My name is Tejas Subramaniam. I am an 18-year-old high school senior from Chennai, India. Currently, much of my time is dedicated to researching ways to improve our understanding of sexual violence and effective methods to reduce its incidence, a project supported by Emergent Ventures. I am interested in economics, statistics, international development, comparative politics, and game theory. I also have some background in competitive formal debate, having represented India at three World Schools Debating Championships.
This blog is a collection of some of my thoughts, typically related to social science-related issues and philosophy. Follow me on Twitter (handle: @TejasReal) for thoughts that are too short or too non-rigorous to put on this blog. You can find some earlier work of mine archived at GoTejas.com (most of it is really bad, this blog is better). I’ve changed my mind about virtually everything I wrote there. In general, I have become less certain about most public policy issues. I have also become significantly less left-wing than I used to be.
Where to start?
The amount of content this blog has is fairly small. I recommend you start with these:
- Beef bans likely reduce animal welfare
- Contra Mankiw on political philosophy
- An unfiltered thought on giving directly
- The principle of charity
Books, articles, and people who’ve influenced me
I’m a moral realist and largely a preference utilitarian (though I understand the appeal behind many other approaches to normative ethics, including liberal contractualism, ethical libertarianism, and virtue ethics). I think animals are deserving of our moral consideration—both farmed animals and wild ones—and that animal suffering is one of the world’s most serious problems.
Some other issues that I think should be of prime importance (in rough order of what I perceive as their importance) are (1) elevating the rate of long-run consumption growth, (2) environmental protection to fight global warming and reduce air pollution, (3) improving (and better allocating) state capacity and governance, and promoting democracy, in the global south, (4) advancing global health (especially research into mental health, pain relief, and, if possible, radical life extension), (5) mitigating both the frequency and scale of international conflict (including cyberwarfare), and (6) dealing with global catastrophic risks from nuclear proliferation, biological weapons, the threat of a pandemic, and (maybe) artificial general intelligence.
Politically, I like free markets, free trade, policies that enable both internal and international migration, a welfare state focused on promoting upward mobility, a libertarian approach to criminal justice, and a commitment to protect the rights of minorities. This generally makes me slightly left of center, with some libertarian inclinations (I agree with much of this blog post, and am pretty close to this and this). In India, I dislike most political parties, but think the Indian National Congress is the least bad option for the national government (and the current government is borderline authoritarian and unjust).
I don’t have too many thoughts on Western foreign policy, but I’m generally convinced by the things Anonymous Mugwump says.
My learning plan
I am a high school student, as I mentioned before. About a year ago, I came across this list – in which one of Patrick Collison’s pieces of advice for 10–20-year-olds is to “go deep on things.” While I have sort of been doing that for much of my life – and have mostly gone deep into debate and related subjects, as well as some sub-branches of zoology, and some mythology across many cultures – coming across this explicit advice has driven me to take a more systematic approach. In that respect, I have created a list of things I want to learn more about over the next one and a half years or so (before I start going to college, that is). A strikethrough indicates that I have completed it.
Introductory microeconomics (at the level of AP Microeconomics) Introductory macroeconomics (at the level of AP Macroeconomics)
- Some issues in gender, sexuality, and sexual violence
- Prevalence of sexual violence
- Relationship between sexual violence and public health issues
- Distributional effects of sexual violence
- Public policy relevant to sexual violence, and how seemingly unrelated public policy affects it
- The effects of various legal approaches to prostitution and pornography
- The inclusion of LGBTQ+ students in Indian school education
- The interaction between sexual harassment and social media platforms
- Effective strategies to reduce sexual harassment and bullying in school environments
- Public health issues relevant to the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community
- Microeconomic theory I (at the level of an intermediate undergraduate college course with calculus)
- Microeconomic theory II (at the level of Hal Varian’s Microeconomic Analysis or an equivalent book)
- Intermediate macroeconomics
- Game theory
Comparative politics (at the level of Clark, Golder, and Golder’s textbook on the subject)
- Development economics, using David Weil’s Economic Growth
- Statistics and econometrics, using:
- Joshua Angrist and Jörn-Steffen Pischke’s Mastering ’Metrics
- Darrin Speegle and Bryan Clair’s Foundations of Statistics with R and Francis DiTraglia’s course materials from UPenn’s Econ 103
- James Stock and Mark Watson’s Introduction to Econometrics
- Joseph Blitzstein and Jessica Hwang’s Introduction to Probability
- Joshua Angrist and Jörn-Steffen Pischke’s Mostly Harmless Econometrics
- Mathematics, specifically:
Single-variable calculus Multivariable calculus
- Undergraduate linear algebra at the level of Sheldon Axler’s Linear Algebra Done Right
- Introductory computer science
Anyway, that’s me. I hope you enjoy what you find here.