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Human Well-being and the Natural Environment
Human Well-being and the Natural Environment

Human Well-being and the Natural Environment

by Partha Dasgupta

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Product ID:9432

Language

English

Publisher

Oxford University Press

ISBN

0195660595 - Year: 2002 - Pages: 328

Binding

Paperback

Partha Dasgupta
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Author: Partha Dasgupta
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 328
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195660595

Description

Today, quality-of-life indices broker political arguments and together form a coin that even helps purchase economic and social policy. In this book, Partha Dasgupta explores ways to measure the quality of life.

In this book, Partha Dasgupta explores ways to measure the quality of life. Today, quality-of-life indices broker political arguments and together form a coin that even helps purchase economic and social policy.

It is therefore ironic that indices of human well-being in current use are notably insensitive to our dependence on the natural environment, both at a moment in time and across generations. Moreover, international discussions on economic development in poor regions all too frequently ignore the natural resource base. In developing quality-of-life measures, Professor Dasgupta pays particular attention to the natural environment, illustration how it can be incorporated, more generally, into economic reasoning in a seamless manner. The result is a treatise that goes beyond quality-of-life measures and offers a comprehensive account of the newly emergent subject of ecological economics.

Professor Dasgupta develops connections between biodiversity, ecosystem services, resource scarcities, and economic possibilities for the future in a quantitative, but accessible, language. Familiar terms as ‘sustain development’, ‘social discount rates’, and ‘earth’s carrying capacity’ are given firm theoretical underpinnings. This theory is then put to use in extended commentaries on the economics of population, poverty traps, global warming structural adjustment programmes, and free trade. The exposition is prompted by the author’s concerns over the dilemmas facing poor countries.

The book is of interest not only to economists, but also to policy-makers, journalist, and students of development economics, environmental studies, political science, and political philosophy.

REVIEWS:

Professor Dasgupta’s latest book develops the fundamentals so thoroughly that its methods will have application in many branches of economic evaluation and policy assessment. He moves with ease from deep studies of the meaning of concepts like “sustainability” to detailed empirical accounts of environmental damage. It is a book that will be used and consulted for a long time to come.
—Kenneth J Arrow, Stanford University

Partha Dasgupta is one of the deepest thinkers and most powerful analysts in ecological economics. His tightly reasoned and carefully presented effort will enrich the thinking of students and professionals in economics, environmental studies, political science, political philosophy, and population studies.
—Joel E. Cohen, Rockefeller University and Columbia University

The anthropologist notices that, as a tribe, economists love argument, which means of course that they also love theory and exact measurement. The great economists add to these two loves one more, a passion for justice. Partha Dasgupta adds yet another -compassion. This is how the book transcends its own formidable proficiency as it initiates the non-professional reader into the idea of social cost-benefit.
—Mary Douglas, University College London

Partha Dasgupta is a seminal figure in his discipline, taking on the difficult, yet hugely important, task of trying meaningfully to measure “quality of life”. This book will, I hope, set the tone for the new millennium, melding conventional economic concepts, ecological and environmental science, and a great deal of plain commonsense.
—Robert May, University of Oxford

Reading this book is the equivalent of a crash course in Political economy and moral philosophy. I wholeheartedly recommend it as one of the most important books of the new millennium.
—Elinor Ostrom, Indian University

Contents

Summary and Guide

INTRODUCTION: MEANS AND ENDS

1.1 Making Comparisons
1.2 Disagreements over Facts and Values
1.3 Valuation and Evaluation in Kakotopia

PART I: VALUING AND EVALUATING
Prologue

The Notion of Well-Being
Ordering Social States

Why Measure Well-Being?

Constituents and Determinants of Well-Being

PART II: MEASURING CURRENT WELL-BEING
Prologue

Theory
Current Quality of Life in Poor Countries

PART III: MEASURING WELL-BEING OVER TIME
Prologue

Intergenerational Well-Being
Intergenerational Conflicts
Economic Institutions and the Natural Environment
Valuing Goods
Wealth and Well-Being

PART IV: EVALUATING POLICIES IN IMPERFECT ECONOMIES
Prologue

Policy Reforms
Discounting Future Consumption
Institutional Responses to Policy Change

PART V: VALUING POTENTIAL LIVES
Prologue

Some Views
Classical Utilitarianism and the Genesis Problem
Numbers and Well-Being Under Classical Utilitarianism
Actual vs. Potential Lives
Generation-Relative Utilitarianism

Appendix
References
Name Index
Subject Index

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