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Contemporary Topics

Small-Scale Farmers Creating a New Profit Model – NYTimes.com

Organic farming, one devoid of use of fossil fertilizers, pesticides and fuels has been around for quite some time in India as well.

But, the concept is more at the stage of either a hobby or at the stage of  ‘elite’ society’s ‘awareness’ of health.

The fact that NYT has thought fit to carry the story, should be utilized to leverage the concept of ‘small farmers [which is the category in which most of the real farmers of India would fall into] into a viable long term business model. This should be part of an efficient supply chain as well, with or without the {so called] large scale Retail, which in turn can be with or without FDI.

Small-Scale Farmers Creating a New Profit Model – NYTimes.com.

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Contemporary Topics In my view

Times of stress: illegal and informal mining in South Americaérica del Sur

 

Times of stress: illegal and informal mining in South America shows that human greed for “some”  money is a universal trait in developing world. There will always be some one to ‘sell off’ one’s pride, something that logically, morally and legally does not deserve to be equated by money at all.

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Contemporary Topics I Liked

Corruption and India’s 1%

The only important question in the West right now is how to restart stalled economic growth.

So it is easy to be dazzled by India, where a 7% rise in gross domestic product is the nightmare scenario, and optimists are shooting for 9%. But Indians themselves are starting to worry about how that growth is being achieved – and who is benefiting.

The headline complaint is corruption. That is nothing new here, of course. But the country now has a middle class self-confident enough to feel humiliated by paying quotidian bribes and resentful of the rise of baksheesh billionaires. Anna Hazare’s hunger strike became a national political event because it tapped into this anger of the urban bourgeoisie.

“India has been overwhelmed by corruption scams,” Kiran Bedi, the first Indian woman officer and one of Hazare’s chief lieutenants, told me in one of a series of interviews in Mumbai. “While it has been apparent that India is shining, India has also been declining in many ways as there has been rampant exposure of corruption.”

“Corruption is endemic,” said Rajiv Lall, chief executive of Infrastructure Development Finance Co, a partly state-owned financial institution. “I don’t think anybody here is pretending that there’s no corruption in India.

And corruption can take on a new dimension, especially in time of great transformation.”

Graft is just part of the story. One of the reasons to celebrate India’s astonishing economic rise is that the subcontinent desperately needed to get richer. In 1991, when Manmohan Singh, then the finance minister and now the prime minister, began the liberalization program that underpins the country’s transformation, India’s 854 mn citizens had an average annual per capita income of only $1,300. The problem, said Arun Maira, a former industrialist – member of the country’s influential planning commission, is that India’s economic rise has had the least impact on people who need it most.

“My thesis is that most people are not feeling included in the growth,” Maira said.

“This has become a very loud voice which is saying ‘Come on guys, the economy is growing very fast now. You’re celebrating this 8, 9, 10% growth, but what about us?”

As Maira points out, one of the most powerful advantages of the wealthiest 1% is “access to people in power.” But there is a more subtle reason the game is most effectively played by those who are already winning it. S. Gopalakrishnan of Infosys, said that “The tendency is that people who have access to power and access to governments, etc., tend to get a better deal. “The policies, the roots, are framed because they are people who give inputs to those policies,” he said.

This is the Indian version of what Willem Buiter, the former London School of Economics professor who is now chief economist at Citigroup, calls “cognitive capture,” and which he blames in part for the regulatory and legislative lapses that created the 2008 crisis.

Ashutosh Varshney, a professor of international studies at Brown University, likens India’s thriving and dirty capitalism to the United States’ Gilded Age. That apt comparison suggests that India watchers should be on the lookout for a Hindu version of the Roosevelts – a Teddy to break the grip of the robber barons and an FDR to offer the 99% a New Deal.

There is, however, one important difference. India’s robber barons have emerged in the age of globalisation and at a time when the US, still the world’s dominant economy, is  experiencing its own second Gilded Age. The wealthiest 1% is a global class, and cognitive capture is an international phenomenon. The world may need its own global Roosevelts, too.

Courtesy: SmartInvestor.in 18-11-2011

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In my view

Seven Years in Jail and a $190 Million Fine | Knowledge@Wharton Today

Seven Years in Jail and a $190 Million Fine | Knowledge@Wharton Today.

The most outstanding aspects, we may not agree with or may not be able to appreciate it, of this affair are:

—  The judicial process has been able to conclude in span of around two years – unlike several years in India

— The nature of punishment, in that seems to be substantial enough to make lasting effect on the next chain of events and generation

— The trend of increasingly successful rise of persons who,“believe in democracy or in government that actually is accountable to the governed”, which in turn seems to make all most all forms of governance equally and easily prone to clever manipulation .