Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is knowledge stealing our silent moments?

As knowledge rips away the sense of marvel from one delightful phenomenon after another, I wonder if we (you my readers and I your blogger) are condemned to an existence that’s as exciting as quadratic equations, chemical reactions and a series of numbers that we can’t even begin to imagine, leave alone comprehend.

Fire is not something that powers romantic fantasies; it is a process of rapid oxidation, usually with the evolution of heat and light. Space is not something you, in your quieter moments of solitude, reach out to for lessons in humility; it is a boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction.

Somehow, somewhere, scientists and researchers across time and space have decoded and deciphered almost everything about our amazing world. And still, according to many, we barely see the tip of the knowledge iceberg.

Blog on Cutting the Edge

Friday, January 30, 2009

Insightful, gripping…and deliciously skewed

Its uniqueness comes from what its authors represent. Known to be highly opinionated market fundamentalists whose answer to everything is to bring in economic reforms and let the markets do their magic, Ajay Shah and Susan Thomas have brought out — with Michael Gorham as their co-author — what I see as the most unique look at India’s financial markets. You may quarrel with the approach, the slant from where India’s Financial Markets: An Insider’s Guide to How the Markets Work has been written, but no student of economic policy will be able to put this book down without finishing it — it is fresh, it is well written, it is insightful, gripping. Most important, it helps contextualise events and actions and is written at a time when the tribe of liberals is shrinking, the intellectual atmosphere is turning anti-reforms and the people who are supposed to be benefiting from them are having mixed (economy) feelings.

Blog on Cutting the Edge

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How long; how deep?

The two questions almost everyone has been asking me since October 2008: how long; how deep? That is, for how long will the ongoing global meltdown continue; and how bad will it get? In other words, when will this insecurity over our jobs, our income streams, our businesses, our investments end; and how much lower will asset prices of properties and stocks fall?

I wish I knew.

Blog on Cutting the Edge

Cutting the edge

How did the Hong Kong market move this morning?
Is Bank of England going to cut interest rates?
Will GM get the bailout package in the US?
Should India seek a peace dividend by investing in Sudan?
What does the slowing down of China mean for India?
Can Chindia drive the world economic growth in 2009?
Will the coming together of G-20 nations resolve the meltdown?
Was Alan Greenspan wrong?
Is John Maynard Keynes really back?
Is nationalisation the new currency of economic growth?

The 10 questions above are those that until September 2008 only scholars asked or were interested in. September 15, 2008, when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, exposed the bankruptcy of ideas, actions and intent among the world’s largest financial institutions, and led to a global meltdown that is increasingly being compared with the Great Depression of the 1930s. And as a result, these are questions that lay people across the world are discussing in their bedrooms.

on Cutting the Edge

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009: Towards a sweet spot between fear and greed

Gautam Chikermane
New Delhi, January 01, 2009

From high inflation and tanking markets to seesawing oil prices and growing layoffs, 2008 proved to be a year of great learning for most of us. Overnight, terms that only the financial suits used in boardrooms or over trading terminals — sub-prime, decoupling, Lehman Brothers — came into our bedrooms, threatening our economic foundations. We learnt who the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor was and why he is an important man. We met and cursed former Fed chief Alan Greenspan for lowering US interest rates. On the tickers, suddenly company performances were given the go by and the Sensex shivered to the tune of markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, New York.

Opinion in Hindustan Times