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Customer Review

on 28 March 2013
I think perhaps calling the Capabilities Approach and important idea sells it, more than a little, short. For a summary of the idea (and, in fact, of the chapters) see the review by Angelo Bottone (linked at bottom of this review).

I have not given this book 5 stars because it feels as though it is written more as an introduction for those looking to study this idea academically. If that is indeed the target audience then perhaps they should think bigger, this idea needs to be common knowledge. I should be clear that this is not a heavy philosophical analysis, it is still easily accessible to the lay person. I think instead, Nussbaum's intent is much more practical, and rightly so, looking to provide the foundations for the implementation of the Capabilities Approach.

I do have other criticisms of this book, both of the way it is written and of the idea (or rather the philosophical details used to support the idea). However i shall not elaborate them here as i think at this point in the development of the approach they are academic.

If the Capabilities Approach were adopted as the framework for political functioning by the major nations then, in terms of human progress (especially humanitarian), we would be so far ahead of where we are now that quibbling over details feels trivial (and provides unnecessary ammunition for those that wish to perpetuate the deeply unsatisfactory status quo).

This should be essential reading for policy makers of all levels but the idea also needs to be disseminated to the wider population so as to exert pressure on our politicians (in particular) to pursue a fairer, more just agenda.

This is an accessible introduction to an important idea that, in the last analysis, fundamentally impacts us all.

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