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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Interesting readings

India needs a modern finance ministry equipped to meet macroeconomic challenges by Shaji Vikraman in the Economic Times. Editorials in Mint, Wall Street Journal.

A Reuters story about fat policemen in Pakistan makes me think about similar questions in India. A dataset of the BMI of policemen would be an interesting one.

T. N. Ninan looks back at the dark days of 1975, and the lethality of bad laws and bad law-making. [Also see my writing on this from 2007; but I'm not that optimistic today].

Manas Chakravarty, in Mint, reminds us that State Domestic Product (SDP) data is highly suspect. SDP sits alongside NSSO, ASI, IIP, quarterly GDP, etc. as pillars of the Indian statistical system that inspire profound mistrust. Another bloomer. In the research community, we should be wary of garbage-in-garbage-out projects which stand on these datasets.

Mobis Philipose in Mint on clearing corporations.

The Survey of India needs to learn how maps are made in today's world. It must either match these capabilities, or contract-out the production of these critical public goods to these firms.

The IGIDR Emerging Markets Finance conference: 2011 program, 2012 call for papers.

Rohit Viswanath in Mint on RBI reforms.

Paul Geitner in the New York Times makes us think about the Right to Vacation Act.

We in India are mostly finished with the business of RBI trading in the currency market (link). It was still rather interesting to read Michael Bordo, Owen F. Humpage and Anna J. Schwartz (R.I.P.), writing on voxEU about the experience of the US, Japan, China and Switzerland on currency trading by the central bank, and the impossible trinity.

In recent decades, one of the troubling features of the world has been the retardation of innovation and competition that has been caused by patents in the field of computer technology. One of the tallest figures in law and economics, Richard Posner, has written a devastating ruling which may help precipitate a fresh look at the way patent litigation will go. Deeper reform requires rewriting laws, but judge-made law can help greatly in alleviating the pain. When will we get judges of this quality in India?

Fairly frightening news is coming out of China. We are all long China; if China should go bad, it will plunge the whole world into a recession. Rosemary Righter in the Times Literary Supplement. Keith Bradsher says, in the New York Times, that there are fresh concerns about a bizarre scale of manipulation of official statistics, which makes you wonder if the communist party actually believes its own press releases, and is actually flying blind. They are famed for intra-party democracy and debate, but how can that happen without accurate information? And, Craig Tindale describes the incredible levels of stress in that system, which makes India's `functioning anarchy' seem almost idyllic in comparison. Parts of this made me wonder. E.g. he says: the richest 70 members of the government have a net worth of $89.8 billion, an average of over $1B each. This compares to $7.5 billion for the 660 for the US government, an average of $11M each.. How would we fare, in comparison?

1 comment:

  1. Many decades ago, Jay Dubashi wrote that most of India's richest people lived within 3 km. of Rashtrapati Bhavan. On this score, we compare pretty well with China, never fear.


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