Ep. 142: Ponzi Schemes

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We are surrounded by frauds, and are dying to believe them. Vivek Kaul joins Amit Varma in episode 142 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss ponzi schemes, both in India and outside, both by private actors and the government. Also discussed: chit funds and kitty parties, and why we are wired to be deceived.

Also check out:

  1. Real Estate Prices: Episode 30 of The Seen and the Unseen

  2. The Anti-Defection Law: Episode 13 of The Seen and the Unseen

  3. 12 Dream Reforms: Episode 138 of The Seen and the Unseen

  4. Ponzi's Scheme -- Mitchell Zuckoff

  5. Anatomy of a Ponzi Scheme -- Colleen Cross

  6. Irrational Exuberance -- Robert Shiller

  7. Narrative Economics -- Robert Shiller

  8. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds -- Charles Mackay

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios

Ep. 141: Being Gay, Loving Books

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Vivek Tejuja, known for his writing on books, has just released his memoir of growing up gay in India. He joins Amit Varma in episode 141 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss how he -- and those around him -- came to terms with his sexuality. In the second half of the episode, Vivek and Amit discuss writers they like, and read out their favourite poetry.

Also check out:

  1. So Now You Know -- Vivek Tejuja

  2. Being Gay in India -- Episode 84 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Navin Noronha)

  3. Keeping it Queer

  4. The Matunga Racket -- Amit Varma

  5. Amit Varma's Twitter thread on 'The Lass of Aughrim' and The Dead

  6. Almost Invisible -- Mark Strand

  7. Sputnik Sweetheart -- Haruki Murakami

  8. The Elephant Vanishes -- Haruki Murakami

  9. The Bear Came Over the Mountain -- Alice Munro

  10. The Man Who Loved Children -- Christina Stead

  11. The Notebook -- Agota Kristof

  12. Jhumpa Lahiri on Conversations With Tyler

  13. Paper Menagerie -- Ken Liu

  14. A Poetry Handbook -- Mary Oliver

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios

Ep. 140: India's Agriculture Crisis

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What exactly is wrong with Indian agriculture? How can we help our farmers? Barun Mitra and Kumar Anand join Amit Varma in episode 140 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the root causes and remedies of this decades-long problem.

Also check out:

  1. The State of Our Farmers -- Ep 86 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Gunvant Patil, in Hindi).

  2. Entry and Exit in Indian Agriculture -- Ep 1 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Pavan Srinath & Karthik Shashidhar)

  3. Futures Markets in Agriculture -- Ep 12 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Karthik Shashidhar)

  4. The Unseen Effects of Farm-Loan Waivers -- Ep 25 of The Seen and the Unseen

  5. The Right to Property -- Ep 26 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan)

  6. The Delhi Smog -- Ep 40 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vivek Kaul)

  7. Free the Farmers -- Barun Mitra

  8. Where are the Markets? -- Kumar Anand

  9. The Crisis in Indian Agriculture -- Brainstorm on Pragati

  10. We Must Save Our Farmers -- Amit Varma

  11. The Indian State is the Greatest Enemy of the Indian Farmer -- Amit Varma

  12. A Tale of Two Satyagrahas -- Amit Varma

  13. Down to Earth -- Sharad Joshi

  14. The Mystery of Capital -- Hernando De Soto

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios

Ep. 139: The Gita Press and Hindu Nationalism

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The recent victories of political Hindutva were enabled by a century-long cultural movement spearheaded by a publishing house based in Gorakhpur. Akshaya Mukul, author of Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India, joins Amit Varma in episode 139 of The Seen and the Unseen. Themes discussed include the relationship between society and the state, Marwari history, cow, temple, gender, caste, Muslims, Communism, and the spontaneous combustion of virtuous Hindu women.

Also check out:

  1. Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India -- Akshaya Mukul

  2. The Intellectual Foundations of Hindutva -- Episode 115 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Aakar Patel)

  3. Political Ideology in India -- Episode 131 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Rahul Verma)

  4. Religion and Ideology in Indian Society -- Episode 124 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Suyash Rai)

  5. The 2019 Elections -- Episode 122 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Sadanand Dhume)

  6. The BJP's Magic Formula -- Episode 45 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Prashant Jha)

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios

Ep. 138: Twelve Dream Reforms

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Times are bad -- but pessimists can dream! Tired of only talking about problems, Shruti Rajagopalan, Rajeswari Sengupta and Vivek Kaul join Amit Varma in episode 138 of The Seen and the Unseen, to propose solutions! Three each. Many bad jokes and Bollywood songs are thrown in.

Also check out:

  1. Population Is Not a Problem, but Our Greatest Strength -- Amit Varma.

  2. Alone in the City -- Amit Varma

  3. Where Are the Jobs? -- Ep 87 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Yazad Jal)

  4. Education in India -- Ep 77 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Amit Chandra)

  5. Urban Governance in India -- Ep 31 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan)

  6. The Bad and Complex Tax -- Ep 74 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan)

  7. GST Revisited -- Ep 28 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vivek Kaul)

  8. Early Indians -- Ep 112 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Tony Joseph)

  9. Immigration -- Ep 4 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shikha Dalmia)

  10. Rent Control -- Ep 14 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Alex Tabarrok)

  11. FSI -- Ep 11 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Alex Tabarrok)

  12. Women at Work -- Ep 132 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Namita Bhandare)

  13. IL&FS and the Indian Financial System -- Ep 91 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vivek Kaul & Ashutosh Datar)

  14. The DNA of the NPA -- Ep 32 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vivek Kaul & Kumar Anand)

  15. Demystifying GDP -- Ep 130 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Rajeswari Sengupta)

  16. India's Lost Decade -- Ep 116 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Puja Mehra)

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios

Ep. 137: Indian Society: The Last 30 Years

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The India of 2019 is a different country from the India of 1989. Social commentator Santosh Desai joins Amit Varma in episode 137 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the many ways in which we have been transformed in this time -- not always for the better.

Also check out:
1. Santosh Desai's column archives in The Times of India.
2. Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India -- Santosh Desai
3. The Decline of Collective Trust -- Santosh Desai
4. Surrounded by Screens - Santosh Desai
5. TikTok: Leave Them Kids Alone -- Santosh Desai
6. The Great Indian Rope Trick -- Santosh Desai
7. The Future as Flow -- Santosh Desai
8. Women at Work -- Ep 132 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Namita Bhandare)
9. The Indianness of Indian Food -- Ep 95 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vikram Doctor)
10. How to Escape From the Shallows -- Amit Varma

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Ep. 135: Two Economic Crises (2008 & 2019)

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Mohit Satyanand saw the 2008 crisis coming and put his money where his mouth was. Now he says we're in the middle of another crisis. He joins Amit Varma in episode 135 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain what exactly went wrong in 2008, and what's gone wrong now.

Also check out:

  1. This is All Because of Rupal Ben -- Episode 5 of The Seen and the Unseen

  2. Poker and Stock Markets -- Episode 47 of The Seen and the Unseen

  3. DeMon, Morality and the Predatory Indian State -- Episode 85 of The Seen and the Unseen

  4. The Bad and Complex Tax -- Episode 75 of The Seen and the Unseen

  5. Easy Money -- Episode 56 of The Seen and the Unseen

This episode is powered by Storytel: https://www.storytel.com/in/en/
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Ep. 134: Kashmir and Article 370

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Kashmir is in lockdown, and Article 370 is history. What does this mean for Kashmir -- and for India? Historian Srinath Raghavan joins Amit Varma in episode 134 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the historical, geopolitical, ideological and moral questions at the heart of the Kashmir problem.

Also check out:

  1. War and Peace in Modern India -- Srinath Raghavan

  2. The Geopolitics of the Bangladesh War -- Episode 113 of The Seen and the Unseen.

  3. Understanding the India-Pakistan Conflict -- Episode 111 of The Seen and the Unseen.

  4. Uncle Sam in South Asia -- Episode 93 of The Seen and the Unseen.

  5. We Won’t Need To Fight A War If We Can Win The Peace -- Amit Varma.

  6. The Article 370 Amendments: Key Legal Issues -- Gautam Bhatia

  7. Article 370: A Constitutional History of Jammu and Kashmir -- AG Noorani

  8. A People's Constitution -- Rohit De

  9. The Generation of Rage in Kashmir -- David Devadas

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Ep. 133: Fighting Fake News

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We live in a world besieged by falsehood -- but there is a growing resistance movement. Pratik Sinha of Alt News joins Amit Varma in episode 133 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about disinformation, misinformation and why the truth will prevail.

Also check out:

  1. Alt News

  2. Truth of Gujarat

  3. India Misinformed -- Pratik Sinha and co-authors

  4. The Alt News App for Android

  5. The Facts Do Not Matter -- Amit Varma

  6. Public Opinion -- Walter Lippmann

This episode is powered by Storytel: https://www.storytel.com/in/en/
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Ep. 132: Women at Work

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There is a crisis in India today. There are not enough women taking up paying jobs -- and their unpaid labour at home continues to be taken for granted. Journalist Namita Bhandare joins Amit Varma in episode 132 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the state of women in India today.

Also check out:

  1. Namita Bhandare's homepage.

  2. Namita Bhandare in the Hindustan Times.

  3. Why Indian Workplaces Are Losing Women -- Namita Bhandare (The IndiaSpend series)

  4. Namita Bhandare at Sheroes.

  5. Metrics of Empowerment -- Episode 88 of The Seen and the Unseen

  6. The Importance of #MeToo -- Episode 90 of The Seen and the Unseen

  7. An Economist Looks at #MeToo -- Episode 92 of The Seen and the Unseen

  8. Frailty, Thy Name is Public Policy -- Devika Kher

  9. The Girl From Haryana (https://indiauncut.com/the-girl-from-haryana/) -- Amit Varma

  10. Men Must Step Up Now -- Amit Varma

This episode is powered by Storytel: https://www.storytel.com/in/en/
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You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
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Ep. 131: Political Ideology in India

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Political Ideology in India

Description: The usual spectrum of left and right does not apply to Indian politics. But does that mean that our politics is based on identity and patronage, and not ideology? Not quite, says political scientist Rahul Verma, as he joins Amit Varma in episode 131 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain the two ideological cleavages that divide India.

Also check out:

  1. Ideology and Identity -- Pradeep K Chhibber and Rahul Verma

  2. Religious Practice and Democracy in India -- Pradeep K Chhibber

  3. Religion and Ideology in Indian Society -- Episode 124 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Suyash Rai)

  4. Imagine No Possessions -- Episode 26 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan)

  5. Crime in Indian Politics -- Episode 114 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Milan Vaishnav)

This episode is powered by Storytel: https://www.storytel.com/in/en/
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You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
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Ep. 130: Demystifying GDP

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In recent times, the GDP has become less of an economic measure and more of a political tool. Economist Rajeswari Sengupta joins Amit Varma in episode 130 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain what the GDP is, what it is good for, what it is not good for and what the fuss over this figure in India is all about. This episode has immeasurable value.

Also check out:

  1. Rajeswari Sengupta's writings.

  2. GDP – A Brief but Affectionate History -- Diane Coyle

  3. Gross Domestic Problem -- Lorenzo Fioramonti

  4. The Power of a Single Number -- Philipp Lepenies

This episode is powered by Storytel: https://www.storytel.com/in/en/
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You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
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Ep. 129: Budget. Bollywood. Badmaashi

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Like cricket and cinema, the annual budget brought out by the central government has become a national obsession. Vivek Kaul. the Shah Rukh Khan of Economics, joins Amit Varma, the Govinda of Podcasting, in episode 129 of The Seen and the Unseen to demystify the budget. Much fun is had. Blockbuster guaranteed.

Also read:

  1. The Sholay Redux -- Vivek Kaul

  2. Easynomics: Why high-income tax hurts -- Vivek Kaul

  3. How ₹1.7 trillion has gone missing -- Vivek Kaul

  4. The State of Our Farmers -- Episode 86 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Gunvant Patil)

  5. DeMon, Morality and the Predatory Indian State -- Episode 85 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan)

  6. All Hail Public Choice Theory -- Episode 121 of The Seen and the Unseen

  7. India's Lost Decade -- Episode 116 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Puja Mehra)

  8. Economics in One Lesson -- Henry Hazlitt (free pdf link)

  9. The Law -- Frédéric Bastiat

  10. Marginal Revolution University 

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios

Ep. 127: Our Colorful Past

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Indian history is wild fun. Historian Manu Pillai joins Amit Varma in episode 127 of The Seen and the Unseen to regale him with stories from his latest book. The subjects discussed include caste, gender, narrative manipulation, mad elephants and men blown out of cannons.

Also check out:

  1. The Courtesan, the Mahatma and the Italian Brahmin -- Manu Pillai

  2. The Deccan Before Shivaji -- Episode 98 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Manu Pillai)

  3. When Gandhi was Mohandas -- Episode 104 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ram Guha)

  4. Being Mahatma -- Episode 105 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ram Guha)

  5. The Intellectual Foundations of Hindutva -- Episode 115 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Aakar Patel)

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios

Ep. 126: Building Sports Ecosystems

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Can India ever be a sporting nation? What will it take to get there? Joy Bhattacharjya, who started up Kolkata Knight Riders, brought the u-17 Football World Cup to India and is CEO of the Pro Volleyball League, sure thinks so. He joins Amit Varma in episode 126 of The Seen and the Unseen to share his passion and vision for Indian sport.

Also check out:

  1. Bindra's Wishlist (2005) -- Amit Varma

  2. Opportunity, Choice and the IPL (2008) -- Amit Varma

  3. The IPL is Here and Here Are Six Reasons to Celebrate It (2019) -- Amit Varma

  4. Netherland -- Joseph O'Neill

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios

Ep. 125: The Importance of Finance

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People often talk of the world of Finance as a giant casino, where sociopathic bankers gamble with the livelihoods of real people. Economist Ajay Shah joins Amit Varma in episode 125 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain why this is a misconception, and why Finance is at the heart of our progress.

Also check out:

  1. Why I Loved and Left Poker -- Amit Varma, from his poker column, Range Rover.

  2. Zombie Firms and Creative Destruction -- Episode 118 of The Seen and the Unseen.

  3. Futures Markets in Agriculture -- Episode 12 of The Seen and the Unseen.

  4. The Indian Financial Code

  5. Poker and Stock Markets -- Episode 47 of The Seen and the Unseen

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios

Ep. 124: Religion and Ideology in Indian Society

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What is the role of religion in Indian society? What is conservatism like in India? Suyash Rai joins Amit Varma in episode 124 of The Seen and the Unseen for a wide-ranging free-wheeling chat on these subjects.

Also check out:

  1. The Intellectual Foundations of Hindutva -- Episode 115 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Aakar Patel)

  2. What is Libertarianism? -- Episode 117 of The Seen and the Unseen (w David Boaz)

  3. You're From the Mutton Lobby -- Episode 49 of The Seen and the Unseen (Amit Varma solo, on our political discourse)

  4. Every Act of Government is an Act of Violence -- Amit Varma

  5. The Three Languages of Politics -- Arnold Kling

  6. ये लिबरल आख़िर है कौन? -- Episode 37 of Puliyabaazi (w Amit Varma on Hayek)

  7. Ayodhya: The Dark Night -- Dhirendra K Jha and Krishna Jha

  8. Sacred and Secular -- Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart

  9. A Godless Congregation -- Amit Varma

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Ep. 123: India's Supreme Court

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As the recent sexual harassment case indicates, all is not well with the Supreme Court of India. Constitutional economist Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 123 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain why the Supreme Court has gone wrong on both ends of the tradeoff between Independence and Accountability.

Also read:

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Ep. 121: Public Choice Theory

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Governments consist of people, and people respond to incentives. For this reason, there is no better way to understand government than through the tools of economics. Episode 121 of The Seen and the Unseen is a rerun of an old episode of The Pragati Podcast, in which Amit Varma introduces Pavan Srinath to the mindblowing insights of Public Choice Theory.

Also check out:

  1. What Does It Mean to Be Libertarian? -- ep 64 of The Seen and the Unseen

  2. Public Choice: A Primer -- Eomonn Butler

  3. Politics Without Romance -- Amit Varma's monthly column on Public Choice for Bloomberg Quint

  4. Parkinson's Law -- C Northcote Parkinson

  5. The Calculus of Consent -- James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock

  6. Bureaucracy and Public Economics -- William A Niskanen

  7. Urban Governance in India -- ep 31 of The Seen and the Unseen

  8. Restaurant Regulations in India -- ep 18 of The Seen and the Unseen

  9. Of Endings and Beginnings -- Amit Varma's goodbye editorial for Pragati

Ep. 120: Resisting State Injustice

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Conventional wisdom holds that there are three ways to respond to injustice by the state: we may leave, complain, or comply. Philosopher Jason Brennan joins Amit Varma in episode 120 of The Seen and the Unseen to argue that there is a fourth option: to resist.

Also check out:

When All Else Fails -- Jason Brennan

The Milgram Experiment 

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android
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