It is my honor to have been invited to speak at Thinkfest 2015 in Chennai on January 26. "Thinkfest is the annual programme organized by Chennai Freethinkers, a regional group of Nirmukta, during which science popularizers, humanists, and freethought activists are invited to share their ideas with the general public." Read more about the event and the schedule. The event is open to all but requires registration.
The topic I've chosen is "What do we deserve?" For our learning, natural talents, and labor, what rewards and entitlements can we fairly claim? This is a question of particular relevance in market-based societies in which people tend to think they deserve both their success and their failure. I’ll explore the fraught concepts of "merit" and "success", and what outcomes we can take credit for or not. I'll present three leading models of economic justice by which a society might allocate its rewards—libertarian, meritocratic, egalitarian—and consider the pros and cons of each using examples from both India and abroad.