#TIOP (The Implications Of Poverty, February 17, 2018):

Can inequality kill you? Are poorer brains smaller? Is poverty (= inequality + deprivation) the mother of all diseases? Do the rich lead shorter lives in unequal countries? (Why) does Law, with its attempted neutrality, often criminalize poverty? How is theft by a rich person different? Can/should the State demand actions off the poor for them to access ‘benefits’? Is providing opportunity enough, or must inequality of agency also always be addressed? Would you drink water from any well? Are there economic benefits of having a socially cohesive society? Does our brain respond to the environment more than any other body part? Why are the poor kids in schools often not learning? Should poverty be defined within the context of communities (& not externally)? What do all the poor have in common? How can policy account for the heterogeneity of responses by different people to any given situation? However, can the poor be thought of as mere individuals? Can deprivation be eradicated in the future? Can striving for short term equality lead to long term efficiency? Must all children be fed and loved? Must every story be heard…? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from psychiatry (Prof. Vikram Patel, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts), economics (Dr. Vijayendra Rao, The World Bank, Washington DC), & law (Dr. Anup Surendranath, National Law University (NLU), Delhi).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TIOP show.

Prof. Vikram Patel (psychiatry) is The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, USA. He is an adjunct professor and joint director of the Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries at the Public Health Foundation of India, honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (where he co-founded the Centre for Global Mental Health in 2008), and is a co-founder of Sangath, an Indian NGO dedicated to research in the areas of child development, adolescent health, and mental health. Prof. Patel’s research spans a wide variety of topics and disciplines including epidemiology, medicine, psychology, disability, neurological disease, noncommunicable diseases, public health, substance abuse, economic evaluation, and implementation research. His primary interest, however, is in global mental health, specifically the improved treatment and care of people with mental disorders around the globe. Prof. Patel received his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Mumbai, and his Master of Science from the University of Oxford. He then completed his Ph.D. from the University of London, where his research thesis was on mental disorders in Harare. His work on the burden of mental disorders, and the use of community resources for the delivery of interventions has been recognized by the Chalmers Medal (Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, UK), the Sarnat Medal (US National Academy of Medicine), & the Pardes Humanitarian Prize (the Brain & Behaviour Research Foundation). He has also been awarded an honorary OBE from the UK Government and the Posey Leadership Award (Austin College). He is a fellow of the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences and has served on several WHO expert and Government of India committees. He was listed in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential persons of the year in 2015.

Dr. Vijayendra Rao (economics) is Lead Economist, Development Economics Research Group, World Bank. He integrates his training in economics with theories and methods from anthropology, sociology and political science to study the social, cultural, and political context of extreme poverty in developing countries. His research has spanned a wide variety of subjects including the rise in dowries in India, the determinants and consequences of domestic violence, the economics of sex work, inequality, culture and development, public celebrations, community development, and deliberative democracy. Dr. Rao obtained a B.A. in Economics from St. Xavier’s College, Bombay University, a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania (USA), and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago. He has held academic appointments at the University of Michigan, Williams College and Brown University, USA, before joining the World Bank’s Research Department in 1999. He leads the Social Observatory, an inter-disciplinary effort to improve the conversation between citizens and governments. It does this first by improving the quality of civic action by strengthening forums for deliberation and developing tools to facilitate collective action, and second by building the ‘adaptive capacity’ of large-scale anti-poverty projects. He has served on the editorial boards of Economic Development and Cultural Change, Journal of Development Studies, The World Bank Economic Review, and World Development.  He has co-authored/edited multiple books/reports, two of the recent ones are, ‘Deliberation and Development: Rethinking the Role of Voice and Collective Action in Unequal Societies (co-editor Patrick Heller, 2015), & ‘Localizing Development: Does Participation Work?’ (co-author Ghazala Mansuri, 2012). He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Successful Societies Program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).

Dr. Anup Surendranath (law) is Assistant Professor of Law, and Director, Centre on the Death Penalty at National Law University, Delhi. He teaches courses on constitutional law, comparative rights adjudication and legal methods to undergraduate law students. His work at Centre on the Death Penalty involves pro bono representation of death row prisoners, research on multiple aspects of the administration of the death penalty and strategizing public outreach on the issue. Dr. Surendranath completed his B.A., & LL.B. (Hons.) from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, and was then at the University of Oxford on the Felix Scholarship between 2007-2012. At the University of Oxford he was awarded the B.C.L (Bachelor of Civil Law, with Distinction), M.Phil. in Law (Distinction) and the D.Phil. in Law. His doctoral work, under the supervision of Prof. Sandra Fredman, was on equality, reservations and beneficiary groups in the Indian Constitution. Dr. Surendranath was the lead author and researcher of the Death Penalty India Report (May 2016) that was based on interviews with all of India’s death row prisoners and their families. The report documented the socio-economic profile of India’s death row population while mapping their interaction with various elements of the criminal justice system. The report has been used by the Law Commission of India, the UN Human Rights Council and the office of the UN Secretary General. He has written the chapter on ‘Life and Personal Liberty’ for the Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution (OUP, 2016), and his work on the freedom of religion in Indian Constitution has been published in the Journal of the National Human Rights Commission (2016). The Centre on the Death Penalty has also published ‘Matters of Judgment’ (December 2017), a report based on an opinion study with 60 former judges of the Supreme Court of India on their views on the criminal justice system and the death penalty.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TIOP mentions:  Friedrich Hayek, Amartya Sen, Cass Sunstein, & Deepa Narayan, among others.