Monday, July 24, 2006

Faith and growth

Are some religions friendlier to economic growth than others? Do religions influence our economic thoughts and attitudes? Is there a relationship between tolerance of immigrants and religion? Did you think these questions are a waste of time? So did I, until I read People’s Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes, a paper by three economists, Luigi Guiso, Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales.

Opinion in The Indian Express, July 24, 2006

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Markets react to bottomlines, not headlines

Terrorism and markets make for the strangest of partners, simultaneously in and out of sync with one another. The stock market has its own paradigm (making profits over time), its own logic (buying low, selling high), its own reasons (economic, sectoral, firm level growth). So does the Terror industry—paradigm (create fear over time), logic (fear creates uncertainty in the minds and monies of governments), reason (if I have might and money, who can stop me from reaching my goals?). But try and spot a trend between them or seek a mutual interdependence and your trend lines will mirror INSAT-4C’s flight path.

Opinion in The Indian Express, July 12, 2006

Friday, July 7, 2006

Dharma of money

What is harder --- to create wealth or to give it away? The desire for wealth is really a desire to get into the flow of what Sri Aurobindo defined as the Money Force. Quite like how wind and water are harnessed to create electricity, channelling the Money Force is to turn an intangible, unseen, abstract power, an idea, into matter through the purchase and acquisition of things and availing oneself of services. Just as converting one form of energy takes some doing, earning money is not easy --- we spend the first two decades of our lives studying to get an entry into the money club, the next four decades earning it to finance the last two decades. We fight to get admission into colleges, careers, jobs. Turn into rats. Leaving our little wants and desires and joys and delights by the wayside.

How can we give this away?

Opinion in The Indian Express

Monday, July 3, 2006

Call this divinity?

To speak with even an iota of conviction that Lord Ayyappa’s temple, Sabarimala, has lost some of its divinity because a woman entered its premises and touched the feet of the idol is reflective either of the speaker’s religious arrogance or his self-delusion. In the former case, he has to be shown the earthly, undivine slime he stands in; in the latter, with compassion, he needs to be introduced to a psychiatrist. For, if indeed this man is able to distinguish divinity from non-divinity, he is himself worthy of being worshipped --- only a person who has undergone the great transformation from man to God can dare to comment and tell us lesser beings what is divine and what’s not. Which, again, is granting far too many concessions.

Opinion in The Indian Express, July 03, 2006