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The West could learn from India, China: Amartya Sen

Hasan Suroor

Says “going straight” at budget deficit cuts growth



Amartya Sen

LONDON: The West, which is reeling from the worst post-World War economic crisis, can learn a “few things” from developing countries such as India and China, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has said.

Addressing a packed audience at Oxford University's Said Business School on Friday to mark the launch of the Sanjaya Lall Visiting Professorship, Prof. Sen also highlighted India's strong democratic credentials, saying the “mantle of democracy is now very much strongly held by India.” The country, he said, was committed to implementing economic reforms within a democratic framework.

Referring to the ongoing debate on dealing with the economic crisis, he said there was much that Europe could learn from developing countries, notably the critical link between growth and generation of public revenue. “I am concerned with what is happening in Europe. There are a few things that they can learn from the developing world; for example, the importance of growth in generating public revenue. Going straight at budget deficit cuts growth,” he said, in an apparent reference to swingeing public spending cuts in Britain.

Paying tribute to the late Prof. Lall, regarded as one of the world's pre-eminent development economists, Prof. Sen said his work had had a “truly fantastic” impact.

Other speakers included Robert Wade, professor of Political Economy and Development at the London School of Economics, who has been awarded the first Sanjaya Lall Visiting Professorship; and Martin Wolf of The Financial Times.

The Patna-born Lall, who died in 2005, came to Oxford as an undergraduate and remained at the university for more than 30 years. The chair is funded by the Sanjaya Lall Memorial Fund, whose trustees include Ramnique Lall and Lord Meghnad Desai.

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