HDialogue: 25th Anniversary Special Articles
When I think about human development, I often recall the speech that Nelson Mandela gave in 2005 at a rally to make poverty history. He said: “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”
It has been 25 years since the first Human Development Report (HDR) introduced a new concept for advancing human wellbeing which challenged the notion that the level of economic growth and of GDP per capita were the leading indicators of a country’s progress.
A concept is always broader than any of its proposed measures. Any suggested measure for any concept cannot fully capture the richness, the breadth and the depth of the concept itself. This is true of the notion of human development as well. In principle human choices can be infinite and change over time.
'It is an intellectual enterprise' as Mahbub ul Haq, a fan of the Star Trek, would fondly refer to the Human Development Report – his brainchild, and sure, he was the captain of the enterprise. Needless to say, Amartya Sen in many ways was the navigator of it.