Development as Freedom
Development as Freedom is a book about international development by Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Sen. The American edition of the book was published by Alfred A. Amartya Sen was the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Poverty is characterized by lack of at least one freedom Sen uses the term unfreedom for lack of freedom , including a de facto lack of political rights and choice, vulnerability to coercive relations, and exclusion from economic choices and protections. Based on these ethical considerations, Sen argues that development cannot be reduced to simply increasing basic incomes , nor to rising average per capita incomes.
It has almost reached the point where criticizing Amartya Sen, like Mother Theresa, is out of bounds. Freedom is both the primary end and the principal means of development. Insofar as many of us have been critical of approaches to development that emphasize growth in Gross Domestic Product GDP , rising personal incomes, industrialization, technological advance, or social modernization, we should be glad that such a distinguished economist is apparently tooting our horn. Sen gives two reasons why freedom should be the primary element of development: first, the only acceptable evaluation of human progress is primarily and ultimately enhancement of freedom; second, the achievement of development is dependent on the free agency of people. Many people will agree with the first assertion, as long as the definition of freedom is wide enough to include freedom from material or spiritual want, which it does for Sen. Sen breaks with this orthodoxy, providing evidence that high incomes do not necessarily lead to wellbeing for instance, in terms of life expectancy , and arguing that welfare expenditures can be a spur to rather than a drain on economic growth, especially since they are labor-intensive and since labor is so cheap in poor countries. He rightly insists that we should approach political freedoms and civil rights not through the means of eventually achieving them GDP growth but as a direct good in their own right.
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Terjesen, Siri A. Graduate Journal of Social Science , 1 2 , pp. Following his Indian college-level education, Sen undertook postgraduate studies at Cambridge University, and followed an international academic teaching and research career in the UK, the US and India. He is the only Asian recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in Economics, which he received in for his collective contributions to the field of welfare economics. He is particularly recognized for empirical research on poverty, inequality, and the causes of famine and also for defining the field of development studies to include technical analysis.