Amartya Sen on the Quality of Life

by Ingrid Robeyns on September 30, 2010

In May this year, I did an interview with Amartya Sen in Cambridge (the British one) on the Quality of Life. The concrete occasion for this interview was a workshop/conference I was involved in, organized by the Dutch National Science Foundation, on the Quality of Life.
Sen couldn’t come to give a talk at this conference, but was happy being interviewed by me. So if you fancy watching 22 minutes of Sen’s views on how to conceptualise and measure the quality of life, on the Sarkozy report on the measurement of economic progress (Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn’t Add Up) and, at the end, on global poverty and whether the rich people really care about the global poor, you can watch it here.

{ 2 comments }

1

Alex Earl 09.30.10 at 10:59 pm

Thanks, that was lovely, and I really enjoyed the range of topics covered. Most of what he said wasn’t new or profound, but simply presented with clarity.

Excepting the final part, which I particularly enjoyed. These days I often think that the current atrophy of progressive politics can be attributed to the loss of critical engagement between citizens and politicians. It’s been forgotten or abandoned how to present a dialectic of society in a politically effective way, which is crucial for displaying the values of whatever element of progress you’re trying to justify. Instead, politicians have moved far too much in the direction of repeating back to the citizenry what they are already comfortable with – which is the nature of conservatism – and relying on the rich to power their campaigns.

Of course this has always been part of democratic politics, but it feels as though we’re currently in the trough of some ebb and flow.

2

Mike G. 10.01.10 at 9:42 am

It is great to hear this sort of logical rhetoric. Like a cool stream flowing over your feet on a hot day. In the U.S., this interview seems practically radical, although it shouldn’t.

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