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Your points will be added to your account once your order is shipped. Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! The idea of the quality of life is central to economic and social assessment and also to public policy, social legislation, and community programs.

However, the commonly used indicators of economic success such as per capita income are at best crude measures of the quality of life. There is a strong need for a systematic exploration of the content, reach, and relevance of the concept of the quality of life, and ways of making it concrete and usable. In this collection of essays, some leading economists and philosophers rise to that challenge and provide a wide-ranging investigation.

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The essays include examinations of recent attempts to replace incomes and utilities by the concept of capability and also an exploration of the classic Aristotelian accounts of human flourishing, which provide insights into capability-based assessment of the quality of life. Some underlying methodological problems are also examined, including cultural relativism and utility as a measure of advantage. Possibilities of application are discussed in the context of important practical problems, such as correcting gender-based inequalities, determining medical priorities, and promoting living standards.

The overall result is a major contribution to the understanding and use of the idea of the quality of life. All these papers are covered by extremely incisive commentaries Sen's capability approach to the sorts of issues discussed in this book is of the highest importance and I recommend the book with the greatest enthusiasm. Sen's work is part of a large body of economic writing that questions the conventional wisdom. The introduction by the editors is much clearer about the debates in both fields; it is well-written and absorbing reading The book is well worth the time required for reading.

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Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Be the first to write a review. Measures of economic development will look at: Real income per head — GDP per capita Levels of literacy and education standards Levels of healthcare e. Measures of economic development Measuring economic development is not as precise as measuring GDP because it depends on what factors are included in the measure. Average life expectancy compared to a global expected life expectancy. Educational standards and labour productivity.

Basic levels of literacy and education can determine the productivity of the workforce. Levels of inward investment. For example, China has invested in many African countries to help export raw materials, that its economy needs. Labour mobility.


Is labour able to move from relatively unproductive agriculture to more productive manufacturing? The flow of foreign aid and investment. Targeted aid, can help improve infrastructure and living standards.

Strong economic growth a prerequisite for poverty reduction, improved quality of life

Level of savings and investment. Higher savings can fund more investment, helping economic growth. Economic growth without development It is possible to have economic growth without development. For example, if a country produces more oil, it will see an increase in GDP. A country may see higher GDP, but the benefits of growth may be syphoned into the bank accounts of politicians Environmental problems. Producing toxic chemicals will lead to an increase in real GDP. However, without proper regulation, it can also lead to environmental and health problems. This is an example of where growth leads to a decline in living standards for many.

Economic growth can cause an increase in congestion.

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This means people will spend longer in traffic jams. GDP may increase but they have lower living standards because they spend more time in traffic jams. Production not consumed.

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If a state-owned industry increases output, this is reflected in an increase in GDP. However, if the output is not used by anyone then it causes no actual increase in living standards.

Military spending. A country may increase GDP by spending more on military goods.