Episode 14: The Big Deal About the IPL

The IPL starts this weekend. It is much more than a tamasha. It saved and revitalized cricket. In episode 14 of Econ Central, Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul turn the economic lens towards cricket and cricket strategy.

Episode 13: Everyone Has Lost It!

Our media, our society and our politics have all gone nuts. Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul examine this drift to the extremes in episode 13 of Econ Central. Also discussed: the real estate dudes fight the bankers, and why football isn’t taking off in India.

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Episode 12: Gegenpressing GDP

Our economy’s contracted. And Lionel Messi’s looking for someone new to contract with. Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul dissect both situations in episode 12 of Econ Central. Also discussed: Amitabh Bachchan’s crocodile.

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Episode 11: Congress Rebellion Revisited

Game theory explains the complexity of rebelling against the Gandhis — and theory has now become practice. As fires rage in the house that Congress built, Amit Varma and Vivek revisit the incentives of the players involved. Also discussed: Shaktikanta Das’s views on the stock market and why Naseeruddin Shah excused Raj Kumar’s hamming.

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Episode 10: Dhoni and India

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s career is so resonant for most Indians. Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul get together in episode 10 of Econ Central to discuss how Dhoni, when he emerged, represented a new India empowered by liberalisation. He was a disruptor from a small town who led Indian cricket into a new age — but also failed to adapt when cricket changed again.

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Episode 9: Do We Need Billionaires?

In a world full of pain and suffering, some say that it is perverse that billionaires exist. Do we need them? Yes, we do, argue Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul in episode 9 of Econ Central. Listen in for the argument, and the caveat, because hey, there’s always a caveat. Also discussed: why the Congress Party’s actions are the opposite of their words, and how we should think about economic reform.

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Episode 8: Out-Arnabing Arnab

There is a race to the bottom in Indian media. It is rational. Its reasons are structural. The state and society must share the blame. Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul explain why in episode 8 of Econ Central. Also discussed: public sector banks, our love for simple narratives and Raat Akeli Hai.

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Episode 7: The Deep State of Real Estate

The Indian real estate market is an unusual beast: there is as much politics in it as economics. Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul get together in episode 7 of Econ Central to dissect its innards. Also discussed: why Joe Biden is like Rahul Roy, and MCBC gaalis reflect a toxic mindset and should be abandoned by us.

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Episode 6: The Hype Around the Stock Market

Our economy goes down, down, down. Our stock market is hyped up, up, up. Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul make sense of this paradox in episode 6 of Econ Central. Also discussed: The economic principles behind good writing, the game theory behind rebellion in the Congress, and how both Amit and Vivek are enemies of Lutyens.

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Episode 5: The Economics of the Chilling Effect

Dissenters are arrested, comedians are forced to apologise, online mobs are on the rampage. The incentives are aligned towards shutting up. Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul get together in episode 5 of Econ Central to talk about the economics of the chilling effect. Also discussed: the significance of Amitabh Bachchan getting Covid, and the dangers of dead capital.

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Episode 4: The Roving Bandits of Uttar Pradesh

When gangster Vikas Dubey’s men gunned down eight policemen in UP recently, they were responding to incentives, both ancient and modern. Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul lay them bare in episode 4 of Econ Central. Also discussed: the unseen effects of the PMGKAY, a book you must read to understand India’s post-independence economics and why no country has an ‘ideal’ economy.

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Episode 3: Petrol, Diesel and Custodial Murder

Why are petrol and diesel prices rising? What can the economic way of thinking reveal about custodial murder and the rule of law? Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul get together in episode 3 of Econ Central to discuss the events of the week gone by. The Book of the Week is The Power Broker by Robert Caro. And the AMA features two outstanding questions.

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Episode 2: Green Shoots in the Desert Sand

What are these green shoots India’s government is speaking of? Is our economy getting better? Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul give context to the hype in episode 2 of Econ Central. They also discuss the incentives of politicians in the Indo-China conflict and bust the Zero-Sum Fallacy.

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Episode 1: Should We Be Aatma Nirbhar?

Should we boycott goods from China? It isn’t possible, says Vivek Kaul. It isn’t desirable, adds Amit Varma. Welcome to episode 1 of Econ Central, a new weekly podcast that looks at India through the lens of economic thinking. Amit and Vivek also discuss parottas, chocolate sandesh and the masterpiece Ghachar Ghochar.

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Episode 0: Econ Central Kicks Off

In the preview episode of Econ Central, hosts Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul explain what this new weekly show on economics will cover.

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