Violence and Human Development: A Perspective from Amartya Sen

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Political violence is a broad term that is often identified with acts of violence perpetuated by individuals or the state with the lone purpose of achieving political goals. Political violence may come in two modes, either as political terrorism or counter terrorism. The former is determined as the aggressive manipulation of an individual’s judgments by threats and intimidations to achieve political change. Such intimidations are often perpetuated by non-governmental agents who act on the basis of a certain political ideology. The latter presupposes the preventive measures the government is doing in fighting against all forms of terrorism, which in the process will inevitably lead to war. War, in this regard, is conceived to be the lone and most feasible alternative, taken by the state, in order to resolve arm conflicts and political violence. With the intention that in so doing, the absolute welfare and well-being of the people is safeguarded and proliferated. It is for this reason that the paper intends to examine whether the well-being of the people is upheld if the state, inflicted with arm conflicts and terrorism, will engage with war against non-government agents. Moreover, the paper intends to examine, following Amartya Sen’s capability approach, how both of these forms of political violence affect the development of the individual. This paper, following Sen, adheres to the idea that any attempt of resolving violence by resorting to war is futile. War in all its form is destructive to the claim of individual development. The government that readily engages into war without having to consider first any democratic dialogues in solving arm conflicts is not fulfilling its task of protecting and prioritizing the development of the people. In war there is no individual development.
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