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Development as Freedomby Amartya Kumar Sen
Synopses & Reviews
Development as Freedom is a general exposition of the economic ideas and analyses of Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Science. This brilliant and indispensable treatise compellingly analyzes the nature of contemporary economic development from the perspective of human freedom. Freedom, Sen persuasively argues, is at once the ultimate goal of economic life and the most efficient means of realizing general welfare. It is a good to be enjoyed by the world's entire population. Drawing on moral and political philosophy and technical economic analysis, this work gives the nonspecialist reader powerful access to Sen's paradigm-altering vision and vividly shows how he, in the words of the Nobel Prize committee, has both "restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of economic problems" and "opened up new fields of study for subsequent generations of researchers."
To a world divided between those who fear the ruthlessness of the free market under prevailing conditions of global capitalism and those who fear the terror of authoritarian states that stifle indi-
vidual liberty as well as initiative, Development as Freedom presents a necessary intellectual and moral framework of analysis and scrutiny. By rigorously addressing one of the largest questions of all--"What is the relation between our economic wealth and our ability to live as we would like?"--Sen allows economics once again, as it did in the time of Adam Smith, to address the social basis of individual well-being and freedom. He also confronts the human dilemma that "despite unprecedented increases in overall opulence, the contemporary world denies elementary freedoms to vast numbers--perhaps even the majority--of people." This is a landmark work that shows how in individual human freedom--the exclusive possession, Sen shows, of no particular nation, region or historical, intellectual or religious tradition--lies the capacity for political participation, economic development and social progress.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -351) and index.
Table of Contents
The perspective of freedom — The ends and the means of development — Freedom and the foundations of justice — Poverty as capability deprivation — Markets, state and social opportunity — The importance of democracy — Famines and other crisis — Women's agency and social change — Population, food and freedom — Culture and human rights — Social choice and individual behavior — Individual freedom as a social commitment.
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