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Featured Books: Books by Amartya Sen

- By Dhanashree Ghadge

Books by Amartya Sen, a Renowned Economist and Nobel Prize Winner, available with Bhavan’s Library

1. Home in the World: A Memoir

London: Allen Lane, 2021.

In narrating the first 30 years of his life, Amartya Sen interweaves scenes from his life with reflections on economics, welfare and social justice and how his experiences at different places (West Bengal, Dhaka and Cambridge) shaped his work. The book is abound with the childhood memories of people he grew around, the culture and critical events of those times and his interactions with many leading figures of that generation.

2. Collective Choice and Social Welfare

London: Penguin Books, 2017.

Originally published in 1970, this work is a ground breaking study of collective preference, and the relationship between the objectives of social action and the preferences and aspirations of society's members. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 ‘for his contributions to welfare economics’.

3. An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions

London: Penguin Books, 2013.

In this book, Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen highlight the major problems that the country is facing at present like inadequacy of social services and lack of attention to the essential needs of the people. The authors present an analysis of these deprivations and inequalities and the possibility of change through democratic practice.

4. Identity and Violence: the Illusion of Destiny

London: Penguin Group, 2005.

The author argues that we are increasingly becoming divided by religion, culture and class thereby losing the importance of human life. On the one hand ‘a sense of identity can be a source not merely of pride and joy, but also of strength and confidence’; at the same time, ‘identity can also kill - and kill with abandon’. The author goes on to show how we can move towards peace instead of war.

5.The Idea of Justice

London: Penguin Books, 2009.

The work is a critique of John Rawl’s ideas in ‘A Theory of Justice (1971)’. The author talks about what can be done to make society fairer and what is integral and right for the society. It provides a beacon of vision that every citizen of a country must see and stand up for.

6.The Argumentative Indian

London: Penguin Book, 2005.

This is a collection of essays that discusses India’s history and identity, public conversation and debate and intellectual pluralism in Indian society. The author argues that in India there has been a long tradition of questioning the truth of ideas through discussion and dialogue.

7.The Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze Omnibus

New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999.

The omnibus consists of three works by two of the world's finest developmental economists, Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze. The authors explore the causes of hunger, the role public action can play in its alleviation, and the Indian experience in this context. The three works provide a comprehensive theoretical and empirical analysis of relevant developmental issues.

8.Development as Freedom

New York: Alfred a Knopf, 1999.

In this book, the author explores the relationship between freedom and development, the way in which freedom is both the end and means of sustaining economic life and welfare. He releases the idea of individual freedom from association with any particular tradition.