The Bubble

Everything is absolutely fine with the world.

iPhone 7 has been launched and people are figuring out how to upgrade quickly.

Amazon, flipkart, snapdeal… all are claiming huge turnout for buys… they are sending out message to tier I cities that its the tier II and tier III cities are buying stuff like crazy. More importantly, telling the world that people are spending money!

Navratras are on.

Festive season is round the corner. The malls will go on sale.

Automobiles had a great September.

Monsoon has been fairly decent.

The social chatter all of last week had been about how we are proud to be Indians.

The pubs are full (even on weekdays) and beer is flowing (oktoberfest you know).

This weekend all flights are packed, so are the trains. Hotel rates have skyrocketed.

America will get a new President and the world awaits… after all America rules the world and whoever leads America, we need to bow down to our new leader.

Joy, happiness and excitement all around…

So why am I restless. Why do I feel that the pressure is building and the bubble is becoming bigger… It is not ready to burst yet.

Am not an economist or a financial wiz. Nor am I a social scientist who is a keen follower of trends… but something is amiss…

Anyone knows what? Or am I going to be branded as a cynic who is never happy because the world is happy…

Arrogance or Head in the Sand Syndrome?

All relevant economic indicators are screwed. What should be up is down… what should be down is up. Standard & Poor downgrades India and what’s the reaction of this government?? Standard & Poor is not transparent! Seriously? I mean SERIOUSLY?

Who are we kidding? How come in the past no one ever commented on this transparency shit? How come when the rating was decent for India, nobody said that “hang on… this rating can’t be right.. they don’t understand our economic structure!”? Mr. T C A Anant.. why didn’t you say that earlier?  I bet somebody else will now say it is a conspiracy against India. Wonder who will it be? Vylar Ravi said it day before, so  some other minister now.

Is it absolute arrogance of UPA that makes them refuse to believe the reality? or is it the Ostrich syndrome?

Inventors vs Innovators vs Consumers – Why India can never be an economic super power

Might be a controversial post but it is the truth.

We have the population… so does China… lot more than us actually… But numbers do not convert into turning the nation into super power.

I have started reading “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” by Tim Wu (part of must read by Seth Godin). The first 50 pages into the book and I arrived at this conclusion.

US became the economic power house because majority of the inventions in the 20th century happened over there. it was a country which realized what technology can do. And this awareness, coupled with the freedom, individuals and groups invested time and effort in doing new things… discovering… experimenting… developing…  The results are all there for us to see.  Any new technology that emerges and becomes a rage, the origin is in US. Of course with freedom and the power to dictate terms to the entire world, comes arrogance. And this arrogance has led to the state of affairs that exist in US . But this post is not about that.

The point is that countries that invent… are the ones which take leadership position and make the other countries gravitate towards them

Then there is the next level… which also takes the super power status. These are the countries where they innovate… take the basic invention and take it through a series of innovations to make them better… thereby appropriating to themselves economic leadership. Germany for automobiles, Japan & Korea in consumer electronics and of course China which takes all of it and produces it at half the cost and seeks domination.

So where does that leave India? or where has it left in India after 64 years of Independence and warped political policies and the brain drain from 1960’s till perhaps 2000. NOWHERE is the answer.

We are the consumers for now. This rise of the middle class in last couple of decades and the urbanization, we are hungry to consume all that the world of technology has to offer. Whether it is the iPhone from US, LCD TV from Japan or Korea, Cars from Japan or Germany… we will take them all. We have the numbers and the world realizes that. So the markets are full of these innovative products. We can get everything we want and we can pay for. Our consumerism has for the moment numbed our innovative thinking and of course these countries would not want us to innovate so they keep giving us object of desires and do not want us to bother about inventing. If we start with that process, who will buy their technology?

Another way of keeping us busy is the whole BPO and KPO and various kinds of business processing that we are involved in. Infosys is huge and admired but eh.. what is it they do? Sabeer Bhatia made hotmail famous… what did it do for India? The various nobel laureates from India… did their invention or innovation make this country big? We gave the world zero and got nothing in return because nobody did anything after that. Now we only talk about it.

Unless we become inventors or innovators (and on a technological breakthrough scale), we can never become the power that everyone keeps saying we have the potential for… specially the politicians and commentators who can’t look beyond the population numbers and the prestige of our tech education institutions.

And it is a collective effort that is needed… politicians, corporates, people, media, policies, mindset and a willingness to invest.

Is the tide turning?

I don’t know how many of you have read about the Occupy Wall Street campaign that has been going on in US. Or for that matter even know about it… But it is happening… And what makes it very surprising is that it is happening in one of the so-called free economies of the world – The United States of America.

Gordon Gecko would have been lynched by the mob on the streets for even uttering the G of  “Greed is good“.

After the crash of 2008, while many would have made statements about recovery, the US economy probably had not recovered. Well economy might have on papers but the man on the street… when the entire life’s saving has disappeared… to recover, would need another lifetime.

The 1% that the protesters are talking about… they are the insulated lot. Insulated, because they have amassed wealth which would last for a few of their generations. But the common man… the common man who let these people get all this wealth by buying their products, spending money on conspicuous consumption because corporates and banks made it easy.

But finally I think there is an awakening. And people have taken to the streets. They are done with a very few making all the money while they suffer day in and day out. Of course, there would be many in the US who would term these protests as meaningless because they have not felt the pinch… yet. But they surely will.

I think this is a protest that needs to go global. The global economy is in doldrums and yet the Governments peddle out statistics (creativity at it’s best). The collapse of Greece would not have happened if everyone was aware of where the economy is truly headed.

And while I am not sure.. the protest in US is a mass movement. They do not have a politician or a person with an ax to grind heading it. It is akin to a flash mob… but flash mob with a purpose.

I think many of you would bring Anna Hazare into discussion. The perception being that he has also started the movement in India. But I think that movement has lost sight. The way they are going about in the current election in the constituency of Hissar… it seems like they are anti-congress. Whereas the movement has to be against the entire political elite. I am sure that none of the candidates in that election are corruption free.

People who had supposedly taken to the street (as I had said in one of the earlier posts too) were there because it was hip… not because they strongly believed in the cause of anti-corruption and would do anything to stop it.

More importantly… the Anna Hazare movement is barking up the wrong tree. Instead of chasing the bucket that gets filled up with the corrupt money.. shut off the taps from where the money flows. Protest in front of the corporates that have been involved in various scams. Stop that car guy who is paying money to the traffic cop. Put up protest tents in front of the the various govt agencies where all the wheeling and dealing is done by the power brokers. Make a website which lists such people.

True awakening will happen when every where you turn.. you see a sign that says “SAY NO TO CORRUPTION“. A sign that says “Is this all your life is worth? Is this only about money and all the stuff that it can buy?”

I am not a socialist… nor a communist… nor are the protesters of the Occupy Wall Street campaign. We are the “common man”

I think the time has come for people to break out of the Matrix that has been constructed by the 1% that actually rules the world and control the governments.

Sign Language from socially_awkwrd on Vimeo.




The Circus is Over…

Quite a few of my blog readers had asked me as to how come I was not writing about  Lokpal controversy and the fast by Anna Hazare. My answer to that was – It’s a waste of time… there is nothing to write about.

So why am I writing now? Because  circus is over. A circus where everyone was a clown… including the thousands who were holding protests across the country… on the streets, in their neighbourhood, at the Ramlila ground and everywhere else. I bet most didn’t know what they were protesting for.

They were there because it was cool to be associated with a movement. It was  cool to be seen there. It made for a whole lot of status updates on facebook and tweets by the twits.

And we are living in a delusion that something will come out of this whole fight against corruption. A bill that has waited to get passed for so many decades… we expect that it will get passed and Lokpal will come into existence?? Dream on people… The 500 hundred odd people who control the destiny of this country are steeped in corruption and they are surely not going to let anything happen to all the scams they run.. day in and day out. Political parties win elections on the basis of corruption… not by people’s will.

We are a country or scamsters… hustlers… everyone is out to make a quick buck or get things done to their satisfaction. Ever wondered how someone builds a billion dollar monstrosity for his residence and there is not one question raised about where did the money come from? The cream of Corporate India would soon be operating from the confines of Tihar Jail.. Not because suddenly we as a nation developed a conscience but because they did not either grease enough palms or did not use enough grease.

Hazare and his supporters think that they have won some kind of battle. What they don’t realise is that they have been outmaneuvered. The political class has pretended to give in and killed all the drama that was happening. And it will be business as usual very soon. The media will move on to newer stories… we will move on with our lives and money will keep getting transferred into the Swiss Bank accounts

Unlike the revolts, rebellions and uprisings in the Middle East and Africa, our country is different. We are not an oppressed lot or being ruled by a dictator. Under the constant opium spread into our blood stream by all the good things that are happening around us… Per Capita Income is rising… economy is growing faster than most economies in the world and blah blah blah.. we really have no strong reason to revolt. If there is corruption… it is there because we have encouraged it. We want our driving licences, we want to cut corners, we want our deal to go through, we want to sell our property by doing half cash half cheque deal…. I could go on… but we are responsible for the monster called corruption.. So we will not do anything to stop it because we still want all the aforesaid things.

Past couple of weeks… people on the streets and all the celebrities jumping up and down… it was all about few mins of fame for being associated with a cause. Most didn’t really know what the cause was…

Nothing is ever gonna happen…

So no paying less tax

How could we have been thinking that the proposals for tax reforms would go through in their entirety?? The same set of people who voted for themselves to get hikes… even went through the charade of going on strike are the people who ensured that the common man does not get any significant tax benefits. After all the common man has to give money which would pay their salaries! Approx  Rs. 37 lakhs per Member of Parliament into 500+ MPs… about 180 crores+. That’s a lot of money to be accounted for considering that only single digit population of this country actually pays the income tax. So they had to make modifications in the proposal and let the man on the street suffer rather than curtail all the freebies of the elected representatives…And not to forget that every state assembly would also want to increase salary and perks for their MLAs!

But seriously… what’s wrong with News Media???

The prices of all essential commodities are through the roof. Common man is suffering big time.

The current government is going to complete the so called 100 days (or has it already?) and what have they got to show?

The economic situation is bleak. People are still losing jobs or living in a state of disguised unemployment (working but not getting salary on time)

Corruption reigns everywhere


How can anyone be interested in a politicial party which is on death bed and waiting for the plug to be pulled?

Do the news channels seriously think that a billion plus population which is trying very hard to make a living is interested in what Brajesh Mishra said… or the book by Jaswant Singh… or the fact that he has been sacked from the party… or what Advani said or did during the Kandahar hijacking… or What Sardar Patel did or did not do in 1945????

Seriously… who cares. If anything, the only people who would really care is the current government. They must be happy that the spotlight is not on their failures to govern and deliver on the 100 days promise.

Let me give you an example of how news media has become completely blind to what is happening to the people. This example is apart from the tripe that we get to watch on TV or read in the paper.

Few days back on BBC (one of the most respected news channels), towards the end of news, a guy joins the two who were reading the news and discussing the current events. This guy gives the latest unemployment figures in England.. which by the way have gone up. A min of that… and while he is still talking about the figures… the woman anchor asks him… “So what is your favorite cocktail?”. The guy wants to complete what he is saying about the unemployment and he is again interrupted by the male anchor asking about the cocktails.. because they want to move to this competition that is happening in England somewhere about the best bar tender!!!! Wow… talk about dumbing down and being callous.

Somewhere in an effort for increased eyeballs, viewers and readers, news people have forgotten what their profession is all about… WAGs are not stories… Salman Khan interested in buying an IPL team is not a story… Harbhajan Singh in his humvee is not the story.

Get real… get accountable… make the government accountable… Terrorism is here to stay and we would never be able to combat it or control it because when dealing with fanatics is not easy… So get rid of those stories about who gets Interpol red flag or how the government was right about Hafeez or whoever… Tell me why are the prices rising and what government is doing to bring down the prices.. Tell me why my money is not enough today for even the basic essentials… question.. interrogate… grill the government.

Stop wasting your time on the inconsequentials.

Unless the news media is also part of the larger political strategy to keep the common man away from asking these pertinent questions and bombard him with trivia and make his mind numb!