Потерянное богатство наций

Словосочетание «устойчивое развитие» получило широкое распространение, но толкователи экономических понятий не дают четкого руководства относительно того, как определить, является ли экономическое развитие государства действительно устойчивым.

В знаменитом отчете Комиссии Брандтланда 1987 года устойчивое развитие определяется как «развитие, удовлетворяющее потребностям настоящего времени, не лишающее будущие поколения возможности удовлетворять их собственные потребности ». Устойчивое развитие, следовательно, требует, чтобы, учитывая численность населения, каждое поколение оставляло следующему, по меньше мере, такую же производственную базу, какую унаследовало от предыдущих поколений. Но как может поколение определить, оставляет ли оно после себя адекватную производственную базу?

Экономисты утверждают, что правильной мерой производственной базы экономики является богатство, которое включает не только стоимость производственного капитала (строений, оборудования, дорог), но и человеческий капитал (знания, навыки, здоровье), природный капитал (экосистемы, минералы и ископаемое топливо), а также институты (правительство, гражданское общество, власть закона). Развитие является устойчивым до тех пор, пока сохраняется соотношение богатства экономики к размеру населения. Другими словами, под экономическим ростом должно пониматься увеличение богатства государства, а не рост ВНП.

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