New Zealand’s Living Standards Framework
what might Amartya Sen say?
Keywords:well-being, capabilities, Amartya Sen, political philosophy, living standards
Amartya Sen’s capability approach is a guiding light for international efforts to improve the measurement of national well-being. This article compares Sen’s nuanced philosophical ideal with the New Zealand Treasury’s Living Standards Framework, which identifies the capability approach as one of various influences. However, the idea of the capability – that is, people’s freedoms to lead the kind of lives they have reason to value – remains an interpretive possibility, rather than a design feature. To give the capability its due importance, policymakers will need to utilise this idea when making sense of the Dashboard’s indicators and instilling policy relevance.
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