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Barefoot Economics – Development not Growth


Manfred Max-Neef is a Chilean economist and pioneer of Barefoot Economics and Human Scale Development, helping to put well-being and sustainability into the field of economics.

He points out that we need to move beyond the idea that every variable of economics must be measurable like GDP which measures production, consumption and investment to calculate the success of a country’s economy.

According to Manfred Max-Neef “growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth.” Max-Neef continues that “not all aspects of happiness can be measurable because happiness is subjective – you just ask the people how they feel” and defines fundamental needs as having food, health, friendship, education, responsibility, recreation, equal rights, and the ability to be creative – to name just a few.

Manfred Max-Neef works with the country of Bhutan as well as with numerous other projects, especially in South America, helping them to develop Barefoot Economics and Human Scaled Development for human well-being and a sustainable future.

Discussion Point

Would meeting human and environmental needs and developing human and environmental well-being be a better measure of development than economic growth?

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