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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very rewarding
This is a superb book that sets out Sen's influential approach to thinking about economic development. In it he combines economics and political philosophy to show how thinking about what people have and what they are capable of attaining, given their situation, can yield important insights into the nature of development. The focus is not just on the material aspects of...
Published on 24 Jun 2005 by RJS

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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Development as rhetoric
This is Amartya Sen's, Nobel Prize winner in Economics and collaborator of Martha Nussbaum, most famous work. In "Development as Freedom" he gives a broad and general overview of his views on development economics, and in particular on the priorities that must be made in creating social and economic policy in the developing world. The general thesis of the book is that...
Published on 11 May 2009 by M. A. Krul


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon Tax Avoidance, 3 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Development as Freedom (Paperback)
Amazon's tax avoidance has been making news headlines recently. It's depressing that multinational companies seek to cheat ordinary people, from Amazon to the mining conglomerates ripping off Africa. “The prevalence of widespread corruption is rightly regarded as a major stumbling block to successful economic progress.” No laws are being broken, nevertheless it leaves me feeling ashamed.

Amazon provide a decent service and I have no complaints except for the above.

The book was very rewarding, meticulous and inspiring. As a temporary Scotsman, I loved Amartya Sen's description of Adam Smith as a champion of social development (far removed from the common description of Smith as the single-minded prophet of self-interest).
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Effort!, 7 Jun 2004
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Development as Freedom (Paperback)
Nobel Prize-winning economic scientist Amartya Sen attempts to popularize a series of lectures he presented to executives at the World Bank in 1996. He challenges traditional economic theories to justify a more aggressive, humane and generous funding formula to benefit the world's poorest nations. This goal is based on his theory about individual capabilities and functionings, and how they affect opportunity, both person by person and in a society. Even though this is aimed for general discussion rather than Ph.D. course work, it is an extremely daunting book to read, a mental maze land mined with quirky thoughts and a thick lexicon only an academic could love. More thesis than not, the text is 298 pages plus 60 pages of small type footnotes. The short version: the rich get richer and the poor remain deprived of abilities and awaiting enlightened development. We recommend this dense, challenging but, as they say, important book to insomniacs, liberal world bankers, economic policy makers, the Kofi Annan fan club and students of economic science.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to start reading but carefully argued and insightful points, 24 Nov 2009
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This review is from: Development as Freedom (Paperback)
Difficult to start reading but carefully argued and insightful points. Feels like a worthwhile read once complete.

Looking forward to the Idea of Justice
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A just nobel winner, 6 Dec 2004
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Mr. Samuel L. Nair "cheltsam" (Cheltenham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Development as Freedom (Paperback)
Amartya Sen, who incidentally completed his Phd by the time he was 22, shows his great understanding of social economics in this book.
A profound read for those interested in the subjest of development. The idea of 'development as freedom', when fully understood is truly remarkable and a lot of academics I know appreciate Sen's views, which is more than can be said for other economic geography texts.
Perhaps not attractive to the average person, but for anyone with interest, or a student or proffessor (although surely you would have read this already!) this book is one of the true 'must reads'.
A 'Bible' of economic geography, truly recommended with excellent accessible ideas. If everyone thought like this the world could become a better place.
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13 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Immeasurably dull, 2 Mar 2007
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This review is from: Development as Freedom (Paperback)
This is a classic case of one of those social science/philosophy "masterpieces" that put forward an argument that can be accurately summarised on an A4 sheet of paper but that insist on stretching out a pretty straightforward proposition over hundreds and hundreds of pages (see also, for instance, Rawls' "A Theory of Justice"). The title states that freedom constitutes economic development, and that is really all you are going to get out of it even after investing the weeks it will take you to machete your way through Sen's neutron-star-dense prose. I like Sen's work in general and appreciate him very much as a lecturer (hence the second star), but stay away from this text unless you absolutely require it for an essay or so.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 9 Sep 2011
This review is from: Development as Freedom (Paperback)
In my young scholarly life so far, this has been without exception, ths most rewarding, inspiring, engaging and innovative book I have read in the social sciences.

The book is even more rewarding to those who know the intellectual precedents which fall behind Development as Freedom, because Sen offers a shaft of light and a radically new perpsective in contrast to the mundane, stagnant and uninspiring visions of improving the lives of human beings.

Cutting to the core, the Capability Approach (CA) which Sen advances in this books has several attractive features to me.

First, (and this is rare for many philosophies), Capabilties can be practically implemented in all fields of development and public policy.
Second, the CA is highly intuitive. Sen doesn't consider individuals to be agents concerned with utility maximisaton. Nor does he base the CA on hypothetical thought experiments. The CA is based on a humane vision and understanding of human beings by enabling them to choose the routes of life they can enjoy.
Third, the CA has intellectual roots stretching to the beautiful ideas of virtue cultivated by Aristotle. It is delightful to see a leading philosopher applying Aristotle's ideas appropriately.

Taken together, these strengths make this book very interesting to anyone interested in understanding how the lives of people can be improved.

In sum, read this book!
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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sen enlightens, 18 Jun 2003
This review is from: Development as Freedom (Paperback)
This book is an in-depth and well covered study of development which should enlighten any who read it. The best part is that unlike most economists (viz. sterile and cold) Sen clearly comes across as a human being intrested in not just in growth etc. but the quality of peoples lives and their emotional well-being. Sen also illuminates womens' situation with remarkable depth for a male, let alone an economist :) Read it and be learned!
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Development as Freedom
Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen (Paperback - 18 Jan 2001)
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