Development As Freedom By Amartya Sen: Book Review

The book “Development As Freedom” written by Amartya Sen begins with the concept of development and how development is perceived by a way of increasing freedom which people can celebrate, which is quite apparent and evident from the following example, Individual incomes can be an essential factor of liberty enjoyed by the members of society, and a person who has high income can avail access to education, health care as well as raising his opinion related to political and civil rights by having representation of his voice heard in Judiciary and Administration which a commoner cannot access as he is deprived of his basic needs and capabilities.

Later he gives contrast and comparative analysis between development and freedom by drawing an interconnection between them by citing that if space is related to t development, then it makes rational sense to draw a connection between the two rather than some other means of achieving independence. How action follows freedom is by drawing contrasts with the growth of GNP, that is marked price of total goods and services created by the nation during the specific phase, technological advancement, and social modernization as society transitions from one phase to the other which according to the author Amartya Sen are ways in which means of which development can be achieved as they open the doors and gateways to freedom.

Later the aspect of Freedom is also touched upon,which is necessary to establish the condition of development, e.g., political and civil rights education and health, which are primary indicators of Human Development Index which was createdby the United Nations Development Program,that states the life expectancy at birth, education index, health index, years of schooling help people to enlarge people’s choices and also these choices give people the opportunity to lead a long and healthy life and also allow people to live a  standard of living which is decent and guaranteeing human rights and wide elementsfor self-respect. Thus, according to Amartya Sen, human development is more than economic growth, which is only a way to enlarge people’s choices, thus building human capabilities, which is substantive freedom of a person to enjoy a suitable life.

Thus later, he gives five distinct types of ways in which the concept of freedom can be achieved, which are: 1) political freedom2) economic facilities3) transparency gurantee4) protective security, which according to Author Amartya Sen is the source of finding real disparity between incomes that are real andadvantages which people get which is quite evident from the fact that wealth income and incomeare not endfor their utility, but instruments for other uses the capability to function is what matters.

Since Management of Development Organizations’fundamentalgoal is: to motivate employees to solve obstacles, manage conflicts efficiently, and confront challenges instead of neglecting them and putting in place procedures that will accelerate the ongoing operation of an organization as Peter F Drucker cited that “ Management has an insight of farsighted  about   state future of thinking and taking calculated  risks to capitalize  opportunities, thus more the management establishes  economic conditions or alters them the more business it manages.” Thus, we will discuss further how “Development As freedom” addresses the more significant concerns of the “Management of Development Organizations.”

The author Amartya Sen mentions quite no points, which I liked, e.g., the fundamental paradox by giving us an idea about how the concept of wealth allows us to achieve substantive freedom, which is evident from the fact that everything that touches your life is an opportunity for you to discover its purpose; however, with wealth, the concept of wealth has solely little impact on the individual which I feel is very apparent and I like in this book because wealth as a factor needs to be taken along with other considerations, e.g., According to author Amartya Sen the wealth is not end in itself, but can be utilized  for other areas or domains the factor Amartya Sen says that needs to be taken into consideration is a disparity of real income and actual advantages which take into account a) Personal heterogeneity  which is related  with a , age, disability and gender b) Dividing amongst the family, statistic economic  measurements which are given  in  family  due to it’s the responsibility  of shared consumption but family resources can  be distributed unequally  like girls get less medical  accessibility  as compared to males  c) Differences in environment  such as knitting and need of clothes  in winter season d) differences in rational perspectives like in a more prosperous culture the challenge to partake in community life can be very harsh  without certain resources  such as atmosphere, tv and similarly it would be tough to operate  in Singapore or South Korea by being deprived of email id . Thus, he tries to convey the importance of stating that even though a person may have a lot of wealth, it may be of less value if they are not of consumers’ desire.

However, later I feel that author Amartya Sen while raising the issue of end and means of development, contrasts India with China and also l I’m afraid I have to disagree with because there are many factors which need to be kept in mind which include following: a) When India got independence from Britain in 1947, our economy was based on the socialist economic policy which leads to state-owned enterprises affecting all significant industries such as steel, mining, telecommunications and India while the author cites about Great Leap Forward, but our economy grew on a mere average of 3.5% annually from 1950 to 1980, and the Emergency which took place under the reign of Indra Gandhi further weakened the economy,and he also fails to highlight the fact that China has a robust assertive policy which it uses to engage in conflicts with Vietnam, Japan, etc. and another hand India has cozied the powers which it proudly ignored, e.g.: India is following Capitalist policies by aligning itself with the West and China follows a command economy and employing capitalism when required on the other hand India has moved towards a traditional free market system and also the two countries have political and economic systems and have different goals internationally which Amartya Sen fails to highlight.

Later, he mentions how poverty is the main culprit behind capability deprivation. I agree with it because it is a state where the individual cannot fulfill his basic needs of food, clothing, health, and shelter. Also, I like how he mentions the concept of absolute poverty, where people live below the poverty line, and relative poverty, where people’s poverty is compared to other regions or nations. However, I feel instead of drawing comparisons Amartya Sen should have focused on the causes of poverty and how political factors and high levels of unemployment needed to be magnified as the main reasons for poverty.

Democracy can be described as Government bypeople, forpeople, and ofpeople has been effective according to Amartya Sen because a democratic government act as a catalyst in which the major catastrophic disaster of famines can be avoided because the government has accountability towards its people and government has to find solutions to prevent the tragedy of famines which is quite evident in the years following the“ Bengal famine” pre-independence period and later the famines of 1984,1988 and 1998 were successful contained and mishap was avoided which was possible due to strengthening of peoples strong political opinion which I feel is quite important.

Later, Amartya Sen started to give importance to famines. I feel there was no need to because people know that famines are caused due to drought, flooding, typhoons, which are external calamities, and neither individual nor people inhabiting a particular country have control over them. He should have highlighted the importance of building forts and irrigation works and distributing food to the public on concession conditions.

Later I liked the fact that how Amartya Sen highlighted the importance of women and how the women’s movement needed to give the significance to the agency rather than the wellbeing of women,which is possible through many different ways as individuals and collectively within the families and through participation in formal and informal networking’s and also the idea of self-efficacy is an ability to do something only possible when women power to decide actions and then believe she is capable of carrying it.

Later Amartya Sentries draws a correlation between population, food, and freedom which I feel should have been allotted separate chapters because when the concept of availability of resources such as food arises, the idea of entitlement always plays a significant role, and according to Robert Malthus the emphasis of modern technology has to lead to a decline in population and also the focus of coercion has to lead to reductions in childbirth which are not feasible and thus I feel that these topics needed to be discussed through case studies and drawing between different countries and also a comparison of these aspects and its impact on present and future.

Later,Amartya Sen emphasizes the role of social change and individual behavior, which I feel should be noted.He asserts by giving the example of Aristotle, who said that the past could not be changed but could be done by basing our choices on reason,and for that role of institutions become necessary for setting up norms. Later I feel that, however,the work of Adam Smith should have been emphasized by providing a solid viewpoint of defense for giving importance to the market mechanism, which he could have illustrated by commissioning the aspects of the market mechanism which is evident from his statement that  “gains from trade between brewer butcher the brewer and baker, on the one hand, and consumer on the other hand and consumer on the other” which emphasizes the role of the market in creating opportunities for all the parties involved in the exchange.

Later he tries to end the book by emphasizing the role of individual freedom as a social commitment where we can exercise our responsibility by enjoying things that we also value. The privilege to lead lives is valuably essential, evident from income, wealth, and other circumstances, and economic policies were necessary to meet basic needs. He should have ended the chapter by emphasizing that the life of any individual can be witnessed by what a person does and the state of being they accomplish. Also, emphasis should have been given to “Capability” so that range or choices of life a person could live by. He should have also highlighted that living in a state of poverty forces people to deny opportunities and forbids them to live a dignified way of living.

In the same way Freedom and how development enhances the choices we can enjoy as we can see in our everyday surroundings where in the world significant conferences are held where there is debate on how to eradicate poverty from the country or in the world and alsodisease and privilege based opportunitiesthus we see that ending poverty is related to restricting choices and options people have in life.

Thus, we infer that poverty gives rise to sorrow; removing poverty does not lead to happiness. Therefore, not a high standard of living but a high standard of culture provides pleasure, and hunger is the worst disease. Also, health is the greatest gift, being contended is the best riches, and trust is the best relationship. Therefore, we must learn to live happily indeed, free from ailments and free from greed among the greedy. Humanity is damaged by vanity just as weeds damage fields. Victory leads to anger because conquering something does not result in satisfaction.

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