Thursday, 21 April 2016

Of News and Other Stuff-12

  • Maharashtra is trying to enact a law to ban social boycott of individuals by caste panchayats. Apparently they have previously banned superstition. I am hardly a libertarian, but how are they going to implement this law? Or is that precisely why they are passed? No headache of implementation, with all the positive press.
  • Pratap Bhanu Mehta, when willing himself to be comprehensible, is brilliant (yes, I used that word). Here he defends judicial over-reach calling it the ‘jurisprudence of exasperation’. 
  • Economic theory, as you know it,may soon be extinct. At least that’s what I am telling the well-meaning relatives/ family friends who insist I do a PhD.
  • The problem with being a social science student (and economics at that) is that you assume the worst about people. When I heard about the Yellow Sea to the east of China, my first reaction was to assume that this was an act of racism by the British. Turns out, the sea actually looks yellow (in colour) due to its sand and silt deposition.
  • I think I have regressed as a writer. I was reading an answer I wrote in college on the variance in regional experience of human development in India. If I had to describe it in one word, I would call it ‘strident’. Somehow I can never command that much feeling in anything I write now, leave alone an examination answer (not saying it was a good answer-it wasn’t).
  • Krugman calls himself an SOB. Student of Bhagwati.
  • Have you ever wondered why leftists refer to MNCs as ‘transnational corporations’? Bhagwati explains:
My favourite example [of the importance of the use of suitable phraseology] from economics is the business schools’ preferred use of the word “multinationals, nudging your subconscious in the direction of multilateralism and hence evoking the image of a benign institution, and the radicals’ insistence on calling these international corporations “transnationals”, strongly suggesting transgression.
  • Hence Bhagwati does not refer to growth-led poverty alleviation as ‘trickle-down’ but as the strategy of ‘pulling up’ the poor.
  • If you read some of Bhagwati’s older scholarly writings (and not his invective filled newspaper columns), it is remarkable how his position sounds so much like Sen’s. Before the 2014 general elections, when the two were having a public spat on the right strategy of poverty alleviation (nerds!), neutral commenters, called it a question of sequencing-i.e. what should come first-growth or redistribution. But Bhagwati is not even that radical (or conservative, depending on your world-view). He insists that growth is the principal instrument of poverty alleviation (as opposed to Sen who says it is important, but not adequate in itself), but also that there need to be institutions to ensure that growth have a pro-poor bias.
  • May be I just want the two old men to get along.

1 comment:

  1. hahaa..but just wondering why do you want the two get along?!