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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Amartya Sen embodies Smith’s true legacy in everything he writes

Amartya Sen: Exponent of Adam Smith's True Legacy
from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy
An editorial in the Times of India is worth reading in full ":

“In an article, 'Capitalism beyond the Crisis', Amartya Sen has argued that the present economic crisis demands a new understanding of older ideas, such as those of Adam Smith and Arthur Cecil Pigou. He draws attention to the fact that, while Smith showed the market economy's usefulness, his analysis went beyond leaving everything to the market's invisible hand. He viewed the usefulness of capital and markets within their own sphere and at the same time saw, contrary to the popular perception, the need for other institutions, such as sound mechanisms for financial regulations. He was aware, for example, of the need for state regulation to protect citizens from what he called "prodigals and projectors" who took excessive risks in their pursuit of profit.”

Comment

Amartya Sen is always worth reading and I recommend that you follow the link and see how Sen develops his argument by bringing Max Weber into play:

“In the last pages of The Protestant Ethic, he notes: "The idea of duty in one's calling prowls about in our lives like the ghost of dead religious beliefs." He adds: "In the field of its highest development, in the United States, the pursuit of wealth, stripped of its religious and ethical meaning, tends to become associated with truly mundane passions, which often actually gives it the character of sport."

Sen writes with surprising agility and deep commitment to social changes within markets where possible and with public funding where necessary. There is no call to protect Adam Smith’s legacy from economists like Amartya Sen. He embodies Smith’s true legacy in everything he writes.

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