Amartya Sen
The economist talks about how witnessing violence and human suffering informed his work.
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2010 14:11 GMT

Amartya Sen's writings on the economics of human development are studied globally in academia and governments alike.

During his more than 50-year academic career, Amartya Sen has taught at some of the most prestigious institutions across the globe - in Europe, India and the US.

Born in West Bengal and raised in a distinguished Indian family, his curiosity about class divisions and access to basic human resources - such as food and water - began at just nine years old.

Having experienced first-hand the Bengal famine of 1943 and then the partition of India in 1947, his young mind was profoundly influenced by the questions of identity politics that arose from witnessing violence and human suffering.

He says: "It certainly shook me .... Ultimately, economics would be a good thing to do because I wanted to understand why these things happened."

Later, in 1998, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his revolutionary contributions to the field of welfare economics.

This episode of One on One aired from Saturday, August 21, 2010.

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