Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Amartya Sen's Copy of On Economic Theory and Capitalism; With his Signature and Inscribed to Him

  • On Economic Theory and Capitalism: Collected Papers.

On Economic Theory and Capitalism: Collected Papers.


Item Number: 4696

Oxford: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1955.

First edition. Octavo, original cloth. Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen’s copy with his name “A.K. Sen Trinity College Cambridge” on the half title page. Inscribed on the front free endpaper to Sen, “For Amartiya With the confidence that he will plan the dynamic economy, of a socialist and peaceful India. With best wishes, Arif Cambridge 8 May 1955.” In very good condition.

In 1953, Sen entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he earned a second B.A. in Economics in 1955 with a first class topping the list. He was elected President of the Cambridge Majlis. While Sen was officially a Ph.D. student at Cambridge (though he had finished his research in 1955-6), he was offered the position of Professor and Head of the Economics Department of the newly created Jadavpur University in Calcutta, and he became the youngest chairman to head the Department of Economics. He served in that position, starting the new Economics Department, during 1956 to 1958. Meanwhile, Sen was elected to a Prize Fellowship at Trinity College, which gave him four years of freedom to do anything he liked; he made the radical decision to study philosophy. Sen explained: "The broadening of my studies into philosophy was important for me not just because some of my main areas of interest in economics relate quite closely to philosophical disciplines (for example, social choice theory makes intense use of mathematical logic and also draws on moral philosophy, and so does the study of inequality and deprivation), but also because I found philosophical studies very rewarding on their own". His interest in philosophy, however, dates back to his college days at Presidency, where he read books on philosophy and debated philosophical themes. In Cambridge, there were major debates between supporters of Keynesian economics on the one hand, and the "neo-classical" economists skeptical of Keynes, on the other. However, because of a lack of enthusiasm for social choice theory in both Trinity and Cambridge, Sen had to choose a different subject for his Ph.D. thesis, which was on "The Choice of Techniques" in 1959, though the work had been completed much earlier (except for some valuable advice from his adjunct supervisor in India, Professor A.K. Dasgupta, given to Sen while teaching and revising his work at Jadavpur) under the supervision of the "brilliant but vigorously intolerant" post-Keynesian, Joan Robinson. Sen has went on to become one of the leading international voices on issues of famine, welfare economics, and human development theory, as well as the social issues and inequalities that underlie those problems.

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