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Google Doodle on Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis and S. Swamy’s Combative Spirit

PCM

Today is 125th birth anniversary of Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis – noted applied statistician and scientist. Google has posted a doodle honoring PCM’s contribution in the field of Statistics and Mathematics.

Google Doodle - PCM

He is considered as the father of Indian statistical research.

Here is a brief biography of PC Mahalanobis:

Mahalanobis was born on 29th June 1893 in West Bengal and graduated from King’s College, Cambridge. He is known for his pioneering work in statistics and is most often remembered by the “Mahalanobis distance”, a way of measurement used in population studies and was one of the members of the first Planning Commission of India.

He was also awarded one of the highest civilian awards, the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India.

India’s second five year plan (1956-1961) which laid heavy emphasis on the development of the public sector and rapid industrialization also followed the Mr Mahalanobis model which emphasizes the importance of building a strong domestic consumption goods sector, which was crucial to the nascent Indian economy and had a lasting impact on the nation’s development.

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis also taught at Presidency College (Kolkata) where, in 1931, he was responsible for founding the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).

He further laid the foundations of Indian statistical system through the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO)

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, a man of diverse scientific interests combined other disciplines like anthropology, economics, physics to develop better approaches in the field of population studies, consumption and crop yields. Later on, he collaborated with both top economists and mathematicians from around the world.

He died on June 28, 1972, just a day ahead of his 79th birthday.


Interesting information…showing PCM in good light! Isn’t it?

But then I read a tweet by Anand Ranganathan – author and Right Wing proponent where he posted an extract of article written by Subramanian Swamy – the controversial politician, Ph D in Economics from Harvard, and later Professor at Harvard, and the man who is known to have fought with almost everybody. Swamy is known for his grudges and his philosophy, in his own words, has been – “I give as good as I get”.

And what Swamy has written about PCM puts things in totally different perspective. Here is the extract:

It has been my lot throughout my life to be confronted and to confront the corrupt and powerful. As a student of my Masters degree in the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Calcutta, the then Chairman P. C. Mahalanobis took a dislike to me because he and my father were rivals in the government statistical organisation. Mahalanobis was a corrupt leftist. I had come to the ISI as an innocent student with a brilliant first class B.A. Honors degree in mathematics. But Mahalanobis’ dislike of me filtered down to the professors. For no reason except to please him, they began failing me in every subject. A ruined career stared me in the face. So I decided to retaliate (a foolish resolve on first thought, since I was then a 19 year old student facing the darling of the Left, USSR, and Nehru: P. C. Mahalanobis). But I dropped everything, parked myself in the library, and read whatever Mahalanobis had written as a scholar. I found that his celebrated Second Five Year Plan model, the so-called Mahalanobis model, was actually stolen from M. A. Fiedman, an obscure Soviet economist of the 1930s. This discovery I could not use against Mahalanobis however, because neither the USSR nor the then docile Indian press would take notice. But I discovered that Mahalanobis’ magnum opus something called “Fractile Analysis”, had recently been published in a scholarly international journal. That research was, I found worthless when scrutinized under the modern microscope of modern mathematics. It was, literally, well-known earlier research re-hashed.

Mathematics laid bare the plagiarism. Mahalanobis was too big to be challenged by other Indian scholars. But I had nothing to lose.

Naturally when I wrote out my critique and sent it to the journal, it was hot stuff. The journal published it and asked Mahalanobis for a rejoinder. He had none. His reputation abroad was therefore in tatters. He never recovered from it. A 19 year old writing out complex mathematical equations was a novelty for Harvard’s Economics Department to whose notice the journal article came. They offered me a scholarship for a Ph. D. course. My ruined career prospects did a 180 degree turn! I never looked back thereafter. Had I not been cornered like a cat, I would never have ventured to demolish Mahalanobis.

 

 

So the roots of Swamy’s fiercely combative approach and legacy of taking of fights with everybody lie in his encounter with PCM! Quite a trivia…

 

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Good Read: On Remittances

If you follow the Economics of emerging countries you would know that remittances from other countries back to the home country is a significant contributor in the development of that country!

India has a huge population and equally huge number of migrants to various countries. There are regional pockets and affiliations based on decades of history of migrating to specific nations. For example, a lot of Gujaratis have migrated to Africa (remember Mahatma Gandhi?). Kerala continues to send thousands of people to the Middle-East. Tamil Nadu does the same for South-East Asia. Punjabis have made Canada as their second home! (And we, the Marathi community, are still reluctant to migrate to other parts of India…)

Anyways.

I came across an interesting article in the Times of India (yes, that rotten thing called newspaper). Here it is:


HIGHLIGHTS

  • Remittances to India from abroad rose in 2017 and touched $69 billion
  • Outflows of remittances from India too continued to rise reaching $5.7 billion, according to a World Bank report
  • The data shows that Indians constitute the world’s largest diaspora population, making it the largest source of labour for world market

NEW DELHI: Remittances to India from abroad rose in 2017 after declining for two consecutive years and touched $69 billion, still a little short of the $70.4 billion reached in 2014. Outflows of remittances from India too continued to rise reaching $5.7 billion, according to a World Bank report.

The 9.9% increase in remittance inflows in 2017 was enough to ensure that India comfortably retained its long held position of the largest destination of remittances from international migrants, according to the Bank’s report titled ‘Migration and Remittance Outlook’, released late on Monday.

Of the $5.7 billion sent home by foreigners working in India, Bangladesh alone accounted for over $4 billion or about 71%.

The data also shows that Indians constitute the world’s largest diaspora population, making it the largest source of labour for the world market.

remittances-ed

In 2017, there were 16.4 million Indians living abroad. Mexico and Russia had 11.9 million and 11 million people respectively working in foreign countries. China has the fourth largest overseas population at slightly over 10 million.

Although Bangladesh and Pakistan too have significant migrant populations, this doesn’t get reflected in their remittance receipts. Legal international migration is often seen as a rather costly economic investment and hence only relatively well-off sections of any country’s population are able to afford it.

The increase in income levels in China and India and the ever increasing presence of the expat community in the Western world helps augment migration from these countries to the West. China received $64 billion from its overseas citizens.

This was the world’s second highest and the two Asian neighbours accounted for more than one-fifth of the global remittances inflows. They were followed by the Philippines, Mexico and France.

remittances-2
Of the 131 countries from where India received remittances, UAE contributed the highest, $13.8 billion or about 20% of India’s total receipts.
The West Asian country was followed by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UK. There were 12 countries from which India received in excess of $1 billion each. Among them, six are in West Asia, the region accounting for 55.6% of India’s total remittance receipts.

Other than Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka received 17.9% and 9.1% respectively of remittances flowing out from India. Thus, these three neighbours got about 98% of remittances from India. India was the largest source of remittances to Bangladesh, accounting for about 30% of its total overseas remittances

This article reminded me of a wonderful TED Talk on Remittances. You may also like it:

 

Basic Laws of Management and Marketing

marketing  with business graph and chart hand drawing on blackboard
marketing concept with business graph and chart hand drawing on blackboard

My Prof at IIM-A once said that every subject in management has its roots in some mother subject. For example, he said, Economics has its roots in Psychology. Finance is a derivative of Economics (Micro-economics, to be precise). HR has its roots in Organizational Behavior, which in turn borrows from Social Science. Operations Management is loosely based on Applied Mathematics (Graphs, Queues, and Optimization techniques).

However, Marketing is the only subject which is a creation of Management studies. It is partially true. Because Marketing also has links with Psychology.

My other professor at the Lancaster University, UK gave a very interesting perspective. He said:

Basic law of Economics is: “People pay a lot for things they like”

Basic law of Psychology is: “People like a lot the things they pay for”

Between these two ends you embed all your functions: Strategy/Sales/Production/Finance/Pricing/Marketing/Distribution/Branding/Advertisement.

If you ponder over this, the idea is so fundamental. I will build on this and borrow from the great Management Guru Peter Drucker.

Let’s start with what the UK prof said.

Basic law of Economics is: “People pay a lot for things they like”. This simple looking sentence has many complex themes within itself. It suggests that “value” is always “perceived value” and not absolute value. The perceived value is based on the key concept in economics called “Utility”. I am willing to pay more for iPhone because I like it. That in turn is because I perceive more value/more utility in it. So if you can manage the “perceived value” part, you can sell a product for good price – probably a lot more than other similar products.

At the other end, the basic law of Psychology says, “People like a lot the things they pay for”. This is natural human tendency. You tend to overvalue your own possessions and downplay what others own. This is true of material possessions as well as opinions, and beliefs,…or achievements. One always feels that his/her success is hard earned and the other’s success is more of luck or chance. Dan Ariely, the author of bestsellers such as “Predictably Irrational” and “The Upside of Irrationality”, conducted an interesting experiment to prove this basic law of psychology. In one of the lectures he gave away signed copy of his book for free – but only to few “select” people chosen at random. Those who got the books felt “lucky”. Then he asked people who had received the book how much would they want to give away the book to others. i.e. how much would they sell it for. People who owned the book quoted significantly high price – because they valued the book, which they got exclusively, much more! Then Dan asked people who didn’t have the book how much would they pay for the book. And that set of people quoted very low number – as if they were downplaying the worth of the book.

This happened even when people who got the book got it for free! Now imagine what would happen if they had paid for it. They would have been “forced” to like their possession even more…because “People like a lot the things they pay for”.

Now let’s focus on Marketing. Marketing, in simple term is, converting wants of people into the needs. Job of marketing function is to change people’s habit; to make them buy more and more, as if they “need” things. And that is where these two Basic laws become relevant for Marketing.

To achieve the effect of Basic Law of Economics, the job of Marketing is to create the visibility and brand perception of their product and develop special “liking” for their product. To achieve the effect of Basic Law of Psychology, the job of Marketing is to maintain the aura of brand through advertisement, promotion. The idea is to constantly hammer the message: “As a buyer of this product, you belong to an exclusive club!”.

For many decades people and businesses focused only on the Basic Law of Psychology and thus focused on branding, advertisements, strategy of differentiation and product niche etc.

In recent years people are understanding that the Basic Law of Psychology is more significant. It is the backbone of Luxury goods. Also, it is the basis why “freebies” and “price war” is now seen as a bad strategy. If people like a lot the things which they for, it also suggests that there is no such liking for freebies. Yes, the customers would lap up anything given free; but they would also not hesitate to criticize and dislike such products, because there is no skin in the game. On the other hand, if customer pays for the product, it is also in his interest to “like” the product. He doesn’t want to be “seen” as a fool. And the more he pays, the stronger this feeling, and hence stronger the liking. It is very unlikely for someone to buy an expensive Diamond or a luxury car and not like it. And that is the cornerstone of all luxury goods.

I have experienced this myself so many times (I also admit that I have conformed to this law, willingly). I attended a 3-day Value Investing workshop last year. The workshop was conducted by a very famous professor who is perceived to be a great Guru on Value Investing. The program fee was Rs. 35,000. He has been running same workshop for last few years and have consistently increased fees – from Rs. 18,000 4-5 years back, to Rs. 25,000 3 years ago, to Rs. 30,000 2 years ago, to Rs. 35,000 last year.

To be honest to myself, the program was mediocre. You could have got the same Gyan from 2-3 books (worth Rs. 1500 max). The delivery was also nothing extraordinary. In fact it was monotonous and boring beyond a point.

However, nobody who attended the program admitted that the program was mediocre, or not great. Mainly because of the Basic Law of Psychology. How could you pay Rs. 35,000 for a 3-day program and say that it was all crap…you were fool to attend it? So the good perception of the program continues. People still find some good facets to justify the fees. For example, they would say “It was a great networking opportunity. I met so many good participants and exchanged good ideas, that the fee was totally worth it”. Or, “it was not just about the course content, but about having face time with the Professor. I learned so much from 1-on-1 interactions with him during breaks”. Or most ridiculous: “I got a selfie with the Professor, which means a lot to me!”.

Another example. A person who is earning decent salary but is stuck with job. He decides to pursue an expensive MBA thinking the perceived brand and quality of education would do wonders to his career! He leaves his job; spends 1 or 2 years and few lakhs (often more than his gross salary for 1-2 years) and attends the MBA program. Do you think he would ever say (in public) that the program was useless and he was a fool? 99.99% of the people would not (the rest 0.01% is Yours’ Truly, or that kind).

This is exactly what the Basic Law of Psychology says. And the more you spend the more you “like” it.

So whether you are a Marketing professional or not, do remember the two basic laws which form the boundary of Marketing!

As Peter Drucker said:

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

Lastly, understand the connection between the two basic laws. Economic theories are based on many assumptions. But the key assumption underlying all of Economics is that the man is a rational animal and would always behave rationally and in self-interest. Psychology is the subject which addressed the very assumption of Economics. It addresses question: “What if man is not rational, or does not always behave rationally?”. Both taken together complete each other and enhance our understanding of the world.

Session on Budget 2018: Analysis and Insights

Union Budget of India for the year was presented on 1st of February 2018. The next day there was a session in Pune arranged by Marathi Daily Loksatta and anchored by editor Girish Kuber who is an eminent journalist, economist and author of many best selling books in Marathi including one on “Oil Economy”.

I went to attend the session which was at 5:45 PM and reached there by 5:40 PM and to my surprise the session was houseful! Not only that there were 200-300 people standing downstairs at the entrance of Tilak Smarak Mandir auditorium. Fortunately the organizers had arranged speakers so that people could listen to the discussion. It was a 2-2.5 hrs long event and slowly the crowd settled in, sat down and enjoyed a very stimulating conversation!

Seeing the appetite for “literacy in finance”, “understanding the budget” etc. we should have more of such events; maybe some aspects in the syllabus of primary and high school. Most of the attendees were students of competitive exams such as UPSC and were frantically writing notes, unfortunately without paying attention to what was being discussed – a sad reflection of how our education system works. Here are a couple of pics of the event. I was standing for 2.5 hrs 😦 but in the end it was worth the pain.

Here are some interesting points which I remember from the event.

Oil Bonanza for the Govt in last 3-4 years, possible reversal of it in 2018 and implications of that:

  • When Crude Oil price moves by $1, it amounts to impact of Rs. 8500 Crore for India’s oil import bill. We still import 82% of oil we need.
  • Current Govt was extremely lucky because the Crude Oil prices in recent years have been very subdued. During previous Govt’s tenure the crude oil prices were in the range of $100 per barrel. They touched high of $147 per barrel at one point! During this Govt’s first 3.5 years the oil prices went to as low as $30/barrel and stayed between $45-50 for most of the part.
  • That’s a huge windfall of savings on oil import bill. (Refer #1 and calculate for yourself)
  • However, the petrol and diesel prices in India have been going up and up! It was Rs. 45-50 during previous Govt and Rs. 75-80 now! People in the same government  made a lot of noise during previous Govt’s tenure about oil prices in world dipping marginally and yet Govt then not passing benefit to consumers. Can you imagine the hypocrisy by the then opposition and now ruling party? See this video and check yourself:
  • This is because, as Girish Kuber rightly pointed out that: “Good Economics is Bad Politics, and vice versa
  • Another important point highlighted by the other speaker was that the Budget assumes Crude Oil prices at average of around $55 / barrel for this year, whereas the prices on the day of budget was already 70+. Some even claimed that oil can go back to $100/barrel zone. If it does happen, it would have massive negative impact on the budget.
  • Kuber also heavily criticized proposal to increase Minimum Support Price for farmers to 1.5 times the cost and a “massive(?)” health care plan termed as “Modi Care” with meager budgetary allocation of Rs. 2000 Cr per year.
  • Kuber also praised the Economics Survey of India 2018 and advised to read it in detail! This is the best and most comprehensive report in many years, he said, however, it has no bearing on the budget. In fact budget goes against the Survey findings/recommendations in many areas.

What I liked about the session was that it focused more on discussing contours of budget and not going into minute details of each category. I think we need a broad awareness, education on “How to Read Budget” before we get into discussing impact of a particular aspect of budget.

Lastly, one should keep in mind that budget is a “planning” exercise. Things don’t happen, or do not happen because they are “planned”. They can only happen if plan is executed well. Budget shows us a trajectory, a general sense of direction and nothing more.

One of my professors used to say” “I would rather like budget to become a non-event. Do your planning and get on with implementation. Too much time and energy is wasted on debating budget, and analyzing stock market reaction and so on.”

I completely agree with him. I am enthused by budget as much as I am excited by my study or reading plan for the rest of the year…come to think of it, the plan is not going well. I should blog less 😦

जीडीपी, विकासदर आणि “विकास-निर्देशांक”

भारताचे जीडीपी (Gross domestic product or GDP) वाढीचा चा अंदाज नुकताच प्रसिद्ध झाला. आर्थिक वर्ष २०१७-१८ साठी तो कमी करून ६.५% इतका असेल. हा आकडा नवीन मोजणीपद्धती प्रमाणे  आहे, जी २०११-१२ च्या सुमारास लागू झाली. जुन्या पद्धतीप्रमाणे हाच आकडा अजून कमी असता – कदाचित ४.५-५%.
जीडीपी बद्दल एक सुंदर लेख नुकताच वाचनात आला. जीडीपी हा निकष बदलण्याची का गरज आहे याबद्दलचा हा लेख फायनान्शिअल टाईम्स वृत्तपत्रात ५-जानेवारी-२०१८ ला प्रसिद्ध झाला, जो आपण  इथे वाचू शकता. (“Why it is time to change the way we measure the wealth of nations”)
GDP is a measure of activity. जीडीपी हा कृतिशीलता मोजतो. GDP doesn’t focus on utility/effectiveness of what is being produced. जे उत्पादन झाले आहे त्याची उपयुक्तता विचारात घेतली जात नाही. तर फक्त ते उत्पादन करण्यात जे श्रम खर्च झाले, त्याच्या किमतीनुसार जीडीपी मोजले जाते.
पण १९३० मध्ये जेव्हा जीडीपी हे प्रमाण म्हणून वापरले जाऊ लागले तेव्हा त्याचा उद्देश हा महामंदीच्या काळात प्रत्यक्ष मोजता येण्यासारख्या गोष्टींची उलाढाल किती कमी झाली आहे हे मोजणे हा होता. म्हणजेच जीडीपी हे “उत्पादन” (Manufacturing) केंद्रीत होते. “सेवा” (Services) हा त्या काळी अर्थव्यवस्थेचा महत्वाचा  घटक नसल्याने त्याला फारसे महत्व दिले गेले नव्हते. आणि त्यानंतरही जीडीपी मध्ये “सेवा” घटक योग्य प्रकारे मोजण्याची शास्त्रीय पद्धती आली नाही.
भारतासारखे आज असे अनेक देश आहेत की ज्यांच्या अर्थव्यवस्थेत “सेवा” हा “उत्पादन” पेक्षा मोठा घटक आहे. त्यामुळे जीडीपी मोजणी पद्धतीत सुधार करून “सेवा” योग्य प्रकारे मोजता याव्यात याबद्दल अनेक वर्षे चर्चा चालू आहे.
परंतु यात एक  महत्वाचा मुद्दा लक्षात घेतला पाहिजे –  तो म्हणजे “पायाभूत” सुविधा निर्माण करण्याचा. जीडीपी फक्त activity मोजत असल्यामुळे त्याचा उपयोग “पायाभूत” सुविधा निर्माण होण्यात केला जातोय का याकडे दुर्लक्ष होते. आणि त्याचे दूरगामी परिणाम फार भयानक असू शकतात.
म्हणजे एक अतिशयोक्तीपूर्ण उदाहरण द्यायचे तर…
समजा एक प्रांत आहे जिथे दोनच माणसे आहेत. एक जण पूजापाठ सांगणे (सत्यनारायण वगैरे), कीर्तन-प्रवचन करणे असे काम करतो. आणि दुसरा माणूस तेलमालीश करणे, पाय/अंग चेपून देणे वगैरे करतो. थोडक्यात दोघेही फक्त “सेवा” पुरवतात, “उत्पादन” काही नाही. त्यांच्या खाण्यापिण्याची, राहण्याची सोय निसर्गांत असलेल्या साधनसंपत्ती मध्ये होते असे समजा.
आता त्या दोघांनी एकमेकांना आपापल्या सेवा पुरवल्या आणि त्याला काही तरी मूल्य लावले तर त्यातून जीडीपी निर्माण होईल. समाज एकाने एका दिवशी रु. २०० चे प्रवचन केले. आणि दुसर्याने रु. २०० ची मालिश केली तर जीडीपी मोजण्याच्या पद्धतीप्रमाणे त्या प्रांताचे जीडीपी रस. ४०० इतके झाले. पण यात पायाभूत असे काय निर्माण झाले? उदाहरणार्थ घर, पूल, शाळा, धरणे असे काही बांधले गेले का? तर नाही. सेवा या “गिळंकृत” होतात. हे “Services are consumed” चे शब्दशः भाषांतर वाटेल पण खरोखरीच सेवा या पुरवल्या की संपतात. नवनिर्मिती होत नाही.
जीडीपी मधून लांबपल्ल्याचं आणि देश उभारणी करणारं काहीतरी हवं असेल तर फक्त सेवा पुरवून उपयोग नाही.
आता याच प्रांतात अजून दोन लोकं  आली. एक शेती करणारा, आणि एक वास्तू-निर्मिती करणारा. आणि त्या चौघात आपापल्या सेवा आणि उत्पादन यांचे देवाणघेवाण होऊन जे होईल त्यामुळे जीडीपी तर वाढेलच पण त्याबरोबर दूरगामी अश्या पायाभूत सुविधा देखील निर्माण होतील.
त्या अर्थाने जीडीपी हे “सेवा” प्रकारांना तेवढे महत्व देत नाही हे एका अर्थी बरोबर आहे.
भारताचा विचार केला तर आपली अर्थव्यवस्था “सेवा”केंद्रीत आहे हे खरंय. पण उत्पादनाच्या बाबतीतही आपण केवळ जोडणी (Assembly) किंवा दुसऱ्या देशांसाठी उत्पादन पुरवठा (Manufacturing Export) किती करतो आणि आपल्या देशात पायाभूत सुविधा निर्माण करायला (Public or Private Infrastructure development) किती करतो हे महत्वाचं आहे.
परंतु लोकं जीडीपी किंवा तत्सम अर्थकारणातल्या कल्पना समजावून ना घेता केवळ विकासदर ५% चा ८%-१०% झाला किंवा ८-१०% चा ६.५% झाला यावरच भर देतात आणि वायफळ टीका, राजकारण करत बसतात.
अजून एक महत्वाचा फरक हा “विकासदर” आणि “विकास-निर्देशांक” हा आहे. विकास-निर्देशांक म्हणजे साधारणपणे तुम्ही “विकसित” (Developed) आहात, का “विकसनशील” (“Developing” आहात का “अविकसित” (“Underdeveloped” – पण आजकाल असा शब्द कोणी वापरात नाही. “Emerging” किंवा “resource rich” वगैरे गोंडस नाव देतात).
“विकासदर” आणि “विकास-निर्देशांक” यातला फरक साध्या उदाहरणातून द्यायचा तर एक वडील (५२-५५ वर्षांचे) आणि मुलगा (२३-२५ वर्षांचा) यांचे उदाहरण घेऊ. समजा दोघंही सध्या नोकरी करतात –
वडिलांचा पगार मुलांपेक्षा बराच जास्त असणार, पण मुलाची पगारवाढ (% मध्ये) वडिलांपेक्षा खूप जास्त असणार. त्याचे कारण मुलाचा कमी पगार (Low base effect) आणि त्याचा Growth Period. वडिलांचा पगार stagnant असेल परंतु केवळ मूल्याचा विचार केला तर मुलापेक्षा खूप जास्त असेल.
हा एक भाग झाला. पण “संपत्ती” या दृष्टीने विचार केला तर? वडिलांकडे असलेली २५-३० वर्षे नोकरी करून साठवलेली संपत्ती ही मुलाच्या २-३ वर्षे नोकरी करून साठवलेल्या संपत्तीपेक्षा खूप जास्त असणार, किंवा असली पाहिजे.
जीडीपी चे पण असेच आहे. इथे वडील हे अमेरिका आहे, आणि मुलगा हा भारत आहे असे समजा. मुलाचा विकासदर जास्त असेल (८-९%), आणि वडिलांचा विकासदर कमी (१-२%). पण मुळात वडिलांचा पगार (Absolute value of US GDP = $15-16 Trillion) ही मुलाच्या पगारापेक्षा (Absolute value of India GDP = $2 Trillion) खूप जास्त आहे. हा एक भाग.
पण त्याहून महत्वाचे म्हणजे वडिलांनी जी पायाभूत गुंतवणूक गेल्या २००-२५० वर्षात करून ठेवली आहे – रस्ते, धरणे, लोहमार्ग, विमानमार्ग, हॉस्पिटल्स, शाळा, विद्यापीठे इत्यादी. चे विस्तृत जाळे – ते (आणि त्या दर्जाचे) तयार करणे ह्या बाबतीत मुलगा फारच मागे आहे याची जाणीव हवी.
दुसरा महत्वाचा मुद्दा म्हणजे मुलगा फक्त मागे आहे (कारण त्याची सुरुवातच खूप उशिरा झाली) परंतु आता त्या वाटेवर भरधाव वेगाने  (High growth rate) जातोय अशी परिस्थिती आहे, का मुलगा भरधाव वेगाने धावतोय (Growth rate is high) पण तो पायाभूत क्षेत्रात नाही तर केवळ “गिळंकृत” करायच्या सेवा क्षेत्रात ते समजले पाहिजे. म्हणजे वेग आहे, पण दिशा चुकली आहे?
आणि म्हणूनच “मेक इन इंडिया”, किंवा इतर Public Infrastructure initiatives राबवणे ही खूप चांगली गोष्ट आहे.
पण शेवटचा प्रश्न हा आहे, की आपली शिक्षण पद्धती त्याप्रकारचे शिक्षण देते आहे का? का अजूनही आपले शिक्षण क्षेत्र हे “सेवा” पुरवणारे कळप निर्माण करतंय?

Books and Lectures: Economics

I am starting this “Books and Lectures” thread to write about good books and lectures that help learning new concepts, subjects. I don’t want to list pure academic books (i.e. course material) as far as possible because they are boring and difficult to read. I will try to mention resources that are interesting and/or easy to digest. So do keep in mind that these resources are good starting point – only to generate interest and curiosity for further studies.

I will write multiple blogs for different subjects. Here is the first one about Economics (and related topics).

If you want to buy only one book on Economics I would recommend The Economics Book (Big Ideas). I recently purchased hard copy of this book. The print quality is too good and the book covers all key concepts in Economics briefly and in engaging manner! It is more life a coffee table book with lots of pictures, graphics, easy-to-read text and covers evolution of Economics over last 300-400 years. It is a book you should not only read but own and keep in your bookshelf.

Economics Book

The second book I would recommend is written by IIM-A Prof. Satish Deodhar and it is “Day To Day Economics“. The book covers interesting aspect of National Budget and how to understand/interpret various terms, concepts such as Fiscal Deficit.

DayToDayEconomics.jpg

If you want to read about more entertaining and hilarious aspects of Economics, do read “The Undercover Economist” and “Dear Undercover Economist” – both written by Tim Harford. This is a new genre of book which has become very popular now. The other examples of similar books (which talk about non-technical, entertaining aspects of Economics) are “Freakonomics” or “Superfreakonomics“. “The Tipping Point” or “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell are not exactly Economics books, but they do try to explain certain (economic) phenomenon and touch upon behavioral economics concepts. Another interesting book on behavioral economics, but very difficult to read, is by Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman – “Thinking, Fast and Slow“. A new book in the same genre is “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Richard Thaler who won Nobel Prize for Economics in 2017. I must confess that I have not yet read Nudge, but watched some interviews of Thaler explaining the concept and read book review and articles. Also, I have not been able to complete Kahneman’s book too.

As I am writing book names, I realized that except for first couple of books which talk about core economics concepts and theories, the rest all are more on “behavioral aspects” or softer side. Also, if you look at names of last few years Nobel Awardees you would realize that their work has been more on behavioral economics, or validation of existing theories/models etc. There haven’t been many ground-breaking new Economics concepts since 1950s or so. And that is understandable given the maturity of this field (the same is true about Mathematics). In one of the interviews Richard Thaler mentioned that John Maynard Keynes could actually be called pioneer of Behavioral Economics as he did a lot of work and wrote extensively on the topic. I recently bought “Essays in Persuasion” – a collection of articles and letters by John M Keynes written during the period between Great Depression and World War II. Yet to read it…

For those who don’t like reading (I hate you!) or prefer watching videos to reading, there are few good videos on YouTube.

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio
The Monetary System Visually Explained
A four part series on Hidden Secrets of Money
Masters of Money – A documentary on John M Keynes

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) – Archive

I just created an Archive on Demonetization – the so-called “surgical strike” on Black Money in India. There was another “masterstroke”, a “bold and massive reform” a “game changer”  since Demonetization – The Goods and Services Tax (GST). Everything that the current Government does is touted as a Game Changer (I wrote a blog on it). However, with GST the Government took hyperbole to another level. They called it as “India’s new Tryst with Destiny” and to mimic the original Tryst with Destiny (the one involving Nehru – hope you remember who that person was), the Government held a mid-night session to launch and celebrate GST.

I have been following the GST discussion/debate for some time new. Our IIM-A professor had briefly educated us on GST in early 2016. GST was not as controversial as Demonetization – there was a large consensus that GST as a concept is good. The devil was in detail. The implementation part of it. And since its hasty launch on 1st July 2017, GST is proving to be a nightmare – more worrisome than Demonetization. So I read and watched few good videos on GST.

I thought of creating another Archive for GST to keep track of all good material on GST. The list is not long as of now but it is very informative. Arvind Datar, a prominent lawyer, and author has extensively talked against GST and some of the key issues he spoke of are clearly evident now. He called GST as “the most terrible thing that will happen to the country

Do watch the first two talks by Arvind Datar on GST:

Arvind Datar on GST

A more detailed talk by Avinash Datar on the Constitution, Federalism and GST


A small primer on how GST is bad for small businesses

In Hindi – Overview of GST

In Hindi – Latest changes in GST (6th Oct 2017)

In Hindi – Ravish Kumar’s overview of GST

 

 

 

 

 

Demonetization – Archive

Yesterday (8th October 2017) we completed 11 months of #Demonetization; and now we are into the 12th month. We’ll complete 1 year of Demonetization on 8th November 2017 and there is bound to be a lot of debate on whether Demonetization was successful or not, and to what extent (and at what cost).

I have been following many discussions, debates and articles on Demonetization during last 11 months and have also blogged a few times. So I thought of creating a thread – an archive to start compiling all such links related to Demonetization at one place.

Will keep on adding to it and you are also welcome to contribute.

Blogs I wrote:

Magnitude of Demonetization

Demonetization and Fiscal Deficit

Interview with think tank behind Demonetization – Anil Bokil

One Month After Demonetization

Audio/Video on Demonetization:

My Professor at IIM-A Satish Deodhar discusses on Demonetization

 

Raghuram Rajan on Demonetization

Amartya Sen on Demonetization

Economist Arun Kumar on Demonetization (in Hindi)

Arun Kumar on Black Money and Black Economy (on backdrop of Demonetization)

Arun Kumar on Demonetization and Black Money

(Marathi) नोटाबंदी खरेच फसली का? अनिल बोकील यांची एक्स्क्लुझिव्ह मुलाखत

S Gurumurthy on Demonetization

Subramanian Swamy on Demonetization

P Chidambaram on Demonetization

Demonetization – A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Hindi – Ravish Kumar on Demonetization

Arun Shouri on Demonetization (in Nov 2016)

Arun Shouri on Demonetization (in Oct 2017)

Early View on Demonetization (in Nov 2016)

Raghav Bahl on Demonetization (Sep 2017) – through lens of Human Behavior rather than Economics/Finance

One of the best takes on Demonetization is by Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Chief Global Strategist Ruchir Sharma where he called Demonetization as a misguided step.

Ruchir Sharma on Demonetization

Updated on 11th October 2017:

Yashwant Sinha on Demonetisation ‘Our worst fears have come true

 

 

 

 

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