Around the world, a central question bears on sustainability, the environment, and social and financial well being: How much is enough? But there is an important corollary to that question—perhaps even more directly important to individuals. What does quality of life mean? And how should we measure it? Our panel of global experts weighs in.

More than a billion people cannot count on meeting their basic needs for food, sanitation, and clean water. Their children die from simple, preventable diseases. They lack a minimally decent quality of life.

At the same time, more than a billion people live at a hitherto unknown level of affluence. They think nothing of spending more to go out to dinner than the other billion have to live on for a month. Do they therefore have a high quality of life? Being able to meet one’s...

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