The Road to Sustainability: GDP and future generations (The Sustainable World)

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9781845641405: The Road to Sustainability: GDP and future generations (The Sustainable World)

Is the concept of sustainability strongly
founded on solid scientific bases? And can this elusive concept be
introduced in the economic framework and embodied in people's behavior as well as public and private institutions' decision making?

This book presents a view of sustainability that starts from the
acknowledgment of physical conditions and limits that humans can no longer neglect. It also includes some epistemological foundations of the concept of sustainability and historical backgrounds. The view is optimistic to the extent that economics, the compass of our industrial society, is open to inputs and suggestions coming
from outside orthodox schemes. Transdisciplinary science is one key element of such a change, and this book is a transdisciplinary project.

In the field of criticism of GDP as an omni-comprehensive instrument, the book also describes the methodology of the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW), proposed by H. Daly and John Cobb in 1989. They proposed some revisions to the System of
National Accounts and GDP in order to add sustainability information for policy makers. Starting with consumption, some adjustments are proposed to allow for inequality of income distribution, environmental problems (such as pollution costs, long-term
environmental damage, and depletion of non-renewable resources) and
social issues (such as commuting costs, urbanization costs, and public expenditure for health and education). Computations for different nations have shown that ISEW increases together with increasing GDP up to a point, beyond which it stagnates or even decreases, due to the environmental and social pressure of economic growth. The ISEW is a feasible calculation and some experiments at the local level in Italy are presented. Advances in integrating
different sustainability indicators (both economic-based and physical-based) are also presented as well as their use under a sustainability viewpoint.

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About the Author:

The authors (Federico Maria Pulselli, Simone Bastianoni, Nadia Marchettini and Enzo Tiezzi) are researchers and professors at the University of Siena, Italy. Among them, they have written or contributed to numerous articles and books on the topic. Professor Tiezzi, in particular, is well known in the field, as a member of the group of 25 scientists, who developed the concept of "sustainable development" in 1980, first in Stockholm and Barcelona, then at the World Bank in Washington and, finally, at the ASPEN Institute in the United States.

Review:

One of the best books to date that I have seen actually explain what sustainability is and how to go about achieving it is The Road to Sustainability. It provides a solid introduction and argument for beginning to build a sustainable future. Anyone concerned about the future of the planet and human species place on this planet should read the book --Great New Books, June 2008

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Pulselli, Federico M./ Bastianoni, Simone/ Marchettini, Nadia/ Tiezzi, Enzo
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