The great transformation and the questions

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This chapter opens with an overview of Dutch society midway through the nineteenth century, showing that at the time poverty was the main social problem. This is followed by a comparison between the benchmark years 1850 and 2010. The comparison shows that over the course of the intervening 160 years, Dutch society realised a vast increase in well-being. Extreme poverty was gradually eliminated, though in so doing sustainability issues emerged. Economic modernisation made inordinate demands on natural capital. After 1960, in particular, economic growth had an increasingly negative impact on human well-being and on sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWell-Being, Sustainability and Social Development
Subtitle of host publicationThe Netherlands 1850-2050
EditorsHarry Lintsen, Frank Veraart, Jan-Pieter Smits, John Grin
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-76696-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-76695-9
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2018


  • Natural capital
  • Poverty
  • Sustainability
  • Well-being


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