Sen’s economic philosophy

Capabilities and human development in the revival of economics as a moral science

Linked with Post-autistic economics.

Published on post-autistic economics network PAECON,  by L.A. Duhs, University of Queensland, Australia, real-world economics review, issue no. 47 /fall 2008, Copyright: L. A. Duhs, 2008, 19 pdf paes.


Sen joins a line of economists – including Cropsey, Schumacher, Myrdal, Ward, Higgins and Etzioni – who have objected to the implicit political philosophy within orthodox neo-classical economics. He argues that the good or just society requires policies to remove all forms of “unfreedoms”, and policies to equalise the extent of capability deprivation.

This capabilities approach calls for a rejection of utilitarianism, libertarianism and Rawlsianism in favour of the conception of justice provided by his putatively Smithian/Aristotelian approach.

In taking the expansion of freedom to be both the principal end and the principal means of development, however, Sen ignores other philosophical positions which lead to quite different conclusions. Accordingly, his argument remains incomplete and unpersuasive, and the most fundamental questions remain to be resolved.

1. Introduction: … (download the full text 19 pages).

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