Better is Better Than More: Complexity, Economic Progress, and Qualitative Growth

Michael Benedikt and Michael Oden

Center for Sustainable Development

Working Paper Series – 2011(01)

In this Working Paper from the Center for Sustianable Development at the Univeristy of Texas at Austin, authors Benedikt and Oden argue that “quality is more than an outlying variable addressed by adding a term (or two) to the utility function of a mathematical model. Neither is it well captured by studies in product differentiation, pointof-sale information asymmetries, consumer preference, technological innovation, or management protocols (such as Total Quality Management). We think that quality represents something deeper and more universal, that it’s a “force” in the economy related to, but not the same as, utility, and one that taps into the ancient processes of evolution. And because product-quality, work-quality, and life-quality can be measured …, we think it can be built into market models at a basic level.” Benedikt and Oden support similar findings by Fritjof Capra and Hazel Henderson in their monograph Qualitative Growth.