Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Nobel Prize recipient Amartya Sen gives talk about closing the economic gap

Collegian File Photo)
(Collegian File Photo)

Amartya Sen, a Nobel Prize recipient in economics, spoke about closing the economic gap through human rights at a talk in the Campus Center Thursday evening.

Sen focused part of his talk around how to use human rights to help individuals and communities reach economic and social goals.

“There are of course many uses of human rights that we can talk about. For the perspective of human rights, rights everyone is supposed to have by virtue of being a human being, it is particularly relevant in battling against established inequalities.” Sen said.

Part of Sen’s talk also featured readings from Mary Wollstonecraft, an 18th century philosopher and women’s rights activist who wrote “A Vindication of the Rights of Women.”

The 2016 Gamble lecture was titled “What’s the Use of Human Rights?” Chancellor Subbaswamy gave opening remarks at the 20th annual Philip Gamble Lecture Series.

“We’re proud to host this event,” said Subbaswamy. “Bringing together faculty, students, staff and members of the community to listen to and learn from the most powerful and influential economic voices in the world is our privilege. This evening we’re so honored to have Amartya Sen deliver the lecture.”

Professor and Chair of the UMass Economics Department Michael Ash introduced Sen and talked about his impact on both economics and philosophy.

“He is a giant in economics, but he is also a giant in philosophy,” Ash said. “Professor Sen’s work stands out for eliciting both laughter and tears. That’s unusual in economics.”

Amartya Sen is the Thomas W. Lamont professor as well a professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University. Sen has received the Nobel Prize in economics, the Edinburgh Medal, and the Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur among many other awards throughout his career, according to his Harvard biography page.

For some people in attendance located in the middle to the back of the auditorium, hearing Sen was an issue, especially during the question and answer section. A large portion of the audience left during the question and answer and some audience members as a result moved closer to better hear the economist.

Julia Gordy, a sophomore marketing major was in attendance, but was not able to hear Sen very clearly.

“It was really hard to hear him unfortunately, especially when he was reading, I didn’t get a lot of it,” Gordy said.

Sara Cantillon, a Helen Sheridan memorial scholar and professor of gender and economics at the Glasgow Caledonian University School for Business and Society said she was able to hear the entirety of Sen’s talk.

“I really think he came into his own during the question and answer section” Cantillon said.

The Philip Gamble Lecture Endowment is held annually featuring a prominent economist and was established by Israel Rogosa and other family and friends of Gamble, a former economics department head, memory, according to the department of economics web page.

Dan Curtin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @dmcurtin96.



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