From the web; News; News & Events; Video & TV

Amartya Sen: India not ready for a basic income

The distinguished economist and philosopher Amartya Sen, recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics, spoke about basic income during an interview on the Indian television channel New Delhi Television (NDTV).

Asked whether India should consider a universal basic income (UBI) as discussed in the country’s recently released 2017 Economic Survey (see chapter 9), Sen replied with several criticisms of the idea. First, he rejected Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian’s invocation of Mahatma Gandhi in the Economic Survey chapter on UBI, calling for more “humility” in interpreting Gandhi. Sen proceeded to argue that UBI is not the best way to address poverty in India, where funding for health care, education, and other public services is deficient. He claimed that it is not enough to “give people cash and go away” and that it would be an “abdication of responsibility” if the government were to provide people with money rather than providing better public services.

However, Sen went on to claim the there would be a case for basic income if India had “reached the level of prosperity that Europe has.” If that were so, he said, “I think basic income would be a good thing to have,” then adding, “I don’t think we are there at all.”


Watch the clip


The NDTV interview honored the launch of Sen’s book Collective Choice and Social Welfare: Expanded Edition.

Post reviewed by Russell Ingram

Photo: Amartya Sen, CC BY-NC 2.0 FPA S.r.l

Kate McFarland

About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 500 articles.

I was a statistician, then a philosopher, then a journalist for a certain Basic Income News, and I have never been the sort to wed myself to any specific position or career path. (I have always chosen to remain in the precariat for this reason: my sense of duty is strong enough that I’d risk imperiling my own self-development if I were to accept a permanent position.) If you want to learn more about what I’m about, and how I see my ideal roles in the basic income community going forth, read the “cover letter” of sorts that is my Patreon homepage (updated November 2017).

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *