Topic Progress:

Calories and Economic Growth

Directions: Before you start listen to part of a talk in an economics class.

*Vocabulary is sometimes provided in written form when it may be unfamiliar to the student, but essential for understanding the lecture

Vocabulary
macroeconomic policy
Amartya Sen

TRANSCRIPT

Calories and Economic Growth

The story of modern economic growth can be told by looking at calorie consumption over time. The dramatic rise in incomes allowed the average person to eat better and consume more calories. How did these incomes increase? The period of modern economic growth came about because of the way in which technological progress combined with physical and human capital rapidly expanded. Although distribution of income is still an issue, it is clear that the average worker can afford more calories in 2014 than in 1875.

Aside from increases in income, there is another reason why the average person can afford more food. Modern agriculture has allowed many countries to produce more food than they need. Despite having more than enough food, however, many governments and agencies have not solved the food distribution problem. In fact, food shortages, famine, or general food insecurity are caused more often by the failure of government macroeconomic policy, according to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen. Sen has conducted extensive research into issues of inequality, poverty, and the role of government in improving standards of living. Macroeconomic policies that strive toward stable inflation, full employment, education of women, and preservation of property rights are more likely to eliminate starvation and provide for a more even distribution of food.

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