Poverty, Work, and Freedom: Political Economy and the Moral Order

Poverty, Work, and Freedom: Political Economy and the Moral Order

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The poor seem easy to identify: those who do not have enough money or enough of the things money can buy. This 2005 book explores a different approach to poverty, one suggested by the notion of capabilities emphasized by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. In the spirit of the capabilities approach, the book argues that poverty refers not to a lack of things but to the lack of the ability to live life in a particular way. The authors argue that the poor are those who cannot live a life that is discovered and created rather than already known. Avoiding poverty, then, means having the capacity and opportunity for creative living. The authors argue that the capacity to do skilled work plays a particularly important role in creative living, and suggest that the development of the ability to do skilled work is a vital part of solving the problem of poverty.

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