Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen was born in Bengal (East India) in 1933. He was professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University and received the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in development economics in 1998.

As one of today’s most important economic scientists, Sen considers political economics primarily as an ethical science. He places emphasis on correcting prevailing standards of economic growth. He measures political-economic achievements according to a catalogue of criteria in which individual freedom is the core criterion. By freedom he means not only freedom from hunger, illiteracy, and avoidable, premature death, but also freedom of speech and the possibility to participate politically and socially. Sen considers these actual freedoms not only the primary goal, but also a decisive means of achieving them in development politics. The basic prerequisite to be able to successfully pursue these freedoms is the development of the individual.


Sen urgently points out the future global problems that face us, which are characterized by the division of the world into regions of free-market capitalism with its unprecedented wealth and regions burdened by growing unemployment and the resulting poverty. In the introduction to his book, “Development as Freedom” (1999), Sen wrote, “We live in a world of unprecedented opulence, of a kind that would have been hard even to imagine a century or two ago. […] And yet we also live in a world with remarkable deprivation, destitution and oppression.”