of an economy is unstable and all progress can disappear in one night, not so with science. Science slowly advances and continues advancing.

My point is science pays for itself, and is worth more then we put into it financially.

CMaz's avatar

Scientific advancement and economic growth go hand in hand.

Cruiser's avatar

@everephebe I guess we might be both “meaning” the same thing here. Science costs money and money doesn’t grow on trees. I work in the chemical business and unless there is money to pay for research it doesn’t get done. Unless there is business demand and new business demand, there isn’t money available to pay for this new science. So as @ChazMaz just pointed out scientific advancement and economic growth go hand in hand. You really cannot have one without the other.

everephebe's avatar

But money is just fancy paper that is printed, no scratch that, money is just numbers representing liquid wealth, in order for order and not chaos. If there is no money for science will science still continue? Um hell yes, people want to know things and maybe it will take longer; but as far as well being goes, in my book it’s science, over growth in an imaginary thing. The question wasn’t what goes hand in hand, or which would you have without the other, it was: what contributes the most to our well being? So for well being I still have to answer science first than economic growth. I’m not saying, “Grrr grrr, no growth at all, grrr bad. Grunt, grunt.” Just that I personally think science is something lasting and worthwhile at all times, even tough times. And let’s be realistic here, we aren’t doing so badly, look around at the world- we’ve got it pretty made, us on the computers here. Other not so well off nations, yeah money first science later.

Cruiser's avatar

@everephebe Can we agree to disagree? I think you are confusing “well being” with quality of life and/or standard of living which Science most certainly will affect. We do not need science to achieve well being. A simply shack and garden grown vegetables accomplishes that.

Science never put food on the table or a roof over anyone’s head. Without food or shelter there is no well being. Economic growth will help a family keep abreast of rising costs of food and shelter with requisite pay raises to keep abreast of this trend. Science and new technologies only increases the costs of our basic necessities. Science as you point out will increase the quality of our standard of living but again that comes at a higher cost and which then only a growing economy can support.

CMaz's avatar

@everephebe – With what you have said. I will have to go with Well Being.

Because it always comes down to survival. The wheel was invented because the “caveman” actually had a moment to think. When not hunting and gathering.

At the end of the day it is about staying out of the weather, safe from things that go bump in the night and a belly full of fresh meat.

everephebe's avatar

@Cruiser Of course we can agree to disagree. I am thinking of well being as the continuation of genes and therefor humanity too.

Science has indeed put food on the table and a roof over people’s heads. Maybe sometimes they used science to earn money, or to help in construction of the roof or the farming or finding of the food. Money does not grow food, or build shelters on it’s own.

We do not need growth in the economy (to survive), we need more equality & sustainability in economy. Maybe growth in a sense of permaculture, and sustainable economics but not growth as in more commerce, more war. Because remember war is good for the economy, it got us out of the depression in the US.

Money only=food because that is the way it is now but it isn’t sustainable now. You can’t eat money, but you can turn it into food by trading it in, or in a sense getting rid of it. Science builds and feeds the world, and the imagination.

You make it sound like if we don’t grow the economy in time, we will die. This is backward. We have been growing the economy too much, printing out too much money, devaluing our currency. Spending less will, printing less will grow the economy. Even spending less on science. I’m not saying, “Buy more science now!” It’s not a more of one less of the other. It is what is our well being. If money is all that is keeping us from the elements and starving we should just print it all the time right? It is not backed by anything of any value but the pretense that it is valuable. Money is backed by debt. How is this sustainable, why should we grow more in that direction? And it’s not going work, making money isn’t what life should be about, it should be about eating and having a roof. Well, science can lead the way to free energy, abundance of food, and true wealth= knowledge and wisdom.

Science can actually decrease the cost of living and time. And if time is money and science can save us time then….?

Pay raises aren’t necessarily a good sign, it means there is inflation, since science has made the cost of living, less and less expensive. One hundred years ago, what was life like? Think about it. I’m thinking about the long game here not this winter. Yeah, I could use a better economy to be living in right now. I mean, I feel pretty screwed right now with the job market and the cost of rent on the rise. But science could provide jobs to stimulate the economy right? Science is big business, science helps oil companies provide oil that in the past they couldn’t have. Science provides the techniques in which we manufacture goods and ship goods to stimulate the economy. Science does grow our economy, and also a large economy would mean more science. But for the direct well being of us, for me, it has to be science.

You say science can increase the quality of life, at a higher cost but this is not so. To survive we don’t need to buy everything that science provides, yes? But the more innovative and ingenuous we are, the more we can “hack” life to make it less expensive, easier, better. I am not saying we should not grow our economies as a world, just that well being does not depend on that as much as science. Where do you think the money you are making comes from? Follow it. Are you making money by making something for someone to buy? If so, isn’t that asinine? Heard of Ouroboros?

wundayatta's avatar

I’d say you’ve probably got some multi-collinearity going on there. That is, scientific advancement and economic growth probably are correlated with well-being in equal strength (if you look at a covariation matrix).

mattbrowne's avatar

Scientific advancement going hand in hand with ethical behavior (like not using E=mc^2 as a defense strategy against an aggressor).

Economic growth can actually be a serious threat to our well being, therefore I suggest the notion of economic growth tied to sustainability. The destruction of our ecosystems and atmosphere can be beneficial to economic growth as such and it has done so for the past 150 years. But now we’ve reached a critical stage and we’ve got to change our strategy.

CMaz's avatar

E=mc^2 to you @mattbrowne ! ;-)

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