Thursday, 27 June 2013

Buy Best and Leave the Rest - A Refutal

With exchange rate of Indian Rupee hitting a new low of 60.32 INR to 1 $ , social media abuzz with posts mocking the current government's economic policies. There also seems to be a massive campaign which goes like ' Buy Indian and Save India '. 

On a superficial level it does sound right for it seems like we are sending off billion dollars out of our country by buying goods of Multi-Nationals like Unilever or Procter and Gamble. In fact we do romanticize with 'Swadeshi Movement', which involves shunning goods of foreign origin, for it was part of our Independence struggle against Britain. 

Now coming back to the question, Can being Swadeshi actually improve our country's economy ? 

Seems the answer is not as simple as blurting out a slogan like , 'Be Indian and Buy Indian'. 

We have to remind ourselves that we are now living in a globalized world where it is hard to pinpoint the country of origin of any Corporation. Say Unilever or Hyundai or P&G , they all are Multi-Nationals and their stock is traded on stock markets. So that means they may have Indian shareholders.In fact our so called Indian companies are also MNCs. Say TATA , Flipkart , Jet Airways or what soever. They also may have share holding by foreigners for they are traded in Stock markets . 

So what matters is that these firms produce their goods in Indian territory, sell their goods through Indian salespersons and they pay taxes to Indian Government. Eventually they are creating infrastructure, creating jobs and helping people have a better lifestyle. 

Unilever , for example is a Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company. but they have their manufacturing plants in India . Say Micromax. It is an Indian consumer electronic company, but what we won't know is that the components in their mobile phones are sourced from China or Taiwan. So actually it means that Micromax is not as Indian as we would expect. There are many firms which produce goods in China and at last label them as ' Made in India '. 

So it's better for us to be remind ourselves of what would happen if our own Information Technology firms face such a campaign in foreign countries. In fact there is a sizable majority in United States, who think that we Indians are robbing their jobs. So how different is our companies in comparison with the MNC's who are being demonized by false propaganda of , ' Buy Indian and Save India '. 

In total, any campaign that  calls for boycotting so called-foreign goods is nonsensical because they may not as foreign as you think. In fact it is difficult to ascertain .

And coming back to the cause for Indian rupee losing its value is not because of our buying habits but due to our increased dependence on foreign countries for energy. We import nearly 80 % of our energy needs. We lack quality coal and hence we are importing them too for our thermal power plants. And mainly the political climate is very unstable and hence foreign investors are wary of investing here and they resort to selling their stocks in share markets. This results in further decrease in Rupee Value. 

We have to remember that our country is part of a global market. There is no way we can deny that fact. So as a common man there is certainly one thing which we can do 

It is , to remind ourselves that we are consumers. As an ideal consumer, our job is to choose quality goods. You may not know what proportion of investment in a company is held by investors from abroad. So instead of thinking over what is truly swadesi , we can choose quality goods . Market being a self-correcting institution will be pushed to produce quality goods and if Indian companies are going to produce them , who is going to stop. 

On a parallel note, if any Indian really want to do something, we should start buying fuel efficient cars, motorcycles, Save energy . Because we spend most of our foreign exchange on Energy Imports. Gold imports also eat away so much of our foreign exchange. Sadly no one talks about it.

So the new slogan should be , ' Buy Best and leave the Rest '

By the way , INR hitting 60 to $ is not end of the world for INR has faced much worse devaluations in history. 

Indian Rupee Devaluation : Reasons for the Depreciation of Indian Rupee. by Balaji Viswanathan on Zingfin: The Big Picture

India is screwed, no matter what RBI does on rupee

Chidambaram didn’t start rupee fire, but India is burning because of it

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Inter-Web : 01

With the declining editorial standards in Indian Newspapers and the lack of importance that they give to well written pieces on the issues that could change the world we live in , felt this platform could be a way to curate interesting content across the Web. 

The links shared here would always accompany a small note to have an idea of what to expect from the article. 

So lets start with the first capsule of Inter-Web. 

A Riveting essay by celebrated Historian, William Dalrymple about Afghanistan. Here he throws light on a not-well known paradigm on Afghan issue, that is the proxy war between India and Pakistan. With U.S contemplating upon leaving Afghanistan , he looks at India, Pakistan and Afghanistan as a Deadly Triangle and forwards this conjecture based on real accounts.

People are always intrigued on why there are no pure forms of Capitalist or Socialists governments across the globe. Here is a short talk by Dr. Stephen Hicks on Philosophy and the Evolution of the Mixed Economy .

Here, is a Op-Ed by Noble Laureate Amartya Sen on a much debated topic on why India is trailing China for so long and is there a possibility for India to bypass its limitations.

An article on how Barter system made its comeback in Argentina, when it was hit by an economic crisis in 2001-02. Truly remarkable read for it shows how a society creates alternate financial instruments when an existing system is unreliable or in verge of collapse.

And coming back to the present world, here is one technology that is creating so much buzz. Yes. The 3-D printing .

Liver transplants are very complex and usually the constraint is not the technical ability of the doctor but the availability of donors. What if some one say, "Sir, Your Liver Is Ready and it just got Printed ". Enter the world of 3-D printers which are enabled by some awesome Engineering from a startup called "Organovo" and CAD software from Autodesk to Design, 3-D Print Living Tissue.

Hope you all enjoyed the first capsule of Inter-Web. 

See you on next Inter-Web. 

Looking forward for your views.

A post that am really proud of : Global Economic Crisis

I wrote this on July 19, 2009 after reading a Paul Krugman column in The Hindu . And interestingly this was my first blog post ever. 

It was about how the recession would affect the face of the world that we know of . I had limited understanding of macroeconomics then ( Am still no expert !!! ) , but still was able to capture the currents , thanks to columns of Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman who took it as their task to explain to commoners on what was happening with the world. 

So here is my post :

// In the current scenario of global recession,the most hit is not the banks which wrecked due to their toxic assets,not the hedge funds which played with imaginary assets and certainly not the egoistic,narcissistic Neo-liberals but the workers belonging to the middle-class,all over the world.

"Socializing pains and Privatizing gains",would happen in recessional and post-recessional periods. The carefree spending of countries on bailouts would be dubbed as welfare schemes and common people would bear the brunt of balancing the fiscal deficit due to bailing out fiscally non-compliant MNC's. This would then lead to a vicious circle of lower spending due to high taxes,lay-off's in name of company restructuring and couple that with inherently faulty system of oil futures trading and disastrous energy policy of converting food crops to fuel, which would automatically lead to higher food prices. Here is going to be a generation in developed world where they are going to be worse off than their previous generation. 

Hence this recession would prove to be a breeding ground forultra-nationalism and xenophobic societies which would defeat the whole concept of Globalization itself.

In my view,to tackle recession we need to have better regulated financial systems,time tested financial instruments,highly invasive micro-financial systems to empower people, An independent World Bank and IMF in contrast to their current functioning which is to act as a proxy US financial corporation catering to the needs of US by clinging to ever failing dollar economy and upholding its(US) hegemony in global financial system in the world. 

Thus we need to rethink about the existing monetary policies,redraw contours of global trade and relive the glorious periods of regulated financial systems and better social welfare schemes which increased the real buying power of people across the world and alleviated people from poverty. //

Though I could see that some strong words came from me, it was my reaction to the news which I had seen on newspapers on a daily basis, more of a reactionary outburst you could say. But still am surprised for some projections which I had mentioned is now a reality in Southern Europe.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Stars of You Tube- Burning Star , Simple Super Star and What not : 01

India has always been a nation obsessed with movies. More movies get produced here than any other nation and its known for the sheer diversity of regional language movies that make up Indian Movie Industry.

Historically it has always been Real Estate Barons or political wannabes who enter movie industry for the publicity it gives. But it had always been a costly affair before.

With the emergence of Digital cinematography and digital screening , it has become easier for them to use this opportunity to forward their single minded ambition.

That is to appear on screen. Yes , just that. 

So here are the stars you would never get to watch in real theaters for they seek to remain Stars of You Tube. 

Here comes our Master Class Simple Superstar Wilbur Sarguna Raj and Dancing King Sam Anderson .

From the Bad lands of Andhra , here comes Burning Super Star, Sampoornesh Babu.
A Man who has given us a very forgettable movie , Desh Drohi ( Traitor of the State ). A man who has named himself as KRK after super popular King Khan, Shah Rukh Khan. 
Once a part of Mainstream Cinema now transformed himself as the man of Action, Village Superstar , Mr. Ramarajan
And how can we end the list of wacky Super Stars, without quoting Our Power Star.
Going by the movie releases happening, am sure this list is here to continue.

Look for more wacky videos in this space.
Cheers !!!!