Amartya Sen – Think and Act

This outlines Sen’s thinking against a backdrop of India and Bangladesh.  I think the ideas are as relevant in our own back yards.


  1. Yes – they are.

    Amartya Sen’s approach to Economics are of great import for framing our health development right now.

    I’ve been thinking about this in terms of bringing academic research to real world system developments in community Wellbeing work.
    and I’m noticing that academic researchers are looking to apply principles of economic wellbeing to agriculture, environment and social development.

    I’ve outlined a proposal on this (with help from Belfast Uni!) it just needs a bit of work to put forward to the right bodies.

    • Slight warning bell ringing as you ‘frame’ your health development work. Until we engage individuals and listen to their stories and aspirations we are in danger of imposing our ‘fixes’ to what we see as ‘their’ problems.

      There is no doubt that health will be ‘in the mix’, but if we engage them from a health perspective we are in danger of once again engaging them in our agendas rather than engaging ourselves in theirs. Does that make sense?

      I think it is vital that we frame our approaches to engagement in ways that are person centred and responsive and not framed by our own agendas and goals. Otherwise we run the risk of enveloping (reducing freedom) rather than developing.

      I can’t emphasise enough how important I believe this to be!

      I think the academic research has been done and the case is well developed. However funders and practitioners, by and large, are unable to put it into practice because of an obsession with predetermined outputs that treat the client as a statistic to be bought back within acceptable social norms. Envelopment NOT development.

      • ah. I think you’ve misunderstood my intention here.

        My perspective on health development is about person centre practice and how this being the norm will effect systemic change and how this can be documented by research and evaluation built in at start point.

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