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Amartea Sen's Theory of Welfar

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Amartea Sen's theory of welfare and its application to Kenya's attainment of millennium development goals

Amartea Sen is an Indian economists credited for the development of welfare theory in economics. He established various guidelines to act as a benchmark for the realization of better welfare in the society, which he termed as the main aim of development in the country. He believed that freedom rather than the functioning's themselves, is the primary goal of development in any country. Through this, Sen is able to make the conclusion that the person's standards of living should not only focus on the goods, its characteristics or the utility it provides but the capability of the person. In his case, the capability refers to the freedom the person has in terms of choice of functioning. He attaches a lot of weight on the range of choice the person rather than the choice of the best, which is the mainstay of welfare economics.

According to Sen, there are four notions about goods, the notion of a good, characteristic of a good, functioning of a person and the utility of a good. For instance, Utilitarian's view goods as having the value to the extent of satisfying human needs and wants. Enlightenment theorists view goods as only having value if they come from legitimate means. Egalitarians value goods to have an essential value; hence, distribution is paramount to them. The functioning of the person focuses mainly on the user and not the resources. In Sen's view, the capabilities of the person are essentially to living. He views living as effective freedom of a person to achieve state of beings and doings. These include the person being adequately nourished, long life span, public shamelessness, being happy and being free. From this, he mainly focuses on the positive freedoms, which are imperative in valuation of people's capabilities and enhancement of attainment of these capabilities. With this, he argues that the attainment of freedom and not development is the main means through which general welfare is attainable. Therefore, the aims of the economy should be in the reduction of deprivations, which include hunger, famine, ignorance, unsustainable economic life, and unemployment, discrimination in society, violation of political freedom, threats to the environment and little access to clean water, health and sanitation.

Freedom to trade, social opportunities, labor contracts and good security constitute components of development as well as a means to the attainment of individual freedom.

Application of Sen Welfare theory to Kenya

Millennium development goals in the country can be achieved through the following guidelines set by Sen in the welfare theory. The millennium development goals can be attained in the country if the pillars of freedom in the person's welfare as stipulated in the sen's welfare

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