“What's the Use of Human Rights?” with Amartya Sen

Nobel Prize winner, Amartya Sen in this years Gamble lecture, asks whether human rights can close the gap between the concept of capabilities and their operationalization through policy and collective action. Are human rights enough for social justice? 
Lecture is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the UMass Economics Department, please see their web page for more information.

As Sen says, "Jeremy Bentham dismissed the 'rights of man' - championed by French revolutionaries - as 'nonsense on stilts.' Many political philosophers continue to be skeptical of the foundations of human rights. Yet human rights are often invoked in practical advocacy - and may even have relevance in the on-going U.S. presidential contest (enlivened by the rhetoric of Mr. Trump, with deportations and exclusions). Can the idea of human rights be used with legitimacy and reach?" 

Amartya Sen

Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University

Amartya Sen, Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University

Amartya Sen has been the appointed professor of economics in India and at Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard. His Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 recognized “his contributions to welfare economics." Sen has reshaped views about the economic fundamentals: what are human goals; and how do individuals and communities achieve them?

Sen’s concept of capabilities places the ultimate question of human freedom at the very core of economic development. No economist in more than a century has had a greater impact on how we define and measure human welfare, with enormous transformative impact on how development is imagined and achieved. Sen’s work, especially his radical reconception of the political economy of famine, has had particular relevance for society’s poorest members during periods of extreme deprivation.