Identity and Violence

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Nobel prize-wining economist Amartya Sen has long since looked beyond the numbers of development and growth and into the affairs of the human heart. What he sees there these days he finds deeply troubling.

From East to West, he warns, people around the world are being boxed into narrow, dangerous understandings of their own identity. Reduced from full and complex human beings to simply Muslim, Christian, Shiite, Sunni, Jew.

Sen has a bone to pick with Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" thesis. It is the road to hell, he says. But maybe we were already on it.

Hear Nobelist Amartya Sen talk about identity, violence and what he calls the "illusion of destiny."


Amartya Sen, Professor at Harvard University, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics, and author of "Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny."

This program aired on April 6, 2006.


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