I heard about a study about prosperity the other day that involves a former colleague, Bronwyn Hayward, of Canterbury University. Listening to an interview with her on RNZ inspired me to reflect on what prosperity is (Listen to the interview: RNZ Sustainable prosperity).
What does prosperity mean? It, according to definition, is ‘the condition of being successful or thriving; especially economic well-being’ (Merriam Webster online – and agreed to on several other online dictionaries).
Notions of prosperity
I found by scaffold-Googling some different notions of the meaning of prosperity. They include:
- a blog about Broad-Based Prosperity that defends the pursuit of wealth
- the suggestion that a Buddhist prosperity may be something akin to increased un-attachment, or high degrees of the cessation of suffering.
- a Christian concept of called Prosperity theology or the Prosperity Gospel.
You can be considered prosperous if you are happy and healthy and some would argue that you have to be wealthy to achieve these states.
When I was completing my Masters of Development Studies I remember thinking that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) got it wrong with one of its goals, that is to eradicate extreme poverty. It should be around the other way – we should be eradicating extreme wealth. So you can get an idea where I stand on the issue of what we need to call ourselves prosperous. I’m not so duh to think that if my neighbour’s cat loves me that’s an indicator of my prosperity, but it is part of my criteria!
The world is starting to pay more attention to the pursuit of prosperity-of-the-economic-kind’s impact on the environment and, because it’s difficult to stop the Economic Growth / Trickle-Up Machine in its tracks, perhaps it’s time to consider how we might develop a wider consideration of prosperity like Bronwyn talks about in the RNZ Sustainable Prosperity interview. The Guardian has an article about this: Wellbeing, sustainability and economic prosperity: connecting the dots.
Last, just to tickle you a bit, here are words that rhyme with prosperity (from Merriam-Webster): alterity, asperity, austerity!, celerity, dexterity, legerity, posterity!, severity, sincerity, temerity.
Live long, and . . . you know the rest . . .