Category Archives: Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen

I taught a class with Ken Arrow and John Rawls in ’68-’69. I was visiting here at Harvard. Arrow was then on the faculty of Harvard for some years, and Rawls was very established at Harvard. So the three of us together, we did a class on justice and social choice, which was quite fun. I remember, while flying to a meeting in Washington, my neighbor on the plane asked me what did I do? I said, “I teach in Delhi, but at the moment I’m visiting Harvard.” I told him that I’m concerned with justice and social choice involving aggregation of individuals’ disparate views. And he said, “Oh, let me tell you: There is a very interesting class taught by Kenneth Arrow, John Rawls, and some unknown guy on this very subject. You should check it out!”

Amartya Sen, ‘I’ve never done work that I was not interested in. That is a very good reason to go on’, The Harvard Gazette, June 3, 2021

Jean Drèze & Amartya Sen

A distinction is sometimes drawn between ‘man-made’ famines and famines caused by nature. […] Blaming nature can, of course, be very consoling and comforting. It can be of great use especially to those in positions of power and responsibility. Comfortable inaction is, however, typically purchased at a very heavy price—a price that is paid by others, often with their lives.

Jean Drèze & Amartya Sen, Hunger and Public Action, Oxford, 1989, pp. 46-47