Amartya Sen is a distinguished professor of economics who was born on 3rd November 1933 in Santiniketan India. He won the Nobel prize of economics in 1998 for his contribution to welfare economics and its fundamental problems. His contribution also covered the social choice, poverty and the measurement of welfare, a rare work that has a major impact on politics. His work relating to the causes of famine has changed the way public approaches the issue. He has successful managed to show how, in his analysis of poverty, hundreds of people within a country might starve even if a nation’s production of food has not declined. Sen, (2001) asserts that simple measures of Gross National Product are not enough in the assessment of the standard of living. He was thus fundamental in the creation of the United Nations Human Development Index that is today an authoritative international source of welfare in relation to comparison among countries.
Amartya Sen conceptualizes development as freedom where human being development is all about the growth of citizens’ abilities. It is a Universalists convention of notion that emphasizes the need of human’s beings to live a good life where all humans are entitled to live such a life. This idea advocates for human flourishing as the main basis of solving global poverty and inequality and not its absence. Dre?ze, & Sen, (2002) state that freedom is all about increasing a people’s prospects and access to those things in which they have reason of value, hence they challenge the traditional concept of quantifying development through economic growth. Sen acknowledges that an increase in poor people incomes directly contributes to the growth of their liberty. He states that a sole increase in income has at its best an unequal and at its worst a detrimental impact on the greater part of a nation’s inhabitants (Dre?ze, & Sen, 2002).[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Therefore there is a necessity for radical redistributive measures that will facilitate the poor to gain from any development. Amartya Sen, therefore, coined and adopted the capability approach to address these concerns. Capability approach is defined by its emphasis upon the ethical importance of a person’s ability to attaining the type of lives they have a basis to value. This paradigm differentiates it from the more established approaches to moral evaluation for example resourcesim and utilitarianism that focus on the availability of the means to the good life and subjective well-being respectively. According to Alexander, (2008), capability approach defines an individual’s capability to a good life that is best defined by a set of valuable beings and doings. This for example may include a loving relationships and good health that bequeaths them a real success. Amartya Sen first advocated this capability approach in the 1980’s which has comprehensively been applied to the situations involving the human development index for example at the UNDP (Kuklys, 2005).
It is indeed an alternative measure to the narrow econometrics variable measures of GDP per capita. In this approach, poverty is thus understood as deprivation in the capacity to live a high-quality life while development is defined as the expansion of capability. Sen argues that starvation is the characteristic of some individuals lacking enough food to eat, and it is not the characteristic of there being not enough food to eat (Kuklys, 2005). The genesis of this argument was after the famine of 1943 in Bengal, where a realization was detected by Sen. He noticed that the overall food production was not any lower as compared to 1941 when famine and starvation was not present. Starvation was as a result of the wages being paid to farm laborers in 1942 not keeping up with the rise in food prices due to inflation in Calcutta. The genesis of the inflation was an economic boom in Calcutta due to war production at the time.
It is this economic fundamental that brought about a shift in entitlements where laborers suffered a real reduction in the capacity to command power over food. Sen, (2001) argues that poverty; famine, unfulfilled basic needs, political freedoms violations, and subjugation of women still continue to occur in the modern world irrespective of the unprecedented wealth and opulence reflected across the world. The previous strategies that have been employed to address these challenges are feted with structural errors that make them fail. Hence, the need for the capability approach that puts human flourishing at its core instead of economic growth in the quest to resolving the dilemma of poverty and worldwide inequality (Dre?ze, & Sen, 2002). The pursuit for freedom for all mankind entails expansion of citizen’s capabilities through removal of the various types of impediments and not on making up of what the citizen’s lack. Therefore, development is the elimination of the various forms of impediments to development that leave the masses with constrained choice and a without chance of executing their rational urgency.
The major impediments to freedom are therefore poverty, tyranny, systemic social deprivations, deplorable public facilities, poor economic opportunities, intolerance, and other activities of repressive states. By removing these impediments, the living standards of people will then be able to be uplifted, especially through ushering in factors like increased economic opportunities, social facilities, political freedom, transparency and security which are instrumental (Alexander, 2008). These factors need to be interconnected for example the social facilities that involve the markets and the state. Therefore, society’s arrangement needs to be investigated so as to seek out their contributions to guaranteeing and enhancing substantive freedoms of individuals. Through this, Amartya Sen believes that individuals will be the main agents of change instead of them being recipients of dispensed benefits.
The social facilities are meant to provide the opportunities that will further augment the well-being of the populace. Consequently the growth of freedom is vital to a nation’s development agenda, as a principal means as well as the primary end. The goal of development, in the end, becomes wider than the arithmetical determination of Gross National Product. The notion of development should, therefore, be pursued systematically in order for it to be brought about. For this reasons, poverty is thought of not as an abnormality, but as a phenomenon that can be resolved. For that reason, policy makers need to acknowledge that the privileges of mankind in a capitalistic world are situated on the same locus as their sufferings (Sen, 2001). This means that the predicament of development is anchored squarely in what has been classified as prosperity and how people and institutions go about advocating and promoting that classification, just in the same manner it does for poverty.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
This proposition means that a person can be happy without a lot of freedoms and a person could also have a good amount of freedom devoid of attaining much freedom. A person can, therefore, have a substantial freedom without achieving much meaning that freedom is by itself not free from a person’s ability or aspiration to apply it to any specific end. These makes development to be less of “making up of what people are deprived of” i.e. modernization to it being more of removal of impediments that prevent the same people from existing in a manner that they may otherwise choose for example State violence or market inequalities (Dre?ze, & Sen, 2002). There is no significance of political liberty on formal paper if the people are in reality being prohibited from benefiting from those freedoms as a result of impediments like discrimination, tribalism, malnutrition, racism, natural calamities or even epidemiological risk.
Yet many politicians and institutions are yet to understand and take on board this claim as they endeavor to address the supposed needs and the short-term political interest. A look at the millennium development objectives advocates Amartya Sen philosophy as free will is one of its core tenets of basic values. Yet there is a big challenge in integrating freedom with economic production, a challenge that has been with mankind since the time of enlightenment political thinking. Economic Development is a politically emotional issue that is ethically essential and the elementary challenge it creates for the society can never be resolved unless the world adopts Amartya Sen Line of thought (Rauhut, Hatti, & Olsson, 2005). Yet resolving the predicament of development is more important in the modern world that is divided between the advancement of globalization and the retardation of the art of politics when it comes to superior judgment. The challenge is in the transformation of the state or country that currently does not bestow liberty to its people into a nation or state that does. Amartya Sen Offers little advice about how this can or should be achieved (Kuklys, 2005).[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Moreover, even in those countries that are labeled as developed nations, there is still freedom deficits that reverse the development goals achieved so far. Political freedoms are indeed compromised by entrenched interests in the United States of America and Australia as well as by the entrenched powers of the oligarchy in much of Europe and Japan. The protectionism of large corporations in Japan and Europe limits the trade and industry independence of small and medium enterprises (Alexander, 2008). The social opportunities are also constrained in many countries of the world mainly because the rich have access to education and health facilities compared to the poor.
Even though Amartya Sen has raised issues pertaining to cultural freedoms, progress in this field will require a massive shift in attitudes for progress to occur. He also does not deal with the subject of how individual liberty ought to be crafted into the overall society that requires foregoing some aspects of personal freedoms in order to coexist peacefully (Rauhut, Hatti, & Olsson, 2005).
Alexander, J. M. (2008). Capabilities and social justice: The political philosophy of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Pub.
Dre?ze, J., & Sen, A. K. (2002). India: Development and participation. Oxford [u.a.: Oxford University Press.
Kuklys, W. (2005). Amartya Sen’s capability approach: Theoretical insights and empirical applications. Berlin: Springer.
Rauhut, D., Hatti, N., & Olsson, C.-A. (2005). Economists and poverty: From Adam Smith to Amartya Sen. New Delhi: Vedams.
Sen, A. K. (2001). Development as freedom. Oxford [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press.