André-Yves Portnoff has just read (in the Italian version) Amartya Sen's most recent book, originally published in the United States under the title Development as Freedom. Here he discusses its main ideas, in particular:
- freedom is a universal value, not the exclusive right of Westerners; it is a factor in development and not an incidental by-product of it -and a factor that is all the more decisive, now that the economy is increasingly concerned with "intangibles", and human beings are more than ever "the only form of wealth";
- democracy and human rights go hand-in-hand with development; they can follow on afterwards but, more certainly, they are an essential prerequisite for it, e.g. the right to health, education, information, communication, etc.;
- the economic indicators are devised so that they attribute value only to those things that are dear in monetary terms and not that are dear to us (to quote Denis de Rougemont), consequently they cannot on their own take full account of the human capital which is the crucial factor in the process of development...
However, Amartya Sen's book goes much further than these general findings. As readers will see from the extracts and examples chosen by André-Yves Portnoff, Sen enunciates a real philosophy of development at the same time as he explores practical strategies.