In his Commodities and Capabilities (1985a), Amartya Sen argues that economic development should be viewed first and foremost as a process of expansion of people’s capabilities.1 The common practice of focusing on the growth of national production, he points out, may only too easily lead to a commodity-centred approach in which economic progress is pursued as an end in itself rather than as a means towards the higher objective of enriching human life. After all, the quality of human life is not determined by the commodities that people are instrumental in producing; nor is it determined by the goods that they receive —for instance as part of a basic-needs package. Rather, what matters is what people are capable of being, or doing, with the goods to which they have access.


Small Firm Informal Sector Technological Capability Technological Learning Modern Sector 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Henny Romijn 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henny Romijn
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Queen Elizabeth HouseUniversity of OxfordUK
  2. 2.Development Research InstituteTilburg UniversityThe Netherlands

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