168 episodes

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.

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

    • Politics

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.

    Ep 166: Nanak Was Here

    Ep 166: Nanak Was Here

    The man known as Guru Nanak was one of the great travellers of his time, passing through lands that are today spread across nine countries. Amardeep Singh joins Amit Varma in episode 166 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about how he retraced Nanak's path -- and also about his efforts at documenting the Sikh heritage of Pakistan.
     
    Also check out:
    1. Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan -- Amardeep Singh.
    2. The Quest Continues: Lost Heritage -- Amardeep Singh.
    3. Peering Warrior -- A documentary by Amardeep Singh.
    4. The Lost Heritage website.
    5. Amardeep Singh on Facebook (Lost Heritage, Tapestry), Instagram and Twitter.
    6. Hindu, Sufi or Sikh -- Steven W Ramey.
    7. Our Colourful Past -- Episode 127 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Manu Pillai).
    8. The History of Desire in India -- Episode 161 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Madhavi Menon).
    9. The Truth About Us -- Sanjoy Chakravorty.
     
    You can email Amardeep at amardeepsinghranghar@yahoo.com.sg and whatsapp him at +65 9832 6508.

    • 2 hrs 19 min
    Ep 165: Genetic Engineering

    Ep 165: Genetic Engineering

    Humans are the only bots with the ability to reprogram themselves. Shambhavi Naik joins Amit Varma in episode 165 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the science, ethics, politics and policy implications of genetic engineering.
     
    Also check out:
    1. A Framework for Governing Gene Editing -- Takshashika Discussion Document.
    2. Gene Drives in Infectious Diseases -- Takshashila Discussion Slidedoc
    3. Chinese gene-edited baby row rekindles need for guidelines in India -- Shambhavi Naik.
    4. The scientific argument for marrying outside your caste
     -- Shambhavi Naik.
    5. The gene of prejudice in gender determination -- Shambhavi Naik.
    6. The Evolution of Everything -- Episode 96 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Matt Ridley).
    7. The Selfish Gene -- Richard Dawkins.
    8. The Blank Slate -- Steven Pinker.
    9. Politics and the Sociopath -- Amit Varma.
    10. Farmers, Technology and Freedom of Choice: A Tale of Two Satyagrahas -- Amit Varma.
    11. Let's Rethink Doping -- Amit Varma.
    12. The Indianness of Indian Food -- Episode 95 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vikram Doctor).
    13. The Art and Science of Economic Policy -- Ep 154 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vijay Kelkar & Ajay Shah).
    14. In Service of the Republic -- Vijay Kelkar & Ajay Shah.
    15. Hacking Darwin -- Jamie Metzl.
    16. Early Indians -- Episode 112 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Tony Joseph).

    • 2 hrs 1 min
    Ep 164: The Ideas of Our Constitution

    Ep 164: The Ideas of Our Constitution

    Contrary to popular belief, the Indian constitution was not a copy-paste job without a vision. It emerged from decades of intellectual ferment. Madhav Khosla joins Amit Varma in episode 164 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe the history of the key ideas that drove our founders and shaped our constitution.
     
    Also check out:
    1. India's Founding Moment -- Madhav Khosla
    2. The Indian Constitution (Oxford Short Introductions) -- Madhav Khosla
    3. The Idea of India -- Sunil Khilnani
    4. The Citizenship Battles -- Episode 152 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Srinath Raghavan)
    5. Citizenship and its Discontents -- Niraja Gopal Jayal
    6. Narendra Modi Takes a Great Leap Backwards -- Amit Varma
    7. India's Sedition Law -- Episode 146 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Chitranshul Sinha)
    8. Who Broke Our Republic? -- Episode 163 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Kapil Komireddi)
    9. The Emergency -- Episode 103 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Gyan Prakash)
    10. Democracies of the East -- Radhakamal Mukerjee
    11. Why I am Not a Conservative -- Friedrich Hayek
    12. The Indian Conservative -- Episode 145 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Jaithirth Rao)
    13. Pakistan or the Partition of India -- BR Ambedkar.

    • 1 hr 57 min
    Ep 163: Who Broke Our Republic?

    Ep 163: Who Broke Our Republic?

    Seven decades after Independence, India is still wracked by poverty and strife. Who is responsible? Kapil Komireddi joins Amit Varma in episode 163 of The Seen and the Unseen to excoriate every political player of Independent India. No prisoners taken.

    Also check out:
    1. Malevolent Republic -- Kapil Komireddi.
    2. Kashmir and Article 370 -- Episode 134 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Srinath Raghavan).
    3. Understanding Gandhi. Part One: Mohandas -- Episode 104 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ram Guha).
    4. Understanding Gandhi. Part Two: Mahatma -- Episode 105 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ram Guha).
    5. The Gita Press and Hindu Nationalism -- Episode 139 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Akshaya Mukul).
    6. Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India -- Akshaya Mukul.
    7. India's Founding Moment -- Madhav Khosla.
    8. Where Have All the Leaders Gone? -- Amit Varma.
    9. Democracy in Pakistan -- Episode 79 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Pranay Kotasthane & Hamsini Hariharan).
    10. The 2019 Elections -- Episode 122 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Sadanand Dhume).
    11. Radically Networked Societies -- Episode 158 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Pranay Kotasthane).
    12. The Emergency -- Episode 103 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Gyan Prakash).
    13. Taking Stock of Our Republic -- Episode 157 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ram Guha).
    14. A Game Theory Problem: Who Will Bell The Congress Cat? -- Amit Varma.
    15. An Area of Darkness -- VS Naipaul.
    16. India: A Wounded Civilization -- VS Naipaul.
    17. The Discovery of India -- Jawaharlal Nehru.

    • 1 hr 55 min
    Ep 162: Caste, Gender, Karnatik Music

    Ep 162: Caste, Gender, Karnatik Music

    So much of our culture is shaped by our social fault lines. TM Krishna joins Amit Varma in episode 162 of The Seen and the Unseen to peel the layers off the development of Karnatik music -- and Indian society itself.
     
    Also check out:
    1. Sebastian and Sons -- TM Krishna
    2. A Southern Music -- TM Krishna
    3. Reshaping Art -- TM Krishna
    4. TM Krishna singing on a bus.
    5. Superforecasting -- Philip Tetlock & Dan Gardner
    6. The Gita Press and Hindu Nationalism -- Episode 139 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Akshaya Mukul)

    • 2 hrs 39 min
    Ep 161: The History of Desire in India

    Ep 161: The History of Desire in India

    We may be a sexually repressed country today, but it wasn't always like this. Madhavi Menon joins Amit Varma in episode 161 of The Seen and the Unseen to elaborate on the infinite variety of our desires all through history,

    Also check out:
    1. Infinite Variety -- Madhavi Menon
    2. Madhavi Menon's Amazon page.
    3. Masala Shakespeare -- Jonathan Gil Harris
    4. The Seven Basic Plots -- Christopher Booker
    5. The Ascetic of Desire -- Sudhir Kakar
    6. Early Indians -- Tony Joseph
    7. Early Indians -- Episode 112 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Tony Joseph)
    8. Being Gay, Loving Books -- Episode 141 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vivek Tejuja)
    9. It is Immoral to Have Children. Here’s Why -- Amit Varma
    10. Everybody Lies -- Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
    11. The Truth About Ourselves -- Amit Varma
    12. Lihaaf -- Ismat Chugtai

    • 2 hrs 16 min

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