4th September 2017
‘In Conversation’ between Sir Partha and Dr Aisha Dasgupta,
‘How Many People Can Earth Support In Comfort?’
This event was an ‘in conversation’ between a world renowned academic, Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, whose cutting edge research covers welfare and development economics and issues of poverty and inequality, and Dr. Aisha Dasgupta, who is at the UN Population Division in New York and has a background at the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Marie Stopes International. Sir Partha is a distinguished academic and Aisha is a young practitioner who works on family planning and reproductive health in the world’s poorest countries, which are issues Professor Dasgupta addresses in his academic work. The conversation will be built around the potential synergy between theory and practice. The conversation will be on reasons humanity’s demands on the biosphere currently exceeds the biosphere’s capacity to supply them. The overshoot will be analysed both in terms of population and consumption.
The lively discussion was chaired by Sir Andrew Dilnot and organised by the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarships and Leadership Programme, with the support of the Saïd Business School. This event was made possible by the generous support of Tom Kaplan.
Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has spent much of his professional life working on the theory and empirics of poverty and inequality. His cutting-edge research covers welfare and development economics, the economics of technological change, population, environmental and resource economics, game theory and the economics of malnutrition. His more recent work has involved investigating the idea of sustainable development in which pure economic reasoning frequently collides with ecological and social concerns. An important area of his research has been social capital, focusing on the degree of mutual trust that may be expected in the social networks that form communities. Having grown up in India, he brings a unique perspective to his field. He has also been invaluable to the cause of capacity-building among young scientists, especially in developing countries. Professor Dasgupta is the Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Cambridge. He was formerly chairman of the scientific board of the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, as well as professor of economics and philosophy and director of the Program in Ethics in Society at Stanford University. Since 2013, Professor Dasgupta has been Visiting Professor at the New College of the Humanities, London. Among other honours, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Science, Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society, and Member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences; and has been awarded the Volvo Environment Prize, the John Kenneth Galbraith Memorial Prize, the Zayed International Environment Prize, the Blue Planet Prize, and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
Dr. Aisha Dasgupta was awarded a Ph.D in 2014 by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, on the relationship between family planning, and fertility. Her field work was conducted in Malawi. She currently works at the UN Population Division in New York. Previously she worked at the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Marie Stopes International, London, respectively. Her practical work and academic research cover: demography, family planning, population, sexual and reproductive health, HIV, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV, food security and food systems.
Sir Andrew Dilnot is Warden of Nuffield College Oxford. He was Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority from 2012 to 2017, and was the Chairman of the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, which reported in 2011. He was Principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford, from 2002 to 2012 and a Pro Vice Chancellor of Oxford University from 2005 to 2012. He was Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies from 1991 to 2002. He was the founding presenter of BBC Radio 4’s series on the beauty of numbers, ‘More or Less’ and also presented Radio 4’s ‘A History of Britain in Numbers’. He sits on the Advisory Board of the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Trust.