Demonetisation declares all Indians as possible crooks, only a ‘despotic’ state can cause such misery to people: Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen

Renowned economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen came down heavily on the government on its demonetisation policy, saying both the concept as well as the way it was implemented, was akin to a “despotic action” and betrayed the “authoritarian nature of the government”.

In an interview with the Indian Express, Sen, a Bharat Ratna recipient, contended that the demonetisation move declares all citizens as potential crooks, unless they can establish, which is a complex manifestation of authoritarianism.

Telling the public suddenly that the promissory notes you have, do not promise anything with certainty, is a more complex manifestation of authoritarianism, allegedly justified — or so the government claims — because some of these notes, held by some crooked people, involve black money. At one stroke the move declares all Indians — indeed all holders of Indian currency — as possibly crooks, unless they can establish they are not  –

Commenting on the stringent runes and difficulties faced by the laymen in getting their own white money out of banks, Prof Sen said, only a tyrant ruler can cause such distress to the people.

Only an authoritarian government can calmly cause such misery to the people — with millions of innocent people being deprived of their money and being subjected to suffering, inconvenience and indignity in trying to get their own money back

Sen, who is currently a Thomas W Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University said that it is hard to foresee any progressive outcome of the move rather it will be as much of a failure as the government’s earlier promise of bringing black money stacked away abroad back to India (and giving all Indians a sudden gift — what an empty promise!).

This The people who are best equipped to avoid the intended trap of demonetisation are precisely the ones who are seasoned dealers in black money — not the common people and small traders who are undergoing one more misery in addition to all the deprivations and indignities from which they suffer

Rebuking the Centre’s claim that current pain is for grater national interest in the long run, Prof Sen made it clear that it was wrong to think that all things that are painful, are good. “Good policies sometimes cause pain, but whatever causes pain – no matter how intense – is not necessarily good policy.”

Source: The Indian Express

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