Theoretical Approaches to Development

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have become a critical component in in international development. However in order to understand the value of the UN SDG’s it is important to also understand what international development is from a theoretical and conceptual approach. This weeks readings went into defining international development by analyzing the writings of Amartya Sen and Sumner and Tribe.

My favorite points were made my Amartya Sen who viewed international development as a catalyst for change. At the time development from the west was majorly focused in economic development. However, Amartya Sen expanded on that idea and viewed development as freedom and contributed to the major indicators that people look at when defining development. Sen makes the point that development grants opportunities for freedom he furthermore provides evidence by looking at differences in developed areas as opposed to their less developed counterparts. This point is illustrated well in the following quote ““Development consists of the removal of various types of unfreedoms that leave people with little choice and little opportunity of exercising their reasoned agency. The removal of substantial unfreedoms, it is argued here, is constitutive of development.”  An interesting example given within the reading pertains to women’s freedom in countries that only burn fossil fuels vs countries that have more means of energy. Countries that stick only fossil fuels tend to have female populations that have less freedom of choice compared to more progressive countries.

When developing my capstone project keeping in mind the opportunities that derive from development will be important. The benefits of development provide more opportunities for persons with disabilities to have access to opportunities that they may otherwise be inhibited from. Living in the United States provides individuals the opportunity to look at already present standards and mechanisms in place and make everyday life more attainable for persons with disabilities. Perusing the same task in a society that does not have any of these mechanism, laws or enforcement in place provides more challenges.