03 August, 2021

'Liberalisation Isn't Enough'

Renowned economist Amartya Sen, 65, has been called a prophet of his times. In an interview to Sagarika Ghose, the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, reiterates his commitment to public welfare:

'Liberalisation Isn't Enough'

Almost a decade after economic reforms, the Indian economy is in a recession. Is it now time for a 'third way' in economic policy, away from the excesses of central planning, yet towards a controlled market?

My complaint against economic liberalisation is that in itself it is inadequate. Economic reforms must be accompanied by creation of social opportunities including elementary education, health care and land reform. But I argued for decades that there was a need to remove the licence raj of the pre-reform period. Economic reforms would have been much more successful if there was creation of social opportunities. This, however, is not to say that the present difficulties are because of the lack of social opportunities. The present difficulties are because of more short-term causes.

But increasingly all economic ways are now 'third ways'. No country can go in for a full-fledged market economy. Nor can they opt only for government planning. The US and European economies are based on the market but contain strong elements of government policy. The US has an...

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