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Development Theories and Development as Social Capability Expansion

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A reasonable social objective of some impartial observer could be providing people the possibility to achieve a better life. Achieving a better life depends, in its turn, on the personal living conditions. Hence, offering the best distribution of conditions from a set of posible distributions could be considered the mainstay of Development Theory. Experts on development rank the possible social states that a society could reach following different principles. These principles depend on different criteria of what a good life is, as well as on different principles of Justice. We will see three scenarios where the rankings of social states have been generally set. Linked to the third scenario, we offer a ranking, which considers that a good life is a `full human life'. We interpret living a full human life as the capability for self-suffciency, self-respect and agency. These three capabilities may be in confflict, so that, we treat them lexicograhically. Last but not least, this ranking supports the principle of equal opportunity for accessing a better life as a principle of justice. Classification-JEL:

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Paper provided by Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra in its series Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra with number 0305.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in
Handle: RePEc:nav:ecupna:0305

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  1. Sen, Amartya, 1984. "The Living Standard," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(0), pages 74-90, Supplemen.
  2. Rebeca Echávarri, 2003. "Theory On Economic Development: From Growth of Wealth To Expansion Of Freedom," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 0302, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra, revised 2003.
  3. Kranich, L., 1993. "Equitable Opportunities: An Axiomatic Approach," Papers 3-93-1, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  4. Sudgen, Robert, 1998. "The Metric of Opportunity," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 307-337, October.
  5. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
  6. Sen, Amartya, 1988. "The concept of development," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 9-26 Elsevier.
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