n Law, Democracy & Development - Informal business and poverty in South Africa : re-thinking the paradigm

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



Among the foundational values of our democracy are "human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms". Sen's theory of development is helpful to understand the interrelationship between dignity, freedom, rights and equality. He challenges the "narrower" view that equates development with "growth of gross national product, or rise in personal incomes, or industrialisation or with technological advance, or social modernisation". He reframes development as "expanding" each person's "freedoms" to enable each person to live (with dignity) the life he or she wishes to live and, in particular, to participate in the social, political and economic life of his or her community. Sengupta adds that the expansion of these freedoms, in other words development, is a human right. Inherent in this understanding of development is the eradication of "un-freedoms", such as "poverty, poor economic opportunities and social deprivation", that constrain equal participation.

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