Demonetisation a Despotic Action, Says Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen. Credit: PTI

Amartya Sen. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has called the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation move a “despotic action that has struck at the root of [an] economy based on trust”.

“It (demonetisation) undermines notes, it undermines bank accounts, it undermines the entire economy of trust. That is the sense in which it is despotic,” Sen told NDTV.

He further said his immediate point of view on demonetisation is focused on its economic aspect.

“It’s (demonetisation) a disaster on economy of trust. In the last 20 years, the country has been growing very fast. But it is all based on [the] acceptance of each other’s word. By taking despotic action and saying we had promised but won’t fulfil our promise, you hit at the root of this,” Sen, also a Bharat Ratna awardee, said.

Noting that capitalism has had many successes that have come from trusting in businesses, he said if a government promises something in the form of a promissory note and then breaks such a promise, then it is a despotic act.

“I am not a great admirer of capitalism. On the other hand, capitalism has many successes… Its despotic in the sense that if a government promises in a promissory note that when given, we will give you this amount of compensation for it and to break such a promise is a despotic action,” Sen, who is currently the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor at Harvard University, said. The

Demonetisation has also rocked parliament as both houses have been witnessing disruptions and adjournments for the past several days due to noisy protests by opposition parties.