Archive for February 22nd, 2019

Post LIBOR world in India: How RBI is trying to reform the financial benchmarks

February 22, 2019

My new opinion piece in Moneycontrol.

I argue how RBI is bringing changes for a post-LIBOR world. This is clearly part of the ongoing silent changes in the Indian financial markets. RBI has also been quite alert to these developments which needs to be appreciated.

One could read this research note for the transition in US and this speech for transition in UK.


Why RBI MPC took off its helmet and stepped out of the crease

February 22, 2019

Nice piece by Aparna Iyer of Mint on the MPC minutes of Feb-19 meeting.

What made an inflation-worried monetary policy committee (MPC) turn into a growth benefactor in under two months?

The minutes of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) latest MPC meeting shows that the collapse of food inflation was not the only reason. Recall that the rate cut decision got four votes, with two dissenting voices, at the meeting earlier this month. A big surprise was that long-standing hawk Michael Patra voted for a cut.

All members agreed that food inflation will remain benign for the next 12 months, even though they expected prices of vegetables to bounce back, showed the MPC minutes. But what spooked everyone was the threat of a global growth slowdown, and the probability of it adversely affecting the Indian economy, through the trade and investment channel.

In particular the chart of different MPC member voting since Oct-2016 is really nice.


How Johns Hopkins Univ put American higher education on the path to world domination…

February 22, 2019

Researchers of business and organisation history look at all kinds of cases. Seldom do we look at places where these research ideas are actually written which is universities and institutions.

In this fascinating piece, Karl Rhodes documents history of John Hopkins University. In particular the story of Daniel Gilman who not just shaped the university but his ideas were adopted by other universities. America owes a lot to Gilman as his model helped American universities become the envy of the world.


In 1872, Daniel Gilman, president of the University of California, Berkeley, articulated his vision of what a university should be. During his inaugural address, he argued that the mission of a university should be “to advance the arts and sciences of every sort and to train young men as scholars for all the intellectual callings of life.”

Gilman further stated that universities should elevate scientific research to the same level as the study of language, history, literature, and art. “Give us more and not less science,” he demanded.  Encourage the most thorough and prolonged search for the truth which is to be found in the rocks, the sea, the soil, the air, the sun, and the stars; in light and heat, and magnetic forces; in plants and animals, and in the human frame.”

Such ideas were radical in 1872, a time when most American colleges still focused on teaching Latin, Greek, and mathematics to undergraduates. The advancement of knowledge — especially scientific research — was rarely encouraged.

Near the end of his speech, Gilman imagined what Berkeley would be like 100 years in the future. “I see a flourishing University,” he prophesized. “Students are flocking from east, west, and south, from South America, and Australia, and India, from Egypt and Asia Minor, with the ease and rapidity of a locomotion not yet discovered.”

Gilman’s address was eloquent enough but not sufficiently persuasive. He struggled to sell his plan to state legislators who had their own agendas. He also encountered an aggressive farm lobby that wanted the fledgling land-grant university to focus primarily on agricultural and mechanical arts. After two years of slow progress and growing frustration, he resigned to become the first president of Johns Hopkins University — transplanting his dream from Berkeley to Baltimore.

Back on the East Coast, funded by the unfettered bequests of Johns Hopkins — a recently deceased business owner and investor — Gilman and the university’s trustees established the first research university in the United States. It was a hybrid of the German model that emphasized graduate research and the British model that focused on undergraduate education. The founding faculty members added the uniquely American features of greater academic freedom and closer collaboration between professors and students. They made the laboratory and the seminar the primary centers of learning. They conducted research and published the results in academic journals, including several they started themselves.

The founding of Johns Hopkins was “perhaps the single, most decisive event in the history of learning in the Western Hemisphere,” according to the late Edward Shils, a University of Chicago sociologist. Shils’ assessment may go a bit too far, responds Jonathan Cole, former provost of Columbia University and author of The Great American University. “Nevertheless,” Cole adds, “Gilman’s molding of Hopkins’ mission represented the beginning of the great transformation in American higher learning.”

It is such a typical business story where the big idea is first rejected by  an estbalished organisation. Only for the idea to be implemented by a new/struggling one and rest is history…

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