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Rebel without a cause!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ralph Nader

Yesterday was Ralph Nader night! The maverick politician and long time consumer rights crusader gave a small talk in our school.

Nader spoke about rising inequality in American Economy (e.g. the top 1% had the wealth equal to the bottom 50%!), the war in Iraq etc. He was witty, informative though he looked a bit old and fragile. He even gave 3 books espousing causes in which he is interested to everyone in the audience.
Since this talk was being held in the economics department, he talked about the rising corporatization of the field. He felt that economists nowadays are so engrossed in their quantitative and mathematical techniques that they are ignoring the empirical data. Economists point a healthy picture of US and world economy because the statistics show growth, but in reality there is a decline in the economic conditions of the common man and most of the growth were being cornered by the rich sections. While the argument does seem valid, there are economists like Amartya Sen who study parts of economy from the perspective of the poor and there seemed to me traces of anti-intellectualism in this.

Nader's viewpoint cannot be ignored and like all good politicians (at least in India), he was championing the cause of the weaker section. He did came out as a bit pessimistic but that might be to force the audience to react.

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