Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics in the Law School, Philosophy and the Divinity School, has been awarded the 2009 A.SK prize by Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. The award pays tribute to social system reformers.
Nussbaum earned the honor for her work on the foundations of social justice, which stresses the importance of using a capabilities-based approach to measure people’s quality of life. The traditional focus is on GNP per capita, which hides huge inequalities.
“Women, the rural poor and other subordinated groups are usually injured by policies focused on growth alone, since they rarely control the fruits of a nation’s general prosperity.” Nussbaum said. “My work on the ‘Capabilities Approach’ is meant to change the emphasis of the development process so that the first question asked is always, ‘What does this policy mean for the ability of people to live flourishing lives?’”
Nussbaum, author of Women and Human Development and Frontiers of Justice, is also co-founder of the Development and Capability Association, with Amartya Sen of Harvard University.
Nussbaum intends to give a substantial part of her €100,000 prize to the Law School, in particular to fund a new program of student summer internships in developing countries. She also plans on giving a significant part of it to the HDCA.
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