Monday, August 12, 2013

Articles on BT cotton in India

by Glenn Davis Stone and Ronald Herring in August 17 issue of EPW
Glenn Stone's articles have een linked several times before. EPW articles are free online for four weeks.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Michael Perelman on the invention of capitalsm

seems to be available online
Here is a Naked Capitalism link to a review y Yasha Levine. The title of the review comes from the quote “everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.”

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Vanity Fair article on Cyber Wars

Silent War long article about cyer wars maily between USA and Iran "Fundamentally, cyber-warfare is a story about proliferation. Iran’s nuclear program crossed a line that Israel and the U.S. deemed unacceptable, so the U.S. and its allies used a secret new weapon to try to stop it. With Stuxnet becoming public, the U.S. effectively legitimized the use of cyber-attacks outside the context of overt military conflict. Stuxnet also appears to have emboldened Iran to mount attacks on targets of its choosing. One former government official says, “What did we anticipate that Iran’s reaction [to Stuxnet] was going to be? I bet it wasn’t going after Saudi aramco.”
The paradox is that the nuclear weapons whose development the U.S. has sought to control are very difficult to make, and their use has been limited—for nearly seven decades—by obvious deterrents. In the years since August 1945, a nuclear weapon has never been used in war. Cyber-weapons, by contrast, are easy to make, and their potential use is limited by no obvious deterrents. In seeking to escape a known danger, the U.S. may have hastened the development of a greater one."
It seems that many countries will develop capabilities similar to that of NSA of US and more local internet systems will develop.

Oxfam debates on the future of agriculture

The Future of Agriculture: Synthesis of an online debate From the conclusion
"While the debate was not aimed at creating a consensus, nearly all participants appeared to agree that a one-size-fits-all approach is not possible. Only very few people said that a choice is inevitable between the two opposing models of agriculture: premaculture/organic, and oil/chemical dependent. At the same time many contributors suggested that current policies and politics favour the latter. And there was general agreement that multi-pronged approaches are needed, with much more attention paid to the potential of agro-ecological, bio-diverse systems to address problems related to climate change, resource scarcity and fossil fuel dependency. The labour-intensive agriculture practiced by the estimated 1.5 to 2 billion people currently living in rural food-producing households was seen by many, not as a cause of hunger and poverty, but rather a vehicle for escaping those scourges – if invested in properly. Agriculture is the only sector that can usefully absorb a large labour force. Several referred to the fact that in many developing countries small-scale producers are the largest source of investment in agriculture, biodiversity, and related knowledge systems. Too often, however, government policies marginalize them, or create incentives geared to supporting commercial investments that compete with, or displace these small-scale producers. There is no denying that enormous capital flows and practices of both private and public institutions are geared towards industrialscale production. This debate has shown that redressing this imbalance is a critical challenge
for all stakeholders."
P.S  About India's dwindling female workforce.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Two great singers, same song

Raghuram Rajan, next RBI governor

Seems to be a good choice. Some links from FT Alphaville like Why India Slowed indicate what Rajan will try to do "If all goes well, India’s economy should recover and return to its recent 8% average in the next couple of years."
From a 2012 interview "You need austerity because government debts have blown out too much, but you do not want to have that level of austerity that you get riots on the streets and the economyitself is paralysed. This means that government spending has to be targeted very, very effectively at the weaker segments of society --- the elderly, the people who are in real need -- so that the economy does not implode and people suffer tremendously."

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Monday, August 05, 2013

Joe Studwell lecture

with questions and answers after 23 minutes

On state's role in innovation

Martin Wolf in the review A much-maligned engine of innovation :
"This book has a controversial thesis. But it is basically right. The failure to recognise the role of the government in driving innovation may well be the greatest threat to rising prosperity."
Vernon Ruttan in 'The Role of Public Sector in Technolgy Development: Generalizations from General Purpose Technologies'  ( says "Government has played an important role in technology development and transfer in almost every U.S. industry that has become competitive on a global scale.", one of the exceptios to the thesis being the electricity industry. He also talks of the rise of The University-Industrial Complex since the late 1970s, particularly in biotechnology. We now have this revolving door between government and big business indicated by The Guardian article Government bee scientist behind controversial study joins pesticide firm. A recent article by Amy Harmon A race to save the orange by altering its DNA indicated the pressures on the industry to find quick solutions. Possibly long term basic university research on such problems could have avoided the need for quick fixes. But it is not clear to me whether it is possible with all the pressures on funding basic research or at what stage of development a country should shift focus from basic research in universities to university-industrial complexes. Hopefully never but change has already taken place at different levels in different countries.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Democracy in Australia

from today' Age
Australians funding feared PNG's feared cops "Papua New Guinea's most thuggish paramilitary police unit - allegedly responsible for rapes, murders and other human rights abuses - is being discreetly funded by the Australian Immigration Department to secure the Manus Island asylum seeker detention centre."
Murdoch sends trusted general 'Colonel Pot' to bring down Rudd over NBN
But Rudd hires veterans from Obama campaign How Barack Obama is changing the face of Australian politics

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Links, August 3, 2013

Another discussion on online education

particularly about MOOCs (Massive open online Courses). There seem to be criticisms of the type that conveying middle class norms will be missing and also the teacher-student interactions which enable 'deep learning' See Clay Shirky's responses at 46, 51 and 54.

Practicing water conservation in agriculture