Archive for November 10th, 2007

The luck of South Indians

November 10, 2007

Ram Guha writes about Somnathapura, which leads him to muse on the luck of South Indians to have lead a reasonably strife-free civil life:

Of all the regions of the world, perhaps only Oceania has been as lucky as South India. Since the early battles between the European colonisers and the indigenous communities, the massed guns have been silent there too. But they have been used elsewhere — thus Australians and New Zealanders died in their tens of thousands during the two World Wars, fighting to protect their British monarch. This massive loss of life scarred generations of their countrymen, those who had lost sons and fathers in lands faraway.

Of all the regions of India and the world, only we in the South have been exempt for so long from the horrors of war and civil strife.

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Hypocritical, ironical and contemptible!

November 10, 2007

… the Indian silence on Burma is in sharp contrast to our consistent support for the democratic opposition in apartheid-era South Africa. After Nelson Mandela was freed from prison, the first foreign country he chose to visit was India, on the grounds that it had done more than any other to help the freedom struggle in South Africa. Mandela himself deeply admired Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi; as, of course, does his fellow Nobel laureate, fellow democrat, and fellow jailbird, Aung San Suu Kyi. That makes our support for the Burmese generals now, and our support for the commissars in Kabul then, not just hypocritical and ironical, but also contemptible.

That is Ram Guha in the Telegraph.

Public understanding of economics (and the sins of Stiglitz)

November 10, 2007

Tyler Cowen comments on this piece of Stiglitz:

It’s also worth noting how much the arguments run counter to Stiglitz’s own (earlier) writings on macroeconomics.  He used to preach that a) banks are excessively reluctant to lend to risky borrowers (compare to his discussion of the subprime crisis), b) changes in real interest rates generally don’t matter much, c) adverse selection makes it hard to sell non-transparent assets for a reasonable price (compare to his discussion of securitization), and d) we cannot expect monetary policy to be especially effective but rather we must focus on the extent of credit rationing.  Stiglitz of course has the right to change his mind, but if the shift is so big surely this is news.
There are many good arguments against many of Bush’s economic policies, and many other arguments which are maybe wrong but at least plausible or possibly true.  But essays such as this are not promoting the public’s understanding of economics.

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