Empowerment and Human Development

Singh Shekhawat, Prahlad (2009). "Empowerment and Human Development" Paper presented at the 6th annual conference of the HDCA, 10-12 September 2009, Lima, Peru.

The concept of human development emerged as an alternative to definitions of development focused on economic growth. The World Bank and many development theorists have been emphasizing the combination of growth in per capita income with special assistance to the poor. One of the strategies was described as redistribution with growth, another was labeled as the basic needs approach. In all these strategies it was assumed that economic growth and increase in real incomes would by itself lead to over all development. This approach was disputed by development thinkers like Amartya Sen, Paul Streeton, Mahbub Ul Haq and others who believed that increased income should be regarded as a means to human welfare and development and not as an end in itself. Mahbub Ul Haq under whose leadership the first human development report was prepared in 1990, proposed that the main difference between the economic growth and human development schools was that the first focused exclusively on the expansion of one choice i.e. income, while the second embraces the enlargement of all human choices whether economic, social, cultural or political.1 It was argued by Sen and Haq with the help of evidence from many countries that income growth does not automatically lead to expansion of human capabilities, choices, and freedom.
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