Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction

Sabina Alkire

Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction

Development Economics

Sen deliberately left the capability approach 'incomplete' in order to ensure its relevance to persons and cultures with different understandings of the good. Part I proposes a framework for identifying valuable capabilities that retain this 'fundamental' incompleteness and space for individual and cultural diversity. Drawing on the work of John Finnis and others, Alkire addresses foundational issues regarding the identification and pursuit of 'valuable' dimensions of human development based in practical reason, then observes that much of the criticism and development arises from negative impacts on social or cultural/religious dimensions that are also deeply valued by the poor. Part I closes with a four-part 'operational definition' of basic capability that bridges 'basic needs', participation, and informed consent.

Alkire, Sabina. Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction. United Kingdom, Oxford University Press, 2005.