Conclusion: The Capability Approach and the Praxis of Development
Sen’s capability approach to development can be defined succinctly in one single word, freedom. Freedom is the criterion according to which societies should be arranged – freedom seen as human choice to pursue what one considers valuable to choose and pursue. By assessing human well-being in the capability/freedom space, the capability approach offers an alternative to assessment in the utility/income space. The capability approach thereby suggests implicitly that actions taken to expand the freedoms that people have reason to choose and value are ethically superior to actions which do not entail such consequences. It is therefore a theory of development which offers an ethical framework for assessing actions, in particular for guiding development policy so that the unfreedoms that leave people with little choice can be removed.
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