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Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach Hardcover – April 30, 2011
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Nussbaum, who has done more than anyone to develop the authoritative and ground-breaking capabilities approach, offers a major restatement that will be required reading for all those interested in economic development that truly enhances how people live. (Henry Richardson, Georgetown University)
A marvelous achievement: beautifully written and accessible. With Amartya Sen, Martha Nussbaum is one of the founders of the 'capability approach' to justice; the most innovative and influential development in political philosophy since the work of John Rawls. This book, for the first time, puts in one place all the central elements of Nussbaum's systematic account of the approach, together with its sources and implications. (Jonathan Wolff, University College London)
The very best way to be introduced to the capability approach to international development. It is also a wonderfully lucid account of the origins, justification, structure, and practical implications of her version of this powerful approach to ethically-based change in poor and rich countries. (David Alan Crocker, The University of Maryland School of Public Policy)
Offering a forceful and persuasive account of the failings of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as an accurate reflection of human welfare, the distinguished philosopher Nussbaum provides a framework for a new account of global development based on the concept of capabilities...The author argues that human development is best measured in terms of specific opportunities available to individuals rather than economic growth figures...This small book provides a strong foundation for beginning to think about how economic growth and individual flourishing might coincide. (Publishers Weekly 2011-02-07)
Nussbaum looks at what it really means for a country to experience prosperity. Traditionally, a country's economic well-being was measured by its gross domestic product. Nussbaum takes a more personal approach by focusing on how economic prosperity plays out in ordinary citizens' lives. She analyzes the life of a woman in India by taking a close look at her situation to see what capabilities and opportunities she--and women like her--might have. The key is not to look simply at the hand they've been dealt, but whether their particular society affords them opportunities to win with it. Nussbaum calls this the "capabilities approach," and it offers a novel way to measure prosperity on a national level by seeing how well a country can provide life-changing prospects for all its citizens...By demonstrating the philosophical underpinnings of this approach and how the theory plays out in the real world, Nussbaum makes a compelling case. Not only is this a more realistic measure of wealth, but it is also a far more compassionate one. For readers who enjoy economics laced with humanity. (Carol J. Elsen Library Journal 2011-03-01)
In her new book, Creating Capabilities, the philosopher and legal scholar Martha Nussbaum argues that we need to refocus our ideas about development on the scale of individuals: on concrete human lives and the way they actually unfold. Quantitative measures like per capita GDP, she writes, are poor measures of development; they can't capture the shape and texture of individual lives, even though individual lives are what matter. Development isn't about how rich your nation is, on average--it's about whether people can live in a way "worthy of human dignity."...Nussbaum's book comes at an interesting time, just as growth in the rich world is slowing. That slowdown makes her ideas relevant for rich people, too. Dignified life in the rich world isn't only about being "well-fed," either...Even amid a slowdown, there are other dimensions in which life can keep improving. (Josh Rothman Boston Globe online 2011-03-16)
Renowned philosopher Nussbaum concisely captures the essential ideas of a new paradigm of social and political thought, the "human development and capabilities" approach to global social justice, founded on the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, and now used by the World Bank, the IMF, the Arab Human Development Report, and the United Nations Development Programme. (S. A. Mason Choice 2011-10-01)
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Top Customer Reviews
The territory she covers is very familiar to those who know the Capabilities Approach. Capabilities are "substantive freedoms" - "a set of (usually interrelated) opportunities to choose and act" in one's life. They involve a choice between a set of activities for one's life, which are also known as functionings. So functionings are the active usage of one of your capabilities (e.g. voting (functioning) to participate effectively in political decisions (capability)). She also maintains the view that there are ten Central Capabilities, all of which must be grounded in a commonsense understanding of what a just society must have: human dignity.
One new feature of Nussbaum's approach is to split capabilities into two types: internal and combined. Internal capabilities are the general characteristics of a person (physical/mental/emotional) that are developed through interaction with external features of society. Combined capabilities are the "totality of opportunities [one] has for choice and action in [one's] specific political, social, and economic situation," which are the result of nurtured internal capabilities. As such, the two types of capabilities are interrelated, and cannot be separated within a society.Read more ›
Capabilities theory is an important alternative to traditional and contemporary theories of justice, including John Rawls' theory of justice as fairness. This book makes the theory accessible to non-philosophers and could become important in discussions of what the nature of a just society and a just world should and can be in the 21st century.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Policies developed on capabilities leaves open the question of what 'capabilities' are appropriate to be considered humane. Read morePublished 2 months ago by ChaRipley
Like it but too much oriented on many issues, this turns the book too dificult to read. One could hardly tell about it without a full lecture on many authors.Published 12 months ago by ROSINETHE MONTEIRO SOARES
In my opinion, philosophy is just about as useful as TOAB... However, other than the Prince, by Machiavelli, this is one of the better books I've read. Read morePublished on June 19, 2013 by Jordan T. Sawyer
This volume, in many respects is an attempt to put philosophical legs underneath the empiricism of Sen's thinking and the foundation for the Human Development and Capabilities... Read morePublished on April 22, 2013 by tom abeles
Martha Nussbaum is a moral philosopher for whom the concept of Justice has been central to her vision of the world. Read morePublished on June 15, 2012 by Shalom Freedman