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Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More by Charles Kenny

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SIX
THE GREAT NEWS
The Best Things in Life Are Cheap
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The idea that ever-growing wealth is central to the good life has long been controversial. In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith argued that escaping poverty only required that people are “tolerably well fed, clothed and lodged.” Because of the limited needs of mankind, he felt that the primary purpose of the pursuit of riches in wealthier countries is “regard to the sentiment of mankind ... to be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of.”1 Smith was writing in the late eighteenth century, when GDP per capita in the United Kingdom was somewhere below $1,700. More recently, Nobel winner Amartya Sen has elaborated on the idea of capabilities as better measures of quality of life ...

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