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The Idea of Progress

In: Other Topics

Submitted By AlbaneV06
Words 532
Pages 3
What is progress ?

The idea of progress has always been the central interest of us, human beings. Nowadays, we are constantly pursuing improvements to which there is no limit.

In my definition, progress is an increase in wellbeing. This can mean anything from living longer to becoming richer to gaining more power.

Pillars of progress

There are many components in progress. Any areas in which improvement affects one’s wellbeing constitute progress. Nevertheless, there are two categories of progress : material progress and humanitarian-moral progress.

* The former encompasses economic, higher income and bigger GDP, scientific, and technological development. * The later includes enhanced human rights, women empowerment, the end of dictatorship, and other humanitarian objectives. * In addition to these two, other factors such as environment also compose progress.

The first pillar of progress is economic development. In our society where materialistic values have continued to dominate, economic growth has often been understood to be synonymous with progress.

Ex : Over a few decades, our world’s outstanding economic performance has lifted many people in the developing world out of poverty and has enabled countries such as China or India to experience fast economic growth.

Another dimension of material progress is development in science and technology. Our society has achieved great development in science and technology that have made our lives better and more convenient. It goes without saying that the computer revolution has changed all our lives. The clou dis one of the latest and the greatest innovations in computer technology.

In addition, even justice has improved thanks to new technology exposing false convictions and identifying true criminals. Over 200 innocent Americans have been freed as a result of DNA fingerprinting after serving an average of twelve years in prison; seventeen of them were on death low (Innocence Project. 2009).

Another crucial pillar of progress, in addition to material progress, is moral progress. Moral progress promotes human welfare and justice.
Thanks to moral progress, the first contraceptive pill was sold in 1960 and played a great rôle in Women’s Liberation Movement.

Furthermore, moral progress serves as the checks and balances for material progress. Despite all benefits from their development, it can also warn us if we do not use them wisely. For instance, development of nuclear power led to creation of nuclear weapons. Information technology enabled electronic surveillance and personal information leak. German chemistry produced aspiring and fertilizer, but it also filled Nazi gas chambers with Cyclon B (The Economist. 2009).
Moral progress may not be able to solve all the problems resulted from material progress, but it provides a potential channel for discussion that helps tackle them.

Another potential component of progress is satisfaction with life or happiness. Some people have suggested that we need to include happiness in consideration of progress such as the fourth King of Bhutan who coined a new term “Gross National Happiness (GNH)” as an alternative to GDP in 1970s.


Our definition of progress will constantly adjust as history flows, as our current state changes, and as our priority varies. Nevertheless, the end of progress has always been the same: we strive for progress to attain better lives. That is how our society has evolved and will evolve.

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