menu fermer

Pricing the future: The economics of discounting and sustainable development

Many books have described how civilisations rise, flower and then fall. Underlying this observed dynamic are a myriad of individual and collective investment decisions affecting the accumulation of capital, the level of education, the preservation of the environment, infrastructure quality, legal systems, and the protection of property rights. This vast literature from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations through Gregory Clark’s Farewell to Alms to Jared Diamond’s Collapse is retrospective and positive, examining the link between past actions and the actual collective destiny. In contrast, this book takes a prospective and normative view, analysing the problem of investment project selection. Which projects should be implemented to maximize intergenerational welfare? The solution to this problem heavily relies on our understanding and beliefs about the dynamics of civilizations.