What Is The Capability Approach

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Amartya Kumar Sen is an Indian economist and philosopher of Bengali origin. 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 and Bharat Ratna in 1999 for his work in welfare economics. He also articulated the "The capability approach"(1980s), an economic theory which was an approach to welfare economics. Scholars and policy makers use the capability approach in a wide range of fields, most prominently in development studies and policy making, welfare economics, social policy, and social and political philosophy
The capability approach was first proposed in 1979 by Amartya Sen in a lecture titled “Equality of What?”, reprinted in Sen (1982). However, a similar perspective had already been proposed by Sen in 1978 (in an article reprinted in Sen, 1984, titled
“Ethical Issues in Income Distribution: National and International”, chapter 12 of the
1984 collection), where Sen uses the term “primary powers” instead of “capabilities”.
The term “primary powers” shows the motivation behind the capability approach, in which Sen tries to go beyond John Rawls’s (1971) theory of
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It also needs to be understood that human well-being should be understood prior to prior to a person's choice and behavior. Hence, freedoms are also one of the key components of this approach. Sen does not favor or advocate a particular concept of the good life, but rather emphasizes the importance of freedoms that each individual exercises concerning the options that matter most to her or him. He, therefore, sees and advocates the expansion of a range of genuine freedoms and choices to each individual, understood as human
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