Thursday, October 22, 2009

Amartya Sen on India

. Thursday, October 22, 2009

An interview with Sen on the state of India, that starts with this:

There are many argumentative Indians, but very few who can hold your attention in quite the way Amartya Sen can—if you catch him at his expansive best. He dazzles you by moving fluidly between welfare economics and history, philosophy and international politics, the laws of Manu and Article 377, the pronouncements of Gautama Buddha and the policies of Manmohan Singh

It's nice to see Sen interviewed by an Indian magazine rather than the Western press. How else would we get things like this:

How peculiar it is that someone as non-violent as Gandhiji, who was very inspired by the Gita, was on the side of Krishna, who is making Arjuna fight a war and kill people, when Arjuna is saying maybe I shouldn’t kill!

And here is Sen on the record of India since independence:

But given the adversities we have had—a very poor country, largely illiterate, border wars with China and Pakistan, with Pakistan going its peculiarly difficult way, the relationship problems that we have had with the United States and the global powers—have we done as well as expected? Yes. Except in one big respect, namely that I had expected that non-dramatic deprivations would receive more attention than they ended up getting. Famines did go away with democracy, as I had expected, but I thought other things like gender inequality and the huge undernourishment of children would get more attention, but they did not get enough. That’s the disappointment.


Amartya Sen on India

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