Development as Freedom
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Amartya Sen is the Master of Trinity College Cambridge and the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Science. He has been President of the Indian Economic Association, the American Economic Association, the International Economic Association and the Econometrics Society. He has taught at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and the London School of Economics.

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In his first book since winning the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics, Sen (Trinity Coll., Cambridge) presents a decent summary of his thought. Advancing development as a method for expanding economicÄand thus politicalÄfreedom (he sees both as a means and an end) Sen recapitulates his studies of famine, poverty, life expectancy, mortality, and illiteracy in the Third World. A somewhat controversial choice for the Nobel Prize (since his focus on what is called "welfare economics," which makes human welfare central to economic thought, is not universally respected), he employs a strong ethical framework that gives his writing a level of moral authority not common in economic scholarship. Aimed at the intelligent reader, this densely written book is somewhat repetitive and dull, but it comes without the math that usually accompanies economic studies. Recommended for academic libraries and suitable for large public libraries; those that need at least one book by this Nobel laureate could even chose this over Sen's most famous work, Poverty and Famines.ÄPatrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical Coll. Lib., La Crosse Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

When Sen, an Indian-born Cambridge economist, won the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was praised by the Nobel Committee for bringing an "ethical dimension" to a field recently dominated by technical specialists. Sen here argues that open dialogue, civil freedoms and political liberties are prerequisites for sustainable development. He tests his theory with examples ranging from the former Soviet bloc to Africa, but he puts special emphasis on China and India. How does one explain the recent gulf in economic progress between authoritarian yet fast-growing China and democratic, economically laggard India? For Sen, the answer is clear: India, with its massive neglect of public education, basic health care and literacy, was poorly prepared for a widely shared economic expansion; China, on the other hand, having made substantial advances in those areas, was able to capitalize on its market reforms. Yet Sen demolishes the notion that a specific set of "Asian values" exists that might provide a justification for authoritarian regimes. He observes that China's coercive system has contributed to massive famine and that Beijing's compulsory birth control policyÄonly one child per familyÄhas led to fatal neglect of female children. Though not always easy reading for the layperson, Sen's book is an admirable and persuasive effort to define development not in terms of GDP but in terms of "the real freedoms that people enjoy." (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

The world's poor and dispossed could have no more articulate or insightful a champion among economists than Amartya Sen. By showing that the quality of our lives should be measured not by our wealth but by our freedom, his writings have revolutionized the theory and practice of development. The United Nations, in its own development work, has benefited immensely from the wisdom and good sense of Professor Sen's views. Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations In this book, Amartya Sen develops elegantly, compactly, and yet broadly the concept that economic development is in its nature an increase in freedom. By historical examples, empirical evidence, and forceful and rigorous analysis, he shows how development, broadly and properly conceived, cannot be antagonistic to liberty but consists precisely in its increase. Kenneth J. Arrow, Nobel Laureate in Economic Science Amartya Sen has made several key contributions to research on fundamental problems in welfare economics. By combining tools from economics and philosophy, he has restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of vital economic problems. From the Royal Swedish Academy Announcement of the Award of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Science `The connecting theme behind these essays is that development is about expanding people's ability to do things that they have a reason to value. The rationale for this is discussed with great force, clarity and consistency.' S.V. Subramanian, Progress in Development Studies 1(1), Jan 01. `the ideas are presented in a very accessible, nontechnical language. The writing is lucid with interesting story-telling openings ... a topical and timely appeal to an audience that cuts across disciplines.' S.V. Subramanian, Progress in Development Studies 1(1), Jan 01. `a brilliant book. Sen ranges over a vast intellectual landscape ... Many authors try this kind of tour d'horizon but few succeed as well as Amartya Sen. He is a multi-faceted scholar who has thought deeply and rigorously and has published extensively. Although Development as Freedom covers imense territory, it is subtle and nuanced and its careful scholarship is manifest at every turn.' Lars Osberg, Reviews, Compte Rendus, Autumn 2000. `Sen has looked for ways to empower the poor ... Development as Freedom is a testament to Sen's unwavering commitment to the task ... this is economics that should be read: not merely for the elegance of its arguments or the wisdom of its judgements, but for the deep and burnished humanity that animates it.' David Goldblatt, The Independent 29/11/99 `Development as Freedom is a personal manifesto: a summing up; a blend of vision, close argument, reflection and reminiscence.' The Economist 18/9/99

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