Talk:Amartya Sen

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Publications list[edit]

It's a mess; needs ordering and refining. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Indian-American ?[edit]

He is listed under "Indian-Americans." I don't believe he is an American citizen.

He is not an Indian-American "not an American citizen". He is a citizen of India and will remain so as the reason why he chose not to get/pursue citizenship of any other country is only because he is proud to be from India and links his ancestral civilization, cultural and religious roots to India. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

Public choice theory[edit]

This page, combined with Public choice theory do not do much to explain what public choice theory is, why Sen would be opposed to it, or what Sen advocates instead. If we're going to mention public choice theory at all, these would all be nice things to clarify. --Ryguasu 21:54 Feb 1, 2003 (UTC)

Why is this page the place to describe public choice theory? It's linked to the public choice theory article and that should seem sufficient since it is merely a quotation and not a full examination by Sen on rational choice theory. If the public choice theory article is insufficient then that's an issue for that article. However, I concede that since these are only quotations and not his academic position in full then maybe they should be shifted to Wikiquote.

Sen doesn't even understand public choice theory and opposes only because it makes his government interventions irrelevant —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sabaton10 (talkcontribs) 09:16, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Capability approach[edit]

somebody should add the Human Development Capability Association that Sen has recently founded. --mhuben


The first paragraph doesn't make a mention of his being an Indian economist. Is there a reason? -- Sundar 08:32, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)

He is of Indian descend. But is he a citizen of India? --DuKot 18:40, 15 May 2005 (UTC)
Dr. Sen is an Indian because till today he holds on to Indian passport only.

I disagree that Poverty and Famines is Sen's "best-known" work--I might go with "most influential". It was an academic monograph that propelled his rise within academia primarily. His recent Development as Freedom was a popular best-seller around the world, accessible to the lay public, released around the time he received his Nobel Prize, and has to qualify as the "best-known" (and it is far more recent as well). -Joel

Irish famine[edit]

article said :(Sen counts the Irish Potato Famine in 1846 as an instance of alien rule, even though the UK was independent and democratic at the time.)

It's quite straight forward that Ireland was not independent (and hence not democratic) at the time so I'll delete it. Mavros 17:17, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Sen paradox or Liberal paradox[edit]

IMHO Sen paradox also known as Liberal paradox should be mentioned

--Y2y 12:00, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Awards sections shifted below[edit]

The Awards section came immediately after the introduction. I have shifted it to just above the Quotes section. I hope it makes better sense and is more in tune with other Wiki articles. Priyatu 02:37, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Illogical introduction?[edit]

A sentence from the first paragraph reads, "Sen has produced work on gender inequality, exemplified by his general use of female pronouns when referring to an abstract person."

Not quite logical. "Sen has produced work on gender inequality," but is "his general use of female pronouns when referring to an abstract person" an example of his "work on gender inequality"? If so, it is a different sort of "work." Using female pronouns is not research; it is a stylistic choice emblematic of his recognition of a global problem.

I have deleted the reference to the Warwick paper which critiques Sen`s analysis of the Bengal Famine, because the article neither states an author nor has it been published. Moreover, it does not take into account a number of responses Sen has provided to critics such as Tauger, Mukherjee. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:25, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Please don't complain so, if you feel you can write a much better introduction (one that is "logical"), go ahead.

Perception of Sen among Many Indians[edit]

I think the following text (supported only by Kshatriyaaz) should be properly sourced and reworded or deleted. See WP:NEU, WP:RS

Sen has been critiqued for taking up pro-Islamist and anti-Hindu positions on account of his left of center political beliefs. Sen's non-economic works are percieved by many Indians as shallow and reflective of his dilettante politicking in India.

Kshatriyaaz, please replay.

--Y2y 21:56, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Moreover, one should firstly describe Sen's position on the topics. (For example, mention his essay 'India: Large and Small' in which he engages with some claims made by the Hindutva movement. See f.e. Otherwise: 1) a reader can not understand what is criticized; 2) WP:NPOV is violated.

Without that this text should be deleted, I think.

--Y2y 20:00, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

No replay. So I have deleted this text. --Y2y 23:00, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Dr. Sen is an atheist[edit]

Dr. Amartya Sen is a non-religious hindu and an atheist. Dr. Sen is like me. He has clearly said that he is an atheist with a hindu background. RS

Indeed Dr. Amartya Sen is an atheist. In his bio in the article it only says "Hindu", which is inaccurate. Unfortunately this box is un-editable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:04, 5 November 2007 (UTC)


Can someone tell me how to pronounce this guy's name? --alexa999 21:14, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Am•ar•tee'•yuh, so I've heard. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 13:36, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

In Bengali - his native tongue (and mine), it is pronounced Aw-mawrt-toh. However, in most of the rest of India, it will be pronounced like the user Thomasmeeks has indicated - Uh-mer-ti-ah. --Sbansban (talk) 08:47, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

The meaning of his name: The article says it is 'immortal'. But A-martya would mean not from ,martya, i.e not from Earth. So I guess the name means Unearthly/divine/free from earthly deficiencies etc. --- Sudeepta — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:57, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 03:44, 10 November 2007 (UTC)


I'm thinking that the section on criticism could use some cleaning up. Its bulk is made up of a summary of a certain economist's views on Sen's theory of famines. A cursory look at that economist's website reveals him to be a less than reliable source (he claims, for instance, to have "saved millions of lives" through his work). I'm sure there's more legitimate and authoritative critism of Sen out there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:22, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

I half agree with your positions. You are right that the P Bowbrick's website is a unreliable source to cite; however Browbick had an article in the Food Policy journal in 1986, "The Causes of Famine: A Refutation of Professor Sen’s Theory", which was followed by Sen's reply and a rejoinder by Brwobick in subsequent issues. These articles are notable scholarly criticism and deserve to me mentioned in the wikipedia article. That said, Browbick's critique of Sen's Poverty and Famines should be mentioned alongside the discussion of that work, and not segregated to a separate criticism section. Ditto, for the other critiques in the section.
Would you like to edit the article to better source and integrate these and possibly other criticisms of Sen's work ? I will try to lend a hand but it may be a few days before I can devote time to it. Regards. Abecedare (talk) 15:56, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

No Criticism?[edit]

Hello everyone, Amartya Sen's arguments on the causation of famine are contested by many academics. In fact, although Sen's Entitlement approach has won popular approval it doesn't seem as though the academic consensus is necessarily in his favour. Here are a few debates and criticisms he has had over the years:

Peter Bowbrick, “A refutation of Sen’s theory of famine”, Food Policy. 11(2) 105-124. 1986.
Amartya Sen “The causes of famine: a reply”, Food Policy 11(2) 125-132, 1986.
George Allen “Famines: the Bowbrick-Sen dispute and some related issues,” Food Policy, 11(3) 259-263, 1986
Peter Bowbrick, “Rejoinder: an untenable hypothesis on the causes of famine”, Food Policy. 12(1) 5-9, February. 1987
O. Goswami 'The Bengal Famine of 1943: Re-examining the Data' in, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol 27, No. 4, 1990.
Dipak Basu, (1984) "Food Policy and the analysis of famine" Indian Journal of Economics 64 254: 289-301
Dipak Basu "Sen's analysis of famine: a critique" The Journal of Development Studies 22:3 April 1986.
Mark Tauger, 'Entitlement, Shortage and the 1943 Bengal Famine: Another Look, The Journal of Peasant Studies, 33:1, Jan. 2006
Mark Tauger, 'The Indian Famine Crises of World War II', British Scholar, 1:2, March 2009, pp.166-196
Cormac O'Grada, 'The Ripple that Drowns? Twentieth-Century Famines in China and India as Economic History', The Economic History Review, Vol. 61, No. S1, pp. 5-37, August 2008
Cormac O'Grada, Famine: A Short History, Princeton University Press, 2009
Peter Nolan, “The Causation and Prevention of Famines: A Critique of A.K. Sen,” Journal of Peasant Studies , Vol. 21, No. 1 (1993), pp. 1–28
Amartya Sen, The causation and prevention of famines: A reply, Journal of Peasant Studies, Volume 21, Issue 1 October 1993 , pages 29 - 40

This is a substantial body of scholarly criticism, to which Amartya Sen has published some responses. I think a wikipedia entry on Amartya Sen's life should have a sizeable section on these criticisms and debates, or make an attempt to integrate it into the main body of the biography. But as it is it is surely unacceptable to ignore all these pages of criticism. Any comments?- Led125 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:25, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

It looks like there used to be a "Criticism" section, but it is no longer here. I agree that such a controversial figure should have a "Criticism" section. From <WP:BLP>: "Criticism and praise should be included if they can be sourced to reliable secondary sources, so long as the material is presented responsibly, conservatively, and in a disinterested tone." And of course, <WP:POV> states that articles should represent "fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources." So, based on Wikipedia policies, I agree that the article should include criticism. 0x539 (talk) 07:56, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Oster & controversy[edit]

There's this paragraph: "He wrote a controversial article in the New York Review of Books entitled "More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing", 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.". Given that Oster has changed her mind due to new studies, is it worth mentioning this at all (in an article on Sen)? Is Sen's original thesis still controversial? Cretog8 (talk) 21:19, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Farm size vs. Productivity[edit]

In an article here [1], George Monbiot credits Sen with the discovery that small holding farms are more productive than large farms, and that this principle is more or less universal. He states that later works have repeatedly confirmed this discovery. The specific article by Sen that Monbiot cites is: Amartya Sen, 1962. An Aspect of Indian Agriculture. Economic Weekly, Vol. 14.

If this is correct (that is, that Sen did make this discovery, and that the discovery is in fact true), then this would seem to be a very interesting and important aspect of Sen's work - even if it wasn't a major part of his research. Is there someone knowledgable on this topic that could expand on this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:49, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

== picture


I would suggest to replace the picture "old" with "new" because of the quality of the image. Other projects have done so, if there are no objections, I will proceed. --hroest 16:32, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Opposed to Bernard Williams?[edit]

I am very much curious why Bernard Williams is listed in the infobox as someone Sen is opposed to. They have their differences, but they also had very sympathetic views on a variety of issues. In any case, despite their frequent dealings with each other, I doubt that the relationship was at all significant enough to merit a listing like 'Amartya Sen opposes Bernard Williams'. Sen thinks utilitarianism needs modification, Williams thought that it should be modified all the way into the rubbish bin, Sen proposed the capacity approach, which Williams was just as suspicious of as he was every other theory of comparable scope, but really, this does not a career-defining relationship make. It's hardly Rawls/Nozick, is what I'm saying. I propose we remove the listing. --GoodIntentionstalk 12:48, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

In the absence of any objection, I've gone ahead and removed the listing. --GoodIntentionstalk 07:07, 1 December 2010 (UTC)


I see that the article is listed in both Indian atheists and Indian Hindus categories, clearly it should belong only in one of the two. I haven't read through completely to see the sourcing for either, but the incorrect one has to be removed. —SpacemanSpiff 18:54, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

According to Sen one can be a Hindu as well as an Atheist at the same time. Saifuz (talk) 03:57, 16 September 2012 (UTC)


Shouldn't the entries under the head 'Influences' be reconsidered? Are all the people mentioned really have influence on Sen's thinking and writing?Saifuz (talk) 03:52, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Criticism?? (Again)[edit]

Despite the fact that this has been mentioned twice on this talk page, there still isnt a section about criticism. Perhaps there are some users committing vandalism and/or pushing a viewpoint? This page should be on people's watch lists, because there have been references that this particular section has been deleted in the past. (talk) 17:11, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

New References[edit]

I have quite recently added a few credible references to Amartya Sen's research sub-section hoping to improve the quality of this page. Please feel free to correct me and the references that I have added in case anyone were to find it unsatisfactory... In case, the references made are acceptable would someone please acknowledge it, as I wish to make more additions to the reference section... For now I have made a total of 7 references, all in the Research section and have kept other references on hold... Ajayupai95 (talk) 12:43, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

B. R. Ambedkar[edit]

I could not find a source for the following recent addition so I have deleted this:

Prof.Sen ,6th Indian to get Prestigious Nobel Prize has recently claimed in a lecture session :

Does anyone have a reliable source for this and should it go in. I think the nobel speech (in the refs) gives a nice review of some of the influences on him but couldn't see Ambedkar there. I might easily be missing something though. (Msrasnw (talk) 10:29, 19 April 2013 (UTC))

Sen's practice of rationality.[edit]

I have described Sen's practice of Instrumental and value rationality in the article so-named. I invite comments.TBR-qed (talk) 20:39, 3 August 2016 (UTC)