Friday, May 20, 2011

Interesting readings

What is right about the CPI(M), by Prabhat Patnaik, in the Telegraph (16 September 2010).

Thomas E. Ricks (in Foreign Policy) and Lawrence Wright (in New Yorker) on Pakistan.

C. Rangarajan on the debate about the debt management office and about inflation targeting (the latter is an interview with Tamal Bandyopadhyay).

Saurabh Mishra, Susanna Lundstrom and Rahul Anand have a fascinating piece on the sophistication of India's service exports. Many people suffer from what I call `the widget illusion', where somehow it is good to make tangible things, and making intangible things is considered wrong. It is high time we get away from such notions.

Kenya's experience with mobile phones and payments is important for us in India. Read William Jack and Tavneet Suri on this, on voxEU.

I found there are interesting links between this article in The Economist, and the ideas on system-driven credit in a UID world in this committee report.

Do you use up the power of monetary policy to stabilise inflation, or do you use up this power to manipulate the exchange rate? Some people think that manipulating exchange rates, and thus fueling export growth, is a shortcut to high GDP growth. Nicolas Magud and Sebastian Sosa (on voxEU) say that the potential payoff from exchange rate misalignment is small.

A working paper: Liquidity considerations in estimating implied volatility by Rohini Grover and Susan Thomas.

A working paper: Improving the legal process in enforcement at SEBI by Dharmishta Raval.

A working paper: Has India emerged? Business cycle facts from a transitioning economy by Chetan Ghate, Radhika Pandey, and Ila Patnaik.

Mobile trucks that sell food, and link up to customers using twitter: is India is ready for this? See Caroline McCarthy on CNet News.

A first response on the killing of UBL by Steve Coll.

Robert S. Boynton has an article in the Atlantic about how modern communication technology is actually making a small difference to breaking down the North Korean government.

Henry Shukman has a great story in Outside magazine about the 3000 square kilometres of `Chernobyl Exclusion Zone' which has turned into a miracle for biodiversity. I often wonder what would happen if 3000 square kilometres of prime Gangetic land became true forest.

Perhaps 10% of blind men can teach themselves how to see.

Michael Lewis has a persuasive sounding article, about how a Richter 7.9 earthquake that hits Tokyo will devastate the world economy. This was written in 1989. By and large, these things did not happen in the recent Richter 9.0 earthquake. Yes, the recent quake did not frontally hit Tokyo, but then Richter 9.0 is way bigger than 7.9 (this is log scale). It is a useful exercise, for everyone interested in finance, to read this article and understand how such journalistic thinking goes wrong.

Is research funding going into randomised trials yielding a good bang for the buck? My personal view is that a better use of money is to build datasets like this which are then placed into the public domain, and used by hundreds of researchers.


  1. Patnaik in his piece, "Whats right with CPI(M)" just digs his own logical grave, with each words he spews out.
    People might endear themselves to CPI(M) for its idiotic dogmatism of anti-imperialism (whats that btw, and where was this during Indo-China war), but terming it as one of the "right" of CPI(M) is laughable.

    As for, its so called "dogged" support of democracy, it sounds as hollow as a flute. Did you know, Dr Shah, Police in WB is unionized? Did you know, political opponents were routinely threatened/killed during election time? Did you know there was huge rigging and booth capturing even as late as 2001?

    The truth is, CPI(M) is no more democratic than Idi Amin


  2. interesting...
    A Billion Prices Now
    by James Surowiecki


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