Amartya Sen uses his 1999 work Development as Freedom to evaluate the processes and outcomes of economic development.
Having come to the conclusion that development is best summed up as the expansion of freedom, Sen examines traditional definitions and understandings of the term. He says people tend to think of freedoms as economic (the freedom to enter into market exchanges) or political (the freedom to vote and be an active citizen), and tries to understand why the definition has been so narrow hitherto. He concludes that an evaluation of true freedom must necessarily include the freedom to access social services such as healthcare, sanitation and nutrition, just as much as it must acknowledge economic and political freedoms.
Evaluating the relevance of the current thinking behind development, Sen concludes that the term ‘freedom’ cannot simply be about income. In many ways, measuring income does not account for various “unfreedoms” (manmade or natural bars to wellbeing) that hinder development. Sen’s evaluation is all the more powerful for its clarity: "The freedom-centered perspective has a generic similarity to the common concern with "quality of life."
Table of Contents
Ways in to the text
Who is Amartya Sen?
What does Development as Freedom say?
Why does Development as Freedom matter?
Section 1: Influences
Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context
Module 2: Academic Context
Module 3: The Problem
Module 4: The Author's Contribution
Section 2: Ideas
Module 5: Main Ideas
Module 6: Secondary Ideas
Module 7: Achievement
Module 8: Place in the Author's Work
Section 3: Impact
Module 9: The First Responses
Module 10: The Evolving Debate
Module 11: Impact and Influence Today
Module 12: Where Next?
Glossary of Terms
People Mentioned in the Text
Janna Miletzki is researching for a PhD in human geography at LSE.
Nick Broten was educated at the California Institute of Technology and the London School of Economics.