16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts on Sen's Idea of Justice
One of my achievements of this summer (also got flooring done in hall cupboard!) was reading Amartyn Sen's "Idea of Justice". This big chunk of thoughts covers almost all elements of human thought through the prism of struggling with what the concept of Justice means in our contemporary society.
Although ostensibly an economist, Sen has won the Nobel Prize, his style...
Published on 31 Dec 2010 by Drnik68
66 of 81 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An undefined and unworkable idea of justice
Amartya Sen has one idea in this book. He claims that John Rawls' theory of justice relies on just institutions working with a social contract towards a transcendental (ie unachievable?) vision of a perfectly just society. Sen critiques this for ignoring real actual achievable outcomes, excluding wider interests and failing to address behaviour. He proposes instead that...
Published on 19 Aug 2009 by Geoff Crocker
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20 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The consummation of Economics and Ethics,
The author, Dr Amartya Sen, is the Nobel prize laureate in Economics for 1998 but his Economics is informed with morality. This fact did not elude the Nobel Prize committee who commented that he had restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of economic problems. In addition to being imbued with morality, Amartya Sen is endowed with erudition and philosophical disposition. He is a prolific author and I mention here just two of his books:Poverty and Famines;and Development as Freedom in which he persuasively argues that Freedom is at once the ultimate goal of Economic life and the most efficient means of realizing general welfare.
The present book represents the consummation of a life long effort and work by the author at humanizing economics and bringing content from the real world to ethics.
The book also serves as a summation of the author's work on economic reasoning and on the elememts and measurement of human well-being.
His conviction is that the mission of economists and philosophers is to improve the world which is a recurring theme in the book.
The author writes with wit, a feel for history and a global perspective. He presumes that the values in play are of global, not purely Western origin.
Two themes predominate in the book - economic rationality and social injustice.
The author argues that economists have tended to content themselves with an overly simple picture of human motivation, rationality and well-being. The author argues that people are not purely self-interested. They care for others and observe social norms. They do not always reason mechanistically, seeking least-cost to given ends. They question the point of their aims and the worth of their wants. Well-being has no single measure but is comprehensible. Its elements are many and do not amount to just utility or some cash value equivalent.
Well-being though a complex concept is not elusive. Among its diverse elements, there are important ones such as freedom from hunger, disease, indignity and discrimination which are generally observable and the author contends measurable.
Unlike John Rawls who held that social justice depended on having just institutions, Amartya Sen thinks that good social outcoms are what matter.
Tying the whole together is the author's confidence that, though values are complex, economics provides tools for thinking clearly about complexity.
The author concludes with democracy which can take many institutional forms. But non succeds without open debate about values and principles. To that vital element in public reason, 'The Idea of Justice' is an important contribution.
5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improving justice depends on ranking alternatives,
This does not mean you need ranking for gross injustices like racial discrimination. Sen rejects the Rawls idea of Justice as Fairness as it is one, may be the best one, of the absolute just systems. In fact all thinkers or politicians that claim to have developed an absolutely perfect system are wrong. Very important is to look not only at a system from a theoretical justice point of view but also equally important what is the reality of application at the level of all citizens.
He also makes a very interesting review of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. His view is that the "rights" are not rights in the sense that they are all legal rights to be enforced. These rights are however very important as aspects to be considered in the ranking of alternatives.
Those that might have hoped to find a system of justice that is absolutely right will be disappointed, those are looking ways to improve justice will be very enthusiastic about this book
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for people aspiring to enter public life,
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the Idea of justice,
This review is from: The Idea of Justice (Paperback)I have not yet finished reading the book.However, I can say without any hesitation that it is the most informative and intellectual book on the subject of justice I have come across.It is absolutely brilliant.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The idea of Justice,
This review is from: The Idea of Justice (Paperback)Excellent book. Sen has a very wide view of philosophy that, with his illustrations from Asian history, should help we Westerners feel less smug about our superiority in the field of ideas since 1215AD.
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now,
In this book you are likely to hear about the changing effects of Justice and it's manifestations throughout the years, from 1776 to 2009, from Mary Wallstonecraft, to John Rawls to the Jains, to Iran. I sit with this boko in front of me, and whereas I'm not criticizing it, I think towards the end it began to thin out. I mean at first it was like bobbing and weaving and stuff, it was really punching brothers in the face. BONG you know what I'm saying then, towards the end I was waiting for some of those initial knock out punches, which kinda failed to come. A.S is a master on the subject so I don't know what is good justic and what is not good justice, but mostly, after having ready The Algebra of Infinte Justice in India I think I'm starting to get into it.
11 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Senile, sententious yet still the enfant terrible,
However, Sen doesn't have a theory of Justice. He obfuscates the issue by playing the race card- the suggestion being that perhaps the ancient Indians had some said something interesting about this (they did, but within a soteriological framework we don't share) and Sen knows about it coz like he's actually a black man and it's like in his blood y'know.
Sen's failure as an economist- back in the 60's- was to fail to spot that asymmetry of information and behavioural empiricism, rather than old fashioned, Panopticon, substantive, rationality were going to drive the discipline. He made himself irrelevant except as a token Third Worlder reanimating a long dead, deeply patronising, legitimating ideology for neo-colonial adventurism.
He also didn't seem to get that Rawls was the end of the road- the epitaph on Moral Philosophy as a profitable alternative to the pulpit. TV evangelists and the reconstituted Republican Party gave the lie to this notion.
Sen himself, with his ludicrous attempts to pose as the inheritor of Ind's spiritual wisdom, is the absolute dead end for Buddhas- not of Suburbia- but Academia whining on about how they is black and Immigration officer dun bin mean to me and could I please have some more Honourary Doctorates- coz, due to Great Bengal Famine, I really can't get enough of those- and hey, for sure, I'll give you another meaningless sound-bite for T.V.
Sen ultimately is a nihilist- for consequentialism read careerism- his expertise consists in making out his dull don's paradise is a actually a Trishanku heaven and carefully pulling the ladder up after him.
Bengal must be so proud.
1 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thanks,
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The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen (Paperback - 1 July 2010)