Book review: Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen

Sen has written this book in 1999, a year after receiving a Nobel Price in economics for his contributions to welfare economics and social theories. At times dry and repetitive, his work however, provides a broader understanding of development. The academics have many postulates that shaped various aspects of development and tackling poverty but not throughout any of journals and books can one feel the compassion and humanity to such extent as it is in Sen’s book.

The author argues that relationship between poverty, income, inequality, unemployment, mortality, quality of life should be looked through a broad definition of development rather than narrow definitions of utility, efficiency or growth rates. 

Importantly, Sen doesn’t tend to advocate specific approaches to solving problems, but instead seems to have a broader goal of changing the way people discuss and think about developmental issues. Lesson? Development is not simple! There’s no one single problem that we can solve to fix the world and no magic solution for any problem, but rather a variety of factors to consider and several kinds of individual’s freedoms and capabilities to be worked towards.

I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn something new and willing to tackle difficult subjects.

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