Archive for June 27th, 2017

When Bombay overtook Calcutta: A history of India’s financial geography

June 27, 2017

How could I have missed this one.

My article on Bombay vs Calcutta appeared on Mint’s Sunday edition. It was partly based on my two previous posts – one and two). Though the Mint edition is far more colorful and is crisper.

Thanks a lot to Mint Sunday team for taking this forward in their paper…

Why are some immigrant groups more successful than others?

June 27, 2017

Prof Edward Glaesar’s new paper says the differences are largely due to number of immigrants and population of home country:


Monetary policy provides no answer for a chronic deficiency of aggregate demand: Yet another lesson from Japan…

June 27, 2017

From Stephen Roach:


The tree of knowledge is not an apple or an oak but a banyan..

June 27, 2017

Superb essay by Jonardan Ganeri who is a philosopher and won the Infosys Prize in the Humanities in 2015.

He says European societies view knowledge as a core-periphery system which has a strong trunk and then branches. What is instead needed is a Banyan system where there are multiple roots which sustain the strong core:


The Parsi community launches a massive project to grow Babul trees

June 27, 2017

Had no idea about this. Parsis in their fire temples use wood from babul trees as the wood lasts longer. The prices of the babul wood has zoomed in recent years leading to some action from the community entrepreneurs:

There are about 100 Zoroastrian agiaries (fire temples) all over India — 40 of them in Mumbai — in which the holy fire never stops burning. Parsi Zoroastrians make offerings of fragrant sandalwood to keep the flame alive, but the bulk of the fuel comes from basic wood (kathi) from the Bawal tree (Acacia arabica, also known as the Babul), which is slow-burning and perfect for a sustained flame.

That slow-burning quality, however, makes Bawal wood attractive to others — for instance, bakeries which use wood-fired ovens — says Noshirwan Mistry, an agriculture expert. Consequently, prices have risen nearly five-fold over the last decade.

Concerned about the increasing cost, and the possibility of supply falling short or even running out, some religious Parsis have been working on ways to solve the problem.

 An anjuman (a Parsi community organisation) in Vyara, Gujarat, began planting Bawals on community land. Now, a Mumbai-based group has come forward to make the movement bigger. Burjor Antia, an advocate and a former trustee of the Bombay Parsi Panchayat, Mr. Mistry and a few others have formed a public charitable trust, Amardad Kathi Trust, for a drive across States.

Once the project takes off, the trust plans to expand to other States where the community owns land.

It takes 10-12 years for a desi Bawal to mature into a usable tree.

 Hmm..Always nice to know about these basic facts.


Inflation targeting in democratic India…

June 27, 2017

As one was reading this piece by Anantha Nageshwaran, came across this interview by Dr YV Reddy. Both in their own way suggest a need to rethink the new regime of MPC driven inflation targeting in India.

Anantha is more severe with his criticism of both the framework and the media’s recent take on RBI-FinMin rift:


50 years of ATM: Will cash be history?

June 27, 2017

In this speech by Bank of England chief cashier, she highlights how on 27 June 2017 we are celebrating 50th birthday of ATM.

In another piece, Bhaskar Chakravorti of Tufts University pays tribute to the ATM which is seen as the most important financial innovation by likes of Paul Volcker.  He is also part of this country studies on cash usage which look like a good read.In the process, he asks and answers the big question facing all of us: will cash die? Not so fast:


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