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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

something that simply cannot be taken away?). For instance, in the United States citizens have a hypothetical "right" to vote. To Sen, this concept is fairly empty. In order for citizens to have a capacity to vote, they first must have "functionings." These "functionings" can range from the very broad, such as the availability of education, to the very specific, such as transportation to the polls. Only when such barriers are removed can the citizen truly be said to act out of personal choice. It is up to the individual society to make the list of minimum capabilities guaranteed by that society. For an example of the "capabilities approach" in practice, see Martha Nussbaum's Women and Human Development. 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), analyzing the mortality impact of unequal rights between the genders in the developing world, particularly Asia. Other studies, such as one by Emily Oster, have argued that this is an overestimation, though Oster has recanted some of her conclusions.[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. He mounted one of the few major challenges to the economic model that posited self-interest as the prime motivating factor of human activity. While his line of thinking remains peripheral, there is no question that his work helped to re-prioritize a significant sector of economists and development workers, 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. Sen, who devoted his career to such issues, was called the "conscience of his profession." His influential monograph Collective Choice and Social Welfare (1970), which addressed problems related to individual rights (including formulation of the liberal paradox), justice and equity, majority rule, and the availability of information about individual conditions, inspired researchers to turn their attention to issues of basic welfare. Sen devised methods of measuring poverty that yielded useful information for improving economic conditions for the poor. For instance, 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, women have lower mortality rates at all ages, live longer, and make a slight majority of the population. Sen claimed that this skewed ratio results from the better health treatment and childhood opportunities afforded boys in those countries, as well as sex-specific abortion. Governments and international organizations handling food crises were influenced by Sen's work. 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, as, for example, through public-works projects, and to maintain stable prices for food. A vigorous defender of political freedom, Sen believed that famines do not occur in functioning democracies because their leaders must be more responsive to the demands of the citizens. In order for economic growth to be achieved, he argued, social reforms, such as improvements in education and public health, must precede economic reform.

[edit] Perceptions: In comparisons

Amartya has been called "the Conscience and the Mother Teresa of Economics"[15] for his work on famine, human development theory, welfare economics, the underlying mechanisms of poverty, gender inequality, and political liberalism. However, 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, Sen supported the new initiative Spinelli Group in the European Parliament, which was founded to reinvigorate the strive for federalisation of the European Union (EU). Other prominent supporters are: Jacques Delors, Daniel CohnBendit, Guy Verhofstadt, Andrew Duff, Elmar Brok.

[edit] India: University mentor for growth and revival

[edit] Nalanda International University Project
In May 2007, he was appointed as chairman of Nalanda Mentor Group to steer the execution of Nalanda University Project, which seeks to revive the ancient seat of learning at Nalanda, Bihar, India into an international university.

[edit] Presidency College, Kolkata

In June 2011, he was appointed as the Chief Mentor of Presidency College by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

[edit] Personal life and beliefs

Sen's first wife was Nabaneeta Dev Sen, an Indian writer and scholar, with whom he had two children: Antara, a journalist and publisher, and Nandana, a Bollywood actress. Their marriage broke up shortly after they moved to London in 1971. In 1973, he married his second wife, Eva Colorni who was Jewish,[17] who died from stomach cancer quite suddenly in 1985. They had two children, Indrani, a journalist in New York, and Kabir, who teaches music at Shady Hill School. His present wife, Emma Georgina Rothschild, is an economic historian, an expert on Adam Smith and Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. Sen usually spends his winter holidays at his home in Santiniketan in West Bengal, India, where he likes to go on long bike rides, and maintains a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he and Emma spend the spring and long vacations. Asked how he relaxes, he replies: "I read a lot and like arguing with people."

Sen is a self-proclaimed agnostic and holds that this can be associated with Hinduism as a political entity.[18][19][20][21] In an interview for the magazine California, which is published by the University of California, Berkeley, he noted[22]:

In some ways people had got used to the idea that India was spiritual and religion-oriented. That gave a leg up to the religious interpretation of India, despite the fact that Sanskrit had a larger atheistic literature than what exists in any other classical language. Madhava Acharya, the remarkable 14th century philosopher, wrote this rather great book called Sarvadarshansamgraha, 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.

[edit] Academic achievements, awards and honors

Amartya has received many honorary degrees (over 90)[23] from universities around the world, 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 Mend sFrance

Univers ity of Gtting en Univers ity of Cape Town Univers ity of the Witwat ersrand Sorbon ne Univers ity College Dublin Univers ity of Osnabr ck Univers ity of Exeter Univers

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 rsit 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 Ko 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

Zuric h 1981; He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[24] 1982: He was awarded honorary fellowship by the Institute of Social Studies. 1998: He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in welfare economics. 1999: He received the Bharat Ratna 'the highest civilian award in India' by the President of India. 1999: He was offered the honorary citizenship of Bangladesh by Sheikh Hasina in recognition of his achievements in winning the Nobel Prize, 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, UK. 2000: He received Leontief Prize for his outstanding contribution to economic theory from the Global Development and Environment Institute. 2000: He was awarded the Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service USA; 2000: He was the 351st Commencement Speaker of Harvard University. 2002: He received the International Humanist Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union. 2003: He was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indian Chamber of Commerce[which?]. 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