As the "trial" of American development worker Alan Gross continues in Havana, critics of U.S. policy (as well as defenders of Castro's dictatorship) have (conveniently and expectedly) taken aim at USAID's Cuba democracy programs, arguing that they "violate the norms of international development."
So what is "development"?
Meet Amartya Sen, the 1998 Nobel Prize Winner for Economic Science, and author of "Development as Freedom."
Here's the Oxford University Press on Sen's influential approach to the development process:
In "Development as Freedom," Amartya Sen quotes the eighteenth century poet William Cowper on freedom:
Freedom has a thousand charms to show,
That slaves howe'er contented, never know.
Sen explains how in a world of unprecedented increase in overall opulence, millions of people living in rich and poor countries are still unfree. Even if they are not technically slaves, they are denied elementary freedom and remain imprisoned in one way or another by economic poverty, social deprivation, political tyranny or cultural authoritarianism. The main purpose of development is to spread freedom and its 'thousand charms' to the unfree citizens.
Freedom, Sen persuasively argues, is at once the ultimate goal of social and economic arrangements and the most efficient means of realizing general welfare. Social institutions like markets, political parties, legislatures, the judiciary, and the media contribute to development by enhancing individual freedom and are in turn sustained by social values. Values, institutions, development, and freedom are all closely interrelated, and Sen links them together in an elegant analytical framework. By asking "What is the relation between our collective economic wealth and our individual ability to live as we would like?" and by incorporating individual freedom as a social commitment into his analysis, Sen allows economics once again, as it did in the time of Adam Smith, to address the social basis of individual well-being and freedom.
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02/27 - 03/06
- Castro Finds Alan Gross Guilty
- "I Will Continue to Fight for Democracy"
- Picture of the Week
- Development as Freedom
- Alan Gross's "Subversive" Activities
- Yoani Honored by State Department
- How Qaddafi (Castro) Hoodwinked Italy (Spain)
- Quote of the Week
- Clinton on U.S. Hostages in Iran & Cuba
- More Than 390 Political Arrests in February
- For the Cuba Skeptics
- CAMBIO Hip-Hop Video
- The Strength of Hector Maseda
- The Street Does Not Belong to Fidel
- On Jesse Jackson
- We Finally Agree
- Is Castro Defrauding Medicare?
- An Extraordinary Column
- Young Hunger Striker's Life in Peril
- Case & Point: "Reform" You Can't Believe In
- Too Little, Too Late
- The Truth About Castro's Fiber-Optic Cable
- Is Castro Gaddafi's Pimp (Literally)?
- Valenzuela's Defense of "Trickle-Down"
- Obama's Travel Policy is Bailing Out Castro
- The Title-less Dictator(s)
- The Cuban Pressure Cooker
- Trying to "Charm" Obama
- Reform is NOT an Option
- Setting the Standard for a Ruler's Legitimacy
- Repression Against Dissidents Intensifies
- The Tyranny of Groupthink
- Quote of the Week
- In My Humble Opinion, Pt. 25
- Time to Declare Cyberwar
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