Sen's papers in the late 1960s and early 1970s helped develop the theory of social choice, which

first came to prominence in the work by the American economist Kenneth Arrow, who, while working at the RAND Corporation, had most famously showed that all voting rules, be they majority rule or two thirds-majority or status quo, must inevitably conflict with some basic democratic norm. Sen's contribution to the literature was to show under what conditions Arrow's impossibility theorem would indeed come to pass as well as to extend and enrich the theory of social choice, informed by his interests in history of economic thought and philosophy. In 1981, Sen published Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (1981), a book in which he demonstrated that famine occurs not only from a lack of food, but from inequalities built into mechanisms for distributing food.Sen also demonstrated that the Bengal famine was caused by an urban economic boom that raised food prices, thereby causing millions of rural workers to starve to death when their wages did not keep up.[13] Sen's interest in famine stemmed from personal experience. As a nine-yearold boy, he witnessed the Bengal famine of 1943, in which three million people perished. This staggering loss of life was unnecessary, Sen later concluded. He presents data that there was an adequate food supply in Bengal at the time, but particular groups of people including rural landless labourers and urban service providers like haircutters did not have the monetary means to acquire food as its price rose rapidly due to factors that include British military acquisition, panic buying, hoarding, and price gouging, all connected to the war in the region. In Poverty and Famines, Sen revealed that in many cases of famine, food supplies were not significantly reduced. In Bengal, for example, food production, while down on the previous year, was higher than in previous nonfamine years. Thus, Sen points to a number of social and economic factors, such as declining wages, unemployment, rising food prices, and poor food-distribution systems. These issues led to starvation among certain groups in society. His capabilities approach focuses on positive freedom, a person's actual ability to be or do something, rather than on negative freedom approaches, which are common in economics and simply focuses on non-interference. In the Bengal famine, rural laborers' negative freedom to buy food was not affected. However, they still starved because they were not positively free to do anything, they did not have the functioning of nourishment, nor the capability to escape morbidity. In addition to his important work on the causes of famines, Sen's work in the field of development economics has had considerable influence in the formulation of the Human Development Report, published by the United Nations Development Programme. This annual publication that ranks countries on a variety of economic and social indicators owes much to the contributions by Sen among other social choice theorists in the area of economic measurement of poverty and inequality. Sen's revolutionary contribution to development economics and social indicators is the concept of 'capability' developed in his article "Equality of What." He argues that governments should be measured against the concrete capabilities of their citizens. This is because top-down development will always trump human rights as long as the definition of terms remains in doubt (is a 'right' something that must be provided or

which addressed problems related to individual rights (including formulation of the liberal paradox). and to maintain stable prices for food. He mounted one of the few major challenges to the economic model that posited self-interest as the prime motivating factor of human activity." These "functionings" can range from the very broad.[14] Sen was seen as a ground-breaker among late twentieth-century economists for his insistence on discussing issues seen as marginal by most economists. analyzing the mortality impact of unequal rights between the genders in the developing world. though Oster has recanted some of her conclusions. majority rule. His views encouraged policy makers to pay attention not only to alleviating immediate suffering but also to finding ways to replace the lost income of the poor. Sen devised methods of measuring poverty that yielded useful information for improving economic conditions for the poor. Only when such barriers are removed can the citizen truly be said to act out of personal choice. Sen. as well as sex-specific abortion. He wrote a controversial article in The New York Review of Books entitled "More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing" (see Missing women of Asia). have argued that this is an overestimation. It is up to the individual society to make the list of minimum capabilities guaranteed by that society. for example. Governments and international organizations handling food crises were influenced by Sen's work. To Sen. particularly Asia. In order for citizens to have a capacity to vote. in the United States citizens have a hypothetical "right" to vote. as. Sen believed that famines do not occur in functioning democracies because their leaders must be more responsive to the demands of the citizens. through public-works projects. A vigorous defender of political freedom. For an example of the "capabilities approach" in practice. there is no question that his work helped to re-prioritize a significant sector of economists and development workers. For instance. this concept is fairly empty. his theoretical work on inequality provided an explanation for why there are fewer women than men in India and China despite the fact that in the West and in poor but medically unbiased countries. and the availability of information about individual conditions.something that simply cannot be taken away?). they first must have "functionings. to the very specific. was called the "conscience of his profession. Sen claimed that this skewed ratio results from the better health treatment and childhood opportunities afforded boys in those countries. inspired researchers to turn their attention to issues of basic welfare. such as transportation to the polls. social reforms. In order for economic growth to be achieved. such as one by Emily Oster. Other studies. women have lower mortality rates at all ages. even the policies of the United Nations. Welfare economics seeks to evaluate economic policies in terms of their effects on the well-being of the community. and make a slight majority of the population. live longer. For instance. . While his line of thinking remains peripheral. such as the availability of education. see Martha Nussbaum's Women and Human Development. justice and equity." His influential monograph Collective Choice and Social Welfare (1970). must precede economic reform. he argued. such as improvements in education and public health. who devoted his career to such issues.

with whom he had two children: Antara. he was appointed as the Chief Mentor of Presidency College by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. welfare economics. he replies: "I read a lot and like arguing with people. India into an international university. India. a journalist in New York. They had two children. Eva Colorni who was Jewish. the underlying mechanisms of poverty. [edit] Presidency College." . Cambridge. where he and Emma spend the spring and long vacations. Kolkata In June 2011. Sen supported the new initiative Spinelli Group in the European Parliament. which seeks to revive the ancient seat of learning at Nalanda. which was founded to reinvigorate the strive for federalisation of the European Union (EU). [edit] India: University mentor for growth and revival [edit] Nalanda International University Project In May 2007. an Indian writer and scholar. human development theory. gender inequality. Massachusetts. he married his second wife. Daniel CohnBendit. Their marriage broke up shortly after they moved to London in 1971. and Nandana. a journalist and publisher. His present wife. Other prominent supporters are: Jacques Delors. Emma Georgina Rothschild. who teaches music at Shady Hill School. Elmar Brok. and maintains a house in Cambridge. However. Andrew Duff. Indrani. and political liberalism. In 1973. he denies the comparison to Mother Teresa by saying that he has never tried to follow a lifestyle of dedicated self-sacrifice.[16] [edit] The Spinelli Group On 15 September 2010.[edit] Perceptions: In comparisons Amartya has been called "the Conscience and the Mother Teresa of Economics"[15] for his work on famine. an expert on Adam Smith and Fellow of King's College. a Bollywood actress. Asked how he relaxes. Bihar. is an economic historian. Guy Verhofstadt. and Kabir. Sen usually spends his winter holidays at his home in Santiniketan in West Bengal. he was appointed as chairman of Nalanda Mentor Group to steer the execution of Nalanda University Project.[17] who died from stomach cancer quite suddenly in 1985. where he likes to go on long bike rides. [edit] Personal life and beliefs Sen's first wife was Nabaneeta Dev Sen.

he noted[22]: “ In some ways people had got used to the idea that India was spiritual and religion-oriented. ” [edit] Academic achievements. awards and honors Amartya has received many honorary degrees (over 90)[23] from universities around the world. which is published by the University of California. wrote this rather great book called Sarvadarshansamgraha. Berkeley. which discussed all the religious schools of thought within the Hindu structure. The first chapter is "Atheism" – a very strong presentation of the argument in favor of atheism and materialism. despite the fact that Sanskrit had a larger atheistic literature than what exists in any other classical language.[18][19][20][21] In an interview for the magazine California. including from the following: • • • • • • • • Harvar d Univer sity Yale Univer sity Colum bia Univer sity Univer sity of Michig an Willia ms College George town Univer sity Santa Clara Univer sity Tulane • • • • • • • Univer sity of Delhi Univer sity of Mumb ai Univer sity of Calcut ta Jawah arlal Nehru Univer sity Univer sity of Kerala Allaha bad Univer sity VisvaBharat i Univer • • • • • • Unive rsity of Oxfor d Unive rsity of Edinb urgh McGi ll Unive rsity Quee n's Unive rsity Unive rsity of Saska tchew an Unive rsity of • • • • • • Unive rsity of Toky o Unive rsity of Antw erp Unive rsity of Kiel Unive rsity of Padua Unive rsity of Leice ster Unive rsity of Valen • • • • • • • Univer sity of Florenc e Univer sity of London Techni cal Univer sity of Lisbon Jaume I Univer sity Durha m Univer sity Univer sity of Southa mpton Pierre Mendè sFrance • • • • • • • • Univers ity of Götting en Univers ity of Cape Town Univers ity of the Witwat ersrand Sorbon ne Univers ity College Dublin Univers ity of Osnabr ück Univers ity of Exeter Univers . the remarkable 14th century philosopher.Sen is a self-proclaimed agnostic and holds that this can be associated with Hinduism as a political entity. That gave a leg up to the religious interpretation of India. Madhava Acharya.

• • • • • • • • • Univer sity New School for Social Resear ch Oberlin College Syracu se Univer sity Univer sity of Connec ticut Univer sity of Massac husetts Wesley an Univer sity Bard College Clark Univer sity Mount Holyok e College Simmo ns College • • • • • • • • sity Jadavp ur Univer sity Univer sity of North Bengal Chhatr apati Shahu Ji Mahar aj Univer sity Bidha n Chand ra Krishi Viswa vidyal aya Univer sity of Kalya ni Rabin dra Bharat i Univer sity Assam Agricu ltural Univer sity Assam Univer sity • • • • • • • • Essex Unive rsity of Bath Unive rsity of Caen Unive rsity of Bolog na Unive rsité cathol ique de Louv ain Lond on Guild hall Unive rsity Athen s Unive rsity of Econ omics and Busin ess Unive rsity of Valen cia Unive rsity of • • • • • • cia Unive rsity of Zuric h Stock holm Unive rsity Unive rsity of East Angli a Unive rsity of Nottin gham Unive rsity of the Medit errane an Heriot -Watt Unive rsity Chine se Unive rsity of Hong Kong • • • • • • • • Univer sity Ritsum eikan Univer sity Univer sity of Sussex Univer sity of York Univer sity of Toront o Univer sity of British Colum bia Univer sity of Natal Rhodes Univer sity Koç Univer sity York Univer sity • • • • • ity of Dhaka Univers ity of Birming ham Rovira i Virgili Univers ity Univers ity of Pavia Complu tense Univers ity of Madrid Univers ity of Coimbr a Univers ity of British Columb ia • • • • .

He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 2000: He received Leontief Prize for his outstanding contribution to economic theory from the Global Development and Environment Institute. UK. 2002: He received the International Humanist Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union. He is awarded the Life Time Achievement award by Bangkok-based United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) 2010: He was chosen to deliver the Demos Annual Lecture 2010 . 1998: He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in welfare economics. 2000: He was the 351st Commencement Speaker of Harvard University. and given that his ancestral origins were in what has become the modern state of Bangladesh 2000: He was awarded the order of Companion of Honour. 1999: He received the Bharat Ratna 'the highest civilian award in India' by the President of India.• • • • • • • • • • • • • Zuric h 1981. 2003: He was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indian Chamber of Commerce[which?].[24] 1982: He was awarded honorary fellowship by the Institute of Social Studies. 2000: He was awarded the Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service USA. 1999: He was offered the honorary citizenship of Bangladesh by Sheikh Hasina in recognition of his achievements in winning the Nobel Prize.

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