The lottery of birth
The lottery of birth

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The lottery of birth

4.2.1 The idea of justice

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Figure 11

Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen, economist and philosopher, has written and lectured widely on development, social mobility, gender inequality and poverty in parts of the world where the pace of economic development, technological and social change, and environmental damage has quickened.

He continues to be sharply critical of his home nation, India, where not only are income inequalities huge but rapid economic development has not been accompanied by public policies to support human welfare.

India is, he has often said, currently in a paradoxical situation where many millions of Indians have mobile phones but more than half do not have a toilet. India today, as he points out, has a lower literacy rate than China and low gender equality, including girls in education and women in employment, which is much more equal in Bangladesh. He cites these both as the results of different public policy choices.

Gender justice is, he says, the key issue for our time and is not only important for women but for the whole development of the economy and society in general. He argues that a ‘just society’, a concept discussed since the European enlightenment in the eighteenth century, is essentially achieved by remedying one injustice at a time.

In the next section, you will hear the views of Thomas Piketty.

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