LONDON: Eminent Indian economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has been named as the first winner of a newly established award in the UK, in recognition of his work on welfare economics.
Sen, 81, was declared as the winner of the inaugural Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize, established in memory of the famous British economist, last night during a reception at the Royal Academy here.
"I feel deeply honoured by the news of this award. The world in which we live today has been made much more secure by the economic wisdom that Keynes brought to us during the dark days of the Great Depression," Sen said.
"When that wisdom is partly or wholly ignored in the making of economic policy, large number of people are made to suffer unnecessarily. We have seen several depressing examples of that in the recent years. Keynes was a great path finder, and it would have distressed – if not surprised – him to see how well-identified paths can be comprehensively neglected by policy making that draws more on ideology than on well- reflected reasoning," the Harvard University professor said.
The award involves a sum of 7,500 pounds for Sen to commission a work of art. He will also give the annual Charleston-EFG Keynes Lecture at the Charleston Festival on May 23, titled 'The Economic Consequences of Austerity'.
Described as one of the world's foremost thinkers in the field of famine, poverty, social choice and welfare economics, the award committee said, Sen was being honoured for his ground-breaking work which had had a profound impact on the formation of development policy worldwide.
"In the spirit of John Maynard Keynes' work, life and legacy, this new global prize recognises Sen's outstanding contribution to society," a committee statement said.
Currently a professor of economics and philosophy at the Harvard University, Santiniketan-born Sen has been a professor at the London School of Economics and until 2004 was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Dame Liz Forgan, chair of the advisory panel, said: "The aim of this prize is to honour individuals from around the world who continue to embody Keynes' extraordinary attributes.
The remarkable Sen couldn't be a more worthy winner in this inaugural year.
"Philosopher, economist, teacher, moralist, his tireless commitment to the cause of ending inequality and deprivation by bringing a penetrating intelligence to bear on their causes is truly exceptional. On behalf of my fellow judges, I would like to congratulate Professor Sen on his achievements."
This year's advisory panel, who will continue to serve the prize for a further two years, included Simon Keynes, great- nephew of John Maynard Keynes.
Keynes wrote 'The Economic Consequences of the Peace' whilst staying at Charleston. The Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize was jointly conceived by Keith Gapp, head of strategy and marketing of EFG International, and the Charleston Trust.