“The Idea of Justice is a magical book, not just because of the unbelievable depth and breadth of everything he’s read, but also because of his generosity of spirit. He argues with people at their absolute best, expressing their ideas often better than they had formed them themselves and then disagreeing with them in a way that makes them think: ‘I got that wrong pretty well, actually.’ The book’s central idea is the importance of what he calls capability but I would call power, and that it is not just about money. In the past, the centre left has got lost in the cul-de-sac of this definition of equality being about money. Sen’s example disproving that is that of a disabled person who will need more money because of his disability. Power is about the ability to make decisions and choices in your life, about capability. He is brilliantly withering about democracy being a Western value, citing the example of Indian leaders Ashoka (304-232BC) and Akbar (1542-1605). The ancient history of democracy, he says, has even deeper roots in India than in Greece. This is about democracy as discussion as much as democracy at election.” Read more...
The best books on Power and Ideas