Thursday, July 29, 2010
I fail to understand why unmarried, childless woman is in any way inferior to anyone else. It might be her personal choice and should not we respect each person's personal choice. As long as the person has the quality/qualification/experience/knowledge etc to discharge her role as Prime Minister, why should her being unmarried / childless be a disqualification? I doubt if the same yardstick would be applied if it is a man.
If a woman comes up in life, somehow other issues are raised. Can a woman never come up or be successful in life due to her intelligence and hard work? Looks like even developed countries have this attitudinal problem. The Economist calls this "Abbott's angst". Somehow I feel it is not his angst, it should be the angst of all right thinking people as to why issues about a woman are raised for the only reason she is a woman and why societies adopt double standards for men and women?
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
" .... read this story from Michael Mauboussin, the strategist at Legg Mason and contemplate the unfairness of life.Mmm... lucky chap!
For almost two centuries, Spain has hosted an enomously popular Christmas lottery. Based on payout, it is the biggest lottery in the world and nearly all Spaniards play. In the mid 1970s, a man sought a ticket with the last two digits ending in 48. He found a ticket, bought it, and then won the lottery. When asked why he was so intent on finding that number, he replied "I dreamed of the number seven for seven straight nights. And 7 times 7 is 48."
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Came across this interesting article - "GREATER FOOLS" by James Surowiecki
Some excerpts from the article -
Halfway through his Presidency, George W. Bush called on the country to build “an ownership society.” He trumpeted the soaring rate of U.S. homeownership, and extolled the virtues of giving individuals more control over their own financial lives. It was a comforting vision, but, as we now know, behind it was a bleak reality—bad subprime loans, mountains of credit-card debt, and shrinking pensions—reflecting a simple fact: when it comes to financial matters, many Americans have been left without a clue.
The depth of our financial ignorance is startling. In recent years, Annamaria Lusardi, an economist at Dartmouth and the head of the Financial Literacy Center, has conducted extensive studies of what Americans know about finance. It’s depressing work. Almost half of those surveyed couldn’t answer two questions about inflation and interest rates correctly, and slightly more sophisticated topics baffle a majority of people. Many people don’t know the terms of their mortgage or the interest rate they’re paying. And, at a time when we’re borrowing more than ever, most Americans can’t explain what compound interest is.
There’s evidence that just improving basic calculation skills and inculcating a few key concepts could make a significant difference. One study of the few states that have mandated financial education in schools found that it had a surprisingly large impact on savings rates. And the Center for American Progress has found that, across the country, education and counselling by nonprofit organizations, like the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, have helped low-income families buy and hold onto homes, even during the housing bubble. The point isn’t to turn the average American into Warren Buffett but to help people avoid disasters and day-to-day choices that eat away at their bank accounts. The difference between knowing a little about your finances and knowing nothing can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime. And, as the past ten years have shown us, the cost to society can be far greater than that.
Some excerpts from the article -
The U.S. economy is limping along. The job market is in rotten shape, and business investment is hitting historic lows. And, if you’re looking for a culprit for this dismal state of affairs, many businesspeople would be happy to point you to the White House. Companies aren’t hiring or investing, businessmen say, because the combination of Barack Obama’s anti-corporate attitude and a blizzard of new regulations and proposed taxes has created what Ivan Seidenberg, the C.E.O. of Verizon, calls “an increasingly hostile environment for investment and job creation.” In a recent Newsweek column, Fareed Zakaria pointed to the fact that Fortune 500 companies are sitting on a cash hoard of $1.8 trillion, and suggested that a “profound sense of distrust” might be why they weren’t spending it.The impulse to blame Obama for all this corporate timidity is understandable: aside from the fact that plenty of businesspeople don’t like his policies, it would make things so much easier if a President could jump-start the economy just by making the suits feel better. But the attacks reflect the same blind faith in Obama’s powers that the hero worship of his election campaign did. As the political scientist George Edwards showed in his masterly study “On Deaf Ears,” people vastly overrate the influence of the bully pulpit: in most cases, the capacity of a President to change voters’ opinions is slim, and there’s no reason to think that he has any more influence over corporate executives. A different President isn’t going to get businesses off the mark. Only a different economy will.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Some excerpts from the article -
The rules spring from two facts. The first is that people who eat what Mr. Pollan defines as a western diet (“lots of everything except vegetables, fruits and whole grains“) tend to suffer from western ailments: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The second is that people who eat more traditional diets - including those of certain indigenous peoples - that, by the lights of western food science, might be considered way too high-fat, high-carb or high-protein do not tend to suffer from these diseases. In other words, people can thrive on a wide variety of foods and diets, with one major exception: the diet most of us in the west are now eating.Some of his rules -
- Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food
- Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does
- Avoid food products with ‘lite’ or ‘low-fat’ or ‘non-fat’ in their names.
- The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead.
To start with, some excerpts from the article written by Dr Farrukh Saleem.
became the 3rd most attractive foreign direct investment destination. India wasn't even in the top 25 countries. In 2004, the United Nations, the representative body of 192 sovereign member states, had requested the Election Commission of India to assist the UN in the holding elections in Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah and Dowlat-e Eslami-ye Afghanestan. Why the Election Commission of Pakistan and not the Election Commission of Pakistan? After all, India Islamabadis closer to Kabulthan is . Delhi
Imagine, 12 percent of all American scientists are of Indian origin; 38 percent of doctors in
are Indian; 36 percent of NASA scientists are Indians; 34 percent of Microsoft employees are Indians; and 28 percent of IBM employees are Indians. America
Our culture, our traditions and our cuisine are all the same. We watch the same movies and sing the same songs. What is it that Indians have and we don't?
INDIANS ELECT THEIR LEADERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And also to mention: They think of Construction of own nation, unlike other nations who are just concerned with destruction of others...
Simple answer to why the Indians fare better than the Pakistanis - They don't focus on religion all the time and neither do they spend time and money in devising ways to kill their own and everyone else over religion.
In my own life time/living memory, we have moved from being a scarcity economy to a surplus economy. This is a positive development. During the same time,
I am not so appalled by the state of the society though all the individual facts may be appalling. Perhaps I may not know or understand the nuances of sociology or building of a just society, but I accept the fact that society will always remain an imperfect one, no matter how much we advance. Good part is we deal not just with society but with individuals too, many of whom bring smile to our face, give meaning to our life and some sense of purpose.
Yes, we can not be at ease given the circumstances, but can we be at peace with ourselves as long as we spare some efforts for making a difference?
I think that's what our Pakistani journalist friend has tried to do.
In his article, Dr Farrukh Saleem is giving example about the Ambanis. Should we emulate the Ambanis or the Tatas? I for one would believe that following Tatas would be a more appropriate way and would be in line with our Indian value system - atleast the one that got us independence. One or more or many or most or all things can go wrong or right depending upon our luck. We all feel getting rich (somehow) is most important. The ends are important - but the means to the end are also important, if we want to have an equitable and just society. I agree it is impossible to have full equality. But atleast the gap between the rich and poor can be bridged to some extent.
It is difficult to even visualize a situation where the common man and woman of this country are going to actually have a voice where in they can be heard and some course correction is done by the rulers. Till then, it appears that we have no choice but to be at peace with ourselves and also bring peace to people around us by sparing some efforts for making a difference to their lives.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
While this is a good news, what is troubling is the answer to the question as to how the fund house would overcome the unaccounted component of the land deal, since land deals, in general, are known to carry a financial consideration that does not reflect in the accounts, he said the developer would have to take care of that.
Starting a fund, announcing that their intention was not to be a “one more realty fund,” but that the intention is to bring about transparency in the projects, keeping that in view and participating in the development process, right from land purchase, etc but ultimately saying that the developer would have to take care of the "unaccounted component" of the land deal... this is disappointing.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Mmm... I don't have to say anything.. the picture says it all..
.. a combination of interest rate increases, currency appreciation, capital controls, anti-speculative measures targeted at specific sectors and moral suasion with the financial sector and with the public have to form part of the policy response in Asia.
... the overheating is also being fanned due to the pursuit of short-term economic growth as an end-goal in itself. Asia is still anxious to catch up fast and to compress the two or more centuries that Western nations took to achieve their current status into a generation. That is neither desirable nor feasible. There is needless insecurity and breathless activity, consequently. The social, environmental and geopolitical costs of such a pursuit are eluding their grasp.
The term overheated economy, as we shall use it, refers to a situation in which confidence has gone beyond normal bounds, in which an increasing fraction of people have lost their normal scepticism about the economic outlook and are ready to believe stories about a new economic boom. It is a time when careless spending by consumers is the norm and when bad real investments are made, with the initiators of those investments merely hoping that others will buy them out, not feeling independently confident that the underlying real investment is sound. It is a time when corruption and bad faith run high, since they rely on trusting behaviour on the part of the public and of apathetic government regulators. This corruption, however, is mostly recognized publicly only after the fact, when the euphoria has ended. It is often also a time when people feel social pressure to consumer at a high level because they see everyone else doing so, do not want to be seen as laggards, and do not worry about such high levels of consumption because they feel that others don’t either.
Sri Upadhyay says -
SAME OLD CLAPTRAP
But the policy player seems to have advanced a step. The only way to connect India with modern infrastructure is to fill the funds gap — itself an endless incantation — with capital from the advanced markets that have it.
So the critical problem affecting the the Indian economy is both capital and the institutional mechanism to ensure its smooth flow into the sector. That sounds familiar, too.
So do a raft of assurances on everything that is wrong with India. Consumer prices have been riding high since mid-2008 — in their endless round of increases — and policymakers have never tired of assuring the nation, on television, in print, that their reversal is just round the corner.
How, one asks; what is the Ministry of Agriculture going to do? Crack the whip on hoarders? Boost farm productivity? Everyone is betting on rain, it appears. Last year the drought spoilt the kharif crop; then it was said the rabi would do the trick.
In April when prices soared (and even the Wholesale Price Index, or headline inflation defied North Block) policy players, from the advisor to the Finance Ministry to the Prime Minster himself, rushed to assure us that by year's end, December 2009 that is, prices would drop.
The Reserve Bank of India, for its part, magisterially pronounced its own time-table for deliverance —next March.
Some interesting points from the article:
Do we prosecute Mr Patel, the Minister for Civil Aviation, for the disaster in Mangalore or Ms Mamata Banerjee, even though she has shown little concern for rail disasters?
If they can escape recrimination why do we single out Mr Anderson, that too after 25 years? Is he the culprit, or is it the government(s) that left matters drift for 25 years?
The solution to problems like Bhopal lies in taking away the control of the prosecution of offenders from the hands of ministers.
We need a different system of governance to deal with prosecution of the guilty. Sensitive departments should be overseen by all-party Parliamentary committees; appointments and transfers should be made professionally.
When matters of criminal prosecution are thrown open in this manner, decisions are more likely to be impartial.
Nobody has pointed out that the scale of the Bhopal disaster was a matter of geography; few, very few people would have died or suffered in case the plant had been in a village. It is possible that when the plant came up, it was at the outskirts of Bhopal.Unfortunately, the way it happens in all our cities, people were allowed, possibly even encouraged, to settle in large numbers around the plant.Sri Indiresan concludes the article by giving 3 suggestions.
It appears that disasters of the type we had in Bhopal can be prevented only when we take three precautions:Unfortunately, I am not sure whether any of them can be implemented in India. Let us look at the first suggestion that ministers should not ride roughshod over bureaucrats. First of all, I don't think there is a need for so many ministries. But we do have ministries because politicians have to be pleased. Once we have a ministry, then we need to have bureaucrats! Thus, it satisfies the need for babus to grow. Once we have a babu, he/she needs people under him/her. Thus, a governmental machinery is established. Once it is there, they need to justify their existence and so some rules are regulations are framed. At the end of the day, they have to live!
- We should have a political system in which ministers cannot ride roughshod over bureaucrats;
- Our cities should not house dangerous industries and
- Once a risky plant is established no population should be allowed to settle within a close distance.
Our cities should not house dangerous industries and once a risky plant is established no population should be allowed to settle within a close distance says Sri Indiresan. Both are very sensible suggestions. But cities have grown. What was once a factory located on the outskirts of the city, is now found right in the middle of the city, as the city has grown on all sides. How do we ask / ensure that the factory is re-located outside? Unions (and politicians) would jump into the fray as it means people working also have to go out. Whenever I go the Mumbai Airport, I see so many buildings/slums nearby - it is such a terrible security risk - still we are unable to do anything. As a country we only "react" to events - however deadly it is and then after making the ritualistic noise, we settle down to our routine (of not doing anything sensible). Does anyone remember the terrorist attacks in Mumbai today? We will remember them after the next attack! That is the unfortunate price of a democracy.
An excellent article, as usual by Sri P.V. Indiresan. But we can be sure, nothing will come out it. Politicians and the media are talking about Bhopal only because they are not getting anything sensational at this point in time. If we wait for a few more days - everyone would forget it. Something sensational would come up and media would latch on the "new" news and everyone would forget Bhopal. After all, as a country, did we not forget it for 25 years?