#TNAM (The Niches And Monopolies, July 23, 2016):

Can one stay in a hole through one’s entire life? Is a system always embedded in another? How large can (or should) the smaller system be? Is the market a free floating entity? Is it difficult to understand when a system has been monopolized? Do almost all communities have skewed abundance patterns? Are niches always n-dimensional hypervolumes? Can there be a qualitative difference between two forests with the same amount of timber generated and harvested? Is niche fundamentally a ‘fund’ (& not a ‘stock’) concept? Are niches inherited? Can inheritance also happen mimetically? How are niches constructed: what role do key innovations play? Can niches also diverge over a period of time? Has there been a progressive loss of diversity of (efficiency) norms, & does this inevitably lead to an increase in systemic risk and centralization? Did thermodynamics and economics coevolve during industrial revolution, & is the transition from charcoal to coal a pivotal turn? Are humans the only species that modify the ecosystem to their own detriment? Is the ‘tree of life’ a clumpy, gappy, crooked, jagged line? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from ecological economics, chemical engineering (Dr. Deepak Malghan, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore), & ecology (Dr. Kartik Shanker, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore).

Listen in….

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

Dr. Deepak Malghan (ecological economics, chemical engineering) is on the faculty of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore where he directs the ecological political economy lab. He is also an adjunct faculty at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) in Bangalore. His research interests are ecological economics, with focus on theoretical models of the economy-ecosystem interaction problem. He holds a Ph.D. in ecological economics from the University of Maryland, and an MPA (Master of Public Affairs) from Princeton University. He is completing a multi-year book project that aims to reformulate ecological economics from a scale perspective, where scale measures the physical size of the economy relative to the ecosystem that contains and sustains it. Dr. Malghan’s research is highly interdisciplinary, and routinely uses technical tools from economics, chemical engineering, and ecology. Besides his primary technical research, he also pursues historical scholarship centered on the political economy of the interwar period in India. He is the co-author of an intellectual biography of J. C. Kumarappa (1892-1960), a pioneering economic philosopher and the primary preceptor of Gandhi’s economic philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2016). In 2015, Dr. Malghan was a Fung Global Fellow at Princeton University where he initiated a new book project to chronicle the global history of the idea of efficiency.

Dr. Kartik Shanker (ecology) is Director of Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore. He is on deputation from the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, where he is an Associate Professor. His research interests are behavior, ecology, evolution with specialization in community ecology and macroecology, historical biogeography, phylogeography and phylogenetics, marine turtle biology and conservation. After completing his M.Sc. (Zoology) from University of Madras, he earned his Ph.D. from CES, IISc (1998). He is also a founder trustee of Dakshin Foundation, an NGO which works largely on coastal and marine conservation and livelihoods, including projects that seek to build conservation partnerships with local communities. Dr. Shanker has worked on the biology and conservation of sea turtles for the last 25 years, and has ongoing projects on olive ridley turtles in Orissa, and leatherback turtles in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He is the founder of Turtle Action Group, a national network for the conservation of sea turtles and their habitats. He has also served as President of the International Sea Turtle Society and Regional Vice-Chair of the Marine Turtle Specialist Group of IUCN/SSC (International Union for Conservation of Nature/ Species Survival Commission). He is the founding editor of the magazine, ‘Current Conservation’, and the author of the book ‘From Soup to Superstar’, a historical account of sea turtle conservation in India. In his spare time, he seeks to distract young minds from more serious pursuits with books such as ‘Turtle Story’ and ‘The Adventures of Philautus Frog’.

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

#TNAM mentionsAristotle, Francis Bacon, Nicolas Carnot, G. Evelyn Hutchinson, Alfred J. Lotka, & Stephen Jay Gould, among others.