Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

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Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta


PROFESSOR Sir Partha Dasgupta, who is one of the world’s most eminent economists, is a Cambridge academic who has been arguing for years and years that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is a “rubbish” way of measuring human progress. That’s because “it’s a terrible, disgraceful index”, he tells GG2 Power List, speaking at his home in Cambridge where he is the Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics. He says, when a road, airport, dam or any kind of development takes place, its harmful effect on nature is not taken into account. His landmark report, The Economics of Diversity: The Dasgupta Review, which was commissioned by HM Treasury when Philip (now Lord) Hammond was the chancellor of the exchequer, was launched in February 2021 by the Royal Society with its former president, Nobel Laureate Prof Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, presiding over the ceremony. There was global acclaim for the report. For example, broadcaster Sir David Attenborough summed up its findings: “Put simply, without nature, there would be no life. The economics of biodiversity is therefore the economics of nature. But nature’s resilience is being severely eroded, with biodiversity declining faster than at any time in human history.” Joseph E Stiglitz, the Columbia University professor who won the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics, described Dasgupta as the “world’s leading economist on ecology, economics, and growth and development”. Dame Fiona Reynolds, a former director-general of the National Trust and then Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, said: “If the coronavirus pandemic has had one benefit, it’s been to wake us all up to the vital importance of nature. But that’s not enough: we need to stem its decline and put it into recovery. The Dasgupta Review offers hope for nature across the whole planet by showing us how we need to think and what we need

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