ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Amartya Sen and Our World of Exaggerated Opposites

Economics is not what this or that economist preaches. But in our world of preaching and counter-preaching, or exaggerated opposites, we do not stay happy with a brilliant analyst We drag him into the indignity of preaching, POPULAR discussions almost invariably tend to get mired in exaggerated opposites: left and right, reason and violence, market versus state, planning and piecemeal reform, and so on, as if they exhaust the range of choice open to us. An unfortunate consequence of this excessive conceptual polarisation is that we often get involved in issues like whether Amartya Sen belongs to the left or the right. Those of us who grew up in a political atmosphere of a black-and-white kind are yet to accept the possibility of striking a middle ground between apparently opposing worldviews. In our world of exaggerated opposites Sen appears to be disturbingly close to the middle. Invoking both Adam Smith and Karl Marx in the same context that is what he often does is not particularly liked by the followers of either of them.

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