Durban: Dispelling the impression that poverty is the cause of violence in societies, India’s Nobel laureate and economist Amartya Sen has warned that it will be a big mistake to blame violence on economic inequality and poverty.
“I think it would be a huge mistake to blame violence all on economic inequality and poverty,” said Sen, who was delivering the annual Nadine Gordimer lecture at the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg last night.
Sen referred to the Indian city, Kolkata, where Muslim, Sikh, and Christian minorities had a sense of security.
“Calcutta is not only one of the poorest cities in India, it has also one of the lowest crime rate among all the Indian cities. It’s often remarked, and I think with some justice, it’s the only major city in India where women can walk around in the evening, unaccompanied, without the danger of coming to a violent end,” he said.
There was violence everywhere and everyone needed to understand it, Sen said, adding the two main theories on the causes of contemporary global violence were culture and poverty.
In the cultural theory, the clash of civilisations, especially religion, was seen as the cause of global violence, said Sen, who is a professor at Harvard University in the United States.