December 1999

SOURCE: The Atlantic, December 15, 1999 Eyebrows were raised when Amartya Sen won the Nobel Prize in Economics last year. Sen had frequently been mentioned as a candidate, but it had been predicted that in an era when laissez-faire market economics were all the rage Sen’s insistence on looking beyond GNP figures — his penchant […]

The Atlantic Last year, shortly after he was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics, Amartya Sen returned to his native India for a visit. One December morning, just outside Calcutta, at Santiniketan, the school where Sen had studied as a child, he was made to climb a dais and sit on a makeshift throne. News reports say that he looked tired, but he found the energy to address the assembled crowd. He reminisced about his childhood, and spoke of the influence exerted on his work by the school’s founder — Rabindranath Tagore, who in 1913 became the first Asian Nobel laureate when he won the prize for literature, and who, as Sen’s teacher, named him Amartya (Bengali for “immortal”).

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