Amartya Sen on elections, communal politics and inequality in India (2022)

Talking with Amartya Sen is not, at any moment, chatting. When I as whether he would fancy a cup of coffee, or chai, maybe, he remarks how few people would drink coffee with milk in Europe. And even tea with milk seems to be restricted to the British isles. ‘An English habit’, he says. ‘Or, rather, an Indian habit’, he immediately corrects himself. Followed by the story of how tea was introduced in India in the 9th century AD, after an Indian traveller learned about the drink while travelling in Tibet, where tea was served with yak-milk. And so, Sen muses, there is a very real possibility that the British learned to savour their tea-with-a-cloud-of-milk in South Asia. Still, he prefers coffee. Latte, to be precise.

The past and the present

Amartya Sen was born eighty years ago in Santiniketan, Bengal, on thencampus where his father was teaching Sanskrit and where Rabindranath Tagore was trying to put his pedagocical ideas into practice. When we meet in Amsterdam, he just recently arrived from Santiniketan, and the return ticket is booked. Sen has lived abroad for more years than he lived in India, but he always made it a point of honor to keep his singular Indian nationality –if for no other reason, then to be able to formulate his opinions about his native country.

Sen has lived abroad for more years than he lived in India, but he always made it a point of honor to keep his singular Indian nationality

Is Santiniketan a good outpost to observe the evolution of India,I ask. ‘The image of India when seen from there, is rather sad’, Sen answers. ‘When the school started, it was a very special, progressive place. Today it is a rather unremarkable university. Instead of a symbol of excellence, it became an example of the blandness that is produced so abundantly in India.’

When his mother followed courses in Santiniketan, about a centry ago, judo was part of the curriculum and co-education was normal. ‘That would certainly count as progressive today, you can reckon how progressive it was then.’ The school offered courses on Thailand, China, Africa and Europe –not just the UK. But to get rid of the endemic financial worries, the board chose to become a university, ‘with all the paperwork, government control and entrenched unions that come with that decesion.’

But Amartya Sen refuses to sound desperate, especially when the topic under discussion is India. ‘The original spirit of Santiniketanlives on in the Kalakshetra school in Chennai, where they teach classic Bharatya Natyan and Carnatic music. The school cannot award academic degrees, but it is the best educational institution for these artistic disciplines I know of.’ In december 2013, Sen presented book A Southern Music by T.M. Krishna atKalakshetra, stressing how important it was to make Indian classical music accessible for the majority ofn the population.

Missed opportunities

Sen’s disappointment about Santiniketan reflects his global, critical evaluation of India. That, at least, one could conclude from the tone, the data and the conclusions in India. An Uncertain Glory, his latest book in collaboration with Jean Drèze, a Belgian-turned-Indian economist with whom Sen has a longstanding working relation, that resulted in at least six book. ‘Jean and I have an excellent work division’, Sen jokes. ‘He puts in 90% of the work, while I get 90% of the credit. Good deal, no?’

43 percent of children under 5 years old is undernourished; more than half of all Indian families has to take recourse to open defecation –while that is only 8 percent in poorer neighbour Bangladesh; around 30 percent of Indians is not connected to the electricity grid –in China that is only 1 percent.

(Video) Q&A: Amartya Sen — Why Is the Penalty of Inequality So High in India?

In the book’s preface, the authors write that ‘while India has climbed rapidly up the ladder of economic growth rates, it has fallen relatively behind in the scale of social indicators’. An Uncertain Glory develops as a long and well researched requisitoir, filled with examples and statistics that help to indict the nation for its failings. Just three data: 43 percent of children under 5 years old is undernourished; more than half of all Indian families has to take recourse to open defecation –while that is only 8 percent in poorer neighbour Bangladesh; around 30 percent of Indians is not connected to the electricity grid –in China that is only 1 percent. Does this all mean the Indian dream failed? Thatwould beshorter and less nuanced than how Amartya Sen would like to put it.

‘One cannot say that India has not made a positive impact for its citizens. During the times of British colonial rule, we faced economic stagnation and famines –the last, big famine happened four years before India became independent. After 1947, we did not know a serious famine anymore, even though we still know droughts and floods. As a matter of fact, when a huge storm was announced at the end of 2013, the Indian government succesfully evacuated a million people, and thereby prevented loss of life on a large scale. This seems to be the rule: if the government decides to intervene, it usually is succesful. The problem is that governments have been making less use of the possibilities offered by democracy than they could have.’

The deep divide

India is not the only society in Asia that knows a deep divide between the elite and the masses, but few countries in the continent see that inequality weighing so heavily on the future expectations of its people. One of the reasons for this, says Sen, is the sorry state of education in India.

‘Rabindranath Tagore once said that India’s most important problem was its lack of educational opportunities. Unfortunately, even Mahatma Gandhi is partly responsible for the fact education received far less attention than it should have. He was less convinced of the importance of formal education and rather believed in the virtues of learning by practice. This approach was later repealed, but we never recovered the standard of excellence that was maintained in other countries like China, Singapore and Korea. India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, had a priority interest in tertiary education, thereby laying the foundations of the institutions that would later create India’s economic boom: the institutes for management and technology.’

‘As a consequence of all this, we have an educational system that hardly reaches the majority of Indians, or serves them extremely bad, while the upper classes have access to world class education. For the rich, the Indian dream has certainly not failed, while it never even existed for the poor. The deep class divide that overshadows India even translates into a leftist leadership that comes largely from upper class or upper caste backgrounds.’

The dialectics of caste

Is caste, with it’s inherent claims to privilege for the elites, maybe the factor that would help to explain why the economic growth has been redistributed so poorly in India? Sen is aware of the attraction of putting the explanation in a reality so uniquely and essentially Indian as caste, but he is very reluctant to see it as the key to contemporary inequality.

‘The Southern state of Kerala was the pinnacle of casteism and untouchability. But that was exactly the reason why egalitarian people’s movements against upper caste dominance originated there. It were these movements that later developed into the communist movement with it’s focus on education as an essential mechanism for emancipation. Kerala already had a tradition of more and better education than the rest of India, as the princely states of Travancore and Cochin were able to stay outside the orbit of direct colonial rule by the British. Rani Parvati Bai, the maharani of Travancore, proclaimed an edict, guaranteeing the right to free education for everybody –including girls- already in 1817.’

These historical developments in Kerala resulted in a human development score that is far better than Indian averages, and even exceeds China’s scores for years of schooling, life expectancy, fertility rates…

Kerala has a human development score that is far better than Indian averages, and even exceeds China’s scores for years of schooling, life expectancy, fertility rates…

‘Caste triggered resistance in Kerala, and that resulted in genuine development. In Northern India, on the other hand, caste started to dominate politics, both as the upper-caste politics of BJP and lower-caste politics of different other parties, which remained hopelessly divided and thereby powerless to reform the system of exclusion itself. Indian politics has remained too tightly connected to identities of caste and/or religion. That means that caste has been restrained from playing it’s dialectical role and instead became a factor that reified the inequalities in Indian society.’

(Video) LMSAI Symposium 2022 - Amartya Sen: “Where Is India Going?”

Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, the principal author of the Indian Constitution, was convinced that the constitution could only perform its functions if and in as far as there would be social action to make it happen. He summarized his vision in three concepts: educate, agitate and organise. Dr. Ambadkar was a Mahar, a caste considered as untouchable. He was able to study because his father served in the British army, but had to confront discrimination and prejudice on a permanent basis. That made him a staunch proponent of affirmative action, to give children of historically discriminated against communities an extra opportunity in higher education or in civil service.

Some people argue that it are exactly those policies of affirmative action that carry the main responsibility for the immutability of the larger caste system, since it created a stake for even the lowest castes to maintain the status quo in terms of caste-identities and hierarchies. Amartya Sen is not convinced by that argument. Again he refers to the experience of Southern India, where leftist or progressive parties effectively attacked the caste privileges of the upper layers of the system, and abolished them as soon as they occupied positions of power.

‘It is not our traditions that are responsable for our contemporary problems, it are the political leaders that failed us. And I am referring to leaders of all political colours and convictions: Congress, BJP, and even the communists, who have become a party not so different from the others.’

A failing politics

Amartya Sen would have no problems using any of the arguments available for keeping a very safe distance from the chaotic dealings of everyday politics in India. He is sufficiently academic, old and internationally famous to do that. But he only needs half a question to fully jump into a discourse on why the more than 800 million eligible voters in India will give the ruling Congress-party a hard time.

‘The Untied Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by Congress, has fallen short of people’s expectations’, he says. ‘And on top of that, they are extremely bad at communicating whatever they did accomplish for the people.’ Sen cannot understand why the government keeps harping on about the nuclear deal it made with the US, as if that were it’s major accomplishment. ‘Why is the government not boasting about the the end of polio in India? Or about the right to employment for the rural poor? About the Right to Food Act?’

Even in the field of the economy, Congress seems to be unable to defend itself against the attacks from the main opposition party, BJP. The weak point being a slowing down of economic growth to less than 5 percent, the strength though, is the fact that during the tenure of Manmohan Singh, India recorded the highest growth in modern history.

‘There is one thing the BJP does better than Congress: political campaigning’

‘There is one thing the BJP does better than Congress’, comments Sen, ‘and that is campaigning. But that does not make them any less the sectarian hindu-communal party they have always been. And I seriously doubt whether that is what India needs today.’ Afterwards, he would qualify that by saying the BJP does all that it can to shed that sectarian image and replace it with an image of a party that will provide good, efficient and curruption-free government.

‘That is a party profile that would serve them much better than the saffron propaganda from the past. And as for efficient government: the Europeans would remember the claim that trains ran strictly on time under the fascist government of Benito Mussolini.’ That does not mean he would compare the BJP to fascists, nor would he compare Narendra Modi –the Gujarat Chief Minister leading the BJP into these elections- with the Duce.

The communal agenda

On the other hand, there is no lack of commentators that have worried about the behind-the-scenes impact of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on the BJP. The RSS is a grassroots movement that is very militaristic in behaviour and fanatically Hindu in orientation, and it is said to celebrate the Aryan descent of Indian Hindus rather disturbingly at times. ‘It is true that the RSS remains very important for the BJP’, answers Sen. ‘But their visible activity works both ways for the BJP.’

(Video) How Amartya Sen's betrayal led Subramanian Swamy to join India's politics.

‘On the one hand, their strict orgaisational discipline represents a clear added value for the campaign and can help the party win the elections. On the other hand, the same RSS is scaring possible coalition partners away, which could make it a lot more complicated for it to form a government. And don’t forget that the BJP is all but absent in about 30 percent of the country. That makes a nationwide majority on its own all but impossible.’

Taken out of context, some of Amatya Sen’s statements could be construed as pro-Congress arguments. But that would not take into account his often sharp criticism of the policies pursued or realized by the government. He is highly critical, for instance, of what the government accomplished under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), even though it is the brainschild of his co-author Jean Drèze. ‘NREGA’s weakness lays in it’s lack of transparency and accountability, that should have been much more firmly built into the programme to counter and prevent corruption from sapping the life and the ressources out of it. Some states, like Tamil Nadu and recently even Bihar under Nitish Kumar, that have a generally good degree in governance, make the best of NREGA. But states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh make a mess out of it.’

A democratic society

Indian politics is a ‘disappointing spectacle’, according to Amartya Sen. Still, 814 Indians are invited to cast their vote in the biggest elections ever. What will decide their vote? Will it be the economic achievements of the current government or will it be the economic promises made by the opposition?

Sen does not think it is that simple: ‘Before you ask these questions, you should be aware of the very broad democratic engagement that lives among Indians. And I would even add that the Indian population shares to a very large degree and engagement that is secular and egalitarian in nature. Indians expect a state that responds to the demands and needs of it’s population, a state without an outspoken preference for one or the other community or religion.’

Indians expect a state that responds to the demands and needs of it’s population, a state without an outspoken preference for one or the other community or religion.’

One of the most recent developments in Indian politics is the establishment of the Aam Admi Party by anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal. Late in 2013 they already succeeded in forming the governement of Union territory Delhi, after the elections there. Their government did not last long, but when we had the interview, they were still in function.

‘On itself, this is a wonderful realisation’, comments Sen. ‘They won the elections without taking recourse to communal identities such as caste or religion. Their only programme was the fight against corruption. At the same time, that shows how their idea of good governance remains limited to middle class worries. They want cheap electircity, for instance, instead of a connection to the grid for the 30 percent of Indians that lack every access to electricity alltogether.’

Good governance

The emergence of issue-based politics does appear as a step forward in an environment that has been dominated by communal politics in so many ways during the history of independent India. At the same time, says Sen, that is less a novelty than it seems.

‘Communal politics has dominated Gujarat maybe [the state where Narendra Modi has been Chief Minister since 2001 and where an anti-Muslim progrom in 2002 resulted in more than 1000 dead], in other states the issue of good governance has been dominant for a long time already. Bihar is a good example, as it was the poorest and probably the most corrupt state for long, but also the state where Nitish Kumar and his Janata Dal Party succeeded in winning elections on the platform of good governance as opposed to communal dynamics.’

As an Indian citizen, Amartya Sen would be happy to see a future government build around Congress, with the support of communist parties. And to avoid any misunderstanding, he laughingly adds that these Indian communists are much closer to centrist European social-democrats than to the gulag-communists we know from the Cold War propaganda. He thinks a combination of Congress and communists would be best fit ‘to put in place the reforms that India urgently needs’.

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Then he adds that the Communist Party has a lot of work to do before she could be part of such a forward-looking government. ‘The main issue for the communists continues to be their anti-Americanism. It is an echo from the past, really. Russia, China and Vietnam have reformed quickly and succesfully into market ecenomies, so what is the problem for Indian communists? On top of their antiquated anti-imperialism, they focus on the needs of middle class voters rather than on the needs of the impoverished majority. Why should a communist party stand up for diesel subsidies while the majority of the poor cannot even afford a motorised vehicle?’

It is a recurring theme in much of the recent work by Amartya Sen. Subsidies profiting the middle and upper classes, such as the ones for diesel, electricity and cooking gas, are costing more than twice or even three times the cost incurred for the NREGA employment scheme for the poorest in rural India. In An Uncertain Glory Drèze and Sen present the specific example of the exemption of diamond and gold imports from customs duties, which costs the exchequer more than twice what a proposed renewed Right to Food bill would cost –the latter attracted fiery opposition from media and middle classes as unaffordable for the Indian budget.

Law and justice

The many failings of Indian political institutions are, to a certain degree, compensated by an activist judiciary, especially the High Court or the Constitutional Court. The drawback of that judicial activism is a unilateral emphasis on the law and mainting the law, which, according to Amartya Sen in An Idea of Justice, cannot compensate for the appaling lack of attention for fundamental justice that every society should strive for. In this book, called his Magnum Opus, but that term could be used for so many of his works that it does not seem to bother him too much, he points to two Sanskrit concepts that both refer to justice: niti and nyaya, law and justice.

‘One should never judge the importance of niti on it’s own’, he says. ‘Niti’s importance is dependent on it’s contribution to nyaya. That does not mean niti is unimportant, it is instrumental for the real goal: realized justice. Still, we should be very carefull when it comes to the law and maintaining it. One can not, as Aam Admi Party did, tell the police they should “transcend” the rules. Police and security are there to maintain the rules and to have people apply them. To have just and honest elections, for instance, niti is indispensable.’

Wishes for India

Just a few weeks before we met in the Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam, Amartya Sen deliverd the opening keynote to what is probably the largest literary event in the world, the Jaipur Literature Festival, with more than 100.000 visitors. In that lecture, he imagined an encounter with the Goddess of Medium Things –a clear reference to Arundhati Roy’s succesfull novel The God of Small Things.

The Goddess grants him seven wishes for India, of which the third one is the most surprising: ‘My big political wish is to have a strong and flourishing right-wing party that is secular and not communal.’ The Goddess of Medium Things is surprised, knowing Sen’s leftists sympathies. To which he answers: ‘There is a an important role, for a clear-headed pro-market, pro-business party that does not depend on religious politics, and does not prioritize one religious community over all others.’

It typifies Amartya Sen as the absolute advocate for democratic and public reasoning above political calculations of the short term kind.

It typifies Amartya Sen as the absolute advocate for democratic and public reasoning above political calculations of the short term kind. It does not prevent him, though, to ask for in his fourth wish: ‘I would like the parties of the left to be stronger, but also more clear-minded and much more concentrated on removing severe deprivations of the really poor and downtrodden people of India.’ The Goddess sighs: ‘It is not easy for me to make them politically stronger until they themselves think afresh.’

On May 15, when the results of the parliamentary elections will be announced, we will know which of Amartya Sen’s seven wishes will have been granted. From there, the Country of Big Numbers will be on it’s own again to achieve the necessary social, economic and societal goals, formulated by Sen and 1.2 billion other Indian citizens.


What is communal politics in India? ›

Communalism is a significant social issue in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Communal conflicts between religious communities in India, especially Hindus and Muslims have occurred since the period of British colonial rule, occasionally leading to serious inter-communal violence.

What Amartya Sen did for India? ›

Amartya Sen is famous for his significant contributions to welfare economics (for which he was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in economics), including his development of more sophisticated measures of poverty, and for his work on the causes and prevention of famines.

What is Amartya Sen economic theory? ›

Sen's 'Choice of Technique' was a research work where he argued that in a labour surplus economy, generation of employment cannot be increased at the initial stage by the adoption of labour intensive technique. He pleaded for adoption of capital-intensive technique in a developing country like India.

What is the concept of inequality? ›

Inequality—the state of not being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities1—is a concept very much at the heart of social justice theories. However, it is prone to confusion in public debate as it tends to mean different things to different people. Some distinctions are common though.

What are the theories of inequality? ›

2 Main Theories

There are two main views of social inequality within sociology. One view aligns with the functionalist theory, and the other aligns with conflict theory. Functionalist theorists believe that inequality is inevitable and desirable and plays an important function in society.

What are the features of communal politics? ›

Communal politics is based on the idea that religion is the principal basis of social community. Communalism involves thinking along the following lines. The followers of a particular religion must belong to one community. Their fundamental interests are the same.

What do you mean by communal politics? ›

Communal politics is based on the belief that: A. One religion is superior to that of others. B. People belonging to different religions can live together happily as equal citizens.

When did communal politics arise in India? ›

A factor for the rise of communalism in India was in the 19th Century, when several religious organizations were formed by the Hindu and Muslim communities whose goals were poles apart. These were organizations that began to play communal politics in their favor.

What does Amartya Sen State on development? ›

According to Sen, development is enhanced by democracy and the protection of human rights. Such rights, especially freedom of the press, speech, assembly, and so forth increase the likelihood of honest, clean, good government.

What is achievement According to Sen? ›

Human development is achieved when people have greater freedoms (capabilities). These substantive freedoms, according to Sen (2000), are “seen in the form of individual capabilities to do things that a person has reason to value” (p.

Who is the first Indian to win Nobel Prize in economics? ›

Detailed Solution. Amartya Sen,Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory and for his interest in the problems of society's poorest members.

How does Amartya Sen define poverty? ›

Amartya Sen (1983), on the other hand, emphasized that poverty is not just relative, but also absolute. He defined poverty as a failure to achieve certain minimum capabilities and, according to him, the lack of capabilities is absolute.

Who is the father of economics in India? ›

He is Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Son of Bhimabai and Sakpal, a subedar in the British Indian army, Bhimrao was their 14th child, and was born on April 14, 1891. The Ambedkars lived in Mhow in the Central Provinces (now in Madhya Pradesh).

What is Sen index of poverty? ›

Amartya Sen gave an alternative poverty index to overcome the limitations of H & I. He took the poverty measure being a weighted sum of income gaps. When G is the Ginni coefficient of the distribution of income among the poor, this measure is given by P = H {I + (1-I)G}.

What are the 3 types of inequality? ›

There are three main types of economic inequality:
  • Income Inequality. Income inequality is the extent to which income is distributed unevenly in a group of people. Income. ...
  • Pay Inequality. A person's pay is different to their income. Pay refers to payment from employment only. ...
  • Wealth Inequality.

What is the major reasons of inequality? ›

Inequalities are not only driven and measured by income, but are determined by other factors - gender, age, origin, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, class, and religion. These factors determine inequalities of opportunity which continue to persist, within and between countries.

What are the causes of inequality in Indian society? ›

Statement 2: Poverty, social discrimination and lack of resources are the key reasons why the lives of people in India are highly unequal.

What are the two main approaches to explaining inequality? ›

The first approach sees economic inequalities as primarily the result of the attributes and efforts of persons; the second emphasizes inequalities built into the structure of social positions.

What are the issues of inequality in society? ›

Inequality affects every member of the society. Economic inequality impacts the GDP per capita. It gives rise to poorer public health and illiteracy, thus increasing crime rates, fuelling political instability, and eventually destabilising the society.

What are different forms of communal politics? ›

Different forms of communal politics:
  • (a) The expression of communal superiority in everyday beliefs.
  • (b) The desire to form a majoritarian dominance or a separate state.
  • (c) The use of religious symbols and leaders in politics to appeal to the voters.

What are the major beliefs of communal people? ›

Communalism involves thinking along the following lines: • The followers of a particular religion must belong to one community. Their fundamental interests should be the same. Any difference that they may have is irrelevant or trivial for community life.

What is the most common form of communalism? ›

Answer: Communalism can take several forms in politics as— (a) The most common expression of communalism is of communal superiority in our everyday beliefs. Militant religious groups are an example.

What is the basis of communal politics? ›

Communal politics is based on the idea that religion is the principal basis of social community.

What is the communalism basis of communal politics? ›

Communalism is an ideology that arises due to religious pluralism. When religion becomes the basis of a government or a nation, it gives rise to communal politics. The differences between two religious communities is exploited to incite hatred and violence.

What is communal politics when does the communal problem become acute? ›

Communalism creates an acute problem when: Religion is used in politics as an exclusive factor where people belonging to different religions are treated differently Demands of one religion are against the demands of another religion and there is feeling of distrust among the people of different religions Beliefs and ...

Who is the father of communalism? ›

Lord Minto is known as the father of the communal electorate. This was due to the introduction of the Indian Councils Act, 1909 which introduced separate electorates for Muslims. This act effectively 'legalised communalism' as it introduced electorates based solely on religion.

What are the main factors responsible for communal violence? ›

Factors Responsible for Communal Violence

Economic Causes – Uneven development, class divisions, poverty and unemployment aggravates insecurity in the common men which make them vulnerable to political manipulation.

How did communalism emerge in India? ›

The stagnant economy of India during the British rule was an important factor for the growth of communalism in India. It was deeply rooted in and was an expression of the interests and aspirations of the middle classes in a social set up in which opportunities for them were inadequate.

What can we learn from Amartya Sen? ›

Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Sen needs little introduction. His theories of human development and the underlying mechanisms of poverty and famine have contributed to the global fight against injustice, inequality, disease and ignorance.

What is Amartya Sen famous for? ›

Amartya Sen is a world-renowned economist, scholar, philosopher and author. He has done groundbreaking research in a number of areas, including social choice theory, political and moral philosophy and decision theory.

How does Sen describe freedom? ›

As Sen notes, “People are only free where they can provide for their basic needs and realize their innate abilities.” These abilities largely rely on access to resources and the ability to utilize them in a means conducive to the development of individual freedom. Development, therefore, as posed by Sen, provides a ...

Who suggested the name of Amartya Sen? ›

They wrote that it was Rabindranath Tagore - the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 - who suggested the name "Amartya" to his mother. Amartya Sen's mother was the daughter of scholar Kshitimohan Sen, who was a close associate of Tagore's.

Who is the mother of economics? ›

Amartya Sen is considered to be the Mother Teresa of Economics.

How freedom in Sen's view supports expansion of capabilities of individuals in a society? ›

Sen calls this notion capabilities. Capabilities are the real freedoms that people have to achieve their potential doings and beings. Real freedom in this sense means that one has all the required means necessary to achieve that doing or being if one wishes to.

Who won both Nobel Prize and Bharat Ratna? ›

Mother Teresa was a nun and a missionary who devoted her life caring for the poor and sick and for her work she has received many honors including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and Bharat Ratna in 1980.

Who got last Nobel Prize in India? ›

Indian Nobel Prize Winner 2019- Abhijit Banerjee

An Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee was born on February 21, 1961, in Dhule (India). He is awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with his wife Esther Duflo and Harvard University's Michel Kremer.

Who got 1st Nobel Prize in economics? ›

The first prize in economic sciences was awarded to Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen in 1969. The prize in economic sciences is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden, according to the same principles as for the Nobel Prizes that have been awarded since 1901.

What does Rousseau say is the origin of inequality? ›

Rousseau, in brief, propounded that inequality comes from property, but the increase in inequality is caused by the development of the human spirit. Further, he said that vanity among human beings and differences in property led to inequality - the rich became richer and the poor became poorer.

Why is it important to examine inequality? ›

Why should we care about inequality? Some studies show that high inequality [encourages] poor people to choose very high tax rates on the rich, which reduces investments and growth rates. That's one [reason we should care.]

Who discovered linear inequalities? ›

The ancient mathematicians knew three types of inequalities:

Inequalities have existed in different branches of mathematics but it was not a systemic discipline. In 1934, the first book “Inequalities” was written by G. H. Hardy, J. Littlewood, and J.

What is equality According to Rousseau? ›

To the proposition that all men are born equal he could be said to subscribe only in the sense that “all men were originally equal”. Rousseau argued that equality prevailed in the state of nature; but he also said it would be wrong to expect, even to desire such equality in civil society.

Who said inequality is a natural and natural? ›

Rousseau discusses two types of inequality: natural, or physical inequality, and ethical, or moral inequality. Natural inequality involves differences between one human's body and that of another—it is a product of nature.

What is the example of natural inequality? ›

For example there are certain characteristics with the people are born with and cannot easily change. For instance, women were for long described as the weaker sex, considered coward and of lesser intelligence than men, needing special protection.

Who is a political philosopher had a distinguished between natural and social inequality? ›

Rousseau, in his A Discourse on Inequality, an account of the historical development of the human race, distinguished between “natural man” (man as formed by nature) and “social man” (man as shaped by society).

What are the 3 different types of inequality? ›

There are three main types of economic inequality:
  • Income Inequality. Income inequality is the extent to which income is distributed unevenly in a group of people. Income. ...
  • Pay Inequality. A person's pay is different to their income. Pay refers to payment from employment only. ...
  • Wealth Inequality.

What is the impact of inequality in our society? ›

Inequality leads to a societal breakdown in trust, solidarity and social cohesion, it reduces people's willingness to act for the common good.

What are the 5 inequalities? ›

Five types of inequality
  • political inequality;
  • differing life outcomes;
  • inequality of opportunity;
  • treatment and responsibility;
  • shared equality of membership in the areas of nation, faith and family.
10 Dec 2008

What are the 5 inequality symbols? ›

The five inequality symbols in Maths are greater than symbol (>), less than symbol (<), greater than or equal to symbol (≥), less than or equal to symbol (≤), and not equal to symbol (≠).

What is example of linear inequality? ›

What is Linear Inequalities? Any two real numbers or two algebraic expressions associated with the symbol '<', '>', '≤' or '≥' form a linear inequality. For example, 9<11, 18>17 are examples of numerical inequalities and x+7>y, y<10-x, x ≥ y > 11 are examples of algebraic inequalities.

What is an example of political equality? ›

Equal citizenship constitutes the core of political egalitarianism. This is expressed in such principles as one person, one vote, equality before the law, and equal rights of free speech.

What are the three major works of Rousseau? ›

Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the philosophical treatises A Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (1755) and The Social Contract (1762); the novels Julie; or, The New Eloise (1761) and Émile; or, On Education (1762); and the autobiographical Confessions (1782–1789), among other works.

Who was the first to propose everyone is equal before the law what country? ›

In Modern times the rule of law was propounded by the Albert Dicey, a British jurist and Philosopher. He gave following three postulates of rule of law: 1. Everyone is equal before the law. 2.


1. Express Adda - Amartya Sen speaks on the missing women of India
2. Amartya Sen Opines Modi Govt 'Not Good For India'
(India Today)
3. Liberal forces need to come together against BJP, says Amartya Sen
4. Amartya Sen says congress must tell people who their leader is.
5. Amartya Sen On The Dangers Of Nationalism and Populism
(The Wire)
6. Amartya Sen - Conversations with History
(University of California Television (UCTV))

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