Capabilities and Human Development

Beyond the individual - the critical role of social institutions and social competencies

2013 Occasional Paper
By Stewart, Frances

Individuals cannot flourish alone: Indeed, they cannot function alone. When they are
born, the family provides their life support. In turn, families cannot function independently
of the societies in which they are located. Being a member of a family, of a locality
and of the larger society is an essential component of a flourishing existence. Since these
groupings can provide good or bad conditions for the individual, it is not only their existence
but also their nature that is relevant to human development. Thus a major task of
the human development approach—which aims to assess human progress and identify
the conditions for human flourishing—is to explore the nature of social institutions that
are favourable for human flourishing, as against those that impede it.