Saturday, January 30, 2010

Keynes/Hayek rap Song

Keynes/Hayek rap Song written by john Papola and Russ Roberts.

For record I am reproducing the whole text below:

We’ve been going back and forth for a century

[Keynes] I want to steer markets,
[Hayek] I want them set free
There’s a boom and bust cycle and good reason to fear it
[Hayek] Blame low interest rates.
[Keynes] No… it’s the animal spirits

[Keynes Sings:]

John Maynard Keynes, wrote the book on modern macro
The man you need when the economy’s off track, [whoa]
Depression, recession now your question’s in session
Have a seat and I’ll school you in one simple lesson

BOOM, 1929 the big crash
We didn’t bounce back—economy’s in the trash
Persistent unemployment, the result of sticky wages
Waiting for recovery? Seriously? That’s outrageous!

I had a real plan any fool can understand
The advice, real simple—boost aggregate demand!
C, I, G, all together gets to Y
Make sure the total’s growing, watch the economy fly

We’ve been going back and forth for a century
[Keynes] I want to steer markets,
[Hayek] I want them set free
There’s a boom and bust cycle and good reason to fear it
[Hayek] Blame low interest rates.
[Keynes] No… it’s the animal spirits

You see it’s all about spending, hear the register cha-ching
Circular flow, the dough is everything
So if that flow is getting low, doesn’t matter the reason
We need more government spending, now it’s stimulus season

So forget about saving, get it straight out of your head
Like I said, in the long run—we’re all dead
Savings is destruction, that’s the paradox of thrift
Don’t keep money in your pocket, or that growth will never lift…

because…

Business is driven by the animal spirits
The bull and the bear, and there’s reason to fear its
Effects on capital investment, income and growth
That’s why the state should fill the gap with stimulus both…

The monetary and the fiscal, they’re equally correct
Public works, digging ditches, war has the same effect
Even a broken window helps the glass man have some wealth
The multiplier driving higher the economy’s health

And if the Central Bank’s interest rate policy tanks
A liquidity trap, that new money’s stuck in the banks!
Deficits could be the cure, you been looking for
Let the spending soar, now that you know the score

My General Theory’s made quite an impression
[a revolution] I transformed the econ profession
You know me, modesty, still I’m taking a bow
Say it loud, say it proud, we’re all Keynesians now

We’ve been goin’ back n forth for a century
[Keynes] I want to steer markets,
[Hayek] I want them set free
There’s a boom and bust cycle and good reason to fear it
[Keynes] I made my case, Freddie H
Listen up , Can you hear it?

Hayek sings:

I’ll begin in broad strokes, just like my friend Keynes
His theory conceals the mechanics of change,
That simple equation, too much aggregation
Ignores human action and motivation

And yet it continues as a justification
For bailouts and payoffs by pols with machinations
You provide them with cover to sell us a free lunch
Then all that we’re left with is debt, and a bunch

If you’re living high on that cheap credit hog
Don’t look for cure from the hair of the dog
Real savings come first if you want to invest
The market coordinates time with interest

Your focus on spending is pushing on thread
In the long run, my friend, it’s your theory that’s dead
So sorry there, buddy, if that sounds like invective
Prepared to get schooled in my Austrian perspective

We’ve been going back and forth for a century
[Keynes] I want to steer markets,
[Hayek] I want them set free
There’s a boom and bust cycle and good reason to fear it
[Hayek] Blame low interest rates.
[Keynes] No… it’s the animal spirits

The place you should study isn’t the bust
It’s the boom that should make you feel leery, that’s the thrust
Of my theory, the capital structure is key.
Malinvestments wreck the economy

The boom gets started with an expansion of credit
The Fed sets rates low, are you starting to get it?
That new money is confused for real loanable funds
But it’s just inflation that’s driving the ones

Who invest in new projects like housing construction
The boom plants the seeds for its future destruction
The savings aren’t real, consumption’s up too
And the grasping for resources reveals there’s too few

So the boom turns to bust as the interest rates rise
With the costs of production, price signals were lies
The boom was a binge that’s a matter of fact
Now its devalued capital that makes up the slack.

Whether it’s the late twenties or two thousand and five
Booming bad investments, seems like they’d thrive
You must save to invest, don’t use the printing press
Or a bust will surely follow, an economy depressed

Your so-called “stimulus” will make things even worse
It’s just more of the same, more incentives perversed
And that credit crunch ain’t a liquidity trap
Just a broke banking system, I’m done, that’s a wrap.

We’ve been goin’ back n forth for a century
[Keynes] I want to steer markets,
[Hayek] I want them set free
There’s a boom and bust cycle and good reason to fear it
[Hayek] Blame low interest rates.
[Keynes] No it’s the animal spirits

“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”

John Maynard Keynes
The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

F A Hayek
The Fatal Conceit

Climate-politics-I

Prof Deepak Lal on man made global warming

"Dr Pachauri, a railway engineer with a PhD in economics, as being “arrogant”

The real common man

So we are ending first month of 2010= minus two zeros means 21th century!

The very next month is budget month, hardly a person in this 21th century to do a simple exercise like what Nani Palkhivala did.

Read this article.

Who are unfortunate student and why?

An academic turned CEO writes in today’s ET that in the present crisis of deemed universities, he states that the student studying in these deemed universities are “unfortunate”.

And then he says:

  • “Unscrupulous educators in cahoots with inept and corrupt elements among the regulators, reduced an idea of deemed universities — an idea originally intended to accord an enabling auxiliary educational status to those institutions that had the highest standards expected of a university, but were in fact not universities — to create a large number of ragtag band of educational mafia exploiting thousands of innocent students, and giving the very idea of deemed universities a bad name.
  • Unfortunately, over time as the educational and infrastructural standards of even the regular universities went into severe decline , it provided a fertile ground for many dodgy institutions to prey on unsuspecting youth desperate for quality education, imagining paying more money is akin to receiving superior education. While the minister’s action against some of the deemed universities may be a good start, there are any numbers of other ‘entrepreneurial institutions’ that may also need a closer scrutiny.”

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The real mess is in our University Education System

Prof.P. V. INDIRESAN writes:

  • Some deemed universities have also been sponsored by the government, whose credentials are at best doubtful.
  • On a personal note, my wife was a UGC nominee to enquire into the accreditation of a college in Rajasthan. That college had given degrees in chemistry for several years without having a single teacher to teach that subject. The labs had been condemned as unfit and had not been repaired. The person who received her in the morning had vanished by the evening because he had been transferred to a “better” college and he wanted to join before the order could be revised — by political pressure. That university remains accredited; that college “functions”.
  • Some years ago, a colleague of mine went as Vice-chancellor of a state university and found that it was giving more than 10 times the Ph.Ds produced by IIT Kanpur. He tried his best to bring some discipline but failed; he had to quit. In fact, in many states, the universities have no powers to decide whether to accept a college or not; that is decided by the minister.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Exactly how nubile?


We need Mallu, Maadu, Sindhi and Sardarji jokes about our Constitution;

Shoba Narayan writes that we need make the:

  • “….Constitution accessible, we not only help India’s future citizens know their rights and responsibilities, we also teach both the elite and the common man not to take its blessings for granted. The lofty ideals of the Indian republic are worth fighting for. They just need to trickle down from scholars to schoolchildren; from libraries to lounge bars; from educational institutions to no-name addas. The “Constitution is a living document”, as the government of India’s website says. Simplifying and popularizing it will mean no disrespect. Rather, it will lay the foundation for the people to understand and enact its tenets more faithfully than we are now doing.
  • This is not hard to do. Karadi Tales can do a sing-along version of India’s first principles. Amar Chitra Katha can create an illustrated story of how our Constitution came to be. Pratham Books can commission a Constitution for Children series, fraught as it is with colourful characters set against a dramatic backdrop. Rajkumar Hirani could get over his 3 Idiots and write the Munna Bhai equivalent for the Constitution. Just as bumbling Munna contemporized the Mahatma’s message, a wise-cracking, fast-talking Koli fisherwoman can enact Gandhiji’s dream of an “untouchable woman president” on the big screen and popularize the tenets of this republic. We need Mallu, Maadu, Sindhi and Sardarji jokes about our Constitution; we need to get Robert and Mona Darling to banter about its issues; we need ad jingles that skew its message; we need saas-bahu serials that invoke its lines; we need college debates and reality shows based on it. We need our Constitution to speak to us. All it takes is a few celebrities to get the ball rolling. Instead of tatkal twittering and then blaming the media for taking his message out of context, minister Tharoor (who, I personally think, has had enough of being minister) can tweet about the Constitution rather than his calendar. Chetan Bhagat can write about the state of our republic after his 2 States. Our rich heritage of folk songs and street theatre can be used to make this important historical document come alive for its citizens.
  • Consider Article 16, which talks about equality of opportunity. The rap version would be, “Yo Bro. You wanna job. You gotta job. Equal opportunity but social justice. Peace, man.” The rap version of Article 19 can dispense with the “notwithstanding” and other legal but necessary jargon and emphasize the basic rights of free speech, assembly, association and movement. For example, the folk version could be a catchy Asha Bhosle tune about a nation of talkers who move within the motherland and love to get together. Or some version thereof.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Climate-politics

UN climate chief admits mistake on Himalayan glaciers warning

IPCC imperialism on Indian glaciers

Still heating up

Need accountable Economic System

We all agree that we need right kind of economic system. But what is right system is not known to a single. Therefore, given the options we chose one of them and hang on it till someone else overtake (almost automatically) but there is a lot of ‘if’ and ‘buts’ in between. It is also important to understand these systems functions. Best of my sense of understanding of economic system, is to make accountable for their actions. In other words, the system which makes every one accountable tends to promote freedom at nobody’s price.

In today’s Mint Mr.Niranjan writes about what kind of free market system do we need to create a New (Indian) Economics?

  • The long-term effects on social attitudes are most severe on those individuals who are between 18 and 24 years during economic downturns—an impressionable age when attitudes towards life and society are being formed.
  • These insights raise an interesting question: Will individuals growing up in a long boom be part of a generation that is more sympathetic towards free markets, have lower risk aversion and believe that wealth is a result of hard work rather than luck?
  • This is a question that can have a deep impact on Indian society and politics in the decades ahead. We can take 1985 as the breakthrough year for the Indian economy, when the first reforms were introduced and the middle class started participating in the stock market. A quick look at India’s population pyramid shows that around three out of every four Indians were born after 1967, and thus came of age in a country that had broken out of the circle of endemic shortages and anaemic growth.
  • These young Indians below 45 years of age are likely to be more open to free markets, new technologies and risk-taking. We see it anecdotally around us, but then India is a complex place and there are large swathes of the country where the benefits of reforms are not that evident, even though higher growth has lifted millions out of poverty.
  • India’s long economic boom has the potential to change popular attitudes towards free markets and capitalism, but a lot will depend on what variant of capitalism takes root here. There are too many worrisome signs right now that we are moving towards an economy dominated by giant oligopolies that are nurtured by government policies, even as the old habit of handing over the management of public companies to the children of large business families continues merely because they have hit the DNA jackpot.

Knowledge is doomed to unfit

The State makes sense of regulation in time to time in a “Vague” way and it never know how much knowledge it has to make decision upon millions of individuals. In the process of decision making or policy making they completely lose (even if one society has wide consultations with respective stakeholders!) the humanity role in it. Invariable it has been that their aim is to achieve their own personal goals.

For a while the judiciary system were also sleeping on the forehead of The State’s regulation on the same polices for years. Though, there are movements in the society and we see it in every day life, so what, that is what people ask in every election after election.

The present education system is another awful system which makes muggy of human life, no mater whether one has entered the four wall of the class room or not.

Here are some cases:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

ASER makes the difference….

Wilima Wadhwa writes:

  • The latest ASER (Annual Status of Education Report), an annual survey of learning facilitated by NGO Pratham, indicates that at the all-India level, private school enrolment increased from 16.3% in 2005 to around 22.6% in 2008—a rise of around 40%. In 2009, private school enrolment has marginally dropped to 21.8% in rural India.
  • Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Kerala where private school enrolment is as high as 40%, and on the other are Bihar and West Bengal with private school enrolment closer to 5%.
  • In 2009, in classes I-V, the percentage of children in government schools who could read at least at the class I level was 43.6%. The corresponding figure in private schools was 52.2%—a whopping 8.6 percentage points advantage.
  • Once we control for characteristics other than the type of school, the learning differential between government and private schools falls drastically from 8.6 percentage points to 2.9 percentage points— from 20% to a measly 5%.
  • In the case of English, the starting differential is greater and the narrowing a little less. The percentage of children in classes I-V who can read simple words (or more) in English is 26.5% compared with 44.2% in private schools—an advantage of 17.7 percentage points, or 67%.
  • Once we control for other factors, this differential falls to 10.8 percentage points, or 41%. Hence, around 40% of the observed differential in English learning levels between government and private schools can be attributed to other factors.
  • In the case of reading in the local language, in many cases most of the learning differentials disappear once other factors are controlled for—Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. For Madhya Pradesh, the difference is actually reversed— once other factors are controlled for, government schools perform better than private schools. In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where government schools had higher learning levels to start with, the gap widens once other factors are taken into account.
  • In the case of English, in most states, the starting differentials are greater and the narrowing of the differentials smaller as was the case for all of India. However, there are still states such as Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh where two-thirds of the learning difference is attributable to factors other than private schooling.

"Economic Freedom, Human Freedom, Political Freedom"

"Economic Freedom, Human Freedom, Political Freedom"

by Milton Friedman

Delivered November 1, 1991

  • The United States today is more than 50% socialist in terms of the fraction of our resources that are controlled by the government. Fortunately, socialism is so inefficient that it does not control 50% of our lives. Fortunately, most of that is wasted. People worry about government waste; I don't. I just shudder at what would happen to freedom in this country if the government were efficient in spending our money. The really fascinating thing is that our private sector has been so effective, so efficient, that it has been able to produce a standard of life that is the envy of the rest of the world on the basis of less than half the resources available to all of us.
  • The major problems that face this country all derive from too much socialism. If you consider our educational system at the elementary and secondary level, government spending per pupil has more than tripled over the past thirty years in real terms after allowing for inflation, yet test scores keep declining, dropout rates are high, and functional illiteracy is widespread. Why should that be a surprise? Schooling at the elementary and secondary level is the largest socialist enterprise in the United States next to the military. Now why should we be better at socialism than the Russians? In fact, they ought to be better; they have had more practice at it. If you consider medical care, which is another major problem now, total spending on medical care has gone from 4% of the national income to 13%, and more than half of that increase has been in the form of government spending. Costs have multiplied and it is reasonably clear that output has not gone up in anything like the same ratio. Our automobile industry can produce all the cars anybody wants to drive and is prepared to pay for. They do not seem to have any difficulty, but our government cannot produce the roads for us to drive on. The aviation industry can produce the planes, the airlines can get the pilots, but the government somehow cannot provide the landing strips and the air traffic controllers. I challenge anybody to name a major problem in the United States that does not derive from excessive government.

The State Invented Urban Poverty

On Saturday (16th January 2010) I have attended a lecture (The Urban Lecture Serious) organized by Centre for Policy Research (CPR), New Delhi along with Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (JCCD), Bangalore. The topic was on "Indian Urbanisation in a Global Perspective" by Prof. Edward L Glaeser, Fred and Fleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University.

Prof. Ed Glaeser gave his talk on “An Urban Future”

In sum, the lecture was attended by a well attended with first hand experience of urbanization.

First the representative of JCCD has presented a brief about what they do in their Centre. It was said that the REED Programme has achieved a wide spectrum in terms of research and advocacy programms. The full form of REED stands:

  • R-Regional Perspective
  • E-Empowering Government (local bodies etc)
  • E-Enabling Government (local bodies etc) and citizen
  • D-Direct Accountability

And then Prof. Ed Glaeser gave a talk mainly on the broader aspects of the following:

  • Evaluation of urban arena in US
  • Death of distance and decline of costing moving goods
  • Traditional State functions
  • People living in the urban cities in poverty are not bad thing!
  • Urban role in civilization (exporting of goods, cloth cities, food cities)
  • The gift of urban density
  • Idea oriented cities and importing of ideas (Athens imported of ideas from Greek, Baghdad imported of ideas from India etc)
  • The most skilled cities in US
  • Urban intercontinental gateways
  • What is good and bad about urban poverty?
  • The role of Economics and Choice in urban poverty
  • Urban governance, etc

Prof.Abhijit Banerjee pointed out in a study in Udaipur district of Rajasthan the round trip and short term migrant were found a significantly higher than the permanent migrant.

It was also said that the new two wheelers have revolutionized the Indian scenario of urbanization especially after the liberalization.

There were many more discussion on the contemporary issues of urbanization in India and the globe.

There were many interesting questions also which are not studied in the experience of US urbanization.

However, what is discussed is the difference of rural economy contribution to urban economy and vice-versa. It includes both building both physical and social infrastructure development.

At the end everybody in some or other way felt that the ultimate culprit in the urban poverty is The State failure of policy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Edification, yet to work well

The former chairman of UGC and VC of Pune University writes:

  • Peter Drucker says, “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately generate into hard work”.
  • The human resource development (HRD) ministry now has come out with a figure of Rs 1.71 lakh crore for five years.
  • We must realise that it is just not the provision for money that is going to make implementation easy. Each state would have to initiate several systemic reforms. Th ese include establishing the correct teacher-to-student ra tio (1:30), putting curriculum and examination reforms in place, creating a work plan for comprehensive and continuous evaluation, introducing new delivery methods and setting up school management committees with representation of all stakeholders.
  • Governments, state and central, must realise that these reforms cannot happen overnight by using a magic wand. It requires enormous efforts and commitment at several levels, right from the panchayat to taluka to district to state level. We need to work out the best way to redistribute existing teachers among urban and rural schools and assess how many new teachers need to be recruited to achieve this golden ratio.

Almost held up!

A former finance secretary and economic adviser to the Prime Minister S. Narayan writes in the Mint:

  • “We need foresight and strategy to devise a role for our country in these fast changing times. But I do not see anyone in the government in charge of long-term strategy, neither are there any reasoned commentaries in the media. Perhaps we have lost the habit of thinking long term

I am not sure whether he is really asking this question to his reader, as he himself writes “in these fast changing times”. It seems to be he is looking half filled glass than half emty one!

Ronald Coase on Markets, Firms and Property Rights


Not less than a 99 year old economist Ronald Coase (Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School) addressed to the conference on November 23, 2009.


(via http://antidismal.blogspot.com)

INTERVIEW WITH GARY BECKER


This is the fourth in a series of interviews with Chicago School economists. Read “After the Blowup,” John Cassidy’s story on Chicago economists and the financial crisis.


Hey Intellectual, can you hear me, the lay man from the knowledge society?

There is serious of excerpts from a latest book “Intellectual and Society” by Prof Thomas Sowell. This is a third book he has published in a year.

The below are the excerpts:

  1. How Data On Income Distribution Are Misunderstood And Misapplied
  2. How Media Misuse Income Data To Match Their Preconceptions
  3. How Intelligentsia Ignore The Risks Of Investing Data With Moral Angst
  4. What Intellectuals Don't Know About The Poor As Consumers
  5. Running A Business Is Simple; Ask Any Uninitiated Intellectual

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

“kya kare, chalta hai” no no.. you can not eat the cake of social-sector schemes too

An NGO CEO writes about the NGO’s politics and bureaucracy in Indian society, of course it purely private!!

  • It is sad that at the end of 2009, almost 25 years later, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission reiterates that Rajiv Gandhi was right — indicating that over the last 25 years there has been a constant siphoning off of huge amounts of money meant to be spent for the benefit of the poorest of the poor.
  • By most reports, the NREGA scheme has been the most successful of government schemes — what that means is perhaps, not 50 per cent, but a lower amount is being siphoned off. Let’s face it, the scheme is dependent on the Block Development Officer and the sarpanch to identify and confirm the beneficiary before payment is disbursed; what are the checks and balances in place to ensure that a nexus between these two does not lead to siphoning off of funds to non-beneficiary accounts? The BDO post is reportedly being auctioned off for as much as 5 crores these days, giving lucrative police station house officer postings stiff competition.
  • A worthwhile exercise for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) would be to undertake a state-wide exercise to identify the number of NGOs that are founded by politicians or bureaucrats or through family members or fronts. Ideally, identify where (say) more than 0.5 per cent of the sanctioned funds for any one scheme in a state were sanctioned and then identify the organisations that received the funds. Then depending on the findings, to investigate those organisations where politicians or bureaucrats were involved to see how the funds were spent/disbursed, or at least to show the data on their website for others to study how the funds were actually spent. If these large amounts are being siphoned off it would need people in power to initially authorise the projects to the NGO, and then to sanction the payment to them — which could be fictitious.
  • The shocking truth is that approximately 60 per cent of the central schemes are sanctioned directly to NGOs and social organisations, where the CAG has no purview for an audit (because these funds do not pass through the consolidated fund of the respective state)!
  • The CAG reports go to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which have been known to stall or delay action on these reports. PAC meetings are held in camera. Why hold them secretly? The public should be engaged in the PAC process — when did they receive the CAG report? When and how did they act on it? The need is for transparency here.
  • After years of a public perception that there was a nexus between politicians, bureaucrats and corporates that was responsible for the major corruption in our country, perhaps the new nexus between politicians, bureaucrats and the social sector will reveal corruption at an even bigger level.

There is no such thing as Healthcare as Human Right!

Read New paper released by International Policy Network

The Multitudes of facts

Robert J. Samuelson writes in the Washingtonpost:

  • Being optimistic, Americans commit suicide at fairly low rates, 10.2 for every 100,000 people in 2004, less than the 11.9 average for all industrial countries or Japan's 20.3 and France's 15.1. Food is cheaper here than almost anywhere else. In 2007, only about 6.9 percent of U.S. consumer spending went for food at home; Germans spent more (11.4 percent), as did Italians (14.5 percent) and Mexicans (24.2 percent). On the other hand, low food prices may contribute to Americans' obesity. In 2006, about 34 percent of U.S. adults were judged obese, triple France's rate (10.5 percent) and four times that of Switzerland (7.7 percent).
  • The United States may be the birthplace of feminism, but that's not obvious from global figures. In 2009, women were 16.8 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives. In other national legislatures, women did better. For Canada, the comparable figure was 22.1 percent; for the Netherlands, 41.3 percent. The United States was nearly on a par with Uzbekistan's 17.5 percent.
  • Considering today's economic slump, America may seem a land where progress has died. Not so. The Stat Abstract offers many counterexamples. Crime is one.
    Two decades ago, governments seemed helpless against a rising tide of murders, assaults and drug deals. Then crime began to subside. From 1993 to 2007, murders dropped from 25,000 to 17,000 and robberies from 660,000 to 445,000. Crime rates per 100,000 declined more, because the population rose 16 percent over the same period. There is no consensus as to why. Possibilities include better policing techniques and tougher sentencing (the incarcerated population doubled from 1.15 million in 1990 to 2.29 million in 2007). But crime still remains serious, especially for the young: In 2007, 18 percent of high school students reported carrying a weapon sometime in the previous year.
  • There are other signs of progress. Smoking continues to decline, from 25.3 percent of adults in 1990 to 19.7 percent in 2007. Five-year survival rates for cancer are up: from 62.4 percent in 1990-92 to 69.1 percent in 1999-2005 for whites; and from 48.2 percent to 59.4 percent for blacks. Voting is also up; the 57.1 percent turnout in 2008 was the highest since 1968. Garbage per person has stabilized; it was 4.5 pounds per day in 1990 and 4.6 pounds in 2007. Among young adults (18 to 29), Internet usage is virtually universal: 92 percent in 2009, up from 72 percent in 2000.
  • But bad news abounds, too. In 2007, nearly two-fifths of all U.S. births were to unmarried women, double the share in 1980. Since 1970, the student-teacher ratio in schools has declined dramatically, from 22 to 1 to 15 to 1 in 2007, with little effect on test results. The share of children under the federal poverty line in 2007 (17.6 percent) was virtually the same as in 1980 (17.9 percent).
  • Almost one-quarter of elementary and high school students are immigrants or have immigrant parents. In 2007, the average American spent 1,613 hours watching TV, the equivalent of 67 days. From 1980 to 2007, the number of pickup trucks, vans and SUVs almost quadrupled, to 101.5 million, while the number of cars rose only 12 percent, to 135.9 million.
  • And sex? The Stat Abstract has that, too. Among men ages 15 to 44, the median number of sexual partners in their lifetimes is 5.4. Almost a quarter of men (22.6 percent) say they've had 15 or more partners. Among women, the median number of partners is 3.3, and almost a tenth (9.2 percent) say they've had 15 or more partners.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Disco Dance Tonight: For Sanyasins Only: No Economists allowed to move their legs!!

Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati writes:

  • ……..Indian policy framework had degenerated into an unproductive, even counterproductive, set of policy choices that had produced the abysmal growth rate of approximately 3.5 per cent per annum over nearly a quarter of a century. The slow growth of the Indian economy had also undermined the assault on poverty that had been our central objective since planning began in 1951. It is only common sense that a stagnant economy cannot pull people out from poverty through job creation, even though a growing economy may still not create enough jobs. So, when we failed to grow, we also failed to make a serious dent on poverty.

On 1991 crisis:

  • ……….the fact that thoughtful Indians had finally understood that we just could not go on the way we had, that change was necessary.

    On The States Failed Policies :
  • But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told me that an important part had also been played by the diaspora. He told me that, when he was spearheading the reforms as the finance minister, Prime Minister Narasimha Rao had lent his full support largely because many members of his own family, who were abroad, had told him that India’s policies made no sense and that they had diminished our standing in the world. Coming from his own family’s immediate experience abroad, the message carried great salience and cemented the resolve of the prime minister to pull India out of the rut into which it had fallen.
    Indeed, the policy-making elites were finally shocked into the reforms by two factors that acted like a pincer movement against the status quo.
  • First, these elites increasingly experienced, at first hand when they went abroad, the disjunction between their sense of India’s ancient culture and glory and their realisation that our foolish economic policies had led to a situation where few took us seriously. The worst kind of psychological situation is where you have a superiority complex and an inferior status!
  • …….they lived often in countries where our policies would have been laughed out of court. I recall writing an op-ed in the New York Times when Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was coming to the United States and I had mentioned how he represented a force for change and how the licensing system had been softened to allow for product diversification. The editor asked me what that meant; and I explained how the Indian licensing system had gone so far as to insist on specifying whether one produced knives or forks! The editor was incredulous: how could anyone think that good planning meant that one could not diversify production without permission? I, a member of the diaspora, did mention this at the time to several friends in the Indian government, to their chagrin. Indeed, over time, the flood of such stories coming from the diaspora helped lay the groundwork for the abolition of the senseless licensing restrictions on capacity creation, product diversification, on import competition, that became part of the liberal reforms.

The State to end education inspector raj

“We want to end the inspector raj that has governed the functioning of the AICTE,” human resource development minister Kapil Sibal said at a briefing where the policy shifts were announced.

Hope for creating more freedom

Friedrich A. Hayek wrote in the Contemporary Review of London, April 1938: “The link between classical liberalism and present-day Socialism — often still misnamed liberalism — is undoubtedly the belief that the consummation of individual freedom requires relief from the most pressing economic cares. If this seems attainable only at the price of restricting freedom in economic activity, then that price must be paid; and it may be conceded that most of those who want to restrict private initiative in economic life do so in the hope of creating more freedom in spheres which they value higher.”

Intellectuals and Society

In an interview Prof. Thomas Sowell talks from his latest book Intellectuals and Society: Chapter 4 of 5

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What is of note of Indian Economy?

According to economist Mr. Debroy:

….at Ficci and the newly-appointed Chief Economic Advisor spoke there. This is what he reportedly said and it is best to put this within quotes. “In 1975, India first achieved 9% gross domestic product (GDP) growth due to the nationalisation of banks and opening of a large number of branches in rural areas, which led to the highest rate of savings and investment that made up 13% of the GDP.”

Inspiration vs Aspiration

Rama Bijapurkar writes:

  • If my generation paid the price of the socialist ideology, then this generation is bearing the cross of the free market, survival of the fittest, keep up with the Joneses society that we are becoming.
  • What do they see as the big problem that this country has to deal with? It is poverty and unemployment (27% votes each), while only 4% chose illiteracy and lack of education, 3% terrorism and 6% corruption.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

“Hills Road 6 form student wins Nobel Prize.”

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan said in his interview to Indian Express Walk The Talk:

Shekhar Gupta: Science is a good beginning. I’m happy to say that about myself — I’m from a generation of musicians forced to study science.
  • Venkatraman Ramakrishnan: My feeling is that even if you are not a scientist you really should have a certain minimum education in science because we live in a highly technical society. How do you know that the right decisions are being made by your government or people around you? We talk about pollution or global warming. How can you even judge if these things are meaningful or not? If you have a fundamental background in science even at the high school level, it does help you come to grips with the problem instead of taking someone’s word for it.

RTI (Response to Intervention)

Jerry Kohn on RTI (Response to Intervention) and School!!

Some excerpts:

  • As for learning, most adults I know have forgotten most of the subjects they allegedly learned in school (even those they got A’s and B’s in), and what they do remember is usually politically correct nonsense.
  • Unfortunately, it seems the only thing students actually do remember from their government-provided education is the government’s propaganda.
  • We teachers tell ourselves that we are preparing our students for adult life, but nothing about our schools even remotely resembles mature adult life. At school, students are segregated by age and ordered about all day given little choice in what they do, when they do it or how they do it.
  • As for the failures, we teachers generally blame the failures on bad parenting or on social and economic ills we, of course, played no part in creating. Schools take credit but never accept responsibility.
  • Instead, students must learn to evaluate their own success and failure and to adjust their efforts and direction accordingly. Finally, schools must end the practice of age segregation. School must afford children the opportunity to interact with and learn from people of all ages and not just spend time with their age-group peers and adult authority figures. In short, schools must be a secure microcosm of the real world where children are afforded rights while still being held accountable for their actions.
  • Our public schools are long past sick, and they are incapable of reform. They have become brain-eating, spirit-killing zombies operating not for the benefit of their students but for the benefit of those who work in them and those who profit by doing business with them. The big teacher’s unions, educational bureaucrats, education professors, teacher colleges, textbook publishers, and educational testing companies all profit from the status quo.

Intellectuals and Society

Sowell on his new book Intellectuals and Society:

From I

“….during the 20th century, it is hard to escape the conclusion that intellectuals have on balance made the world a worse and more dangerous place. Scarcely a mass-murdering dictator of the 20th century was without his supporters, admirers, or apologists among the leading intellectuals — not only within his own country, but in foreign democracies, where intellectuals were free to say whatever they wanted.”

From II

“Intellectuals and their followers have often been overly impressed by the fact that intellectuals tend, on average, to have more knowledge than other individuals in their society. What they have overlooked is that intellectuals have far less knowledge than the total knowledge possessed by the millions of other people whom they disdain and whose decisions they seek to override.

We have had to learn the consequences of elite preemption the hard way-- and many of us have yet to learn that lesson. ”