How Many People Can Earth Support in Comfort? [Audio]

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Speaker(s): Professor Partha Dasgupta | Contemporary economics is mostly unconcerned with distortions to individual incentives that lead to population and consumption overshoots. Currently the overshoot would appear to be in consumption in the rich world and fertility in the poor world. In this lecture Professor Dasgupta will trace those distortions to an absence of adequate property rights to the biosphere and to the fact that human preferences are socially embedded. Those distortions also encourage technological advancements to be rapacious in the use of Nature’s resources, thus exacerbating the problems. Using global assessments of the biosphere’s capacity to provide humanity with the demands we make of it, he will provide crude estimates of the size of the global population that Earth can support in comfort under foreseeable technologies and institutions. Partha Dasgupta, was born in Dhaka (at that time in India) and educated in Varanasi (Matriculation 1958 from Rajghat Besant School), Delhi (B.Sc. Hons, in Physics, 1962, University of Delhi), and Cambridge (B.A. Hons. in Mathematics, 1965, and Ph.D. in Economics, 1968). He is Frank Ramsey Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge, Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, and Professorial Research Fellow at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester. He taught at the London School of Economics during 1971-1984 and moved to the University of Cambridge in 1985 as Professor of Economics, where he served as Chairman of the Faculty of Economics in 1997-2001. Sam Fankhauser is Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Deputy Director of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment(@GRI_LSE ) was established by the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2008 to create a world-leading centre for policy-relevant research and training on climate change and the environment, bringing together international expertise on economics, finance, geography, the environment, international development and political economy.

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