Development and Thinking at the Beginning of the 21st Century

39 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2008

See all articles by Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen

Harvard University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 1997


There has been a shift, in recent years, in the understanding of the process of development. It is not a switch (as often portrayed) from a state-dependent view of development to a market-reliant view. Rather, it involves rejecting a "blood, sweat and tears" view of development in favour of celebrating people's agency and cooperation and the expansion of human freedom and capabilities. The market as an institution fits into this bigger picture. So do human rights and democratic values, especially as the vehicle of political incentives (complementing economic incentives). It involves, ultimately, a fuller view of human beings. Contents: 1) Experiences and Lessons; 2) Blood, Sweat and Tears? 3) Hard Build-up and the Role of Accumulation; 4) Hard Business and the Fear of ?Bleeding Hearts?; 5) Hard States and the Denial of Political Rights; 6) Capability Expansion: Human Capital and More; 7) Weights, Values and Public Participation.

JEL Classification: 010, D60

Suggested Citation

Sen, Amartya, Development and Thinking at the Beginning of the 21st Century (March 1997). LSE STICERD Research Paper No. DEDPS02, Available at SSRN:

Amartya Sen (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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