Can't fight corruption by sitting on dharnas or tying up people to a tree: Amartya Sen


Sagarika Ghose,CNN-IBN
Jul 31, 2012 at 08:14pm IST

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As Anna Hazare's fast against corruption enters its third day, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen weighed in with his views on his movement. Sen, former Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University, and presently a professor at the Harvard University, said one could not eliminate corruption by simply sitting on dharnas.

In an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN Deputy Editor Sagarika Ghose, the Nobel laureate said that instead of fasting and protesting, one should try and change the systems that provided incentives for corruption.

Below is an edited transcript of the excerpt from the interview:

Sagarika Ghose: There is a indefinite fast going on by the Anna Hazare movement. Anna Hazare is at Jantar Mantar demanding an SIT on ministers, demanding a Jan Lokpal Bill. Now, what do you make of this anti-corruption movement? Do you see it as a pressure group or do you see it as a force of change?

Amartya Sen: I believe that their reading of what causes corruption and how it could be removed is wrong. We have to look at how the economic system operates. I have sympathy for him (Anna Hazare) for getting absolutely maddeningly angry at the extent of corruption. But you cannot change the system by doing a dharna or by tying up people to a tree. One can stand up and shout 'I don't want corruption'. Now that's the most innocent way of fighting corruption. Of course, not even a baby wants corruption. So the question is not whether we want corruption or not. The question is how to eliminate it. The debate is about what causes corruption, and in particular, why do we have so much incentives given for corruption.

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