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Submitted by Fred on
Without having watched the debate, I wonder how deeply Shanta and his opponents explored into what "human development" actually is. In the summary above, Shanta uses "human development outcomes" synonymously with "health and education outcomes." But why do we value health and education outcomes? Health may be an end in itself (arguably), but education certainly isn't. To my mind, Amartya Sen's definition of development - first given in a series of lectures at the World Bank in the early nineties - is the most persuasive: Development is the extension of vital human freedoms and the removal of nonfreedoms; it is the process of creating the conditions that enable human flourishing. Indifference to human rights tramples on human freedoms. When a government curtails its citizens' ability to think, act, and live in the ways they have reason to value, it takes away the end goals for which development work exists. Human rights violations don't "impede" human development, they are its precise opposite. Shanta's line of argument - narrow, technical, aloof, and distressingly limited in its conception of development - is redolent of everything I find suspicious about the Bank.