Stockholm: The greatest gift that the developed world can give poorer countries is to share scientific discoveries and new innovations to help more people lead better lives globally, Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton has said.
Addressing the students of Stockholm Science and Innovation School at Kista Science City ahead of the Nobel Prize award ceremony at the Concert Hall here on Thursday, he emphasised that sharing new scientific discoveries about vaccines or understanding about need for sanitation and hygiene is a better way to help developing economies.
"What worries me is that the people who are rich may devise ways to stop other people from improving their situation," added Deaton, currently the professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University in the US.
Britain-born Deaton is the recipient of the 2015 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.
However, giving foreign aid is not the right way to solve the problem of inequality in poor countries.
"I don't understand why a lot of people are engaged in giving foreign aid and selling arms. Giving large sum of money is not helpful. There are negative consequences," the Nobel laureate told the students.
The greatest gift that the rich countries can give the poorer countries is to share their scientific discoveries and innovations, he emphasised.
According to Deaton, who was awarded the Nobel "for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare" by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, he gets bored with one particular research area very easily and ultimately ended up doing many things in his academic career.
"I was not the sharpest kid in school. I was not the one who answered questions first in the class and I thought I was terrible," he noted.
Looking back at his early days in school, the author of "The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality" said slow understanding has its benefits if one stays curious.
"I feel I am lucky to be the recipient of this (Nobel) award," Deaton said.
"Be prepared and take opportunities when they come," he told the students.
According to him, luck is very important to us and it is the cumulative effect of chances that creates social inequality.
"Effective social control can modify the effects of cumulative luck and help reduce inequality," said Deaton.
"You have to design a system that does not allow one person to take everything away," he pointed out.
He said that casinos have instituted a system to prevent one person from taking everything away so that they do not go bankrupt, and society too needs to have a similar system.
"Social control is very important," Deaton, who has done extensive research on the measurement of poverty in India, said.
"What worries me is that the people who are rich may devise ways to stop other people from improving their situation," he cautioned.
(Gokul Bhagawati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)