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In this deft analysis, Amartya Sen argues that the dictum "all people are created equal" serves largely to deflect attention from the fact that we differ in age, gender, talents, and physical abilities as well as in material advantages and social background. He argues for concentrating on higher and more basic values: individual capabilities and freedom to achieve objectives. By concentrating on the equity and efficiency of social arrangements in promoting freedoms and capabilities of individuals, Sen adds an important new angle to arguments about such vital issues as gender inequalities, welfare policies, affirmative action, and public provision of health care and education.