is a brief introduction to economic issues of sustainable
development. When you have finished reading, you can start
exploring the GNP per Capita
goal of sustainable development is to improve living standards
and the quality of peoples lives, both now and for
future generations. Economic issues are an important piece
of the development "puzzle."
Everyone plays a role in the economy
is a system of deciding how to allocate limited resources
that will be used to meet human needs and wants. Whenever
we buy, sell, or barter something, we are taking part in
the exchange of goods and services that makes up the economy.
Examples of such goods and services can vary widelyfrom
food, school buses, books, minerals, and military weapons,
to bank loans, factories, electricity, hospitals, hair cuts,
clothes, and television programs.
a countrys economy is healthy, most people can make,
buy, or trade for most of the goods and services they need
and want. In some countries these goods and services may
be available only to relatively few people. In all countries
some people may have more than enough, while others may
their economies continue to grow over time, countries strive
to develop economic, social, and environmental goals, policies,
and strategies for the short and long term. And since economies
around the world are increasingly and inextricably linked
through trade, the decisions that one country -- rich or
poor -- makes about its economy can affect many other countries.
Developing countries may depend on industrial countries
to provide goods and services that they lack the technology
or resources to produce. But industrial nations also depend
on developing countries, who purchase one-quarter of the
goods and services they export.
Linking the economy with environmental and social sectors
issues are closely linked to environmental concerns. The
economy depends on the sustainable use of renewable resources.
Overuse of these resources for short-term gain may undercut
a countrys long-term economic future.
issues are also linked with social concerns. For example,
inadequate investment in education and training of workers
limits the potential for economic growth. And rapid population
growth may limit the economic systems ability to meet
peoples basic needs and provide jobs for everyone
who wants to work.
only when information about the economy is combined with
social and environmental data that the full impact of development
decisions on the quality of life can be understood.
way to measure a countrys level of development is
to look at economic data such as the dollar amount of the
countrys gross national product (GNP) per capita.
GNP per capita helps measure the material output of a country,
but it does not show what is produced, whether all people
share equally in the wealth of the country, or whether they
lead fulfilling lives.
explore the GNP per
Capita learning module, what other types of economic
data and information would help you better understand how
people live in a particular country? What kinds of social
data would give you a fuller picture of what life is like
in that country?