A Critique of Human Progress: A New Definition and Inconsistencies in Society

Quaderni IRCrES-CNR, 4(3), 51-67

17 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2018

See all articles by Mario Coccia

Mario Coccia

National Research Council of Italy (CNR); YALE University; Arizona State University

Date Written: May 28, 2018


In this paper, we discuss the concept of human progress and its inconsistencies in society suggesting a new general definition that synthetises previous concepts and endeavours to improve them. This study proposes, within a pragmatic point of view, human progress as an inexhaustible process driven by an ideal of maximum wellbeing of purposeful people, which, on attainment of any of its goals for increasing wellbeing, then seek another consequential goal in new socioeconomic contexts over time and space. The human progress enhances the fundamental life-interests of people represented by health, wealth, expansion of knowledge, technology and freedom directed to increase wellbeing in society. These factors lead to better and more complex forms of life. However, this study also shows the inconsistency of the equation economic growth – social progress because human progress – during its continuous process without limit – generate negative effects for human being such as a higher pollution and incidence of cancer in society. This study is propaedeutic for further studies focusing social-political and economic characteristics of human progress.

Keywords: Human Progress, Science Progress, Social Progress, Economic Progress, Wellbeing, Environmental Degradation, Sustainable Growth, Capitalism, Cancer

JEL Classification: O10; O30, O33, O40, P10

Suggested Citation

Coccia, Mario, A Critique of Human Progress: A New Definition and Inconsistencies in Society (May 28, 2018). Quaderni IRCrES-CNR, 4(3), 51-67. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3186112

Mario Coccia (Contact Author)

National Research Council of Italy (CNR) ( email )

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YALE University ( email )

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United States

Arizona State University ( email )

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Tempe, AZ 85287
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