Archive for January 15th, 2018

Does media shape people’s views or merely represents them?

January 15, 2018

Hajrah Mumtaz has a piece on Pakistan TV shows. It applies to most countries.

THE people of this country love watching television. In a population of some 200 million people, according to official estimates some 65 per cent of people, women and men in comparable numbers, watch drama channels (as delineated from those dealing with news and current affairs).

The media can hold a mirror up to society, showing a society what it is, or it can show a society what it can and should aspire to be. This is an old debate amongst media circles, a question of interpretation and sometimes even professional/ philosophical ideology to which there is no definite or ‘correct’ answer.

Rote education has played its role:



When a journal on “Rebuilding Macroeconomic Theory” has papers only from mainstream…

January 15, 2018

Prof Steve Keen writes on this special issue of Oxford Review of Economic Policy: Rebuilding macroeconomic theory.

His is a typical Australian response if one may call it that:


When banks mentioned paid-up capital on their notes…Canada edition

January 15, 2018

JP Koning keeps coming up with some amazing insights.

His recent tweet has this picture of an old Bank of Montreal note (when banks issued their own notes). Note the size of the note. He also points how the banks mentioned their paid up capital on the note to signal their financial health:

To this, Stephen Williamson clarified:

Replying to 
It’s not so much advertising financial health, as advertising how much the shareholders are on the hook for. There was double liability, so if there is $12 million in paid up capital, that’s an extra $12 million that can pay off the noteholders if the bank goes under.
This double liability clause started in Canada in 1871.  Not sure whether this was used in other countries as well. In India, banks could print their own notes only till 1861 after which unified currency circulated in British India. There were some princely states like Hyderabad but again it was a State currency not requiring printing of paid-up capital on the notes.
So much one can learn by just noting the changes in design and writing on currency notes..Thanks again JP!

Central banks should also be judged by their quality of research/work….(Why central banks do not blog?)

January 15, 2018

Nice article which says we should move beyond just talk of institutions being independent. Rather institutions should be assessed on the quality of their work.

In our contemporary lexicon ‘independence’ – for instance of a government body – is usually a Good Thing.

But if we’re thinking of independence as a good thing for an agency to have – for instance, the Productivity Commission (PC) – it’s not sufficient. It also needs to be used by the agency, and the agency must be worthy of it by virtue of the quality of its work. The odd thing is that so many such agencies have such a strong flavour of bureaucracy about them. There’s the same cultural emphasis on what I call being a sound chap. I’ve come to think that this is a kind of natural product of groups. They are … well … groupish.

They acquire the same kinds of social dynamics you notice at high school when nearly everyone wants to be one of the cool kids. But in government there’s an institutional basis to this also. Even if they have their own act, even if their independence is prized in our public culture, most government statutory agencies are tethered to the career public service. Their officers enjoy the privileges of the Commonwealth public service career structure. So we should not be so surprised that those in such independent agencies think like bureaucrats. And there are few things more important to bureaucrats than appearing to be in control. To be thought of as sound chaps.
The institutions need to move beyond their comfort zone. In this the author differentiates between central banks of Australia and England:


Sandeep Sekhri: The Indian vegetarian who makes millions selling steaks in Hong Kong

January 15, 2018

Interesting profile of Mr Sandeep Sekhri whose food company Dining Concepts, has become synonymous with HK’s dining scene.

Sandeep Sekhri likes to defy the odds. Maybe that is why he is such a fan of Rafael Nadal, who, as an unheralded teen tennis player from Spain, shocked the world by winning the 2005 French Open title. Sekhri doesn’t even play tennis, but he still goes to the Roland-Garros tournament every year.

It might also explain how the Indian immigrant to Hong Kong, a vegetarian for three decades, could sit atop a restaurant business that includes several popular steakhouses.

Sekhri owns 28 high-end restaurants and bars across his adopted home, where he and his company, Dining Concepts, have become synonymous with the city’s dining scene.

Four out of five top private banks are majority owned foreigners, benefiting foreign savers….

January 15, 2018

It is interesting to read this interview of Uday Kotak which is saying many things.

He says we have allowed high foreign ownership in Indian companies and banks too quickly. Well globalisation runs both ways. We celebrate any small victory when Indians buy companies abroad. Same applies in case of our companies too. This is an interesting variety of protectionism, if one can call it that.


The role of trade and information technology in the decline of merchant guilds

January 15, 2018

Fascinating piece by Prateek Raj.

He says merchant guilds declined as those outside the guild started to trade. The key to this shift was printing technology which shared information about players:


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