Bull Crossing

Knowledge is Bliss

found my banyan

Posted by g.e. on April 11, 2009

Economist on the launch of Banyan, its new column on Asian Affairs, says:

The last powerful intellectual push for pan-Asianism was promoted nearly a century ago by Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali Nobel laureate. He was rapturously received on tours in China and Japan, where he urged people to counter Western imperial might and material with sacrifice and an Asian spiritualism.

The suspicion lingers that Asia is a Western construct. Yet the search for an Asian identity is growing. It forms the backdrop to the annual East Asia Summit, held this year in Thailand from April 10th, grouping the ten South-East Asian countries with not just their partners in China, Japan and South Korea but India, Australia and New Zealand as well. The powerful impulse for co-operation is materialism based on rapid economic development: the antithesis of Tagore’s invocation. Japan raced down this path to prosperity 150 years ago. At the turn of this century, it looked as though China would have the field pretty much to itself, having brought 250m out of poverty since its autarky ended in 1978. But India was also throwing off many self-imposed shackles, and has since thrust itself forward.

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An american nightmare

Posted by g.e. on April 7, 2009

Saw this nice art on pak from NYT. I think India should ask for some of these drones.
The lack of trust was evident, military analysts said, in the American refusal to consider a request from the Pakistani military that it operate the remotely piloted aircraft the C.I.A. has been using to hit the militants in the tribal areas.

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Flatman hears a who

Posted by g.e. on March 15, 2009

Flatman in his quest for an exciting, enlightening India hears a who from India’s dreamers of climate change

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wish i can tell you more about kosmix

Posted by g.e. on March 15, 2009

Very nice review of kosmix.com from NYT here. While i was all this time thinking the next* big hit – on the lines of hotmail, junglee, zoho – is going to come from Mr Munjal.

I like the timing of all this, just as google had started at the close of dot-com excesses, kosmix being rolled out as the world start descending on the road to perdition for its housing excesses.

Wish they had a better name but. Didn’t think twitter was a good name too, until people started tweeting and re-tweeting. so lets see.

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the other jihad

Posted by g.e. on March 10, 2009

Or how to find enemies and influence people

Bloomberg quoting Buffet:
Americans are fearful, confused and changing their buying habits, which is showing up at Berkshire’s operating units, Buffett said during an appearance on the CNBC television network today. U.S. stocks fell after Buffett’s comments, following the worst weekly slump in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since November.

I really hope people get it right this time. Before, it was about terrorism. And the whole world knows how that was ‘fixed’.

Other gems from the BB art:
Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing and mentor of Buffett, would find most U.S. stocks expensive even after the S&P 500 dropped 56 percent in 17 months. Graham measured equities against a decade of profits to smooth out distortions, a method that shows the S&P 500 trading at 13.2 times earnings, according to data compiled by Yale University Professor Robert Shiller. At the bottom of the three worst recessions since 1929, the average ratio fell below 10. To reach that level, the S&P 500 would sink another 27 percent.

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The Maximum City in deep sleep

Posted by g.e. on November 30, 2008

The most sickening  – i know, it was difficult to choose this over the others* – i have read so far on the Bombay Blasts:
But the best answer to the terrorists is to dream bigger, make even more money, and visit Mumbai more than ever. Dream of making a good home for all Mumbaikars, not just the denizens of $500-a-night hotel rooms. Dream not just of Bollywood stars like Aishwarya Rai or Shah Rukh Khan, but of clean running water, humane mass transit, better toilets, a responsive government. Make a killing not in God’s name but in the stock market, and then turn up the forbidden music and dance; work hard and party harder.

Above, From what Suketu Mehta wrote on NYT. I wonder what will wake up Mr Mehta from his dream. Maybe if he had lost his brother or son, he would be wide awake now.

Or maybe should just ask Adani how not-to-still-think with-ass.
The attitude of tolerance will cost the country heavily and can severely affect trade, commerce and economic development. These acts have a direct implication on financial health of the country as investors lose faith. 
The mayhem, I feel, wasn’t limited to only Mumbai. It is probably the last and final wake up call. We need to start working on an appropriate strategy. For centuries we have been taught about virtues of non-violence, and they have proved their effectiveness in the past, specifically our independent movement. However, one thing we have overlooked is that the opponents in that case were highly civilised and law abiding. 
The socio-political situation during the past two centuries was entirely different. Religion-ignited fanaticism was minimal. Even if there was any, it was limited to a small geographical area. In today’s era of religious fanaticism and uncivilised terrorism, we need to reorient our thinking and chalk out strategies to combat modern age terrorism. We need to learn and adopt strategies developed by others across the world, who are fighting with the similar opponents. 
Many a times discontentment and violence is born because of inequality coupled with delayed justice. We need to strengthen the judicial system, so that citizens do not take law in their hand and opt for violence. 

*The other competing ones, btw, were:

  • “It’s ironic that we did have such a warning, and we did have some measures,” Tata said, without elaborating on the warning or when security measures were enacted. “People couldn’t park their cars in the portico, where you had to go through a metal detector.” Ratan Tata, CNN Interview
  • I think one of the misconceptions we’re seeing so far is the assumption that these attacks were aimed primarily at foreigners. Look at their targets. The two hotels they attackedthe Taj and the Oberoiare old, iconic Indian hotels. It used to be true that these places were affordable only by Westerners. But this is no longer true, and it’s one of the big changes over the last ten years in India. The five-star hotels today are filled with Indians. Businessmen, wedding receptions, parties…these are real meeting places now, and even those who cannot afford to stay there often pass through the lobby. Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek, without telling who made these assumptions.
  • Small incidents like this do happen, says Maharashtra home minister, from ToI reports. But i suppose since he got elected we actually deserve this.

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The Mittals story

Posted by g.e. on April 20, 2008

A nice review of Cold Steel from FT.com:
Europe’s identity has been partly forged in the crucible of steel. In 1951 six nations founded the European Coal and Steel Community to pool their industrial resources and proclaim a new era of international co-operation after decades of war.

Over the next half century, this economic community developed into the European Union and several of the continent’s steel firms merged to form the world’s most technologically advanced steel group, Arcelor. With its consensual style of management and labour relations, the Luxembourg-based company appeared a model of European industrial strength, scientific prowess and social market democracy.

But in 2006 this cosy stakeholder capitalism was shattered when Lakshmi Mittal, a swashbuckling steel magnate from India, launched a massive hostile takeover bid. Here was a bold entrepreneur from the emerging sub-continent taking a tilt at one of Europe’s most established companies. It was, the authors of Cold Steel contend, the takeover that defined an era.

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Happiness 2.0

Posted by g.e. on February 9, 2008

On the backdrop of Maharishi‘s death, BW has a slideshow on the stars of India’s Happiness Industry today.

Hope the homegrown yogis do good as well as they do well.

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A STAR is born

Posted by g.e. on January 10, 2008

Truly a landmark event for the automotive world. Barely a decade into the free-enterprise mode, Tata has unveiled a game changing product called Nano. And looks like this is going to get an awful better.

The next time people say look at Apple they are the model of innovation blah blah blah, we can say “dude, these guys invented the friggin Nano. Have you heard of it”. 

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Tata on Tata

Posted by g.e. on January 4, 2008

A little surprised that Tata is going to retire soon after his People Car. 
From FT’s Faces of Enterprise: Tata’s small car, which the Cornell-trained architect helped design, is slated to appear at the Delhi Auto Show on January 10. It will sell for Rs100,000 ($2,550, €1,730, £1,275) – a rupee figure known in India as one lakh – and bring motoring to a mass market. With a new plant in West Bengal able to make 250,000 a year, the “one-lakh car” will more than double Tata’s car capacity. “Mr Tata encourages us to take big, calculated risks,” says Ravi Kant, Tata Motors’ managing director. 

On concerns that his People’s Car will add to carbon footprint: “We’re producing a car that will be no more polluting than a motorcycle,” he says. “As we’re not going to produce millions and millions of them, inundating the country, we will not be adding to the carbon footprint on a per-passenger basis.”“The only reason we didn’t make the one-lakh car a hybrid, for example, is that it could not have been priced at one lakh,” Mr Tata says.Snubs have tended to spur the Tatas to greatness. When Jamsetji Tata, the group’s founder, proposed making steel girders for the Indian railways in 1907, Sir Frederick Upcott, a colonial administrator, famously offered to eat every rail it made. A hundred years later, with Tata snapping up the remains of the British steel industry, westerners scoff at their peril, risking the wrath of a government and business community that sees the group, two-thirds of whose shares are held by charitable trusts, as a role model for corporate India.  

While there, don’t miss this beautiful piece on 1lac rupee car and inclusiveness by ET’s Tarun Das:
The criticism that it is not feasible — which was the first reaction — is now put to rest. No one talks about this anymore. The car has been designed, is ready and will be on public display in January at Auto Expo in Delhi. So, it is a physical reality and others are now striving to make small low-cost cars according to a variety of announcements from time to time. This is a positive trend and all to the good. Tatas are clearly first off-the-block but competition is being promised and the consumer will be the beneficiary and the winner. 

The other concern expressed relates to the environment. This is the most surprising criticism because no one is urging, for a moment, that car manufacture be stopped or curtailed because of environment concerns. And big cars, which are relatively bigger gas guzzlers, are not being attacked. A new small, low-cost car, which is likely to be relatively more fuel efficient is being questioned and commented upon in connection with the environment. Is there more to this than meets the eye? How can anyone criticise the small car and not the big car or cars as a whole? Additionally, why not question anything on wheels which consumes petrol or diesel?

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