Gary Becker on sustainable development

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A recent study (see Becker, Philipson, and Soares, "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality" American Economic Review, March 2005) shows how to combine improvement in life expectancy with traditional measures of the growth in GDP to measure what we call the growth in "full" income. We demonstrate that the growth in full income since 1965 has been much faster than the growth in material income in essentially all countries, but especially in less developed nations. A better measure of full income that adjusts not only for the growth in life expectancy, but also for changes in the environment, and for the great advance in the mental and physical health of those living, especially of the elderly, almost surely grew at an even faster rate.

Read the rest. His co-blogger, Richard Posner, is more worried about sustainability, because he thinks that the world's population will eventually grow too large.

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