Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment

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Dasgupta develops methods of valuation and evaluation with the aim of measuring, and searching to improve, the quality of our lives. He focuses on the ways in which our quality of life is now known to be tied to the natural environment.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Professor Dasgupta's latest book is a remarkably comprehensive account of his subject. It seeks out and develops the fundamentals so thoroughly that its methods will have application in many branches of economic evaluation and policy assessment even beyond the environmental aspects that are its primary focus. 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

"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. His understandings of the meaning of poverty and of helpless imprisonment in poverty traps provide a commonsense platform for proposing new measurements and challenging professional assumptions. 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

"Concepts like GDP focus on easily measurable things, whilst omitting ecosystem servicesand 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

"Partha Dasgupta is one of the deepest thinkers and most powerful analysts in ecological economics. [In this book] he attempts to go beyond measures of current well-being, such as the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme because, as he puts it, "The present is the past's future". 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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199247882
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/10/2002
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Partha Dasgupta is the Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. A Past President of the Royal Economic Society and of the European Economic Association, Professor Dasgupta is a Fellow of the British Academy, Member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences. His publications include An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993).

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Table of Contents

Summary and Guide
Introduction: Means and Ends
I Valuing and Evaluating Prologue
1. The Notion of Well-Being
*1. Ordering Social States
2. Why Measure Well-Being?
3. Constituents and Determinants of Well-Being
II Measuring Current Well-Being Prologue
4. Theory
5. Current Quality of Life in Poor Countries
III Measuring Well-Being over Time Prologue
6. Intergenerational Well-Being
*6. Intergenerational Conflicts
7. Economic Institutions and the Natural Environment
8. Valuing Goods
9. Wealth and Well-Being
IV Evaluating Policies in Imperfect Economies Prologue
10. Policy Reforms
11. Discounting Future Consumption: How and Why
12. Institutional Responses to Policy Change
V Valuing Potential Lives 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

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