Archive for August 3rd, 2012

Ethical Excellence in Vikram and Vetaal Stories…

August 3, 2012

This paper might make sense mostly to the Indian audience and within Indians, those who are versed with Vikram Vetaal tales.

The paper  is written by Vasanthi Srinivasan of Univ of Hyderabad. She questions the ethical reasoning shown by King Vikramaditya while giving his verdict at the end of each story:


August 3, 2012

The Giant’s 100th birthday was on 31 Jul 2012.

Some interesting links on the occasion:


In Project Syndicate Milton Friedman at 100, there is an article by Friedman on creation of Euro. This was written on  28-Aug-97. It says:


Horses and the first 1%

August 3, 2012

A super write up on horses by   (HT:

The association between horses and wealth was forged millennia ago. In fact, the first people known to celebrate hierarchies of power, whose inequalities of wealth were integral to their society and culture—the people you could call the first 1 percent—were the first people to ride horses.

Horse domestication occurred before written history and left few clear archaeological remains. Based on Sumerian seals with the earliest known depictions of people on horseback, riding has traditionally been dated to the Bronze Age, around 2000 B.C., in Mesopotamia.

Read the piece for further details..

Mitt Romney should do more homework on economics…

August 3, 2012

There has been super  fireworks following  Romney’s remarks in recent Israel visit.

He gave reasons why Israel has developed and Palestine has not:

I was thinking this morning as I prepared to come into this room of a discussion I had across the country in the United States about my perceptions about differences between countries. And as you come here and you see the GDP per capita for instance in Israel which is about 21,000 dollars and you compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority which is more like 10,000 dollars per capita you notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality. And that is also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States.

He cites culture as one of the main reason for development.

Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things. 

He also cites work of Jared Diamond and Steven Landes as well. Read the post for more details.

This has led to some interesting discussion:

  • Acemoglu/Robinson on Why Nations fail blog react saying culture is not the reason. They of course list the importance of education and institutions for Israel’s development. For Palestine they are not sure.

Jared Diamond clarifies that Romney got his book/research wrong. And even Landes’s book. He stresses on the importance of geography in development (which Acemoglu does not agree to). And within geog, you have many factors –  latitude, access to sea, agriculture.

Though I do not agree to Diamond’s comments on India:

What does this mean for Americans? Can we assume that the United States, blessed with temperate location and seacoasts and navigable rivers, will remain rich forever, while tropical or landlocked countries are doomed to eternal poverty?

Of course not. Some tropical and subtropical countries have become richer despite geographic limitations. They’ve invested in public health to overcome their disease burdens (Botswana and the Philippines). They’ve invested in crops adapted to the tropics (Brazil and Malaysia). They’ve focused their economies on sectors other than agriculture (Singapore and Taiwan).

Conversely, geographic advantages don’t guarantee permanent success, as the growing difficulties in Europe and America show. We Americans fail to provide superior education and economic incentives to much of our population. India, China and other countries that have not been world leaders are investing heavily in education, technology and infrastructure. They’re offering economic opportunities to more and more of their citizens. That’s part of the reason jobs are moving overseas. Our geography won’t keep us rich and powerful if we can’t get a good education, can’t afford health care and can’t count on our hard work’s being rewarded by good jobs and rising incomes.

Not sure where that analysis on India came from.

Krugman reacts to his Poland visit remarks.

Here is a recent report on job creation from Romney’s econ advisers. The advisers are all top names — Glenn Hubbard of Columbia University’s , Greg Mankiw of Harvard University,  John Taylor of  Stanford University and Kevin Hassett, of the American Enterprise Institute. They should be offering to write statements as well for Romney.

Whatever the criticism, many things to learn and debate from all this discussion. Keep them coming Gov. Romney!! 🙂


Impact of the crisis on Lawns

August 3, 2012

A nice post by WSJ econ blog.

The lawn-services business was effected during the crisis. It is showing some mixed signs of recovery..

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