Vantage point

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Etch One

During my first ever visit to the US Consulate for a visa, I was mighty amused by most of the H1 applicants. They were to tense, you could be forgiven for thinking it was an IIM interview or a job interview or something.

Firstly they were all wearing ties. Why wear ties? The visa form didn't mention any dress code, and none of the consulate staffers, even the firang ones, were wearing ties.

Secondly most of them were mugging something. I spied close to one bloke from Patni and saw that the paper actually contained FAQs, something like the "Most Likely Questions" that SSC students mug from. Some guys were actually mugging up answers to standard questions.

Thirdly, most of them were muttering some sort of a prayer before the interview.

They all reminded me of the people you encounter at inter-college quizzes, carrying a Competition Success Review.

Of course, not all the H1 applicants were like that. I was sitting with some normal H1 applicants, and making fun of the nerds. It was the only source of entertainment during the long wait for my turn for a business visa.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

No scapegoats here

After a series of quakes and cyclones in the last decade or so, we have now been hit by an "imported" calamity - a tsunami! Is India the unluckiest country in the world? I don't think any other nation has lost as many people to natural calamities as we have.

By the way, it is annoying to see the media trying to find a scapegoat for this disaster. I hear statements like "It is because of our complacent mindset that we didn't anticipate a tsunami."

Hindsight is very fine, but how many people would have taken the idea of a tsunami hitting India seriously last week? Given that we have no recorded history of ever being hit by one?

The media should treat this tragedy as it is, an unfortunate incident, and play its part in healing the wounds rather than blaming the administration.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The Importance of One Rupee

The professionalism that pervades Mumbai is best illustrated by a one rupee coin in my pocket. I got the one rupee coin back from the rickshaw-wallah this morning, when I gave him a 20-rupee note to pay for a 19-rupee fare. In fact even before I gave him the money, he had reached in his pocket and taken the coin out.....preemptively.

The event was not a rare one, at least in Mumbai. This happens every time I am in a rickshaw in the city. I always get the loose change back. But I noticed it because of the business partner I talked about in the earlier post. While praising Bombay, he said "Yaar, not only do the rickshaws here run strictly by the metere, day or night, they also return 1 or 2 rupees! You will never see this in Delhi!"

Why just Delhi? You won't see this in Bangalore, and you will find this very rarely in Pune. In these cities the rickshaw-wallah will either round off the fare while telling it to you, like in Pune. Or he will say "Kya saab, rehne do na ek-do rupaya" like in Bangalore. Or he will negotiate a round figure as the fare, like in Delhi.

The fact that the one-rupee-being returned is a phenomenon only outsiders in Mumbai notice shows how professional this city's way of life is. In fact Mumbaikars reading this will be puzzled why I am making a big deal of of something so small.

The fare was 19 bucks right? You have to get one rupee back. And you got it.


Just thought of writing a short note about sample reactions from rickshaw wallahs in all the metros, and Chennai and Kolkatta ;).

Suppose you are travelling in an auto rickshaw. The fare is 49 rupees. You give the driver 50 rupees expecting one rupee back. Here is how rickshaw drivers in different metros would react.

Mumbai - He will give you one rupee back.

Delhi - "Oye b******d, ek rupiya mangta hai? Pata hai, meri pahunch Manmohan Singh tak hai". He will then get into a fist fight with you.

Bangalore - "Sorry saar, as you are a non-Kannada, I can't give you one rupee back for at least six weeks after you have paid me."

Chennai - "nee annay tamiz le kelle"(you must ask me in tamil)

Kolkatta - "THE BOURGEOISE CANT BEAR TO SEE EVEN A RUPEE IN THE HANDS OF THE PROLETARIAT!!!".... after that the Kolkatta Rickshaw Drivers Union would go on an undefinite strike to protest this capitalist gesture. The CPI and the CPM, expressing solidarity with the rickshaw drivers would call for Kolkatta Bandh. Trinamool Congress workers defying the bandh would clash with the commie cadre, resulting in a dozen deaths.

And she's back!!

BJP, in true BJP fashion, pardons another rebel. Now in a record low time -

BJP revokes Uma Bharti's suspension

Discipline and coherency in the party is discovering newer rock bottoms.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Hear Hear!

A rare instance of a wise and forward-looking decision by the Maharashtra government to remove the restrictions on shop timings -

City never sleeps: Shops set to open 24X7

Now I hope they stop harrassing the poor bar dancers as well.

I daresay this is one tiny step in the direction of legalised prostitution.

Hear Hear!

Delhi Boor Ast

Yesterday I had gone to visit a business partner. He has shifted to Mumbai from Delhi six months back, and after discussing business, we got down to discussing how different the two cities are.

Of course, he spoke about how Delhi is a little too aggressive, and everyone wants to flash some "contacts" they have. As an example he told me that their company sold laptops to the Delhi Police department some years back, and ever since then the office boys in their organisation have been claiming to have contacts with the Police Commissioner. His point was that in Mumbai too, you could easily develop and utilise the contacts. Its just that Delhi-ites are more proactive, because they are more useful up North.

One thing I have noticed about Delhi is, no one ever stands up in its defence when you are discussing it. On the contrary they join you in criticisng the place. Everyone talks about how boorish Delhi is, how flashy Delhi is. But they all talk about Delhiites in third person, and never first person. You know what I mean? they never say "We Delhi-ites....". The impression conveyed is "Delhiites are like that, but I am not one of them. I abhor them"

For once I would like to meet a Delhiite who says "Yes, we Delhiites have these flaws, but then we are also..." and mention some good things. Coming from a "jajwalya abhimaani" place like Pune, this lack of pride Delhiites take in their city is baffling.

Draconian Act

Avnish Bajaj has finally gotten bail.

His arrest was unjustified, and reslting from what was a bad law. Some of us had a premonition that the IT Act 2000 was a ticking time bomb, and this was bound to happen some time.

In fact I remember that during a discussion on the law in one of our lectures in IIML, Sunil had said "Tomorrow if someone decides to auction porn on Baazee, then the Baazee chief will be arrested, even if he doesn't know its happening.".

The entire law is riddled with such draconian measures, and in the hurry to be one of the first countries in the world to have an IT Act, India has framed a half cooked and unfair law, with lots of scope for misuse.

Its a 21st century act written with a 19th century mindset.

Read this well written article about the entire fiasco - The Thanedaar State

Tongawallah Example

Europe and America were also agrarian at one point of time. They too had millions of small farmers at one point of time. But gradually the agriculture there moved in the hands of the big farmers, because it gave economies of scale. The children of erstwhile small farmers started doing something else. Same story in South East Asia.

In india, this consolidation has not happened because leftists and quasi-leftists are of the opinion that 100 small farmers selling their land to one big farmers and getting into some other business is a wrong thing.

For people like them, the fact that "70% of the Indian workforce is still employed by agriculture" is a source of pride.

It should be a matter of concern!

Why is such a huge chunk of our workforce still engaged in a profession with low productivity? Prashant has mentioned that 95% of farmers do not want their kids to keep farming. but they have no choice. I think that their kids deserve to do something more productive as well.

But what will they do if not farming, leftists ask? They say that if these farmers are forced out of unproductive farming because of globalisation, then they will die like flies.

Did they die like flies in other countries? Maybe a few here and there. But would you maintain an unproductive status quo and be happy with abject poverty because of it?

Give the masses the freedom and they definitely will come up with alternate means of employment.

The status-quo-ist mindset advocated by leftists is born out of a deep inferiority complex. Deep down they feel the Indian masses are inferior and hence need protection. Indian libertarians on the other hand, do not suffer from this inferiority complex. We believe that the Indian masses, if freed from the state's illogical shackles, can prosper and make the transition into an economy which is not so strongly agrarian.

Look at Indians living abroad. I am not just talking about the white collared engineers and doctors. Even the blue collared people who reach foreign shores by illegal ways do very well. You do not see low-class immigrants living on welfare in Europe or America. they are hardworking and ingenious people who make something of themselves.

A lot is written about the WASP work ethic, but I think the Indian work ethic, born out of our history and our "culture" is a potential gold mine. Which is why most Indians, be they educated or uneducated, do well in foreign countries.

It is our inferiority complex, caused by colonisation and compunded manifold by a socialist polity, that holds us back.

Bottomline is, that the Indian workforce, if freed, can make rapid strides. There will be some growing pains of course, but we need to look at the bigger picture. We can not stay in the dark ages just because of a few suicides.

I will use an example I often give, and this one will perhaps satisfy Prashant. Tongawallahs (horsecart-pullers) ruled the streets of India a few dacdes ago. They were the only means of public transport. And yes, Prashant, a tongawallah is also unskilled. So when taxis, buses and autorickshaws came in, they obviously threatened to put the tongawallah out of business. I am sure a 50 year old tongawallah, who has just driven a tonga all his life, would have contemplated suicide. In fact I dare say some of them must have committed suicides. People who manufactured tongas, and their workers, would also have contemplated and committed suicide.

Would you use this as a reason to keep taxis, buses and rickshwas out, and continue using tongas? the exit of tongas benefitted everyone. It was a slow, unproductive means of travel, and had outlived its utility.

That doesn't mean that Indian-made-tongas were replaced by imported buses and taxis. indians started making buses and taxis too. And others, much more in number, started driving them.

Hope you get the point.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

What grounds?

The clip that was being discussed on Kiruba's blog has made it to the media.

Trisha has complained in the police saying it is not her in the clip.

Now my question is, if it is not her in the clip, on what grounds is she complaining? If there is a website claiming it is Trisha, then it is valid.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Some people just don't get it!

yum yum,

the bulging ranks of the unemployed in my country is a testimony to the enormous interest in leisure that has gripped this nation

This is great. You are using what is a fall out of state-controlled policies to bash the free market ideas? Don't you know how many obstacles there are in the way of someone wanting to get employed, both directly and indirectly? From getting a rickshaw permit, to opening a restaurant...... from opening a factory, to even just opening a hair cutting saloon, there are so many obstacles.

You have the temerity to blame the free market for unemployment? If anything, the entry of free market ideas into India has created employment. People like you were up in arms over the privatisation of telecom in the early 90s. People like you claimed to be worried about the jobs of all the State Telecom Dept employees. Today the telecom sector employs twenty times as many people.

Justice is what society decides

This is probably the most hare-brained comment on the thread. Yum yum, there is nothing wrong with the Taliban then?

Why are consumers so special?

Actually this one is pretty hare-brained too.

Indian "liberatarians" are lazy and always want explanations.

Hasty generalization. The Indian Libertarians I know are Yazad, Madhu, Ravikiran, myself and a few others. Our blogs are full of examples. Indian leftists like you on the other hand, rarely have blogs. You give some sloppy analogy, not even example. You newton's law analogy is an excellent illustration. It is not only a flawed analogy, but is also wrongly used.

Yum yum, you make some pretty dubious arguments, and usually escape from them using the "difference of opinion" clause. Just saying that you condemn Hitler's genocides and racism isn't enough. especially when the "philosophy" you mentioned earlier easily justifies it.

Your whole approach to debating is pretty clear by now.

-You start off by opposing free market ideas.
-You use problems that were caused by leftist ideas to argue. -Then you keep going downward, until you reach first principles.
-Your first principles are rabidly leftist to say the least. Things like "justice is what society decides" and "freedom is a cliche that has caused the world strife".
-If someone attempts to show you the implications of your principles, using obvious arguments like the Hitler issue, you use some fancy word like "brahmastra", or make some joke, or just type "hahaha". However you evade the fact that your princples would indeed justify those problems.

Of course, you end it all by saying you dont advocate polcies(duh!!), and, just like skb, claim to be sitting on some fictitious pile of experience which, given your cowardliness in displaying your identity, no one can verify.

Most bloggers who debate stuff like this, be it a libertarians like Ashish Hanwadikar or Yazad Jal, or be it left-of-centre guys like C Kochukoshy or Sathish VM, let people know who they are. You people hide behind the convenient cloak of anonymity.

And then come up with fibs like "I was involved in the policy making decisions blabla". You might as well say you wrote the union budget.

The previous thread started as a debate between Ashish and Prashant, two individuals with names. It was hijacked by yum yum and skb, two anonymous wankers, who for all we know might be typing it all from a child asylum.

As I said before, some people just don't get that they are not welcome. Their vacuous real lives are to blame.

The Divya Singh Standard for e-Noviceness

If I had a penny for every time someone forwarded me the Divya-Singh-from-Siemens-Non-Small-Cell-Lung-Cancer mail, I would be eating gold and riding a flying pony.

This hoax mail has been in circulation for almost five years now, and the person who started it all must be chuckling in glee every time he/she gets the forward himself/herself.

At time I use this mail as a parameter to measure how much of a novice a person is, with reference to using the internet. Getting the mail from someone means that they have just started using emails and are fascinated by the "forward" button.

The Divya Singh Standard I call it.

Swades Review

Swades is a bold experiment that has succeeded quite well, cinematically speaking. Whether it will set the BO on fire, remains to be seen.

People who will watch the movie will no doubt compare it to Lagaan. It should not be be, because both movies are very different. Lagaan was an out and out entertainer. Its sole purpose was to entertain. The story was written with a definite beginning, ending, and a plot in mind. As a result it had a fiery pace, and kept the viewer engrossed on the edge of his seat at all times. Sure, it conveyed a few social messages, like caste harmony, but its main aim was to keep you entertained. Lagaan was like the exciting trek where you know where the summit is.

Swades is more of an exploration, a hike into unchartered country, both literally and figuratively. It will not keep you on the edge of your seat, and it won't get your adrenaline flowing the way Lagaan did. yet it is a movie par excellence.

What Ashutosh Gowariker has done is, taken inspiration from a real life story, and painted his own impression of it. An NRI returns home, and circumstances bring him face to face with the harsh realities of rural India. The movie is a story of how he reacts to those realities. So the two main components of this story are the realities, and the reactions.

The realities have been portrayed in a controlled manner. This is the first triumph of the movie. Often, while portraying the "evils" on rural India, we urban Indians tend to attach labels. So there are villains, and there are victims. This movie takes a different approach, saying that our propensity to find villains and push blame on them, is what often sets us back. It shows that in life there are very rarely any true villains, minions of satan.

The reactions have been portrayed in a very controlled manner as well. First there is distinct disinterest, apathy, and even condescension (with one dialogue being "Tum Hindustaani..."). Then there is a moment of epiphany, followed by the protagonist waking up to the harsh realities.

At no point does the movie preach to NRIs that they should pack up their bags and head home. It just tells the story of someone who does.

Shahrukh Khan puts in what is definitely one of the performances of his lifetime, and for once, he will deserve the awards that he will be heaped with. Gayatri Joshi looks ravishing, but looks a bit out of place. Kishori Ballal, playing Shahrukh's nanny, is extremely lovable. Even the kid does a good job.

So while usually, my impusle when i see on screen the following-

1. Shahrukh Khan
2. On screen Moms
3. Child actors

is to bash their heads in with a blunt object, I do not feel like doing so to any of them in this movie. And that is a huge achievement.

And then there are some side-jokes or oblique tributes. For example, Shahrukh's character is called Mohan, an oblique refernce to Gandhiji. And Gowariker has managed to get his lucky charm, Aamir Khan, on the screen by showing a clip from "Yaadon Ki Baarat".

Bottomline, a well-visualised, well-written, and well-executed project. Kudos to Team Swades.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Keep going guys!

An amazing debate is going on in the comments section of the subsidies post. Am copy pasting it here, so people can read it properly, and participate.

Ashish, Prashant, both you guys are adding a lot of "value" (to use a marketing cliche) to my blog. Keep going. Will join in with my views too.

#1 Dec 16 2004, 02:36 am

Not only we should remove subsidies given to our farmers but we should open up agricultural imports and enjoy the benefits of foriegn subsidies. See my post for a detailed take on this.

Ashish [] [homepage]


#2 Dec 16 2004, 10:32 am

I strongly disagree with ashish.

If India removes all the barriers on food import that is bound to make almost 700 million people(dependant on farming) jobless.Whats your take on it ?
I am not opposing free trade but before that give our farmers a level playing field.
I often pity the psyche of so called white collared middle class.They will pay any (printed MRP )amount for buying fairness creams and talcom powder but will often indulge in bargaining for the price of vegetables produced by poor farmers.
Farming in our country is strange business.You don't have control over inputs like rains,weather etc.You don't have control over the price of product you are producing.Compare this with any other product like toothpaste.
By importing food which poor's will get benefitted ? Or do you want to provide this food to poor free of cost ? because most of the poors are farm labourers which will eventually have no work because of inability of local farmers to compete with more efficient(due to any number of reasons) farmers abroad.
and as far as subsidies are concerned they are actually benefitting the end buyers as farmers cannot consume what all he produces.ultimately the end buyer is getting benefitted.
Abolish the subsidies but then give the farmers right to decide the price of their product(which is highly impractical depending upon demand/supply).
Enable our farmers to compete with their counterparts.

At last don't forget with all this outsourcing,IT happening farming is still biggest employment generator in this country.

prashant [] []


#3 Dec 16 2004, 12:11 pm

I received your comment by email but when I went to my blog, I could not see it. Actually, I have switched to HaloScan comment system from Blogger but your comment was recorded by Blogger. So, I am confused. So, I am responding here.
Firstly, I don't understand why 700 million farmers (and all other dependent on farming) will remain unemployment for long. Indian consumers will save money on food (and so will the farmers themselves). This will create demand for other products and services. Thus some of the unemployed will find employment in these new areas. Also, as some of these people move to the new areas of demand, those remaining will find much secure employment in farming (because of reduced competition and leveling of prices). Good example is agro-processing industries.
What do you mean by level playing field? And on what basis are Indian consumers obligated to farmers to provide the same?
Any business in the long run faces almost same level of difficulties. If business is easy to run (e.g. toothpaste) then it will attract more competitors. Business which is difficult to run will have less competition. Thus, the total difficult of the business (difficulty of running of the business + difficulty of competition) will remain same for all business (in the long run).
As I said earlier, poor farmers will find employment in new industries created because of shift in demand. They will also enjoy the benefits of cheaper food. Thus overall benefit of freeing the imports is significant.
So, according to you subsidies are benefitting the end buyer and not the farmers. In that case, removal of subsidies will at worse simply maintain the status quo. So, I don't understand why you are making creation of level-playing field a precondition for removal of subsidies.
No player in the market has the ability to decide the price and quantity at the same time. You can control price but then quantity sold will be based on demand. If you decide the quantity to be sold (and manufactured) then prices will be driven by the demand.
Nobody is obliged to enable anybody else to compete with anybody. What gave farmers right to expect such a gurantee from Indian consumers?
Farming is biggest employment generator in the country precisely because of import restrictions on food products. So, you can't use that as a argument against removal of the import restriction. It is nothing but a circular argument.

Ashish [] [homepage]


#4 Dec 16 2004, 12:11 pm

The principle of comparative advantage states that a country A, which is best at producing two products relative to a country B will still find it beneficial to trade with B. Country A should (and will eventually) concentrate on producing a product in which it is comparatively best while importing the other product from country B. To give a simple example, a skilled doctor who is also best at cooking will still find it sensible to employ a cook (eventhough the doctor is a better cook than the one he is employing). That is because, doctor has higher relative advantage in practicing medicine than the relative advantage he has in cooking over the cook he is planning to employ. Any time spent by the doctor in cooking will mean lost wages (higher) in medicine practice.
Therefore, eventhough farmers in India are not as competitive as farmers in other countries, they will eventually find employment in the field in which their relative advantage is least worst. Therefore, in a free market unemployment should be only occassional and rare.
This is not simply a question of theory. Just look at the goods and services that you purchase yourself inspite of the feeling that you can produce them better.

Ashish [] [homepage]


#5 Dec 16 2004, 03:21 pm

Your whole argument is somehow the farmers will find alternative employment if forced to look for.

Can you tell me one vertical's or industry's name which is capable of employing so many unskilled labours ?
What they have to do unless and untill they get skilled ?

You are right when you say nobody can decide prices of any product,it depends on demand-supply and such other parameters,which I duly appreciated in my post.
My whole argument was against cribbing of non-farmers against raise in prices of food commodities.If you accept price hike in petrol,why can't
you accept price hike in onion.Before 5 years rise in onion prices brought 4-5 govt's down,but no govt. comes down for keeping onion prices at
ridiculous,irrational low prices.This is direct result of not allowing export of surplus onion for fear of rise again in prices.But nobody raises a voice against
that.One more thing is you can bargain for vegetable and get it also for low price because some other farmer is ready to sell it for lesser than production price,
If he doesn't do so,his product will perish.I can tell hundreds of such instances of exlpoitation of farmers.

What I mean by level playing field is first give farmers some time to stand firmly on their feet,some time for them to enable themselves to compete.
In other industralized countries,they subsidize the inputs for food production bringing their production cost down.Plus in western countries one farmer owns say 100 acres of land
which brings total production cost down beacuse of economies of scale.Compare this with farmers owning .25 acre of land in India or any other third world country.
....... contd.......

prashant [] []


#6 Dec 16 2004, 03:21 pm

You will say food processing industry is answer to all above problems.We don't need to go too far to see what can happen with them.Once co-operative sugar
factories of maharashtra were role models for entire country.See their sorry state of affairs today.Alongwith many other reasons like mismanagement,surplus
production of "processed food(read sugar)" was also one of the reason for their fall.

And last contrary to popular belief farming is also demanding job in comparison to other jobs.I can say it from my personal experience.
In lot of other white caller jobs processes are already set for most of the activities,plans are already laid out,but in farming you simply cannot have these.
Beacuse if you plan something by assuming tomorrow it will rain,what if it doesn't and so many things.

That's why we cannot consider farming as any other industry while talking about free trade and market economy and that sort.

prashant [] []


#7 Dec 16 2004, 04:31 pm

My above comments will make anybody to believe that I am for giving subsidies to farmers.But I can state matter of factly that I am against it.


Although India's forex reserves are overflowing for the time being,I have still not even mentioned the kind of strain food imports will put on our forex reserves,in my debate with Ashish.
I haven't yet mentioned that how dangerous it would be to depend on other countries for as essential thing as food.
I haven't yet mentioned what happened when we imported "Milo wheat" from US of A during pre green revolution days.US of A not only exported wheat but it also exported a deadly seeds of what is commonly known in rural areas as "congress gavat" or "gajar gavat".India must be loosing millions of dollars yearly for removal of this unwanted crop.
I would welcome even opposing comments for this ongoing healthy debate on Farming in general and subsidies in particular.

prashant [] []


#8 Dec 16 2004, 10:04 pm

The farmers will get employed in various industries depending upon how the demand from Indian consumers shift. If Indian consumers decide to buy more prepared food from the savings (from importing cheaper food) they employment in that sector will grow. Take for example Lijjat papad. Another good example is when diary production in India increased because of Operation Flood it generated huge employment in co-operatives in Gujarat and elsewhere. Demand can shift into more than one sectors depending upon consumer preferences. I cannot (or infact nobody can) tell in advance what those sectors be. It may even happen that subsidies given by foriegn govt. is in few crops only. In that case, Indian farmers can shift production to remaining crops and thus some of them will find increased employment in that production. Nobody know what will happen in a marketplace in advance. That doesn't mean few producers have right to hold consumers at ranson till they find secured employment. Secured employment is not a right.
Secondly, as I mentioned clearly in the principle of comparative advantage, you don't have to wait till you develop skill to find employment. Unskilled people will get employment in a free market.
There is no point in arguing against consumer preferences. Not point in scolding them for bargaining in certain products. Bargaining by customers does not cause exploitation of producers. Forcing consumers to buy domestic products (using import restrictions) is exploitation.

Ashish [] [homepage]


#9 Dec 16 2004, 10:16 pm

"What I mean by level playing field is first give farmers some time to stand firmly on their feet,some time for them to enable themselves to compete. "
Some time? Is 50 years enough? No income taxes, free electricity and water, subsidizied seeds and fertilizers, no income taxes, subsidized loans from public banks and minimum purchase price guranteed by the Govt! The list goes on and on. Where do you stop! And we are exploiting farmers?
We have our own family owned land and I know amount of subsidies govt. provides. Everytime farmers agitate and Govt. then increases the minimum support price for purchase and FCI godown's are overfilled.

You are under illusion that we are providing help to the farmers on our own. No, we are being forced by Govt. (and farmer's lobby power). We can only resist. Your offer and plea for helping farming would have sounded credible if it was voluntary for us to help them. A person holding you at gunpoint cannot request help. He is going to rob you. You can convince yourself that you are helping him and thus avoid the feeling of impotency. If that's what you want to do then fine. Then keep talking about few years of level playing field and fair trade. Everybody knows what that means!

A company (i think it was E-Loan) in US gave US customers a choice to use customer service representatives in India or US when calling their toll-free line. Consistently US customers choose their loan applications to be processed cheaply by Indian service representatives. This inspite of all the bullshit talk about how outsourcing is destroying America.

If you believe we should care about farmers, then give Indian consumers a real choice by opening up imports. If Indian consumers really want to help Indian farmers then can still choose to buy Indian food produce. That will be a real moral choice.

Ashish [] [homepage]


#10 Dec 16 2004, 10:34 pm

"That's why we cannot consider farming as any other industry while talking about free trade and market economy and that sort. "
All you are saying is that farming is risky (it may not rain tomorrow). Just because a business is risky or unpredictable doesn't mean principle of free trade and market economy does not apply to it. A businessman (include farmer) chooses to accept risk in return for possible (not guranteed) rewards in the future.

As for co-operative industry in Maharashtra, it is so currently because of Govt. interference and politics. No business is guranteed to succeed. In a market some business are going to fail and some are going to rise.

In western countries, within few decades majority of population went from being employed in agriculture to being employed in industries and then finally services. So, same thing will happen in India. You need to stop worry about farmers.

Ashish [] [homepage]


#11 Dec 16 2004, 10:41 pm

As for forex reserves, they are not a property of the country. And decision to import food also is a not single decision made by the entire country simultaneously. I am only talking about opening up restrictions on food import. That doesn't mean every type of food will be imported by consumers. Depending up on price, quality and quantity different decisions will be made by different consumers. Most likely, foriegn Govt. will not able to subsidize all food production. Neither will foriegn farmers be able to develop comparative advantage in production of all agricultural goods. So some will be imported and some will be exported.

I really don't understand why people aggregate data at the national level and think of it as a collective property. GDP is not the income of the nation. It is a statistics that you arrive by adding incomes of individuals in a country. Same think goes for forex reserves.

To give an idea of how individual decisions look when agregated at national level, think what will happen if instead of each individual deciding whether to marry based on his/her own personal circumstances and proposals before him/her, if we agregate that decision into one big national decision of whether marriage is good or bad. If enough people think it is bad, we outlaw marriage otherwise we allow it.

When it comes to imports and worrying about forex reserves you are doing the same thing.

Ashish [] [homepage]

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Who's more sluttish?

There is a prevailing belief that men are more "sluttish", i.e, men leer more, fantasize more, and flirt more with the opposite sex than women, because men are supposed to "plant the seed" and are the active seekers.

I don't buy this argument of males having a greater proclivity towards
"exploring" because they have to plant the seed. Logically speaking,
women should have the same proclivity, because they would actively
look for seed-givers. Biologically, there is no clear cut evidence to
defend the conjecture that men have a right to be more....errrr....

The reason men are usually more of philanderers than women, in my
opinion is social. Most if not all societies, have over the years
evolved into male-dominated societies. When a man dominates, he can
enforce his possessiveness more effectively, and the resultant way of
thinking has percolated into upbringing. So women, in their
upbringing, are consciously or unconsciously fashioned to be loyal,
while there is not much of a restriction on men in this regard. So the
natural "sluttishness" in most women is suppressed, but the natural
"sluttishness" in men is live and kicking.

Wot say?

Go farmers!!

This article is a welcome news - Do away with subsidies: Farmers even though the farmers also asked for protectionist measures for farmers from Orissa.

Even then, some farmers recognising the futility of fertilizer subsidy is a great beginning towards liberalisation of the farming sector.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Arindam Fraud-hry

Has anyone cared to watch Rok Sako to Rok Lo? Is it as fraud as the institutes run by the Chaudhrys or the books written by them?

Back to non-DD channels at last!!

I have always quoted this as one of the examples to show that just because an entity is government-owned, it does not necessarily mean that it will do things for the good of the people. In fact most of the times it is quite the opposite. And just because an entity is privately-owned, it does not mean it will be inconsiderate to what people want. Quite the opposite.

People who regularly watch cricket should compare the coverage given by Doordarshan, India's public broadcaster, with that given by private players like ESPN-Star, TEN or SETMax. I am not talking about the quality of the commentators, the technical superiority or the slickness in packaging.

I am talking about something as basic as taking commercial breaks between overs. Private channels always wait for the last ball of an over to be bowled, and for the commentator to finish whatever he is saying in 3-4 seconds before they go for a break. And they cut back to the match 3-4 seconds before the action starts so that the commentator can pick up the threads of what he was discussing.

On Doordarshan, they go for a break immediately after the last ball is played, always cutting a commentator in mid-sentence. And they cut back to the action just before the ball is to be bowled. Often DD gobbles up the first ball, making us miss the action.

Now why is this? Both private channels and DD win contracts based on bids submitted to the cricket boards. In neither case do common viewers have a say. So an ESPN or Star can easily go the way of a DD and start this shoddy practise of frustrating the viewer just to get in the revenue of an extra 5-second or 10-second spot after every over. But they don't.

Why do you think that is? Why are private broadcasters better at this than the public broadcaster?

Operatic Soap-rano

First Miss-India-aspirant-turned-soap-opera-diva-turned-youth-BJP-officebearer
-turned-Lok-Sabha-aspirant-turned-loser Smriti Irani pulls a Sushma-Uma and declares that she will go on a hunger strike if Narendra Modi does not resign by Christmas!

Then she retracts her statement meekly!

Talk about soap operas!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Outsource This!

Here's a business idea.

India is becoming the outsourcing hub for all sorts of services. Let us also become the outsourcing hub for the world's leftist and commie strategies.

Whenever a leftist or communist party anywhere in the world wants ideo(il)logical inputs about policies and strategies, they should outsource the requirement to the CPI and CPM. Messrs Yechury, Karat et al will do a fine job of providing "end to end" (literally since their strategies end anything useful) solutions to leftists of the world.

This will keep them busy and away from our own nation's policies. It will also successfully wreck all other countries who might compete economically with India. Imagine the CPM drawing up policies for the Chinese leftists? No better way to beat China.