Archive for November 26th, 2007

The world’s worst airports

November 26, 2007

I just got this update from Foreign Policy listing the world’s 5 worst airports. As the link was just opening, I was actually wondering whether we have any of India’s airports in the list?

I was not disappointed as Delhi’s international airport (Indira Gandhi International Airport) features in the list. I cannot comment on the authenticity of the list but still to be in worst five is quite a thing. I keep hearing about the problems on airports and flights from colleagues, news channels etc. but never thought it to be so bad.

Both Delhi and Mumbai airports are partly privatized and Delhi airport is being revamped by a consortium led by GMR, a Hyderabad based infrastructure company. I hope we see some major improvements in years to come.

Pakistan’s leadership woes

November 26, 2007

I don’t like to comment on politics as I never really understand it. On watching Pakistan’s former Prime Minister- Nawaz Sharif return amidst much fanfare yesterday, I was slightly perplexed.

Most political commentators have said that Musharraf’s regime was not wanted, he was a dictator, ran the government as per US wishes etc. Empirical research still does not agree to whether democracy matters for growth or not (see this excellent debate). But still there is a broad consensus that democracy matters for the general well-being.

Democracy has been a problem for Pakistan for ages now. All they have is two leaders to choose from- Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Both had numerous corruption charges against them and still kept making a comeback and have made one again now.

I don’t know whether their return would help at all. Knowing the politicians once they are elected, they would be busy just making charges against the opponent and trying to absolve themselves of all charges made against them. And then the next one comes and the circle goes on.

This brings me to the  main question and what made me write this post- How can Pakistan be made a better democracy? Would Raghuram Rajan’s solution help?

Let a foreigner (a trained bureaucrat) run the country alongwith his team for a while till he cleans the system and warlords are not as powerful.

I don’t really know. I am not aware of any country where this has been tried. It could be tried though may be with some changes. 

Another thing is why do people keep electing these tried leaders? Would Lant Pritchett’s idea of letting people from developing world migrate to developed help? This way they can earn their livelihood and also learn how democracies actually work. They can then go back and help their countries do better.

Again, all these are questions. I don’t know what the right answer is. If you (the reader) have some ideas do let me know.

Assorted Links

November 26, 2007

1. Ajay Shah points to a piece  from Michael Lewis (the Liar Poker guy).

2. MR points to 8 reasons to be optimistic about today’s economy

3. WSJ Blog making sense of falling dollar.

4. Mankiw points to a Larry Summers’ article who says odds favor a US recession.

5. Econbrowser onwhy economists blog and on relationship between oil and dollar

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