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Amartya Sen
The book Development as Freedom, written by Indian Economist Amartya Sen focuses
on the nature of freedom regarding the economy and politics of a land. The author is of the
opinion that freedom simultaneously the means and goals of development. He describes
underdevelopment as unfreedom. To him, development is the overall process of eliminating
forms of unfreedom while at the same time growing the people’s capabilities. He places the
freedom of people to be the foundation of his theories.
The perspective of freedom
For Amartya San being free means that the citizens increased access and opportunities to
the thing they value most. He challenges the idea where development is measured by how much
the economy has grown. Sen, however, agrees that an increase of income earned by the citizens
makes a contribution to their freedom increasing. A major weakness on this truth is that income
on its effects on most people. He states that the effects can be uneven in the best outcome and
detrimental when in the worst-case scenario. Therefore, implementing radical measures in
redistribution of wealth and resources is necessary if the poor people are to benefit from the
increased incomes (p. 440).
Despite the general notion, many social issues like famines, inability to fulfill basic
needs, poverty, violations of rights and freedoms and the neglect of women agency continue to
prevail. To Sen previous measures to counter any of these occurrences have all been erroneous
and incorrect. He is mainly focused on the flourishing of any person as the door to poverty as
opposed to economic growth. All people have a right to enjoy the pleasantries of life equally and
the things they consider important (p. 440).
Forms of un-freedom
Amartya Sen believes that the process of development involves removing the varying
types of unfreedom. These unfreedoms often leave the people with little or no choice or
opportunities to pursue a thing they regard as important. He describes underdevelopment as
unfreedom. To him, development is the overall process of eliminating forms of unfreedom while
at the same time growing the people’s capabilities (p. 441).
According to Sen, the main issues that limit freedom are tyranny, poverty, and social
deprivation, neglect of social and public facilities, low economic chances and poor tolerance to
certain situations. To him, the underdevelopment challenge will be solved once these factors are
removed. His focus is on political, instrumental freedoms, security, good economics, and smooth
public and social facilities. A guarantee on the transparency of most matters is also a major focus
for Sen. All the above factors have to work together and should be connected. The arrangement
of the society should be based on the how these arrangements contribute towards the
enhancement and guarantee of freedoms in that society. They should be the active determinants
rather that the passive agents in the society. All the factors named should act in a way that
improves the overall well-being of individuals in any society (p. 441).
The capability theory when used together with economic growth brings little or no results
to the table. Economic theory should not be used as a goal of development but rather as a
measure of development.
Culture has been greatly linked with both the capabilities approach theory and social
development. This link is because culture is used as a measure of economic growth in any state
or republic. Culture has been associated with the capitalist economic views like labor, trade, and
financial capital. Despite this association, it does not lose its cultural form. Culture also binds
most societies together and consequently gives its basic structure that is useful when taking
development interventions. Governments, NGOs, agencies and activities in the grass-root,
conduct some of the interventions in development (p. 441).
Amartya Sen’s approach a side that is culturally specific and has capabilities that are
controlled by institutions and structures within the society. This control is only possible once the
capabilities are classified individually, structurally or socially. The capabilities are dependent on
the roles of institutions, entitlements and personal relations within the society. Cultures are
vulnerable to change due to the effects of globalization. Coupled with class, sex and politics
many institutions, incentives and social structures are influential in the development process. The
link between these structures, institutions and incentives and the society and individuals leads to
the realization of capabilities as development determinants within a society (p. 441).
Processes and Opportunities
It is a clear conclusion that the view of freedom from Sen’s book is that it involves two
phases. The process phase allows for the liberty of decisions and actions by the citizens. The
opportunities phase describes the scenario where the citizens have a chance regardless of their
social or personal circumstances. Unfreedom can emerge where the processes are unequal. A
perfect example is when the people’s voting, social and civic rights have been violated in any
way. If people lack the opportunity to achieve what regard to be a basic want can also be a form
of unfreedom. An example here is where the citizens face involuntary starvation or where they
are unable to escape infant mortality (p. 442)
Differentiating the process and opportunities aspect of freedom is quite distinctive. Both
the process and opportunities involved in freedom are equally and individually important. They
also have a relationship with the development of freedom (p. 442).
Two roles of freedom
Sen states that the freedoms of people are the basic building blocks for development. For
this reason, he states that there should be a lot of attention on how the capabilities of these people
can be increased. The two main reasons for making individuals freedoms are arrived at when
reviewing the concept of development. Effectiveness and evaluation are the reasons and can be
used together to make an analysis of the importance of individual freedom in development. How
successful a community is can be can be evaluated using the freedom enjoyed by the people (p.
442). Other traditional methods focus on other informative aspects like real income and utility.
When a person has more freedom to perform tasks they value most, has a significant effect on
the individuals freedom. It also increases the opportunity for that individual to increase their
income. Another reason is that having this kind of freedom determines the individual’s personal
initiative and their social effectiveness. Having more freedom enable people to concentrate more
on themselves and consequently, influence their external surroundings (p. 442).
According to the book Development as Freedom, written by Amartya Sen, a short period
has been necessary for people to apply the human development paradigm in the evaluation,
understanding and measurement of poverty in development. The paradigm has been extensively
used for this purpose in systems that are involved in academia of policymaking. Understanding
the work of Sen is critical in cracking the basics of this paradigm. He describes
underdevelopment as unfreedom. To him, freedom means that people can make decisions and
perform tasks that they consider as crucial in their lives. Understanding the roles of freedom
gives the involved organizations a better method of evaluating how developed a society is
depending on the effectiveness of the citizens. A clear understanding of the processes and
opportunities backs this move on the involved in the creation of freedom to citizens.

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