Is Natural Prosperity the new Green Economy?

Definition of prosperity: the condition of being successful or thriving; especially economic wellbeing.

Definition of natural prosperity: the condition of being successful or thriving, in a thriving society on a thriving planet.

The road to the Rio+20 summit is littered with new(ish) buzz words and phrases, memes and new ideas: natural capital, green growth, green society, global sustainability, inclusive wealth, natural capital. Here’s another: Natural Prosperity.

Do we need another one? Probably. It looks like “Green Economy” — one of the two central themes of the summit — is on the rocks.

More to the point, what do people actually want?

People want prosperity. They do not want something jargony and vague like “wellbeing”. They are not interested in natural capital, a green economy or inclusive wealth.

People everywhere, rich or poor, want propserity. They want their family and their next generations to prosper. They do not relate to theoretical concepts dreamt up by economists, policy advisers and social scientists.

In two words natural prosperity captures wellbeing, green growth, natural capital and a host of other ideas. Natural prosperity is a new kind of wealth. It is about shifting mindsets beyond the bank balance. It indicates there are other ways to enrich your life. It says you need more than financial reward to be rich.  It is bank balance and life balance combined.

Most importantly it is aspirational.

As French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint Exupéry once said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

Just an idea. Like we need another one.


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