Amartya Sen – “The Conscience of the profession”

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Amartya Sen the Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics was born on 3rd November 1933 in Santiniketan, India. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1998 was awarded to Amartya Sen “for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory and for his interest in the problems of society’s poorest members”,Nov 13, 2014 and Bharat Ratna in 1999 for his work in welfare economics. He was also awarded the inaugural Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize in recognition of his work on welfare economics in February 2015 during a reception at the Royal Academy in the UK.

Sen was born in a Bengali family in Manikganj, Bangladesh, to Ashutosh Sen and Amita Sen. He was named Amartya Sen by the great writer and scholar Rabindranath Tagore. His father Ashutosh Sen was a professor of chemistry at the Dhaka University who moved with his family to West Bengal in 1945 and worked at various government institutions, including the West Bengal Public Service Commission as chairman, and the Union Public Service Commission. Sen’s mother Amita Sen was the daughter of Kshiti Mohan Sen, a well-known scholar of ancient and medieval India and close associate of Rabindranath Tagore.

He is currently the Professor at Thomas W Lamont University and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. He served as the chancellor of Nalanda University. He is also a senior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows , a distinguished fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, an honorary fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he served as Master from 1998 to 2004.

Sen has been called “the Conscience of the profession” and “the Mother Teresa of Economics” for his work on famine, human development theory, welfare economics,the underlying mechanisms of poverty, gender equality, and political liberalism. However, he denies the comparison to Mother Teresa, saying that he has never tried to follow a lifestyle of dedicated self-sacrifice.

Sen has received over 90 honorary degrees from universities around the world.

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