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Old 27th November 2020, 15:37   #811
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Re: Understanding Economics

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Originally Posted by DigitalOne View Post
I was just responding to Samurai's extrapolating a Thanksgiving food line during a once-in-a-century crisis as a failure of Capitalism.
You reached that conclusion by yourself. I was merely asking why world's richest country is seeing this kind of food lines, where even luxury cars are waiting in line. I couldn't really wrap my head around it and was asking some defender of capitalism to explain the paradox to me.

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Whereas you can contrast this with the chronic food shortages/riots in Venezuela, which is failure of Socialist policies.
And your only answer is to look at Venezuela. No, that is not the answer, that's a fox news excuse. That's a third world country with an oil reserve, just like Nigeria.

Please tell me why such massive food lines exists in the richest country in the history of the world?

I lived nearly a decade in US long ago (90s) and had never seen a dire situation.

Last edited by Samurai : 27th November 2020 at 15:42.
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Old 27th November 2020, 16:49   #812
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Re: Understanding Economics

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You want to compare USA to Venezuela? That's where we are now?

Socialism is often compared to charity.
Socialism is "charity" forced down your throat. You don't get to decide who is the beneficiaries, for what causes, or how much you want to give. A bunch of bureaucrats decide that.

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I don't have to believe, the facts are available. In 2018, that is even before the pandemic hit, around 35 millions Americans suffered from food insecurity. Pandemic pushed it to 50 million this year. Food insecurity is "a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food."....

And your only answer is to look at Venezuela....
If you had led with this fact as a criticism of capitalism, I would have appreciated and might have led to a fruitful discussion on Capitalism or Socialism, but you chose to highlight a Thanksgiving food line during a massive crisis.

It is not my argument that capitalism is so perfect it will withstand every crisis. Just saying US with its capitalist system, and its big-hearted generous people (ref: Jeroen's post) to come out of it much better than a Venezuela.

Simply putting an example of an extreme crisis time is not a logical argument against capitalism. Next year it might come down (or not) to a "normal" level of 35 million people without food security in the World's richest country, and then the questions should rightly be asked against capitalism. (I might respond with Venezuela as a socialist example, please be prepared ).

Last edited by DigitalOne : 27th November 2020 at 17:10.
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Old 27th November 2020, 17:13   #813
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Re: Understanding Economics

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You don't get to decide who is the beneficiaries, for what causes, or how much you want to give. A bunch of bureaucrats decide that.
Why should you or I get to decide? Do we really have that kind of free time? Oh, I guess you are referring to philanthropy as the right vessel for charity. Governments should never leave social programmes in the hands of large organizations (google,facebook,etc), because it always comes with an agenda. Author Anand Giridharadas has a book called Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World in which he argues that members of the global elite, though sometimes engaged in philanthropy, use their wealth and influence to preserve systems that concentrate wealth at the top at the expense of societal progress. I have read it, a very hard hitting book.

Couple quotes from the book:

“when elites assume leadership of social change, they are able to reshape what social change is—above all, to present it as something that should never threaten winners.”

“Elites have found myriad ways to change things on the surface so that in practice nothing changes at all.”

Google actually invited him to speak at their office, to his surprise since Google is one of the biggest villains in his book.



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If you had led with this fact as a criticism of capitalism, I would have appreciated and might have led to a fruitful discussion on Capitalism or Socialism
I don't want a discussion about capitalism vs socialism. By socialism, most people imply state controlled production. As an entrepreneur, why would I want that? I am more interested in fixing capitalism so that it can work under a democracy.

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Next year it might come down (or not) to a "normal" level of 35 million people without food security in the World's richest country, and then the questions should rightly be asked against capitalism.
How is 35 million or 11% food insecurity a normal for the richest country in the history of the world? I would blame non-democratic capitalism practiced in USA. All the politicians are in the pockets of industrialists, it is legal thanks to Citizens United. The lobbyist write the laws, and their puppets in the congress pass them. Just recently, Thomas E Ricks (two-time Pulitzer Prize winner) called USA an oligarchy.
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Old 27th November 2020, 17:28   #814
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Re: Understanding Economics

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Socialism is "charity" forced down your throat. You don't get to decide who is the beneficiaries, for what causes, or how much you want to give. A bunch of bureaucrats decide that.
.
In democracies its politicians who decide, bureaucrats merely execute whatever rules, regulations, laws etc are being passed by parliament or similar.

And in a democracy you get to choose who you vote for. But you can still decide to contribute to whatever charitable cause you like of course as well.

For me it is a far more fundamental issue on what a Democracy should bring; Which is a certain degree of prosperity for as many people as possible.

I believe a nation has a responsibility towards all of its citizens and it needs to ensure an even playing field for everybody, irrespective of race, religion, gender, or it will end up with a very skewered prosperity for its population. A few will have lots, many will have (too) little.

The notion that the promise of democracy should bring a decent level of prosperity to as many as possible is probably a (western) European thought. It certainly is likely to resonate less with most Americans, even Democrats will frown.

The difference between your average American and your average West/Nordic European is far larger than many people think. You really need to live and work there for a while and get submerged in day to day live.

There is a very fundamental difference in outlook on life, democracy and subsequently what you can/should or can’t/should not expect from government. Some of our American friends are probably amongst the most forward socialism/left thinking as Fox would call it. For my wife and me, they are just barely scratching the surface on what we would consider just normal fair practices. Some of them have lived and worked here for over five years and till the day they left were completely baffled by the various support systems in place for everybody (health, school, university, unemployment benefits, welfare, safety (not a gun in sight), degrees of freedom, etc.

Conversely; We never understood some of the typical Americans set ups on the very same topics either.

One is not necessarily better or worse than the other, just very different. Personal preference and opinion.

Or you could go with the statistics on prosperity, equality, happiness etc and see what nation you end up with. Depends a bit on your metrics, but it is likely that you find yourself in Western/Nordic Europe.

Interestingly enough, some of these countries have had right and centre right wing governments for decades too. (Eg the Netherlands).

Jeroen
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Old 28th November 2020, 11:49   #815
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Re: Understanding Economics

Governments should do what it is supposed to do. Govern. Making people rich or poor is not their job. It should be left to the individuals to decide what they want to do with their lives.

America was founded on principles of liberty, and they are justified in trying to keep socialism away. Hope they continue to succeed in that.
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Old 28th November 2020, 12:08   #816
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Re: Understanding Economics

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Making people rich or poor is not their job. It should be left to the individuals to decide what they want to do with their lives
Correct.

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Governments should do what it is supposed to do. Govern.
Governance is an administrative job. It is essentially done by Govt employees. Elected Government's job is different - it is to ensure equal opportunity for everybody to succeed. That is, children of rich parents & children of poor parents should have equal opportunities to succeed.

This is not the case in developing countries like India. However, European countries in general and Scandinavian countries in particular have systems (Eg: Education, Healthcare, Unemployment benefits etc) in place to ensure that sperm lottery does not decide who ends up being rich and who ends up being poor.

Last edited by SmartCat : 28th November 2020 at 12:19.
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Old 28th November 2020, 12:35   #817
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Re: Understanding Economics

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Interestingly enough, some of these countries have had right and centre right wing governments for decades too. (Eg the Netherlands).

Jeroen
Before I learnt to think for myself, I was a big fan of US media. Interestingly, we used to get a propaganda magazine each from the USA and the Soviet Union, when I was a kid. Glossy pages from the US embassy won me over, but I could never understand why they hated the commies so much! Today you can watch Milton Friedman's old speeches on youtube and see how USA decided to support capitalism at any cost. McCarthyism still persists in the USA. Anyway here is an nice cartoon that shows that the European experience has may be influenced the US quite a bit :
Attached Thumbnails
Understanding Economics-screenshot_20201126202757_washington-post.jpg  

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Old 29th November 2020, 08:42   #818
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Re: Understanding Economics

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2...-china-battle/



Don’t know about USA. But agree with the author about losing hope about India. All the feel good feeling has disappeared.
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Old 29th November 2020, 09:33   #819
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Re: Understanding Economics

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Originally Posted by Sree View Post
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2...-china-battle/
Don’t know about USA. But agree with the author about losing hope about India. All the feel good feeling has disappeared.
Thank you for sharing. Allow me to offer a counter point of view to this author. I can empathize with you when you say the feel good factor has disappeared. We grew at 6% to 7+% for 19 straight years from 1999 to 2018. So anyone younger than 40 has never seen a sustained bad economic period in their working life. And anyone younger than 50 has never, in their working life seen scarcity & stifling Govt control.

The author has done little other than list out a long litany of what India could have done, should have done, this sucks, that sucks, emigrate to USA, only the West shines blah blah etc. Typical of the 'kick India in the groin' article so loved by Bloomberg and New York Times with almost very little by way of data to back the arguments being presented.

Am I pleased with the current state of India - no I'm not - crushing dissent, jailing vocal journalists, crony capitalism, DeMo, bashing up Muslims, etc. But does that mean the nation is at stake - an unequivocal No. The Indian nation is bigger than any one PM no matter how indispensable he or she may seem, it is bigger than any one party no matter how strong their winning streak, it is greater and more resilient than the misguided intolerance of one bunch. We can say the economy sucks for now, we can say this administration leaves a lot to be desired, we can say I disagree vehemently with policy XYZ or corruption ABC but how can we say, as this worthy author does 'that I have lost faith in India' . This is a typical Indian upper middle class attitude of some that only if we can live here and enjoy the municipal services of the West then India is doing well. This is the very same segment of society that, with a few exceptions, does not engage with politics or social activity or civic activity within its neighbourhood.

Having lived under every PM this country has had I will say the current administration might be rapidly losing the hearts of many Indians but that is not reason enough to lose faith in India, my India.
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Old 29th November 2020, 10:03   #820
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Re: Understanding Economics

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Typical of the 'kick India in the groin' article so loved by Bloomberg and New York Times with almost very little by way of data to back the arguments being presented.
Just a typical Andy Mukherjee article. Samples of his magnum opus:

Understanding Economics-screenshot_1.jpg

Understanding Economics-screenshot_2.jpg

Understanding Economics-screenshot_3.jpg

Understanding Economics-screenshot_4.jpg

Understanding Economics-screenshot_5.jpg

Understanding Economics-screenshot_6.jpg

Regular readers of Bloomberg/Bloomberg Quint are subjected to this once in 15 days.
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Old 29th November 2020, 10:21   #821
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Re: Understanding Economics

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Just a typical Andy Mukherjee article. Samples of his magnum opus:
Regular readers of Bloomberg/Bloomberg Quint are subjected to this once in 15 days.
The more I work with India of the small town and villages and the more I see of their aspirations, resources and problems the more I am convinced we will inch along in the right direction -- never making strides like South Korea and never falling into the dump like Venezuela. Given the immense complexity of our nation, the 800+ dialects, 30 States each unique enough to be a country, we don't need to live up to some notional standard set by Western writers or the Indian segment who see emigration as their salvation. The attitude, self confidence, hope , determination, awareness of rights I see among the population in the bottom 65% is a far cry from what I saw amongst farm workers at my grandfathers farm in the 1960s and 1970s.
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Old 29th November 2020, 10:35   #822
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Re: Understanding Economics

Statues for 3500 crores a pop, Parliament surroundings at 20,000 crores, Bullet trains at 24000 crores, VIP planes at 8400 crores.

Nothing for the underprivileged, nothing for the unemployed, nothing for those businesses hit by Covid, Nothing for those who may lose their jobs.

Lifelong pensions for the hard working MP's, Z class security for quite a few, expense accounts unlimited, travel budgets limited only by Covid.

Ensuring PSU's fall into the "right" hands, giving away public utilities also into the "right" hands, ensuring private monopoly for certain essential services and more recently permitting corporates to start banks.

If you look at how African nations became bankrupt you would realise we have almost scrupulously been following that script. Just that when you have deep pockets it takes longer to empty them.
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Old 29th November 2020, 10:43   #823
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Re: Understanding Economics

Perhaps a slightly politically opinionated article about India, but it makes good points.

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2...-china-battle/

Personally, I do feel that a country where average salaries stagnated for over a decade now is not going on the right path. In 2008 or 2010, an average good student from RV Engineering college which is a great college could earn more in real terms than in 2018 or 2019. Only ignorant folks would repeat the nonsense about students these days not having skills- almost everyone I met has a hackerrank profile, a github portfolio and some even get into GSoc etc. Yet, salaries remain the same. Even at IIMs, average salaries have stagnated because it is largely the same pool of MNCs recruiting for over 3 decades.

We can blame the pandemic for another year perhaps, but when countries like Vietnam have bounced back despite having a weaker education and skill development infrastructure, it shows that it is the inherent ability of the economy to absorb talent. India is inching on the path of Nigeria and not China, and globally it gets compared to these African states or maybe Indonesia these days, not China. In 2013, it was different. India was looked upon as a strategically important economy. But we are happy with renaming cities, erecting statues, celebrating hate and tweeting boycott china sitting in an MG Hector or using a Xiaomi phone.

No wonder than one of the most sought-after coaching courses is for IELTS and TOEFL for foreign universities.

We can continue to ignore our slide down this rabbithole and take pride and solace in our 10,000 year old culture and blame the invaders who left 7 decades ago while the world moves ahead.

Last edited by Cessna182 : 29th November 2020 at 10:50.
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Old 29th November 2020, 11:13   #824
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Re: Understanding Economics

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan

Having lived under every PM this country has had I will say the current administration might be rapidly losing the hearts of many Indians but that is not reason enough to lose faith in India, my India.
Thank you Sir for your words of wisdom. Your rich experience and your language makes it a pleasure.

A more overt political oped has come in this weeks economist. I didn’t feel like sharing it, lest it hurts anyone.

Last edited by Sree : 29th November 2020 at 11:20.
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Old 29th November 2020, 11:15   #825
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Re: Understanding Economics

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
The author has done little other than list out a long litany of what India could have done, should have done, this sucks, that sucks, emigrate to USA, only the West shines blah blah etc. Typical of the 'kick India in the groin' article so loved by Bloomberg and New York Times with almost very little by way of data to back the arguments being presented.
I agree... I started reading with an open mind, although I was bit peeved when he called Y2K as hype. That's ok, lots of people uninformed on Y2K think that, but a journalist should know better.

The article is all over, just complaining and complaining... Reminded me of NRI friends & relatives. And at end the author revealed something, he doesn't live in India. He wants to pontify about India without living in India. The guy lives in a bubble.

According me, India's greatest problem is corruption. Our problem isn't socialism or capitalism. I think we have decent enough balance. It always takes a generation or two to change any culture. I started new company this year and I haven't paid a single bribe to anyone so far. That is because I could do everything online. I was able to renew my driver's license last year without paying any bribe, again due to online transactions. When compared to few years ago, let alone few decades ago, these are major improvements.

Progress is often 2 steps forward and 1 step backward. It is an iterative process, that is the only option in this imperfect world.

Last edited by Samurai : 29th November 2020 at 12:11. Reason: typo
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