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The Seen and the Unseen - hosted by Amit Varma
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The Seen and the Unseen - hosted by Amit Varma

Author: IVM Podcasts

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All public policies -- indeed, all actions by humans -- have two kinds of effects: the effects that are intended, and visible; and unintended consequences, which are invisible. The Seen and the Unseen is a podcast that aims to examine both the seen and the unseen effects of our actions.

Presented by Amit Varma (a journalist for a decade-and-a-half, and winner of the prestigious Bastiat Prize for journalism in 2007 and 2015 -- the only person to win it twice), the show takes on a specific public policy in every episode, and dissects its seen and unseen effects. For example: the ban on surge pricing by Uber in Delhi. What is seen is that Uber no longer costs so much; what is unseen is that you cannot get an Uber at all, because of the scarcity that is a direct result of the price control. The host explains the economic reasoning at work, and talks to an expert who breaks it down further.

The host will have a panel of experts at his disposal, from a variety of disciplines, and will speak to a relevant expert in every episode. Subjects covered will range from broad ones like the state of education in India, to narrower ones like the banning of 'victimless crimes' like prostitution and gambling.
123 Episodes
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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: What Does It Mean to Be Libertarian? -- ep 64 of The Seen and the Unseen Public Choice: A Primer -- Eomonn Butler Politics Without Romance -- Amit Varma's monthly column on Public Choice for Bloomberg Quint Parkinson's Law -- C Northcote Parkinson The Calculus of Consent -- James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock Bureaucracy and Public Economics -- William A Niskanen Urban Governance in India -- ep 31 of The Seen and the Unseen Restaurant Regulations in India -- ep 18 of The Seen and the Unseen Of Endings and Beginnings -- Amit Varma's goodbye editorial for Pragati
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 or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios
Despite being a Congress spokesperson, economist Salman Soz was hopeful in 2014 that the Modi government would be good for India. As the title of his new book indicates, that turned out to be quite The Great Disappointment. Soz joins Amit Varma in episode 119 of The Seen and the Unseen to elaborate on the many economic failures of the Modi government. He also tackles tough questions on the Congress party. Also check out: The Great Disappointment -- Salman Soz India's Lost Decade -- Ep 116 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Puja Mehra) DeMon, Morality and the Predatory Indian State -- Ep 85 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan) The Bad and Complex Tax -- ep 74 of The Seen and the Unseen ( w Shruti Rajagopalan) The Fraud of Indian Education -- ep 77 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Amit Chandra) The Importance of Cities -- ep 108 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Reuben Abraham & Pritika Hingorani) The State of Our Farmers -- ep 86 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Gunvant Patil) Beware of the Useful Idiots -- Amit Varma A Manifesto for Progress -- Amit Varma 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
The Indian economy has the seeds of a horror film, with zombies stalking the landscape. Air India is one. Jet could have been another had it been rescued. Economist Ajay Shah joins Amit Varma in episode 118 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain the importance of creative destruction, and why failing firms should be allowed to die. Also discussed: price controls and market failure. Do check out: Making Sense of Airline Troubles -- Ajay Shah Lessons from the RCom Mess -- Ajay Shah A Great Churning -- Ajay Shah Bankruptcy Process and the Utilisation of Assets -- Ajay Shah Using the Bankruptcy Code for Privatisation -- Ajay Shah What Happens to Private Airlines When Air India is Privatised? -- Ajay Shah The Price is Right -- Amit Varma 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
In a sense there have always been but two political philosophies: liberty and power.” David Boaz. author of The Libertarian Mind, joins Amit Varma in episode 117 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain what libertarian thinking stands for, and to bust some of the misconceptions around it. Also check out: The Libertarian Mind -- David Boaz The Libertarian Reader -- edited by David Boaz What Does It Mean to Be Libertarian? -- ep 64 of The Seen and the Unseen (w. Amit Varma) Every Act of Government Is an Act of Violence -- Amit Varma The Evolution of Everything -- ep 96 of The Seen and the Unseen (w. Matt Ridley) The World is Getting Better -- ep 101 of The Seen and the Unseen (w. Steven Pinker) The Right to Property -- ep 26 of The Seen and the Unseen (w. Shruti Rajagopalan) Public Choice, Voting and Governance -- ep 92 of The Pragati Podcast (w. Amit Varma) The Kim Kardashian Liberal -- Amit Varma I, Pencil -- Leonard Read 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
In 2008, India was growing at 8.8% and was described as a miracle economy. It all went downhill in the next 10 years. Puja Mehra, author of The Lost Decade, joins Amit Varma in episode 116 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe the random events, political imperatives and human dramas that collided to bring us to the brink of a crisis. Also check out: The Lost Decade -- Puja Mehra DeMon, Morality and the Predatory Indian State -- ep 85 of The Seen and the Unseen Most of Amit Varma’s writing on DeMon, collected in one Twitter thread Narendra Modi Takes a Great Leap Backwards — Amit Varma Demonetisation -- Ep 2 of The Seen and the Unseen The Bad and Complex Tax -- Ep 74 of The Seen and the Unseen (on GST) Is KitKat a Chocolate or a Biscuit? -- ep 28 of The Seen and the Unseen (on GST) The State of Our Farmers -- ep 86 of The Seen and the Unseen (in Hindi) Where Are the Jobs? -- ep 87 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
The ideology of Hindutva dominates our political and cultural landscape today. How did it begin, and what is it precisely? Aakar Patel, author of the forthcoming book Our Hindu Rashtra, joins Amit Varma in episode 115 of The Seen and the Unseen to shed light on three important Hindutva thinkers. Also check out: Hindutva – VD Savarkar Bunch of Thoughts – MS Golwalkar Integral Humanism – Deendayal Upadhyay Ayodhya: The Dark Night – Dhirendra Jha and Krishna Jha The Coffeehouse of Surat – Leo Tolstoy Why I Write – Saadat Hasan Manto (translated by Aakar Patel) The Story of Our Ancestors – Episode 112 of The Seen and the Unseen The BJP’s Magic Formula – Episode 45 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
Why is crime ubiquitous in Indian politics? Why is your neta also a dada? Political scientist Milan Vaishnav joins Amit Varma in episode 114 of The Seen and the Unseen to speak about the incentives in play that have brought us to this place. Also check out: When Crime Pays -- Milan Vaishnav The Grand Tamasha -- Milan Vaishnav's podcast 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
The formation of Bangladesh was neither inevitable nor a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan. Historian Srinath Raghavan joins Amit Varma in episode 113 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe the geopolitical forces that shaped those events of 1971. Also check out: 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh -- Srinath Raghavan The Blood Telegram  -- Gary Bass Uncle Sam in South Asia -- episode 93 of The Seen and the Unseen, with Srinath Raghavan Understanding the India-Pakistan Conflict - episode 111 of The Seen and the Unseen, with Srinath Raghavan The formation of the Mujibnagar interim government Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's speech at the UN  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. 112: Early Indians

Ep. 112: Early Indians

2019-03-1801:34:017

Who were the first Indians? Where did the Harappans go? Who were the Aryans? Whose descendants are we? Tony Joseph joins Amit Varma in episode 112 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe how massive scientific advances in the last few years have given us answers to these questions. Also check out: Early Indians -- Tony Joseph Who We Are and How We Got Here -- David Reich 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
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Comments (73)

Manjunatha Bhatta

This is exactly the kind of discussions we expect...thanks for bringing this.

May 16th
Reply

Saurabh Parmar

What a crap.

May 16th
Reply

chirag malik

With due respect, I think amit get carried away with his own opinions rather than just telling the truth. His hate for Modi makes him say or support some really very stupid things. I myself don't like Modi, but this guys takes it to extreme and I think this is the only thing I find annoying about this podcast. Otherwise really nice conversations I enjoy the insights. Listening to this since the beginning.

May 8th
Reply

Uday Biswas

chirag malik 👍👍

May 14th
Reply

Darshana Mhatre

excellent excellent podcast, thanks so much to Shruti and Amit!

May 8th
Reply

Sudha Narayanan

This podcast channel seems to be nothing more than a leftist propaganda.

May 6th
Reply

bhavesh sancheti

Sudha Narayanan i also feel the same

May 19th
Reply

Pushkar Singh

Sudha Narayanan our country have only thiefs in the name of PM

May 19th
Reply

ashutosh pandey

Excellent podcast

Apr 24th
Reply

manoj pathak

Hi Amit, I generally ignore your political commentary and listen podcast for well read opinions. I really appreciate content you are posting. Though in this episode I was completely disappointed. At some intervals, I wondered whether this podcast was about Pakistan. Just quoting few lines from Savarkar/Golwalkar to label them bigot and start bashing, seems to be more like news channel than good podcast. You spent so much time on Pakistan and Jinnah that you had to cut Upadhyay completely. Hope you do bring someone well read person to discuss this topic and present other side of story as well. All the best..!!

Apr 18th
Reply

Jacob Mathew

Informative and engaging!

Apr 17th
Reply

Akshay Badiger

Amit, you have record an episode on the Nazi Germany and Hitler for reasons best known to you!

Apr 17th
Reply

Naveen Thomas

How do you explain the Rockefeller's effect in a lack of protection system...

Apr 15th
Reply

Ankesh Kumar

I appreciate insight of speaker i think origination of goonda raj comes with contract. be it sahabuddin or Ananat Singh. I think handling public fund with proper juridisaction will help and removing distribution of fund from these representative will help somehow..

Apr 3rd
Reply

Deepak Sridhar

wow sriharsha got triggered. go back to Arnab macha

Mar 27th
Reply

ram raghuwanshi

What kind of idiot defence expert he is. He is still talking about Pakistan nuclear response to India's cold start when this gamble is totally busted already. What he think pakistan will nuclear bomb its own population(lahore) if indian army enter lahore (In cold start)

Mar 24th
Reply

R B

Hi, thank you for the podcast. loved it. Can you please share the name of the Palanpuri Jain cuisine cook book Vikram mentioned?

Mar 20th
Reply

Priyal Sharma

Thoroughly enjoyed it! Keep up the good work! 👍

Mar 14th
Reply

Aadish patel

g c g chhhlo8b .

Mar 6th
Reply

Sunny Chandru Mahbubani

This is the worst episode of the seen and unseen I have heard. Normally Amit Varma presents a thought provoking dialogue in his podcast. This time though, one of the women on the show was just ranting aimlessly about harassment and vulnerability. It was pure garbage!

Mar 2nd
Reply

anjali dsilva

Baghdad CXC CX xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx cash CFR di Assassin's DD fsdddddzddddxdxzddddds vs dddddz as GF dfddddddddcd FD ddddgddccxzAsdsssscddddzfssdzxcdczffsdfsdddzddxdfddssdszzszzz.$

Feb 27th
Reply

Abhijit Kenavdekar

If u want easy sex become/pretend to be gay

Feb 20th
Reply

Ankur Motwani

A good discussion overall, I personally loved it. I'd like some more details about the issues if that can be arranged but overall, very good.

Feb 19th
Reply
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