Thursday, March 5, 2009

Positive and Negative Democracy: An Essay on Human Freedom

(Ateneo Jubilee Lecture Series, Ateneo de Davao University, 2009)

Starvation, says 1998 Nobel Laureate for Economics Amartya Sen, “is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat”, not the fact of “there being not enough food to eat” . Consequently, he says that poverty is not the case of people’s “lack of income”, but rather, is “a matter of capabilities deprivation” . Income and other social primary goods are only suggestive of what people have or do not have – not of who they really are or of what they are capable of doing. Income, therefore, should not be suggestive of the kind of life a person is to live.