Crossposting an intriguing request (from RISA-L)

S Krishna mahadevasiva at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Jul 19 18:52:45 UTC 1998

 The question is: should we lett the
>market alone take care of the inkome distribution and then leave its
>failures to non-govenrmental charity, or should the government
>overrule the market and distribute income in accordance with its
>opinion of what fairness is.>>

  I remember reading about this topic a long time ago in Prof Amartya
Sen's book about famines.( I don't remember the exact name of the book,
but this is a standard text-book about famine causes and steps taken to
prevent/solve such problems). In the introductory chapters,
where the historical recording of famines is described, he quotes verses
from Chanakya's "Arthasastra" which say that the government should be
the ultimate arbiter of income distribution. It may be worthwile to
consult Dr Sen'd book which also lists the exact sloka numbers and other
details in the "arthasastra".

  There is also a reference( if my memory serves me correctly) to this
in "Choice, Welfare, DEvelopment: A festschrift for Dr Amartya Sen"
edited by Kaushik Basu, Clarendon press, Oxford where he refers to a
paper by Sukhamaya Chakravarty(?) who comments on a Buddhist text in
reference to the same question.

  Hoping to help,


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