University of Cambridge > > St Catharine's Political Economy Seminar Series > The Relative Merits of Alternative Goals of Development: Happiness, Income or Human

The Relative Merits of Alternative Goals of Development: Happiness, Income or Human

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Speaker: Frances Stewart is Emeritus Professor of Development Economics, University of Oxford. Her research has focused on appropriate technology; basic needs; adjustment and poverty; development during conflict; group behaviour; horizontal inequalities; and human development. She has been director of Oxford’s Department of International Development and Chair of the United Nation’s Committee on Development Policy. Books include Technology and Underdevelopment (Macmillan 1976); and Planning to Meet Basic Needs (1985); she was co-author of UNICEF ’s influential study Adjustment with a Human Face (OUP 1987) and of War and Underdevelopment (OUP 2001); and editor of Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict: Understanding Group Violence in Multiethnic Societies (Palgrave, 2008).

Talk Overview: Frances Stewart will consider the relative merits of happiness, income, and Human development as goals of development. It will argue that happiness, like income, has many defects as the unique measure of progress: apart from huge measurement problems which render measures rather arbitrary, people adapt to their circumstances so happiness can be high even when people are deprived in multiple areas; future generations cannot be surveyed, and consequently it may lead to neglect of their wellbeing and issues of sustainability; it can distort policy with a focus on making poor people content with their condition rather than trying to improve it. The talk will argue that we should aim to enhance human development and realize human rights, rather than to maximize a somewhat arbitrary measure of happiness.

All welcome to attend.

This talk is part of the St Catharine's Political Economy Seminar Series series.

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