Development as Freedom
Author: Amartya Sen
Synopsis by Chowdhury Nabila Tasnim
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In his first book after winning the Nobel prize, Amartya Sen dissects how freedom means increasing citizens' access and opportunities to the things they have reason to value, and how true development lies with increasing the level of freedom rather than a larger paycheck. Sen challenges the mainstream concept of measuring development by economic growth.
Dr. Sen proposes a more aggressive, humane, and generous funding formula to benefit the world’s poorest nations. This goal is based on his theory about individual capabilities and functioning, and how they affect opportunity, both person by person and in society.
In one of the most important books on development economics, Sen alerts the reader that poverty, unfulfilled basic needs, the occurrence of famines, the violation of political freedoms, and neglect of the agency of women remain today despite unprecedented opulence. He makes it clear that previous strategies to reduce these catastrophes are prone to errors. His method is to focus on human development and individual freedom as the entry point to the problem of poverty and global inequality rather than economic growth. Sen contends that all human beings are equally entitled to enjoy a life that they value.
Despite targeting the general audience, the book can seem rather intimidating and wordy to the average reader. An understanding of basic economic theories can make this book much more enjoyable. This is a richly rewarding book, and a must-read for economic policymakers, development practitioners, and individuals who are interested in the development discipline.
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