Friday, 12 February 2016

Of News and Other Stuff-22*

  • Economics reporting in India (at least in the generalist newspapers) is quite poor. I am not still talking about the lack of op-eds here. I am talking about vanilla reporting. For example the Indian Express and the Hindu both reported that Raghuram Rajan expressed skepticism about the new GDP series. What he said was, that if two mothers baby sit each others' kids, and pay each other, their wage gets added to the GDP. If they cared for their respective kids, the same activity would not be considered as a 'market good' and would be excluded from the GDP numbers. This is, quite obviously, a problem with the concept of GDP calculation itself, not a criticism of a particular methodology to get there. Similarly, Rajan has reportedly said that having a state backed Asset Recovery Company would cause moral hazard. The Indian Express in its edit on 2 Feb, explains this as the unfairness of taxpayers taking the hit for corporate wrongdoing and lack of banking sector due diligence. But more precisely, moral hazard is the situation where the corporate/ banking sector, expecting to be bailed out when in trouble, does not take adequate action to avert the trouble.
  • KN Raj was 26 years old when he co-authored the first Five Year Plan. How does that make you feel, you bunch of millenials?
  • I am generally quite proud of the lack of extreme religiosity in my family, and most of the Bengali community I know. But even I am uncomfortable about how my mom's philosophy of performing Saraswati Puja is to wing it. 
  • Amartya Sen is an almost disappointing public speaker. But maybe I would be really disinterested too if my all-adult audience did not know that it was polite to keep their phones on silent during lectures. [I also want to snark about the not-too bright person who introduced him, but since I don't even know his name, I will leave him alone]. 
  • You could be a Bharat Ratna and a Nobel laureate, the writer of multiple books, and really, really smart, but you will still fail in the Bengali popularity sweepstakes to Sourav Ganguly and Subhas Bose. Because you and your Bengali wife got a divorce and then you moved on. 
  • No I did not forget to mention Tagore. Just that nobody beats Gurudev at anything. (Incidentally Tagore christened Sen).
  • Did you know there many Bengalis keep a photo of Tagore hanging on the wall? Like the Gandhi picture in government offices. I think I spotted in Piku's sets as well, though I am not completely certain.
*Because I figured you are not keeping track of the post numbers anyway.

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