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Chaitanya is Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in the Centre for Regulatory Policy and Governance. He has a PhD in Economics. Chaitanya’s research interests include economic development strategies in the global south, structural change, economic development and regulatory policy, urban economics, and non-anthropocentric strategies/alternatives to anthropocentric value systems in progress and conservation including food systems research (and maybe Sentientist Economics?)
In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”
Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” The audio is also on our Podcast here on Apple & here everywhere else.
01:42 Chaitanya’s Intro
- Economics as a way to improve the world
03:45 What’s Real?
- Growing up in a #sindhi family in India
- #pakistan , #india & partition
- Having a #hindu temple at home
- An #atheist father “he didn’t believe in all those things” who turned to religion after a difficult time
- “I don’t believe in god”
- “Religion has always been a tool to marginalise different sections of the society”
- Rejecting faith
- Degree, masters, PhD… “questioning things… critical thinking”
- Before then, unthinkingly accepting what had been told
- “The way you think has real impact on society”
- “There are several ways of living life and one has agency”
- Evidence & reason, ethical & systemic critiques of religion
- “It’s a very hard task to grasp reality”
- “I would rather… analyse things around me as they are”
- Naturalistic views of relatedness & interconnectedness
- Finding a balance between defeatist humility & arrogant hubris
22:54 What Matters?
- Being sensitive, as a child, to humans & non-humans
- Growing up in a patriarchal society
- “Not cheating, working hard… stopping at red lights”
26:49 Who Matters?
- Sindhis typically eat meat, but father said “I always felt it was not the right thing to do”
- Buying meat from a public slaughterhouse “I did not feel comfortable but I used to love it [eating meat]”
- Family gatherings centred around #meat “everyone around me was relishing… & my father was telling me this is not the right thing to do”
- Fighting about eating meat at 4-5 years old
- Visiting the #slaughterhouse “this is where it comes from”
- #sentience & the dangers of human-defined moral scope
- Collective agreements about moral communities “It shouldn’t just be about my morals”
- #animalrescue dilemmas re: animals consuming animals
- Easy & hard ethical choices
- Ethical & epistemological humility
- “We shouldn’t be using these moral trade-offs to avoid having a moral scope”
- The boundaries of sentience… oysters, #bivalves & #invertebrates
43:40 A Better Future?
- #Hindu nationalism, #castediscrimination #secularism
- #utopia vs. pragmatism
- “A world that is more kind & compassionate”
- Animal Law studies in Hyderabad “There are developments happening”
- Animal ethics “are not in the mainstream”
- #hindutva & the #bjp
- Hinduism, the sacredness of cows & the use of cow products (milk, dung, urine)
- Purity & #caste systems
- “India is the largest buffalo beef exporter”
- “It’s a political device to marginalise sections of Indian society”… #dalit #muslim #adivasi
- Even vegetarian Hindus consume many animal products
- “Hinduism… doesn’t actually talk about animal rights”
- “…the dominant politics is harming the marginalised humans & also the non-humans”
- #socialjustice “We can talk about humans & non-humans”
- The Tamil movie #jaibhim, eating rats & the oppression of #indigenous groups
- Oppressed people are capable of thinking about non-humans too
- #intersectionality & the #vegan movement
- #vegan in Indian context, individual change & systemic change
- Seeing caged hens slaughtered every day
- “A woman selling fish from the sea. Can I have a conversation with them about non-humans?”
- #transition “economics, politics, sociology… we should have tools from all these fields”
- “The fact that we need to transition is not in question… the question is how”
- “Create more livelihoods without causing harm”
- Handling resistance to change
- Asking the right questions about transition (vs. #veganism )
- Thousands of transition paths?
- #SentientistEconomics ?
- “There have to be incentives”
- Choosing to be optimistic 🙂
- “Even in places of high learning people are oblivious to this idea”
- Growth, Eco economics, neo-liberalism
- Kindness & compassion “our aim is not just to consume & produce”
- “Maybe #sentientism can help us further this idea of changing the way we study economics”
Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info.
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Thanks Graham for the post-production.