Senior Research Scholar Henry Richardson, president-elect of the Human Development and Capabilities Association (HDCA), a global community of academics and practitioners focused on people-centered development and the capability approach, gave the Presidential Address at its annual meeting on September 3rd, 2014, in Athens, Greece.
The association’s mission is to promote both research and policy in the area of human development and well-being. It is comprised of members from many disciplines and professions, including economics, philosophy, development studies, health, education, law, government, and sociology. Its annual conference is aimed at promoting high-quality, policy-oriented academic research, advancing intellectual debates, and promoting collaboration between academics and practitioners. The theme of this year’s conference is “Human Development in Times of Crisis.”
“Regaining our grip on what it means to say that one end is sought for the sake of another puts us in a position to develop more sensitive indicators of well-being, more discriminating ways of assessing policy success, and more sensible grounds for selecting among alternative policies.”
Dr. Richardson’s Presidential Address was a sustained argument in favor of the idea that the notion of a “final end,” one “sought only for its own sake,” has an important role to play in policy planning and evaluation regarding human development.
“Regaining our grip on what it means to say that one end is sought for the sake of another puts us in a position to develop more sensitive indicators of well-being, more discriminating ways of assessing policy success, and more sensible grounds for selecting among alternative policies,” Richardson argues. “It will also help us in identifying potential pathways for reaching consensus via compromise.” Richardson illustrated those claims with examples drawn from the assessment of rural electrification projects, and the aims of employment policy in times of crisis.
The four-day conference included addresses by Martha Nussbaum, Philip Pettit, and Rainer Forst — on whose talk Richardson served as commentator — among many others. You can view the entire conference program by clicking here [PDF].