Amartya Sen

  • Imaginons trois enfants et une flûte. Anne affirme que la flûte lui revient parce qu'elle est la seule qui sache en jouer ; Bob parce qu'il est pauvre au point de n'avoir aucun jouet ; Carla parce qu'elle a passé des mois à la fabriquer. Comment trancher entre ces trois revendications, toutes aussi légitimes ? Aucune institution, aucune procédure ne nous aidera à résoudre ce différend d'une manière qui serait universellement acceptée comme juste.C'est pourquoi Amartya Sen s'écarte aujourd'hui, résolument et définitivement, des théories de la justice qui veulent définir les règles et les principes qui gouvernent des institutions justes dans un monde idéal - dans la tradition de Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke et Kant, et, à notre époque, du principal penseur de la philosophie politique, John Rawls. Sen s'inscrit dans une autre tradition des Lumières, portée par Smith, Condorcet, Bentham, Wollstonecraft, Marx et Mill : celle qui compare différentes situations sociales pour combattre les injustices réelles.La démocratie, en tant que « gouvernement par la discussion », joue dans cette lutte un rôle clé. Car c'est à partir de l'exercice de la raison publique qu'on peut choisir entre les diverses conceptions du juste, selon les priorités du moment et les facultés de chacun. Ce pluralisme raisonné est un engagement politique : le moyen par lequel Sen veut combattre les inégalités de pouvoir comme les inégalités de revenu, en deçà de l'idéal mais au-delà de la nation, vers la justice réelle globale. Il importe d'accroître les revenus, mais aussi de renforcer le pouvoir des individus de choisir, de mener la vie à laquelle ils aspirent. C'est ainsi qu'une personne devient concrètement libre.L'idée de justice représente l'aboutissement de cinq décennies de travail et de réflexion, mais aussi d'engagement dans les affaires du monde.

  • Comment devenir une authentique démocratie ? Telle est la question à laquelle s'efforce de répondre Amartya Sen à travers ces treize essais consacrés à l'Inde. Aux tenants de l'identité, il propose de plonger dans l'histoire calendaire indienne, profondément multiculturaliste et plurimillénaire. Aux adeptes d'une approche étroitement économique, Amartya Sen rappelle qu'on ne peut séparer le combat contre les inégalités, le potentiel humain et la croissance économique. Ouvrir le système éducatif indien aux fillettes est une nécessité pour lutter contre l'injustice faite aux femmes... mais aussi à l'Inde ! Enfin, la démocratie doit se concevoir à l'aune des minorités invisibles et non des majorités coalisées avec les médias. À travers le cas indien, un message humaniste et universel. Une initiation à la pensée de l'un des intellectuels indiens les plus connus et respectés au monde. Amartya Sen est prix Nobel d'économie 1998. Il a longtemps présidé Trinity College, à Cambridge, en Angleterre, avant de devenir professeur à l'Université Harvard. Il a notamment publié Un nouveau modèle économique et Rationalité et liberté en économie, ainsi que L'Inde. Histoire, culture et identité, et Identité et violence. 

  • Is justice an ideal, forever beyond our grasp, or something that may actually guide our practical decisions and enhance our lives? In this wide-ranging book, Amartya Sen presents an alternative approach to mainstream theories of justice which, despite their many specific achievements have taken us, he argues, in the wrong direction in general.

    At the heart of Sen's argument is his insistence on the role of public reason in establishing what can make societies less unjust. But it is in the nature of reasoning about justice, argues Sen, that it does not allow all questions to be settled even in theory; there are choices to be faced between alternative assessments of what is reasonable. Sen also shows how concern about the principles of justice in the modern world must avoid parochialism, and further, address questions of global injustice. The breadth of vision, intellectual acuity and striking humanity of one of the world's leading public intellectuals have never been more clearly shown than in this remarkable book.

  • By the winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Economics,yes'>#160;yes'>#160;an essential andyes'>#160;yes'>#160;paradigmaltering framework for understanding economic developmentfor both rich and poorin the twentyfirst century. Freedom, Sen argues, is both the end and most efficient means of sustaining economic life and the key to securing the general welfare of the world's entire population. Releasing the idea of individual freedom from association with any particular historical, intellectual, political, or religious tradition, Sen clearly demonstrates its current applicability and possibilities. In the new global economy, where, despite unprecedented increases in overall opulence, the contemporary world denies elementary freedoms to vast numbersperhaps even the majority of peoplehe concludes, it is still possible to practically and optimistically restain a sense of social accountability. Development as Freedom is essential reading.From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • This book focuses on the causes of starvation in general and famines in particular. The traditional analysis of famines is shown to be fundamentally defective, and the author develops an alternative analysis.

  • India is a very diverse country with many distinct pursuits, vastly different convictions, widely divergent customs, and a veritable feast of viewpoints. The Argumentative Indian brings together an illuminating selection of writings from Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen that outline the need to understand contemporary India in the light of its long argumentative tradition.

    The understanding and use of this rich argumentative tradition are critically important, Sen argues, for the success of India's democracy, the defence of its secular politics, the removal of inequalities related to class, caste, gender and community, and the pursuit of sub-continental peace.

  • The world may be more riven by murderous violence than ever before, yet Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen argues in this sweeping philosophical work that its brutalities are driven as much by confusion as by inescapable hatred.Sen argues in his new book that conflict and violence are sustained today, no less than the past, by the illusion of a unique identity. Indeed, the world is increasingly taken to be divided between religions (or 'cultures' or 'civilizations'), ignoring the relevance of other ways in which people see themselves through class, gender, profession, language, literature, science, music, morals or politics, and denying the real possibilities of reasoned choices. In Identity and Violence he overturns such stereotypes as the 'the monolithic Middle East' or 'the Western Mind'. Through his penetrating investigation of such subjects as multiculturalism, fundamentalism, terrorism and globalization, he brings out the need for a clear-headed understanding of human freedom and a constructive public voice in Global civil society. The world, Sen shows, can be made to move towards peace as firmly as it has recently spiralled towards war.

  • Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen's first great book, now reissued in a fully revised and expanded second edition'Can the values which individual members of society attach to different alternatives be aggregated into values for society as a whole, in a way that is both fair and theoretically sound? Is the majority principle a workable rule for making decisions? How should income inequality be measured? When and how can we compare the distribution of welfare in different societies?'These questions, from the citation by the Swedish Academy of Sciences when Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, refer to his work in Collective Choice and Social Welfare, the most important of all his early books. Originally published in 1970, this classic work in welfare economics has been recognized for its ground-breaking role in integrating economics and ethics, and for its influence in opening up new areas of research in social choice, including aggregative assessment. It has also had a large influence on international organizations, including the United Nations, particularly in its work on human development. In its original version, the book showed that the 'impossibility theorems' in social choice theory-led by the pioneering work of Kenneth Arrow-need not be seen as destructive of the possibility of reasoned and democratic social choice. Sen's ideas about social choice, welfare economics, inequality, poverty and human rights have continued to evolve since the book's first appearance. This expanded edition, which begins by reproducing the 1970 edition in its entirety, goes on to present eleven new chapters of new arguments and results. As in the original version, the new chapters alternate between non-mathematical chapters completely accessible to all, and those which present mathematical arguments and proofs. The reader who prefers to shun mathematics can follow all the non-mathematical chapters on their own, to receive a full, informal understanding. There is also a substantial new introduction which gives a superb overview of the whole subject of social choice.

  • Pionnière sur le continent asiatique en matière de démocratie, l'Inde est devenue, au cours des dix dernières années, la deuxième plus forte économie mondiale en termes de croissance. Si l'on ajoute à cela Bollywood, le cricket, les hautes technologies, la mode et la gastronomie, on peut à juste titre lui trouver quelque splendeur. Mais comment comprendre qu'en contrepartie des centaines de millions d'Indiens soient toujours privés d'eau potable, d'électricité, de transports, de sanitaires, d'éducation et d'accès aux soins médicaux ?
    C'est que derrière ce tableau se cache un colosse aux pieds d'argile, une nation qui se donne les atours d'une opulente Californie mais qui, faute d'avoir combattu le sous-développement, les injustices sociales et les inégalités, est aujourd'hui loin derrière la Chine sur le plan des indicateurs sociaux et à égalité avec l'Afrique subsaharienne... À ses dépens, l'Inde apporte la preuve qu'il n'y a pas d'économie viable sans redistribution des richesses, pas de démocratie réelle sans discussion publique, ni de développement durable sans égalité.
    Vibrant appel d'un Nobel charismatique et qui toute sa vie aura pensé et théorisé la justice sociale, ce texte donne les clés de compréhension d'une nation appelée de facto à bousculer demain les grands équilibres de l'économie mondiale.


    VO : An Uncertain Glory. India and Its Contradictions Photomontage © Chris de Bode / Panos / REA ; © Ron Nickel / Design Pics / Corbis Copyright © Jean Drèze & Amartya Sen, 2013 Les auteurs ont fait valoir leurs droits moraux. Tous droits réservés.
    L'ouvrage original a paru sous le titre An Uncertain Glory. India and Its Contradictions aux éditions Allen Lane, Penguin Books Ltd, Londres, 2013.
    Traduction © Flammarion, 2014

  • From two of India's leading economists, Jean Drèze (Hunger and Public Action) and Nobel Prize-winner Amartya Sen (The Idea of Justice), An Uncertain Glory is a passionate, considered argument for the need for a greater understanding of inequalities in India, despite economic development.

    When India regained independence from colonial rule in 1947, it immediately adopted a firmly democratic political system, with multiple parties, freedom of speech and extensive political rights. The famines of the British era disappeared, and steady economic growth replaced stagnation, accelerating further over the last three decades to make India's growth the second fastest among large economies. Despite a recent dip, it is still one of the highest in the world.

    Maintaining rapid yet environmentally sustainable growth remains an important and achieveable goal for India. Drèze and Sen argue that the country's main problems lie in the disregarding of the essential needs of the people. There have been major failures both to foster participatory growth and to make good use of the public resources generated by economic growth to enhance people's living conditions; social and physical services remain inadequate, from schooling and medical care to safe water, electricity, and sanitation. In the long run, even high economic growth is threatened by the underdevelopment of infrastructure and the neglect of human capabilities, in contrast with the holistic approach pioneered by Japan, South Korea and China.

    In a democracy, addressing these failures requires not only significant policy change, but also a clearer public understanding of the abysmal extent of deprivation in the country. Yet public discussion in India tends to be constricted to the lives and concerns of the relatively affluent. This book presents a powerful analysis not only of India's deprivations and inequalities, but also of the restraints on addressing them - and of the possibility of change through democratic practice.

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