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Amartya Sen: "Equality of What?"
Transcript of Amartya Sen: "Equality of What?"
Who is Amartya Sen?
Amartya Kumar Sen is an Indian economist who taught and worked in the United Kingdom and the United States since 1972.
He has made contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, economic and social justice, economic theories of famines, and indexes of the measure of well-being of citizens of developing countries.
He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998 for his work in welfare economics.
Sen believes that . .
"Equality in terms of primary goods
(i.e. income) is not congruent to the equality of the substantive freedoms of people."
in other words ...
2.1 Social Equality
Social injustice = income inequality
income measurement does not provide an adequate basis for why people are deprived of their well-being or whether the kind of deprivation they suffer.
- Sen believes that it's important to look at the different diversities of individual. After the video you'll know how human well-being is affected by the different conditions of a person both personal and social.
2.2 The Capability Approach
This approach is based on human freedom.
on what people can actually do
and on what people can become.
Amartya Sen: "Equality of What?"
100,000 each pregnant woman
question: Is their well-being is equal?
THE ANSWER IS "NO"
This is because A has a difficulty in pregnancy which B does not possess.
A has other needs, which B does not.
lacking: CARE, LOVE AND ATTENTION from her husband;
Therefore, This situation puts pregnant
at the disadvantage.
Sen argues that . .
primary goods like income cannot be an adequate basis for evaluating well-being.
it shouldn't be about resources, but about how people actually live considering their social, cultural and political and not only about economic aspect of their existence.
EQUALITY IN PRIMARY GOODS & CAPABILITIES
A 10 mins. video presentation entitled
"What is difference between rich and poor people?"
by: CHAU NUSKIN
The mere focus on income does not say anything about what a person can or cannot do given the realities and complications of human life. Truly, we can say that
what people can or cannot do, can or cannot achieve, do not depend just on income
The quality of a person's life, or how well that life is lived depends on his capability to do various things essential to his life.
Concept of Capability
About Primary goods. (because it do not translate to person's capacity to achieve well-being).
It also not includes Income. (Because it does not automatically translate to enjoyment).
BUT it's about the ability of person to attain a certain kind of LIFE that "he/she has reason to value & able to do or be."
Functioning refers to what a person actually does.
Capability refers to the ability to truly achieve certain things.
FUNCTIONING vs. CAPABILITY
In the issue of human development, Sen argues that ..
"Focus to the capability because it serves as the fuller basis for the attainment of certain functionings in life"
allows an individual to access some opportunities to live a life that is decent.
Important points with regards to role of freedom in human development:
development is the expansion of the positive freedoms.
freedom plays intrinsic and instrumental roles in relation to that description.
Life can only be lived well when people are free.