Esther Duflo Is Not Just Abhijit Banerjee’s “Foreigner Wife”. She Is An Equally Deserving Winner Of The Nobel Prize In Economics.
Do you remember that story of a bunch of monkeys locked in a room? Each time a monkey climbed up, the rest got sprayed with water. They kept pulling down any monkey who tried this. The batch kept shuffling, and after a point, the entire batch was fresh. Yet, they carried on the tradition – without knowing why they weren’t letting anyone climb up. That’s human nature in a nutshell. So when Abhijit Banerjee and his wife Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics for their work in poverty alleviation, these monkeys surfaced again – to do their job of trying to curb progress.
Earlier, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had spoken bitterly about how Indians had rather rejected Abhijit’s ideas for NYAY. Adding to this, BJP National Secretary and the party’s former West Bengal unit president Rahul Sinha completely ridiculed his credentials. “Those people whose second wives are foreigners are mostly getting the Nobel prize. I don’t know whether it is a degree for getting the Nobel,” Sinha said.
It takes a really bitter man to make such a comment about such a well-intentioned and well-deserving man. In fact, it really reduces Esther’s contribution to this win. Abhijit Banerjee, on the other hand, chose to be dignified about things. He said, “You can’t control the spin people give to things but I also don’t feel like living my life thinking of every possible spin people can give to my actions,” Banerjee said. “They [Congress] asked me a perfectly legitimate question – how much money would it take to implement a guaranteed income… If the BJP had asked me for the same numbers, I would have given it to them. I absolutely don’t believe in restricting good policy out of political prejudice.”
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Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, who formally got married in 2015, won the Nobel Prize in economics “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.” The two met in the 1990s, and Banerjee was her joint supervisor when Duflo was pursuing her PhD at MIT. Duflo and Banerjee become the sixth couple to be awarded the Nobel together. #nobelprize #nobelprize2019 #abhijitbanerjee #estherduflo #couple #couplegoals
Honestly, Goyal and Sinha only unintentionally gave us more things to appreciate like a rare glimpse of Rahul Gandhi’s aptitude. He gave advice so perfect, I wondered where this Rahul all along was. He wrote: “Dear Mr Banerjee, These bigots are blinded by hatred and have no idea what a professional is. You cannot explain it to them, even if you tried for a decade. Please be certain that millions of Indians are proud of your work.”
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👉Follow@thelogicalindian for more newsworthy stories. “The Indian economy is going into a tailspin; it is the time when you don’t worry so much about monetary stability and you worry a little bit more about demand,” Banerjee said at a press conference at the #Massachusetts Institute of Technology after winning #NobelPrize. He said the country’s #economy is “doing very badly” even as the government has started to recognise that there’s a problem. “There is an enormous fight going on in #India about which data is right and the government has a particular view…all data that is inconvenient to it is wrong,” Banerjee said. #TLI #TheLogicalIndian #IndianEconomy #AbhijitBanerjee
While Kremer has worked a lot in East Africa, Banerjee and Duflo have mainly contributed to India. And though there will always be naysayers, most of India is rejoicing at this achievement. However, what this win has also done is shown the sexism prevalent even in highly skilled professions. The fact that Esther Duflo is only the second woman to win a Nobel prize in Economics says a lot about the profession not being very welcoming to women. In fact, Duflo has been quite vocal about this and hopefully this will bring about a welcome change and acknowledge the work of women in academics. However, what is really ridiculous is that even after winning the Nobel Prize, Duflo’s worth is being reduced to being Abhijit Banerjee’s wife – both by some media and the above mentioned politicians. So when TOI asked her about this, she said it didn’t upset her.
She further spoke about how PM Modi was so elegant about congratulating them. “And, in fact, the Indians have shown more class: PM Modi did graciously congratulate me and Michael Kremer in a tweet (after he sent one tweet for Abhijit). In his own tweet, President Macron just mentioned me and then said it was a testimony to the strength of economics in France. So…” Well, he kinda saved the country from all the embarrassment Sinha and Goyal (who belong to the same party as Modi) could have otherwise caused.
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Phew…so much criticism for what, winning a Nobel Prize? I mean, I always thought that’s supposed to bring you a lot of applause. What has the world come down to?