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Sustainable Welfare in the Asia-Pacific

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Sustainable Welfare in the Asia-Pacific

Studies Using the Genuine Progress Indicator

9781847205018 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Philip Lawn, Flinders University and Matthew Clarke, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
Publication Date: 2008 ISBN: 978 1 84720 501 8 Extent: 392 pp
Frequent references are made to the ‘Asian economic miracle’ as a means of describing the wave of GDP growth experienced across the Asia-Pacific region over the past twenty years. Implicit in this description is the assumption that the Asia-Pacific region has progressed at the same rate that GDP has risen over the same period. But is this truly the case? Employing a Genuine Progress Indicator as an alternative measure of sustainable welfare, the contributors to this book aim to answer this question by presenting case studies of seven Asia-Pacific nations. The results reveal that all is not as positive as conventional indicators might suggest.

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Frequent references are made to the ‘Asian economic miracle’ as a means of describing the wave of GDP growth experienced across the Asia-Pacific region over the past twenty years. Implicit in this description is the assumption that the Asia-Pacific region has progressed at the same rate that GDP has risen over the same period. But is this truly the case? Employing a Genuine Progress Indicator as an alternative measure of sustainable welfare, the contributors to this book aim to answer this question by presenting case studies of seven Asia-Pacific nations. The results reveal that all is not as positive as conventional indicators might suggest.

The book shows that the three wealthy nations – Australia, New Zealand, and Japan – have long reached a level of GDP beyond which further growth is detrimental to their sustainable welfare while the four poorer nations – China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam – are fast approaching a similar situation, but at much lower per capita levels of sustainable welfare. In view of these results, it is argued that genuine progress in the Asia-Pacific region requires the wealthy nations to focus on qualitative improvement (development) rather than GDP growth. As for the poorer nations, it is argued that population stabilisation demands urgent attention while the GDP growth required over the next two to three decades must be as clean, efficient, and equitable as possible.

Sustainable Welfare in the Asia-Pacific will appeal to a wide audience of academics and researchers in the areas of ecological, environmental and natural resource economics, development, green national accounting, and environmental management. It will also find a readership in policymakers, environmental managers and NGOs, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
Critical Acclaim
‘Lawn and Clarke have compiled and authored an excellent addition to the literature of ecological economics. . . this is an excellent resource for advanced students, academics and practitioners wishing to galvanise an understanding of the measurement of human progress.’
– Lindsay Greer, FORUM – Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights

‘. . . I think the authors should be commended for attempting to develop a summary measure that brings together a diverse range of indicators relevant to human well-being.’
– Winton Bates, Asian-Pacific Economic Literature

‘It is no small thing to shift the burden of proof. Yet that is what Lawn and Clarke, and their colleagues, have done in this remarkable study. . . Thanks to Lawn and Clarke for suggesting many specific policies rooted in a clear analysis. . .’
– From the preface by Herman Daly
Contributors
Contributors: M. Clarke, V. Forgie, D. Hardy, V.X.N. Hong, P. Lawn, M. Makino, G. McDonald, J. Shaw, Z. Wen, Y. Yang, Y. Zhang
Contents
Contents:

Preface
Herman Daly

PART I: INTRODUCTION TO THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION AND THE GENUINE PROGRESS INDICATOR
1. An Introduction to the Asia-Pacific Region
Philip Lawn and Matthew Clarke

2. Why is Gross Domestic Product an Inadequate Indicator of Sustainable Welfare?
Philip Lawn and Matthew Clarke

3. What is the Genuine Progress Indicator and How is it Typically Calculated?
Philip Lawn and Matthew Clarke

4. In Defence of the Genuine Progress Indicator
Philip Lawn and Matthew Clarke

PART II: MEASURING THE GENUINE PROGRESS OF ASIA-PACIFIC NATIONS
5. Genuine Progress in Australia: Time to Rethink the Growth Objective
Philip Lawn

6. Calculating the New Zealand Genuine Progress Indicator
Vicky Forgie, Garry McDonald, Yanjiao Zhang, Murray Patterson and Derrylea Hardy

7. Genuine Progress in Japan and the Need for an Open Economy GPI
Matsuyo Makino

8. Genuine Progress in India: Some Further Growth Needed in the Immediate Future but Population Stabilisation Needed Immediately
Philip Lawn

9. From GDP to the GPI: Quantifying Thirty-Five Years of Development in China
Zonggou Wen, Yan Yang and Philip Lawn

10. Genuine Progress in Thailand: A Systems-Analysis Approach
Matthew Clarke and Judith Shaw

11. Genuine Progress in Vietnam: The Impact of the Doi Moi Reforms
Vu Xuan Nguyet Hong, Matthew Clarke and Philip Lawn

PART III: GENUINE PROGRESS ACROSS THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION
12. Genuine Progress Across the Asia-Pacific Region: Comparisons, Trends, and Policy Implications
Philip Lawn and Matthew Clarke

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