Archive for March 15th, 2016

Why IITs were influenced by MIT model?

March 15, 2016

It is amazing to see what all inquiries people make. Prof Ross Bassett of North Carolina State University has studied  every Indian graduating  from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology between its founding and 2000—charts their ascent to the pinnacle of high-tech professions. The book is here.

In his recent interview he notices an MIT touch in most Indian things:

When American engineer turned-historian Ross Bassett visits India, he sees connections to the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)everywhere -buildings like Kanchenjunga and Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, in companies like TCS and Datamatics, and even in everyday brands like Bisleri. All of these were created with the involvement of MIT alumni.

Bassett, an associate professor of history at North Carolina State University, has spent the past 13 years looking at some of the 850 Indians who studied engineering -including 305 doctorates -at MIT over a century. Bassett traces their stories in his new book, The Technological Indian.

His study throws up some nuggets: the first Indian went to MIT as far back as 1882; most Indians who went before Independence were from Mumbai, Pune and Gujarat; and a number of industrial families as well as government officials sent their sons to MIT in the mid-20th century in a break from humanities focused Oxbridge. Bassett spoke to Vaishnavi Chandrashek the influence of American technical education

What is more interesting is to ask why IITs were influenced by MIT? In terms of politics and education we followed British model and in economics we had copied things from Russia. Why US for IITs then?


Why students are attracted to Socialism and give capitalism an F?

March 15, 2016

This is so true across campuses. As students most get attracted to the ideals of socialism and breathe by it. However, post college and getting into a job/business, we move towards capitalism and breathe by it. Though few friends say they have moved from Capitalism to Socialism seeing the ruthless corporate world.

BK Marcus reflects on this phenomenon of students giving capitalism an F:


An economics lab where theories go to die

March 15, 2016

The lab is Japan and Noah Smith has an article on it. There is a suggestion to launch fourth arrow-  raise wages.

The main thing you have to understand about macroeconomic theory — both of the type used by academics and the type employed by private-sector forecasters — is that it doesn’t really work. Events are constantly taking macro people by surprise, counterexamples to pet theories are a dime a dozen, and the rare theory that can be tested against available data is usually rejected outright. In macroeconomics, your choice of model is usually between “awful” and “very slightly less awful.”

Most macroeconomic theories can be easily tested: all we have to do is take a look at Japan. Japan has a number of unusual traits that make it a very good proving ground for macro models, including a shrinking population, inefficient labor markets, an economy out of sync with the rest of the world and a government willing to engage in dramatic economic experiments. Once we start examining theories used to explain the U.S. economy, and apply them to Japan, we find that these theories usually fail. 

He points to 4 econ ideas which have failed:


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