158 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 156: Kerala and the Ivory Throne

    Ep 156: Kerala and the Ivory Throne

    Kerala has a madly interesting history. It was a hub of globalisation centuries ago, an exemplar of tolerance. Almost in contrast, it took casteism to an extreme. It also had a matrilineal system, a tradition of empowered women, and some badass queens. Historian Manu Pillai joins Amit Varma in episode 156 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss all this and more.

    Also check out:
    1. The Ivory Throne -- Manu Pillai
    2. Our Colourful Past -- Episode 127 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Manu Pillai)
    3. The Deccan Before Shivaji -- Episode 98 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Manu Pillai)
    4. The Indianness of Indian Food -- Episode 95 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vikram Doctor)

    For complete archives, do visit seenunseen.in.

    • 2 hr 20 min
    Ep 155: Films, Feminism, Paromita

    Ep 155: Films, Feminism, Paromita

    Immense changes have swept through our lives in the last three decades. Filmmaker and writer Paromita Vohra joins Amit Varma in episode 155 of The Seen and the Unseen, and turns her unique gaze both inwards and outwards.
     
    Also check out:
    1. Agents of Ishq
    1. Unlimited Girls (95 mins)
    2. Cosmopolis: Two Tales of a City (13 mins)
    3. Where's Sandra (18 mins)
    4. Morality TV (32 mins)
    5. Partners in Crime (95 mins)
    6. A Love Latika (Trailer)
    7. Interview of Paromita Vohra by Anuradha Sengupta
    8. A Lover's Argument -- Talk by Paromita Vohra
    9. Paromita Vohra on Shah Rukh Khan
    10.My True North: All Renewal Starts With the Self -- Paromita Vohra
    11. On My First Data, My True Love Gave To Me -- Paromita Vohra
    12. The Mystery of The Half-Girlfriend and the Double Chetan -- Paromita Vohra
    13. Automatic Bodies -- Paromita Vohra
    14. Indian Society: The Last 30 years -- Episode 137 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Santosh Desai)
    15. The Dialect of a Cricket Writer -- Amit Varma
    16. Reading India Now -- Ulka Anjaria

    • 2 hr 49 min
    Ep 154: The Art and Science of Economic Policy

    Ep 154: The Art and Science of Economic Policy

    Economic policy affects each of us -- and yet, India has gotten it wrong for decades. In their groundbreaking new book, Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah write not just how to do policy, but how to think about policy. They join Amit Varma in episode 154 of The Seen and the Unseen to share their learnings, first principles onwards.
     
    Also check out:
    1. In Service of the Republic -- Vijay Kelkar & Ajay Shah
    2. Zombie Firms and Creative Destruction -- Ep 118 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ajay Shah)
    3. The Importance of Finance -- Ep 125 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ajay Shah)
    4. Every Act of Government Is an Act of Violence -- Amit Varma
    5. The Delhi Smog -- Ep 44 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vivek Kaul)
    6. Public Choice Theory -- Ep 121 of The Seen and the Unseen
    7. Narendra Modi takes a Great Leap Backwards -- Amit Varma
    8. Three Reasons Why A Cashless Society Would Be A Disaster -- Amit Varma
    9. Where Have All the Leaders Gone? -- Amit Varma
    10. India's Agriculture Crisis -- Ep 140 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Barun Mitra & Kumar Anand)
    11. Premature Imitation and India’s Flailing State -- Shruti Rajagopalan & Alex Tabarrok (pdf link)
    12. Our Political Discourse -- Ep 49 of The Seen and the Unseen (w transcript)
    13. The Facts Do Not Matter -- Amit Varma

    • 2 hr 43 min
    Ep 153: The Indian Economy in 2019

    Ep 153: The Indian Economy in 2019

    Alongside much social unrest, the Indian economy went to hell in 2019. Vivek Kaul joins Amit Varma in episode 153 of The Seen and the Unseen to survey the damage, and to demystify the rubble. 
    For detailed show notes, head on over to seenunseen.in.

    • 1 hr 54 min
    Ep 152: The Citizenship Battles

    Ep 152: The Citizenship Battles

    Why is India burning over the Citizenship Amendment Bill? Why does the NRC matter? What is happening in Assam? Srinath Raghavan joins Amit Varma in episode 152 of The Seen and the Unseen to give historical perspective on our current ferments.

    For detailed show notes, head on over to seenunseen.in.

    • 2 hr 31 min
    Ep. 151: Maharashtra Politics Unscrambled

    Ep. 151: Maharashtra Politics Unscrambled

    Politics in Maharashtra is deeply complicated. Its themes and fault lines have been formed over decades. Veteran journalist and author Sujata Anandan joins Amit Varma in episode 151 of The Seen and the Unseen to unravel some of the mysteries behind its fascinating dramas.
     
    Also check out:

    1. Hindu Hriday Samrat -- Sujata Anandan
    2. Maharashtra Maximus -- Sujata Anandan
    3. Marathi Manoos -- Sujata Anandan.

    • 2 hr 25 min

Customer Reviews

Wappingerman ,

Great listen

I just finished listening to the interview with Manu Pillai. What a treat! The 2.30 hour interview felt like a great movie. Kudos to both. One of my favorites that I intend listen many times. Hopefully will get a chance to read the book as well. Very interesting history recap and a lesson to those who think past was all greatness galore.

asamuel84 ,

Incentives Matter!

Not that you have asked me this question of what I am most hopeful about and what do I despair most about but I will answer this question. The fact that there is a voice like Amit Verma’s out there and accessible to 1.4 billion people is a reason for hope. The fact that there is only one Amit Verma And potion of millions of other voices is a reason for despair. Great podcast!

Aksceb ,

Intelligent

Well researched and intelligent to tickle your grey cells.

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