Episode 129: Budget. Bollywood. Badmaashi

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 check out:
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

Episode 128: India = Migration

India is a nation on the move, and migration is in our DNA. Economic historian Chinmay Tumbe joins Amit Varma in episode 128 of The Seen and the Unseen to present the rich history of migrations into, out of and within India.

Also check out:
1. India Moving -- Chinmay Tumbe
2. The Story of Our Ancestors -- Episode 112 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Tony Joseph)
3. Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon -- Patanga

Episode 127: Our Colorful Past

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)

Episode 126: Building Sports Ecosystems

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

Episode 125: The Importance of Finance

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.

Episode 124: Religion and Ideology in Indian Society

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

Episode 123: India's Supreme Court

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 check out:
Justice Is Dead, Long Live the Justices -- Shruti Rajagopalan
Imagine No Possessions -- Episode 26 of The Seen and the Unseen 
Fixing Our Judicial System -- Episode 62 of The Seen and the Unseen
Ek Baar Jo Maine Commitment Kar Di -- Amit Varma
Where Have All the Leaders Gone? -- Amit Varma

Episode 122: The 2019 Elections

Elections in India are madly complex, and defy simple explanations. Sadanand Dhume joins Amit Varma in episode 122 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the Age of Modi, and what these elections mean for India, the BJP and the Congress party.

Also check out:
1. Sadanand Dhume's bio and archives.
2. The Questions That Election 2019 Leaves Us With -- Amit Varma
3. Beware of the Useful Idiots -- Amit Varma
4. Amit Varma's writings+podcasts on DeMon, in one twitter thread.
5. The Intellectual Foundations of Hindutva -- ep 115 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Aakar Patel)
6. Modi's Lost Opportunity -- ep 119 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Salman Soz)
7. The BJP's Magic Formula -- ep 45 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Prashant Jha)
8. Rajesh Jain's Journey to Dhan Vapasi -- ep 94 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Rajesh Jain)
9. The Paradox of Narendra Modi -- ep 102 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shashi Tharoor)
10. Why Both Modi and Trump are Textbook Populists -- Amit Varma

Episode 121: Public Choice Theory

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

Episode 119: Modi's Lost Opportunity

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:
1. The Great Disappointment -- Salman Soz
2. India's Lost Decade -- Ep 116 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Puja Mehra)
3. DeMon, Morality and the Predatory Indian State -- Ep 85 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan)
4. The Bad and Complex Tax -- ep 74 of The Seen and the Unseen ( w Shruti Rajagopalan)
5. The Fraud of Indian Education -- ep 77 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Amit Chandra)
6. The Importance of Cities -- ep 108 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Reuben Abraham & Pritika Hingorani)
7. The State of Our Farmers -- ep 86 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Gunvant Patil)
8. Beware of the Useful Idiots -- Amit Varma
9. A Manifesto for Progress -- Amit Varma

Episode 118: Zombie Firms and Creative Destruction

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:
1. Making Sense of Airline Troubles -- Ajay Shah
2. Lessons from the RCom Mess -- Ajay Shah
3. A Great Churning -- Ajay Shah
4. Bankruptcy Process and the Utilisation of Assets -- Ajay Shah
5. Using the Bankruptcy Code for Privatisation -- Ajay Shah
6. What Happens to Private Airlines When Air India is Privatised? -- Ajay Shah
7. The Price is Right -- Amit Varma

Episode 117: What is Libertarianism?

“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:
1. The Libertarian Mind -- David Boaz
2. The Libertarian Reader -- edited by David Boaz
3. What Does It Mean to Be Libertarian? -- ep 64 of The Seen and the Unseen (w. Amit Varma)
4. Every Act of Government Is an Act of Violence -- Amit Varma
5. The Evolution of Everything -- ep 96 of The Seen and the Unseen (w. Matt Ridley)
6. The World is Getting Better -- ep 101 of The Seen and the Unseen (w. Steven Pinker)
7. The Right to Property -- ep 26 of The Seen and the Unseen (w. Shruti Rajagopalan)
8. Public Choice, Voting and Governance -- ep 92 of The Pragati Podcast (w. Amit Varma)
9. The Kim Kardashian Liberal -- Amit Varma
10. I, Pencil -- Leonard Read

Episode 116: India's Lost Decade

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

Episode 115: The Intellectual Foundations of Hindutva

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

Episode 113: The Geopolitics of the Bangladesh War

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

Episode 111: The India-Pakistan Conflict

What are the hidden dynamics of the India-Pakistan conflict? What are the possible ways of resolving it? Historian and foreign policy analyst Srinath Raghavan joins Amit Varma in episode 111 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the game theory and geopolitics of this messy situation.

Also check out:
Srinath Raghavan's books on Amazon
Unlike Vajpayee & Manmohan, PM Modi thinks prudence in conflict is a self-imposed fetter -- Srinath Raghavan
Uncle Sam in South Asia -- ep 93 of The Seen and the Unseen
Strategy: A History -- Lawrence Freedman
Not War, Not Peace -- George Perkovich and Toby Dalton
Images of Terror -- Philip Jenkins
Posturing For Peace -- Vipin Narang
To Escalate or Not? This is Modi's Zugzwang Moment -- Amit Varma

Episode 110: Reporting Venezuela

Venezuela is a country blessed by nature but cursed by politics. Journalist Alexandra Ulmer joins Amit Varma in episode 110 of The Seen and the Unseen to share her insights from her years as a reporter there.

Also check out:
Alexandra Ulmer's homepage
Alexandra Ulmer for Reuters
Crude Nation: How Oil Riches Ruined Venezuela -- Raúl Gallegos
Hugo Chávez: The Definitive Biography -- Cristina Marcano & Alberto Barrera Tyszka
Comandante: Inside Hugo Chavez's Venezuela -- Rory Carroll
Hell of a Fiesta -- Enrique Krauze (non-gated version here)
How to End Venezuela’s Nightmare -- Ricardo Hausmann