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Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment

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Overview

In Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment, Partha Dasgupta explores ways to measure the quality of life. In developing quality of life indices, he pays particular attention to the natuaral environment, illustrating how it can be incorporated, more generally, into economic reasoning in a seamless manner. Such familiar terms as "sustainable development," "social discount rates," and Earth's "carrying capacity" are given a firm theoretical underpinning. The author shows that, whether we are interested in valuing the state of affairs in a country or in evaluating economic policy there. The index that should be used is the economy's wealth, which is the social worth of its capital assets.
Dasgupta puts the theory he develops to use in extended commentaries on the economics of population, poverty traps, global warming, structural adjustment programs, and free trade, particularly in relation to poor countries. 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.
With the publication of this new paperback edition, Dasgupta has taken the opportunity to update and revise his text in a number of ways, including developments to facilitate its current use on a number of graduate courses in environmental and resource economics. The treatment of the welfare economics of imperfect economies has been developed using new findings, and the appendix has been expanded to include applications of the theory to a number of institutions and to develop approximate formulae for estimating the value of environmental natural resources.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In a style that is both engaging and rational...the sobering picture that emerges from this important book contrasts sharply with the one portrayed in most literature on economic development. Human Well-Being is intended both for scholars and for 'the general citizen interested in what are among the deepest and most urgent social problems we face today.'"—Scientific American

"Partha Dasgupta is a very highly regarded economic theorist, and his book shows why. Dasgputa writes more clearly and in a more accessible manner ... than most highly regarded economic theorists."—Journal of Public Policy

"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, Indiana University

"Building on his classic magnum opus, An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution (1993), Partha Dasgupta has joined this rethink about the sustainability of development 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."—The Times Higher Education Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199267194
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/20/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.90 (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
Appendix

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