Professor Dr Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics and Senior Faculty of Economics at Cambridge University, UK, delivered the 3rd lecture in IIMA-SRK Annual Lecture Series, ‘Human Well-Being and Economic Accounting’, on 10th January 2019 at IIM-Ahmedabad. He explored ways to measure the quality of life, a problem pervading several academic disciplines but not confined to the academic realm. Indices of human well-being in current use are insensitive to human dependence on the natural environment, both at the moment in time and across generations. He further narrated, “International discussions on economic development in poor regions frequently ignore the natural resource base.” In developing quality-of-life measures, he paid particular attention to the natural environment, illustrating how it can be incorporated, generally, into economic reasoning.
He also touched upon; how inclusive growth is influencing Social Well-Being within the community. His concept included the material sources of well-being and the ability of a person to exercise various kinds of freedom. He argued that social well-being is an aggregate of individual well-being, and if undertaken with care, the aggregation exercise doesn’t blunt human rights.
He presented, “By economic growth, we should mean growth in wealth – which is the social worth of an economy’s entire set of capital assets – not growth in gross domestic product nor the many ad hoc indicators of human development that have been proposed in recent years. The concept of wealth invites us to extend the notion of capital assets and the idea of an investment well beyond conventional usage.” He said, “By sustainable development, we should mean development in which wealth per head adjusted for its distribution does not decline. This has radical implications for the way national accounts are prepared and interpreted.”
Prof Dr Errol D’Souza – Director, IIM-A, welcomed all the guests present and said that Prof Dasgupta pursued undergraduate studies in Physics at the Hans Raj College, New Delhi, graduating in 1962 and Mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1965. He obtained a PhD in Economics from Cambridge in 1968 with a thesis titled ‘Population, growth and non-transferable capital’. Besides teaching at Cambridge University, Dr Dasgupta taught at the London School of Economics and Stanford University. Since the year 1992, he has remained in Cambridge.
His research interests have covered welfare and development economics, the economics of technological change, population, environmental and resource economics, social capital, the theory of games, the economics of global warming and the economics of malnutrition.
At the beginning of the lecture, Mr Jayanti Narola – Managing Director, Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt. Ltd., while welcoming Prof Dasgupta, expressed the purpose of instituting the IIMA-SRK lecture series. He expressed gratitude to IIMA to allow SRK to present luminaries of the world to share their views on varied subjects.