A3 Book section, Chapters in research books
An economic tail wagging an ecological dog? : Well-being and sustainable development from the perspective of entangled history (2024)

Matero, R.-M., & Arffman, A. (2024). An economic tail wagging an ecological dog? : Well-being and sustainable development from the perspective of entangled history. In M. Elo, J. Hytönen, S. Karkulehto, T. Kortetmäki, J. S. Kotiaho, M. Puurtinen, & M. Salo (Eds.), Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Planetary Well-Being (pp. 99-112). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003334002-11

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsMatero, Risto-Matti; Arffman, Atte

Parent publicationInterdisciplinary Perspectives on Planetary Well-Being

Parent publication editorsElo, Merja; Hytönen, Jonne; Karkulehto, Sanna; Kortetmäki, Teea; Kotiaho, Janne S.; Puurtinen, Mikael; Salo, Miikka



Publication year2024

Publication date15/06/2023

Pages range99-112

Number of pages in the book270


Place of PublicationAbingdon

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/88241


The historical approach to planetary well-being provides an understanding of how environmental problems and climate crises run over time, entangled with chronic social (mal)developments and path dependencies. As humans and the nonhuman world are entangled in larger webs of life, human political and economic action is deeply affected and is amplified by natural processes. Consequently, understanding well-being anthropocentrically has guided political decision-making in ways that have magnified the negative human impacts on eco- and climate systems. Environmental history invites us to ask how well-being has been defined in different historical contexts, on what grounds these definitions are made and who gets to define well-being in the first place. It enables an analysis of the social, cultural, and economic path dependencies that have retarded the realization of a less anthropocentric and more systems-oriented understanding of well-being. This chapter analyses the understanding of well-being in the European Union’s and the Finnish and German Green Parties’ conceptualizations of sustainable development. In the 1980s and 1990s, a more anthropocentric understanding of well-being replaced the previous holistic emphasis. This chapter sheds light on the different path dependencies and long-term incentives that have kept planetary well-being at bay in contexts of political action.

Keywordsenvironmental issuesclimate crisisloss of naturesustainable developmentwell-beingeconomic growthenvironmental policygreen movementpolitical historyenvironmental history

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Preliminary JUFO rating3

Last updated on 2023-05-07 at 09:36