Amartya Sen terms demonetisation a despotic action

“By taking despotic action and saying we had promised but won’t fulfil our promise, you hit at the root of this”.

November 30, 2016 06:40 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 05:42 am IST - New Delhi

Nobel Laureate and economist Amartya Sen. File photo

Nobel Laureate and economist Amartya Sen. File photo

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has called the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation move “despotic action that has struck at the root of 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,” Prof. Sen told to a TV channel.

He further said his immediate point of view on demonetisation is 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 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,” Prof. Sen said.

Noting that capitalism has many successes that have come from having trust in businesses, he said if a government promises in promissory notes and breaks such promise, then it is a despotic act.

“I am not a great admirer of capitalism. On the other hand, capitalism has many successes... It’s despotic in the sense that if a government promises in 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 Thomas W Lamont University Professor at Harvard University, said.

The demonetisation issue has also rocked Parliament as both Houses have been witnessing disruptions and adjournments due to noisy protests by Opposition parties for the past several days.

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