Sen discusses his recent work on the relation between democracy, human capabilities, and economic development.
Khadija Haq is president of Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre, a policy research institution and a think-tank based in Islamabad, Pakistan. Currently she is also chairman of North South Roundtable, an influential global policy research and dialogue forum of leading thinkers and policy makers from developing and developed countries.
From 1990-96, Khadija Haq was senior adviser on education at UNICEF office in New York, designing policies and programmes for advancing education in developing countries with a particular focus on the education of girls. As a development economist, Khadija Haq has researched and written extensively on the issues of economic and social development and on women's empowerment.
Bob Kerrey is president of The New School in New York City.
For twelve years prior to becoming president of The New School, Bob Kerrey represented the State of Nebraska in the United States Senate. Before that, he served as Nebraska's governor for four years.
Bob Kerrey is the author of When I Was A Young Man: A Memoir, published by Harcourt Books (May 2002). He served as a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, currently leads a five year writing challenge sponsored by The National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges, and is co-chair with Newt Gingrich of The National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care.
Amartya Sen is a Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University and was until recently the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He was formerly Honorary President of OXFAM and is now its Honorary Advisor.
Amartya Sen's books have been translated into more than thirty languages. His research has ranged over a number of fields in economics, philosophy, and decision theory, including social choice theory, welfare economics, theory of measurement, development economics, public health, gender studies, moral and political philosophy, and the economics of peace and war.
Amartya Sen has received honorary doctorates from major universities in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the American
Philosophical Society. He was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory. Time magazine listed him under "60 years of Asian Heroes" in 2006 and included him in their "100 most influential persons in the world" for 2010. New Statesman listed him in their 2010 edition of 'World's 50 Most Influential People Who Matter'.
George Soros came of age in Hungary at a time when it was a battleground in the decades-long conflict between fascism and communism, the two great totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century. A personal experience of this conflict--including the violence, foreign occupation, anti-Semitism, and other forms of intolerance that went with it--as well as a personal fascination with philosophy shaped Soros’s thinking in later years and influenced his successful strategies in both finance and philanthropy.
Born in Budapest in 1930, Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary during World War II as well as the postwar imposition of Stalinism in his homeland. Soros fled Communist-dominated Hungary in 1947 and made his way to England. Before graduating from the London School of Economics in 1952, Soros studied Karl Popper’s work in the philosophy of science as well as his critique of totalitarianism, The Open Society and Its Enemies, which maintains that no philosophy or ideology has the final word on the truth and that societies can only flourish when they allow for democratic governance, freedom of expression, a diverse range of opinion, and respect for individual rights.
Later, while working as a financial analyst and trader in New York, Soros adapted Popper’s thinking in developing his own application of the social theory of "reflexivity," a set of ideas that seeks to explain how a feedback mechanism can skew how participants in a market value assets on that market. After concluding that he had more talent for trading than for philosophy, Soros began to apply his ideas on reflexivity to investing, using it to predict, among other things, the emergence of financial bubbles. In 1967, he helped establish an offshore investment fund. In 1973, he set
up a private investment firm that eventually evolved into the Quantum Fund, one of the first hedge funds.
Soros’s memories of anti-Semitism in wartime Hungary prompted him, in 1979, to begin providing financial support for black students at the University of Cape Town in apartheid South Africa. In 1984, Soros created an education and culture foundation in Hungary. He later supported dissident movements in Eastern Europe’s other Communist countries, helping people to organize themselves at a time when popular organizations were banned, to voice their opinions when dissonant opinions were considered anti-state propaganda, and to promote tolerance, democratic governance, human rights, and the rule of law when a one-party dictatorship exercised a monopoly on power.
As the East bloc crumbled during the late 1980s and the Soviet empire collapsed in the early 1990s, Soros expanded his funding in an effort to help create open societies in all of the region’s countries. He demonstrated his commitment to critical thinking and democratic political development by establishing Central European University in 1991. In 1993, he founded the Open Society Institute. Over the past three decades, Soros’s philanthropy has spawned a network of foundations dedicated to promoting development of open societies in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. To date, Soros has given over $8 billion to support human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education in more than 100 countries.
Soros’s most recent book is Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (2012). His other books include The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University (2010); The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Finance Markets (2009); The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of The War on Terror (2006); The Bubble of American Supremacy (2005); George Soros on Globalization (2002); Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism (2000); The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered (1998); Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve (1995); Underwriting Democracy (1991); Opening the Soviet System (1990); and The Alchemy of Finance (1987). His essays on politics, society, and economics appear frequently in major periodicals around the world.