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This book explores ways to measure the quality of life. In developing quality-of-life indices, Dasgupta pays particular attention to the natural environment, illustrating how it can be incorporated into economic reasoning in a seamless manner. He puts the theory that he develops to use in extended commentaries on the economics of population, poverty traps, global warming, structural adjustment programmes, and free trade, particularly in relation to poor countries.
Summary and Guide; Introduction: Means and Ends; PROLOGUE; 1. The Notion of Well-Being; *1 Ordering Social States; 2. Why Measure Well-Being?; 3. Constituents and Determinants of Well-Being; PROLOGUE; 4. Theory; 5. Current Quality of Life in Poor Countries; PROLOGUE; 6. Intergenerational Well-Being; *6 Intergenerational Conflicts; 7. Economic Institutions and the Natural Environment; 8. Valuing Goods; 9. Wealth and Well-Being; PROLOGUE; 10. Policy Reforms; 11. Discounting Future Consumption: How and Why; 12. Institutional Responses to Policy Change; PROLOGUE; 13. Some Views; 14. Classical Utilitarianism and the Genesis Problem; *14 Numbers and Well-Being under Classical Utilitarianism; 15. Actual versus Potential Lives; *15 Generation-Relative Utilitarianism; Appendix
Partha Dasgupta is a very highly regarded economic theorist, and this book shows why. Dasgupta writes more clearly, and in a more acessible manner than most highly regarded economic theorists ... this book has much to recommend it ... elegant and incisive analysis. Journal of Public Policy A very interesting and stimulating book. Journal of Economics Exemplary exposition of the environment's role in fostering socio-economic advance as part of human well-being ... enlightening from start to finish. Nature Building on his classic magnum opus ... Partha Dasgupta has joined this rethink in an intellectually rich, thought-provoking and occasionally metaphysical work. His new book probes many issues beyond those that might be anticipated from the title and confirms his position as one of the most exciting economic thinkers today ... we can ask why so many feel we need reforms in ethical behaviour to ensure sustainability. Dasgupta touches on some of the framework needed to answer this question. More is needed. If anyone is going to supply it is is likely to be Dasgupta. Times Higher Education Supplement Concepts like GDP focus on easily measurable things, whilst omitting ecosystem services and other environmental factors on which life ultimately depends. 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. Read it. Lord Robert May, University of Oxford