Development as Freedom

“Development can be seen, it is argued here, as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy. Focusing on human freedoms contrasts with narrower views of development with the growth of gross national product, or with the rise in personal incomes, or with industrialization, or with technological advance, or with social modernization. 

Development requires the removal of major sources of unfreedom: poverty as well as tyranny, poor economic opportunities as well as systematic social deprivation, neglect of public facilities as well as intolerance or overactivity of oppressive states. Despite unprecedented increases in overall opulence, the contemporary world denies elementary freedoms to vast numbers–perhaps even the majority of people. 

Sometimes the lack of substantive freedom relates directly to economic poverty, which robs people of the freedom to satisfy hunger, or to achieve sufficient nutrition, or to obtain remedies for basic illnesses, or the opportunity to be adequately clothed or sheltered, or to enjoy clean water or sanitary facilities. In other cases, the unfreedom links closely to the lack of public facilities and social care, such as the absence of epidemiological programs, or of organized arrangements for health care or education facilities, or of effective facilities, or of effective institutions for the maintenance of local peace and order. In still other cases, the violation of freedom results from a denial of political and civil liberties by authoritarian regimes and from imposed restrictions of the freedom to participate in the social, political, and economic life of the community.” 

— Amartya Sen. 1999. “Development as Freedom”. Oxford University Press.

My country lacks economic development; my people are unfree. 

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