In his Commencement speech before Harvard graduates, Lamont University Professor Amartya K. Sen spoke enthusiastically about world trade but stressed that students must "confront the consequences of global inequality."
President Neil L. Rudenstine introduced Sen as a "purposeful explorer and humanist" and praised his "well-tempered idealism."
The Nobel laureate then launched into a broad, general speech entitled "Global Doubts." Sen expounded on many of the questions that have won him renown in both economic and philosophical circles.
Sen first lauded the increase in economic prosperity that international trade has brought.
"The case for global trade is strong," he said. "There is extensive evidence that the global economy has brought prosperity to many areas of the globe."
Sen then went on to describe the ethical and moral doubts and questions that have been raised by globalization, which have been a hallmark of his work.
"We must also acknowledge the inequality between and within countries," Sen said.
Describing the current trend towards globalization as an intensification of several processes--migration and technological advancement among them--Sen embraced the idea of free markets but said that "a well-functioning market mechanism does not obviate the need for democracy and civil rights."