Sen on Freedom and Development Notes for October 30

Main points

In thinking about what we talked about, it occurs to me just how many different things Sen is doing. Here are a few.

  1. He wants to change the way we measure development. Instead of using the standard measurements of wealth, we should use a much richer measurement that encapsulates a variety of things that people can do.
  2. He wants to change the way we characterize that richer measurement of the variety of things people can do. Specifically, he wants us to see them all as varieties of freedom.
  3. He wants to change the way international institutions like the IMF work. They should favor social spending over narrower fiscal measurements of good government like low debt, inflation, budget deficits, and the like.
  4. He wants to refute those who think that authoritarianism can be a necessary step in development. Democracy and freedom are a necessary means to development as well as the goal of development or, I suppose, what development consists in.

And that’s just the first two chapters!

Anyway, here’s a link to Zakaria’s review of Sen’s book.

This page was written by Michael Green for Freedom, Markets, and Well-Being, PPE 160, Fall 2008. It was posted October 31, 2008.
Name of website