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Human Development Paradigm and Human Happiness Paradigm

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Human Rights
Wordcount: 2103 words Published: 2nd Oct 2017

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The term development is determined in different aspects. One could say that rich countries having high financial capabilities are developed whereas another would say that a country with social values is developed whereas Recent United Nations documents emphasize “human development,” measured by life expectancy, adult literacy, access to all three levels of education, as well as people’s average income, which is a necessary condition of their freedom of choice. (Worldbank, 2004) With advances in development presently development is not only economic development it should be development of social factors, environmental factors, human development and economic factors. The World Bank report further expands to refer to sustainable development and the relationship of equity to sustainable development. “Sustainable” development could probably be otherwise called “equitable and balanced,” meaning that, in order for development to continue indefinitely, it should balance the interests of different groups of people, within the same generation and among generations, and do so simultaneously in three major interrelated areas–economic, social, and environmental. So sustainable development is about equity, defined as equality of opportunities for well-being, as well as about comprehensiveness of objectives. (Worldbank, 2004) According to the reports definition sustainability covers every aspect including human rights. But the issue arises where human rights are neglected in the development process because sustainable development is a new term which is not much practiced. Human rights development paradigm and Human happiness development will be discussed in depth separately.

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Looking further to what human rights are, Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. (Rights, 1996-2015) Human rights have the qualities of universal and Inalienable, interdependent and indivisible, equal and non-discriminatory, and they are both rights and obligations.

When considering human rights it clearly shows that human rights are indivisible. Whether they relate to civil, cultural, economic, political or social issues, human rights are inherent to the dignity of every human person. Consequently, all human rights have equal status, and cannot be positioned in a hierarchical order. Denial of one right invariably impedes enjoyment of other rights. Thus, the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living cannot be compromised at the expense of other rights, such as the right to health or the right to education. (UNFPA, 2005)

Next will consider the human development paradigm and the human happiness paradigm in the light of indivisibility.


When considering the human development it mostly consider the aspect of economic development keeping other development factors ranked lower. The question arises whether human development should be mainly backed up by economic development. With the recent concept of sustainable development other aspects of human development should be given a similar rank but does this happen in reality and is sustainable development so widely grown among the world population.

Amartya Sen comes up with the capabilities approach to answer the following complication in the development process. We would say before Amartya Sen’s capability approach it was a basic needs approach but Amartya Sen has come forward with the capabilities approach in order to achieve the human rights of people. The people’s freedom should be provided and they should be given space and access to opportunities. The concept of a capability has a global as well as local character such that its definition abstracts from particular circumstances, but its realization depends on specific local requirements. For example, the same skill can be compared for different people although it may require different amounts and kinds of food depending on one’s age, state of health, and so on. This makes the Capability Approach applicable across political, economic, and cultural borders. For example, Sen points out that being relatively income poor in a wealthy society can require absolute povertyin some important capabilities, because they may require more resources to achieve. For example, a richer society may require more years of education for better employment.

Many capabilities will have fundamental requirements that vary strongly with social circumstances. For example, a capability that people might generally be said to have reason to value such as the ‘ability to appear in public without shame’, but its requirements vary significantly according to cultural norms from society to society and for different groups within each society (such as by gender, class, and ethnicity). For example, Presently in Saudi Arabia, women must have the corporation of a close male relative to appear in public, and require a private car and a chauffeur to move between private spaces (Saudi Arabian women are not allowed to use public transport or drive a car themselves).

The Capability Approach leaves open whether such ‘expensive’ capabilities, if well thought-out significant enough to be assured by society as a matter of justice, should be met by making more resources available to those who need them (chauffeurs and subsidized cars), or by reviewing the relevant social norms. The Capability Approach only identifies such capability failures and identifies their causes. However, if there is general agreement that such capabilities should be in the same way assured for all, there is a clear basis for disapproving undoubtedly unfair social norms as the source of relative denial and thus as inconsistent with the spirit of such a assurance.

The capability approach takes a multi-dimensional approach to assessment, thus it is more sustainable and provides space for human rights. Time and again it may seem that people are generally well-to-do, yet a closer study reveals shortfalls in particular capabilities, for example, the sporting icon who can’t read. Capability analysis discards the belief that unusual attainment in some dimensions pay off for gaps in others.

The capability approach’s relevance here is to argue that if people are falling short on a particular capability that has been collectively agreed to be a significant one, then justice would require addressing the shortfall itself if at all possible, rather than offering compensation in some other form, such as increased income.

Capability assessment is informational demanding and its precision is narrow by the level of arrangement about which performances are appreciated. However, Sen has presented that even where only basic assessment of quite basic capabilities is possible (for example, life-expectancy or literacy outcomes), this can still provide more, and more relevant, action-guiding information than the normal changes. In particular, by making perspicuous contrasts between successes and failures the capability approach can direct political and public attention to neglected dimensions of human well-being. For example, countries with similar levels of wealth can have dramatically different levels of collective achievement – and inequality – on such non-controversially important dimensions as longevity and literacy. And,vice versa, countries with very small economies can sometimes score as highly on these dimensions as the richest. This demonstrates both the limitations of relying exclusively on economic metrics for evaluating development, and the fact that national wealth does not pose a rigid constraint on such achievements (that GNP is not destiny). (Wells, n.d.)

Amartya Sen’s capability approach has some draw backs such as information gaps and It contains only three dimensions – longevity, literateness (average years of schooling), and Gross National Income per capita – which are weighted equally. The Capability Approach is supposed to be concerned in evaluating how people charge on many magnitudes of life including some which seem very difficult to obtain information about, such as people’s real choice sets or such complex competences as the capacity to appear in public without shame or to form relationships with others.

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Human development paradigm shows well the concept of indivisibility in human rights. All rights should be given equal importance and it depends upon cultures norms and countries of different countries, there cannot exist tradeoffs for example a country having high economy does not mean that law literacy rates could be acceptable. Equal importance should be given to all human rights and human rights are always interrelated such that neglecting one human right would lead to a decline in the development of a country.


Human happiness is considered as a new aspect of development and also it concerns with the human rights. People would be happy if there human rights are fulfilled, therefore happiness seem to have a direct relationship with human rights. The human happiness could be fulfilled when all the needs are fulfilled rather than only the wants.

With the more accurate focus on actual needs, the human happiness paradigm is able to identify the devices that can help protect Mother Nature, achieve unbiased and sustainable socio-economic development, promote culture, and ensure good governance. To achieve these goals the policies must draw on existing natural, human, social and economic resources, which then have to be managed sustainably and responsibly to ensure this wealth remains available for used by future generations. Societal wellbeing as the desired outcome of these structures and policies. That certain skills and processes are also needed to transform these wellbeing outcomes to the higher goal of human happiness which will enhance satisfaction of the needs identified as the basis of development. (Bhutan, 2013)

Human happiness considers wants and needs and these are also components of the human rights. In my opinion if human rights are fulfilled most people would be happy, therefore human rights are indivisible.

In conclusion the human development paradigm and the human happiness paradigm are two paradigms which go in line with the human rights. When we talk about human rights as discussed above human rights are indivisible they are interrelated and if one human right is given less importance and if it is violated with the opinion it would not affect development that would give an adverse impact on the development process.

Human happiness paradigm is a new aspect of the human development paradigm and it is also an improvement to move towards sustainable development in the development process. Therefore, I would conclude that the new human happiness paradigm which is and addition to the human development paradigm along with the indivisibility of human rights would support sustainable development to reach higher and make the sustainably developed rather than economically developed.



Rights, O. o. t. H. C. f. H., 1996-2015. United Nations Human Rights. [Online] Available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx [Accessed 26 06 2015].

UNFPA, 2005. United Nations Population Fund. [Online] Available at: http://www.unfpa.org/resources/human-rights-principles [Accessed 26 06 2015].

Wells, T., n.d. Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy. [Online] Available at: http://www.iep.utm.edu/sen-cap/ [Accessed 15 06 2015].

Worldbank, 2004. What is Development , s.l.: s.n.


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