Best Selling Books by Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen is the author of Development as Freedom (2001), The Idea of Justice (2009), Inequality Reexamined (1995), Home in the World (2023) and other 45 books.

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Development as Freedom

release date: Jan 18, 2001
Development as Freedom
Amartya Sen is the most respected and well-known economist of his time. This book is a synthesis of his thought, viewing economic development as a means to extending freedoms rather than an end in itself. By widening his outlook to include poverty, tyranny, lack of opportunity, individual rights, and political structures, Professor Sen gives a stimulating and enlightening overview of the development process. His compassionate yet rigorous analysis will appeal to all those interested in the fate of the developing world, from general reader to specialist.

The Idea of Justice

release date: Jan 01, 2009
The Idea of Justice
Presents an analysis of what justice is, the transcendental theory of justice and its drawbacks, and a persuasive argument for a comparative perspective on justice that can guide us in the choice between alternatives.

Inequality Reexamined

release date: Mar 15, 1995
Inequality Reexamined
The noted economist and philosopher Amartya Sen argues that the dictum “all people are created equal” serves largely to deflect attention from the fact that we differ in age, gender, talents, and physical abilities as well as in material advantages and social background. He argues for concentrating on higher and more basic values: individual capabilities and freedom to achieve objectives. By concentrating on the equity and efficiency of social arrangements in promoting freedoms and capabilities of individuals, Sen adds an important new angle to arguments about such vital issues as gender inequalities, welfare policies, affirmative action, and public provision of health care and education.

Home in the World

release date: Feb 14, 2023
Home in the World
From Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, a long-awaited memoir about home, belonging, inequality, and identity, recounting a singular life devoted to betterment of humanity. The Nobel laureate Amartya Sen is one of a handful of people who may truly be called “a global intellectual” (Financial Times). A towering figure in the field of economics, Sen is perhaps best known for his work on poverty and famine, as inspired by events in his boyhood home of West Bengal, India. But Sen has, in fact, called many places “home,” including Dhaka, in modern Bangladesh; Kolkata, where he first studied economics; and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he engaged with the greatest minds of his generation. In Home in the World, these “homes” collectively form an unparalleled and profoundly truthful vision of twentieth- and twenty-first-century life. Here Sen, “one of the most distinguished minds of our time” (New York Review of Books), interweaves scenes from his remarkable life with candid philosophical reflections on economics, welfare, and social justice, demonstrating how his experiences—in Asia, Europe, and later America—vitally informed his work. In exquisite prose, Sen evokes his childhood travels on the rivers of Bengal, as well as the “quiet beauty” of Dhaka. The Mandalay of Orwell and Kipling is recast as a flourishing cultural center with pagodas, palaces, and bazaars, “always humming with intriguing activities.” With characteristic moral clarity and compassion, Sen reflects on the cataclysmic events that soon tore his world asunder, from the Bengal famine of 1943 to the struggle for Indian independence against colonial tyranny—and the outbreak of political violence that accompanied the end of British rule. Witnessing these lacerating tragedies only amplified Sen’s sense of social purpose. He went on to study famine and inequality, wholly reconstructing theories of social choice and development. In 1998, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contributions to welfare economics, which included a fuller understanding of poverty as the deprivation of human capability. Still Sen, a tireless champion of the dispossessed, remains an activist, working now as ever to empower vulnerable minorities and break down walls among warring ethnic groups. As much a book of penetrating ideas as of people and places, Home in the World is the ultimate “portrait of a citizen of the world” (Spectator), telling an extraordinary story of human empathy across distance and time, and above all, of being at home in the world.

Identity and Violence

release date: Jan 01, 2007
Identity and Violence
The world may be more driven 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, but 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.

Poverty and Famines

release date: Jan 20, 1983
Poverty and Famines
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.

The Argumentative Indian

release date: Oct 15, 2013
The Argumentative Indian
A Nobel Laureate offers a dazzling new book about his native country India is a country with many distinct traditions, widely divergent customs, vastly different convictions, and a veritable feast of viewpoints. In The Argumentative Indian, Amartya Sen draws on a lifetime study of his country''s history and culture to suggest the ways we must understand India today in the light of its rich, long argumentative tradition. The millenia-old texts and interpretations of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim, agnostic, and atheistic Indian thought demonstrate, Sen reminds us, ancient and well-respected rules for conducting debates and disputations, and for appreciating not only the richness of India''s diversity but its need for toleration. Though Westerners have often perceived India as a place of endless spirituality and unreasoning mysticism, he underlines its long tradition of skepticism and reasoning, not to mention its secular contributions to mathematics, astronomy, linguistics, medicine, and political economy. Sen discusses many aspects of India''s rich intellectual and political heritage, including philosophies of governance from Kautilya''s and Ashoka''s in the fourth and third centuries BCE to Akbar''s in the 1590s; the history and continuing relevance of India''s relations with China more than a millennium ago; its old and well-organized calendars; the films of Satyajit Ray and the debates between Gandhi and the visionary poet Tagore about India''s past, present, and future. The success of India''s democracy and defense of its secular politics depend, Sen argues, on understanding and using this rich argumentative tradition. It is also essential to removing the inequalities (whether of caste, gender, class, or community) that mar Indian life, to stabilizing the now precarious conditions of a nuclear-armed subcontinent, and to correcting what Sen calls the politics of deprivation. His invaluable book concludes with his meditations on pluralism, on dialogue and dialectics in the pursuit of social justice, and on the nature of the Indian identity.

Sunlight and Other Fears

release date: Aug 28, 2015
Sunlight and Other Fears
Intrigued by the questions of social justice and welfare, Amartya Sen argues, in this book, some of the vital issues-poverty, hunger, education, globalization, media and freedom of speech, injustice, inequality, exclusion, exploitation, etc. - we negotiate with in our day to day lives.

The Standard of Living

release date: Dec 08, 1988
The Standard of Living
Reconsiders the idea of "the standard of living" and reflects on the moral and political implications.

Resources, Values and Development

release date: Jan 01, 1997
Resources, Values and Development
Resources, Values and Development contains many of Amartya Sen''s path-breaking contributions to development economics, including papers on resource allocation in nonwage systems, shadow pricing, employment policy, welfare economics, poverty assessment, gender-based inequality, and hunger and famines.

An Uncertain Glory

release date: Aug 11, 2013
An Uncertain Glory
When India became independent in 1947 after two centuries of colonial rule, 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 the economic stagnation of the Raj. The growth of the Indian economy quickened further over the last three decades and became the second fastest among large economies. Despite a recent dip, it is still one of the highest in the world. Maintaining rapid as well as environmentally sustainable growth remains an important and achievable goal for India. In An Uncertain Glory, two of India''s leading economists argue that the country''s main problems lie in the lack of attention paid to the essential needs of the people, especially of the poor, and often of women. 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. There is also a continued inadequacy of social services such as schooling and medical care as well as of physical services such as safe water, electricity, drainage, transportation, and sanitation. In the long run, even the feasibility of high economic growth is threatened by the underdevelopment of social and physical infrastructure and the neglect of human capabilities, in contrast with the Asian approach of simultaneous pursuit of economic growth and human development, as pioneered by Japan, South Korea, and China. In a democratic system, which India has great reason to value, addressing these failures requires not only significant policy rethinking by the government, but also a clearer public understanding of the abysmal extent of social and economic deprivations in the country. The deep inequalities in Indian society tend to constrict public discussion, confining it largely to the lives and concerns of the relatively affluent. Drèze and Sen present a powerful analysis of these deprivations and inequalities as well as the possibility of change through democratic practice.

Rationality and Freedom

release date: Mar 30, 2004
Rationality and Freedom
Rationality and freedom are among the most profound and contentious concepts in philosophy and the social sciences. In this, the first of two volumes, Amartya Sen brings clarity and insight to these difficult issues.

Hunger and Public Action

release date: Jan 01, 1989
Hunger and Public Action
This book analyses the role of public action in solving the problem of hunger in the modern world and is divided into four parts: Hunger in the modern world, Famines, Undernutrition and deprivation, and Hunger and public action.

Escaping the Poverty Trap

Escaping the Poverty Trap
Basing their discussions on the concept of "intergenerational transmission of poverty"--the "process by which poor parents pass on poverty and disadvantage to their children," in the words of editor Moran (until recently a senior economist with the International Development Bank''s Sustainable Development Department)--five essays reflect on political, philosophical, social, and other dimensions of investing in early childhood in Latin America. The essays include Amartya Sen''s discussion of early childhood investment within the context of the overall development process, as well explorations of the relationship between health, nutrition, and cognitive and social dimensions of poverty; the impact of early childhood investment on economic growth and equity; and the role of the state in marshalling resources for early childhood investment. Distributed by Johns Hopkins U. Press. Annotation : 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com).

On Economic Inequality

release date: Jan 01, 1997
On Economic Inequality
In this classic text, first published in 1973, Amartya Sen relates the theory of welfare economics to the study of economic inequality. He presents a systematic treatment of the conceptual framework as well as the practical problems of measurement of inequality. In his masterful analysis, Sen assesses various approaches to measuring inequality and delineates the causes and effects of economic disparities. Containing the four lectures from the original edition as well as a new introduction, this timeless study is essential reading for economists, philosophers, and social scientists. In a substantial new annexe, Amartya Sen, jointly with James Foster, critically surveys the literature that followed the publication of this book, and also evaluates the main analytical issues in the appraisal of economic inequality and poverty.

Mismeasuring Our Lives

release date: Apr 27, 2010
Mismeasuring Our Lives
In February of 2008, amid the looming global financial crisis, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France asked Nobel Prize–winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, along with the distinguished French economist Jean Paul Fitoussi, to establish a commission of leading economists to study whether Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—the most widely used measure of economic activity—is a reliable indicator of economic and social progress. The Commission was given the further task of laying out an agenda for developing better measures. Mismeasuring Our Lives is the result of this major intellectual effort, one with pressing relevance for anyone engaged in assessing how and whether our economy is serving the needs of our society. The authors offer a sweeping assessment of the limits of GDP as a measurement of the well-being of societies—considering, for example, how GDP overlooks economic inequality (with the result that most people can be worse off even though average income is increasing); and does not factor environmental impacts into economic decisions. In place of GDP, Mismeasuring Our Lives introduces a bold new array of concepts, from sustainable measures of economic welfare, to measures of savings and wealth, to a “green GDP.” At a time when policymakers worldwide are grappling with unprecedented global financial and environmental issues, here is an essential guide to measuring the things that matter.

The Arrow Impossibility Theorem

release date: Jul 22, 2014
The Arrow Impossibility Theorem
Kenneth J. Arrow''s pathbreaking "impossibility theorem" was a watershed innovation in the history of welfare economics, voting theory, and collective choice, demonstrating that there is no voting rule that satisfies the four desirable axioms of decisiveness, consensus, nondictatorship, and independence. In this book Eric Maskin and Amartya Sen explore the implications of Arrow''s theorem. Sen considers its ongoing utility, exploring the theorem''s value and limitations in relation to recent research on social reasoning, and Maskin discusses how to design a voting rule that gets us closer to the ideal—given the impossibility of achieving the ideal. The volume also contains a contextual introduction by social choice scholar Prasanta K. Pattanaik and commentaries from Joseph E. Stiglitz and Kenneth J. Arrow himself, as well as essays by Maskin, Dasgupta, and Sen outlining the mathematical proof and framework behind their assertions.

Choice, Welfare and Measurement

release date: Jan 01, 1997
Choice, Welfare and Measurement
"Choice, Welfare and Measurement contains many of Amartya Sen''s most important contributions to economic analysis and methods, including papers on individual and social choice, preference and rationality, and aggregation and economic measurement. A substantial introductory essay interrelates his diverse concerns, and also analyzes discussions generated by the original papers, focusing on the underlying issues."--P. [4] of cover.

Civil Paths to Peace

release date: Jan 01, 2007
Civil Paths to Peace
This report examines the issues of terrorism, extremism, conflict and violence, which are much in ascendancy and afflict Commonwealth countries as well as the rest of the world, and considers methods of countering disaffection and violence through civil means.

Secure Sensor Cloud

release date: Dec 17, 2018
Secure Sensor Cloud
The sensor cloud is a new model of computing paradigm for Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), which facilitates resource sharing and provides a platform to integrate different sensor networks where multiple users can build their own sensing applications at the same time. It enables a multi-user on-demand sensory system, where computing, sensing, and wireless network resources are shared among applications. Therefore, it has inherent challenges for providing security and privacy across the sensor cloud infrastructure. With the integration of WSNs with different ownerships, and users running a variety of applications including their own code, there is a need for a risk assessment mechanism to estimate the likelihood and impact of attacks on the life of the network. The data being generated by the wireless sensors in a sensor cloud need to be protected against adversaries, which may be outsiders as well as insiders. Similarly, the code disseminated to the sensors within the sensor cloud needs to be protected against inside and outside adversaries. Moreover, since the wireless sensors cannot support complex and energy-intensive measures, the lightweight schemes for integrity, security, and privacy of the data have to be redesigned. The book starts with the motivation and architecture discussion of a sensor cloud. Due to the integration of multiple WSNs running user-owned applications and code, the possibility of attacks is more likely. Thus, next, we discuss a risk assessment mechanism to estimate the likelihood and impact of attacks on these WSNs in a sensor cloud using a framework that allows the security administrator to better understand the threats present and take necessary actions. Then, we discuss integrity and privacy preserving data aggregation in a sensor cloud as it becomes harder to protect data in this environment. Integrity of data can be compromised as it becomes easier for an attacker to inject false data in a sensor cloud, and due to hop by hop nature, privacy of data could be leaked as well. Next, the book discusses a fine-grained access control scheme which works on the secure aggregated data in a sensor cloud. This scheme uses Attribute Based Encryption (ABE) to achieve the objective. Furthermore, to securely and efficiently disseminate application code in sensor cloud, we present a secure code dissemination algorithm which first reduces the amount of code to be transmitted from the base station to the sensor nodes. It then uses Symmetric Proxy Re-encryption along with Bloom filters and Hash-based Message Authentication Code (HMACs) to protect the code against eavesdropping and false code injection attacks.

Delivering the Monterrey Consensus, which Consensus?

release date: Jan 01, 2002
Delivering the Monterrey Consensus, which Consensus?
The Economic Paper series is designed to bring to public attention crucial economic issues which are of concern to developing countries. In recent years the series has examined issues such as the instability of capital flows, the position of small states in the global economy, the implications of new trade agreements, agriculture and food security, money laundering and the reform of global financial arrangements. The publications are readable and aimed at academics, policymakers, students and people with a general interest in understanding these topical issues.This publication is a follow-on from the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development. The Monterrey Conference achieved a significant breakthrough in mobilising commitment on the part of key donors and developing countries to advance the development agenda. These commitments have been (at least partially) built upon at the recent G8 Summit and the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Monterrey Consensus requires effective follow-up on the part of donors, developing countries and international financial institutions. This publication is based on the Special Theme of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Meeting “Delivering the Millennium Development Goals” held in London, September 2002. Prof. Sen raises some “uncomfortable issues” regarding the soundness of the Monterrey consensus and the need for more inclusive and “interactive encounters” on the basic approach chosen. Ministers are warned that delivering the consensus “will demand from them more than simple midwifery”. This paper includes the report of Civil Society Consultations as an appendix.

Beyond the Crisis

release date: Jan 01, 1999
Beyond the Crisis
Amartya Sen looks at the Asian experience in a broad framework, dealing both with successes and failures. He sees development as a process of enhancement of human freedoms of various kinds, which are intrinsically important in themselves and which are mutually supportive of each other. They call for a multiplicity of working institutions, of which the market is an important part, but which needs extensive and many sided supplementation. This paper was first presented at ISEAS Second Asia & Pacific Lecture in 1999.

Choice, Welfare, and Development

release date: Jan 01, 1995

On Ethics and Economics

release date: Jan 01, 1990

Choice of Techniques

Choice of Techniques
"An underdeveloped economy attempting to have planned economic growth has to have a number of problems, one of which is the choice of techniques of production. The number of alternatives if often quite large, varying from very primitive hand-production to fully automatic mechanical manufacture. The amount of capital investment per unit of labour varies enormously from technique to technique. This problem of the choice of production techniques is the subject-matter of this book." -- from the preface.

Gender and Cooperative Conflicts

release date: Jan 01, 1987

Commodities and Capabilities

release date: Jun 17, 1999
Commodities and Capabilities
Commodities and Capabilities presents a set of inter-related theses concerning the foundations of welfare economics, and in particular about the assessment of personal well-being and advantage. The argument presented focuses on the capability to function, i.e. what a person can do or can be, questioning in the process the more standard emphasis on opulence or on utility. In fact, a person''s motivation behind choice is treated here as a parametric variable which may or may not coincide with the pursuit of self-interest. Given the large number of practical problems arising from the roles and limitations of different concepts of interest and the judgement of advantage and well-being, this scholarly investigation is both of theoretical interest and practical import.

Garibi Aur Akaal

release date: Jan 01, 1999
Garibi Aur Akaal
Hindi translation of English bestseller - Poverty & Famines by the Nobel prize winning author Amartya Sen
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