This paper proposes to qualify a country's human development as potentially unsustainable if the net depreciation of its manufactured and natural capital stock is bigger than its investment. Linking the Human Development Index with sustainability in this way would allow the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to check whether a country is ‘mortgaging the choices of future generations’. An analysis for 155 countries leads to the conclusion that the indicated human development of 42 countries is potentially unsustainable. Most of these countries have a low HDI, which means that even this low achievement is not sustainable into the future. The results make a case for both a policy reform within these countries and for external assistance to help maintain at least this low level of human development.
Ecological Economics – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2001
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