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Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen, Volume 2Society, Institutions, and Development$
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Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239979

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239979.001.0001

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The Capability Approach and the Political Economy of Human Development

The Capability Approach and the Political Economy of Human Development

Chapter:
(p.31) Chapter 2 The Capability Approach and the Political Economy of Human Development
Source:
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen, Volume 2
Author(s):

Amiya Kumar Bagchi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239979.003.0003

Classical political economists from Adam Smith to John Stuart Mill analysed how incomes and human development can be augmented by appropriate policies in an economy characterized by monetary exchange and private property in means of production. Marx and Engels took this analysis forward by questioning the roles of human institutions such as the state, property relations, and class configurations in alienating people from their true potential as free individuals. The capability approach pioneered by Amartya Sen has enabled analysts to examine critically the effect of such institutions as the family and the community on the development of capabilities of people subjected to their authority. Combining the methods of critical political economy and the capability approach can enrich the apparatus for scrutinizing the role of human institutions in advancing or retarding human freedom. The argument is illustrated with examples from the state of healthcare in developing countries.

Keywords:   critical political economy, capabilities, healthcare, capability approach, human institutions

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