Development In Terms Of Substantive Freedoms
Most of the development around the world focuses on improving the economic welfare of its recipients. For this reason, the welfare of most people is measured in terms of their income levels and savings. In fact, the development of whole countries is measured in terms of purchasing power and GDP (Zencey, 2009). However, this measure can be fallacious, as it does not measure their welfare in terms of individual freedoms and security. This is why there needs to be a new measure for development. In this case, substantive freedoms can show the process of development better, and enhance the means of reaching it.
By measuring the substantive freedoms, it becomes clear why some of the ways that people benefit from their labor are hard to value monetarily. For example, the act of cleaning, or taking care of babies in the home often shows no value in the measurement of GDP. However, it is valuable and offers a means in which the welfare of the individual doing it and of the people benefiting from it is promoted. Economic value alone does not show this, and there is a need to look at the social and cultural value.
In low income countries, the measure of poverty often involves measuring the spending power, savings and income levels. However, there are some things that are often ignored in this measurement. For example, most people in low income countries use natural resources within them. This can lead to erosion for soil, pollution for air and water and depletion for fuel and other things (Sachs, n.d). Often, this account is not measured. In order to improve these areas, there needs to be a conscious effort to look at things from all perspectives, including the ones often overlooked and find means to eradicate them.
Finally, there is the fact that development in itself promotes freedom. For example, the gender inequality in education and development is often closed more easily when people are doing better financially. This is one step towards freedom. In addition, having a more developed economy gives room for innovation and promotes the number of things that can be invented (Sen, 1999). This is not the case with a low economy. However, it should be noted that some of the factors that hinder development are beyond the control of the people in these situations. For example, people in landlocked countries, or in areas where roads are hard to construct often have no means of improving.
In conclusion, it is clear that looking at development from more than just a monetary and economic perspective can help promote ways of ending poverty. Freedom of the people, including financial freedom and freedom of expression should be a goal for the people seeking development.
Sachs, J . (n,d) The End of poverty: Economic Possibilities for our time
Sen, Amartya. 1999. Development as Freedom
Zencey. E. (2009) G. D. P. R. I. P., New York Times, August 9, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2/009/08/10/opinion/zencey.html?_r=0
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