Creating Capabilities

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 2011 - Business & Economics - 237 pages

If a country's Gross Domestic Product increases each year, but so does the percentage of its people deprived of basic education, health care, and other opportunities, is that country really making progress? If we rely on conventional economic indicators, can we ever grasp how the world's billions of individuals are really managing?

In this powerful critique, Martha Nussbaum argues that our dominant theories of development have given us policies that ignore our most basic human needs for dignity and self-respect. For the past twenty-five years, Nussbaum has been working on an alternate model to assess human development: the Capabilities Approach. She and her colleagues begin with the simplest of questions: What is each person actually able to do and to be? What real opportunities are available to them?

The Capabilities Approach to human progress has until now been expounded only in specialized works. Creating Capabilities, however, affords anyone interested in issues of human development a wonderfully lucid account of the structure and practical implications of an alternate model. It demonstrates a path to justice for both humans and nonhumans, weighs its relevance against other philosophical stances, and reveals the value of its universal guidelines even as it acknowledges cultural difference. In our era of unjustifiable inequity, Nussbaum shows how—by attending to the narratives of individuals and grasping the daily impact of policy—we can enable people everywhere to live full and creative lives.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Fledgist - LibraryThing

Nussbaum lays out the capabilities approach to human development, which she has developed jointly with Amartya Sen, in this monograph. This provides an alternative to rights-based theories of change and development for the non-Western world. Read full review

Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach

User Review  - Book Verdict

Nussbaum (law & ethics, Univ. of Chicago) 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 ... Read full review

Contents

1 A Woman Seeking Justice
1
2 The Central Capabilities
17
3 A Necessary CounterTheory
46
4 Fundamental Entitlements
69
5 Cultural Diversity
101
6 The Nation and Global Justice
113
7 Philosophical Influences
123
8 Capabilities and Contemporary Issues
143
Postscript
188
Heckman on Capabilities
193
Sen on WellBeing and Agency
197
Chapter Notes
203
Bibliography
211
Acknowledgments
231
Index
233
Copyright

Conclusion
185

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About the author (2011)

Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago.