Friday, January 30, 2015

Two articles on Kobani

What Kobani means to Turkey's  Kurds by Jennna Krajenski from November 8, 2014:
“Kobani today is for Syrian Kurds and Turkish Kurds what Halabja was for Iraqi Kurds,” Barkey told me, referring to the site of Hussein’s chemical-weapons attacks in 1988 against the Kurds. “It’s a stepping stone for national mobilization and nation-building. … Even if Kobani falls, it will strengthen Kurdishness. This was a Turkish miscalculation.”
Kurdish Victory in Kobani Defeat for Turkish Policy by Amberin Zaman in US News, January 29, 2015:
"The recent spate of deadly street battles pitting pro-PKK Kurds against their pro-Islamist rivals in the town of Cizre on the Iraqi border is widely seen as an ominous spillover from Kobani. Such pan-Kurdish sentiments pose a dilemma for Ocalan, who insists that Turkey’s Kurds do not want a separate state."

Globalization and the left

"While nothing can prevent globalization of production, there is nothing that states this globalization need take a neoliberal form. Globalization takes a neoliberal form because, even as globalization undercuts the nation state, the Left insists on relying on the nation state to counter neoliberalism. The very institution the Left relies on to fight the neoliberal impact of globalization is the one most fatally compromised by globalization itself.
It is not that Left parties have to water down their radicalism as they move closer to power; they have to devise a radicalism that is not dependent on the old state machinery. This task still lies in front of them." from The historical context of Greece's election.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The French African connection

Al Jazeera documentary in 3 parts: (France's Thirst for Energy) Elf Scandal) (Turning Tables)
A short summary here

Thursday, January 22, 2015

James C. Scott interview

Egalitarianism, the teachings of field work, and anarchist calisthenics via Chapati Mystery. Somewhat long but readable and does not cover the Kurd efforts inspired by Ocalan.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Links, January 17, 2015 (Long reads)

Bringing in people from the cold: Ensuring inclusive growth in India by Rahul Banerjee
Timepass and boredom in Modern India by Chris Fuller (via Chapati Mystery)
A discussion on Culture: A scientific idea "ready for retirement" (via 3quarksdaily)
'anne' links to a 2010 article by Paul Krugman on deflation
A discussion of one of the unconvincing parts of Piketty's Capital. Piketty explains : "I do not believe in the basic neoclassical model. But I think it is a language that is important to use in order to respond to those who believe that if the world worked that way everything would be fine. And one of the messages of my book is, first, it does not work that way, and second, even if it did, things would still be almost as bad." 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A long readable article from Simon Johnson

In the first article below Gabriel Palma said "In other words, in current globalised settings in terms of income distribution“convergence” seems to resemble a compass whose 'magnetic north' has shifted fromaiming at what was going on in the more advance economies, to what has characterisedthe more unequal, more rent-seeking and politically more ‘cosier’ high-middle income ones. "

In The Quiet Coup (2009) Simon Johnson : "In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again)."
Simon Johnson also talks favorably of his experience in IMF; may be by his time IMF changed its ways to some extent.

Gabriel Palma revisits 'Palma Ratio'

Has the income share of the middle and upper-middle been stable over time, or is its current homogeneity across the world the outcome of a process of convergence? The 'Palma Ratio' revisited
The earlier papers where 'Palma Ratio' is discussed Homogeneous middle vs heterogeneous tails, and the end of 'inverted-U': the share of the rich is what it is all about (2011) and Globalizing inequality: 'Centrifugal' and 'Centripedal' forces at work
A short discussion of 'Palma Ratio' here.:
"He found that the ‘middle classes’ – more accurately the middle income groups between the ‘rich’ and the ‘poor’ (defined as the five ‘middle’ deciles, 5 to 9) – tend to capture around half of GNI – Gross National Income wherever you live and whenever you look. The other half of national income is shared between the richest 10% and the poorest 40% but the share of those two groups varies considerably across countries.
Palma suggested distributional politics is largely about the battle between the rich and poor for the other half of national income, and who the middle classes side with.
So, we’ve given this idea a name – ‘the Palma’ (brilliant eh?) or the Palma Ratio. It’s defined as the ratio of the richest 10% of the population’s share of gross national income (GNI), divided by the poorest 40% of the population’s share. We think this might be a more policy-relevant indicator than the Gini, especially when it comes to poverty reduction."
P.S. Palma also studies the 'upper-middle', the deciles D7-D-9. But his studies are over a short period. I would not be surprised if studies over longer periods suggest different deciles.

Monday, January 12, 2015

More about Perumal Murugan

in Caravan magazine. Boat against the current by N. Kalyan Raman. Excerpt:
"It is a curious paradox that even as progressive Indians would like to abolish the caste system, they have little or no understanding of the lived reality of specific caste groups in their traditional homelands. Even as these communities are stalked and often dispossessed by the forces of modernisation, they remain hostage to the ways of the past that have sustained them for centuries. Will they ever be able to enter a secular future? Perumal Murugan has at least shown us a glimpse of what our collective struggle may be about."
P.S. In defence of the chronicler of Kongu
P.S. I hope that this is not the end

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Links, January, 11, 2005

About the radical Gandhi, some of it new to me : Battlefield Banaras by Ramachandra Guha
Telling Pakistan's story through its cricket Review of  'The Unique Ones' by Osman Samiuddin. Still reading.
Raj Chetty's lecture on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy: A Pragmatic Perspective The article should be out by the end of the month.
Perumal Muruan's Madhorubhagan incurs the wrath of RSS. I just read the translation 'One Part Woman'. It is a very nice book. The above article says " The protests seem to be about the sexual permissiveness described in the book, which is set around 100 years ago at the time of an annual festival in Tiruchengode. " But in the book at one place during a play, the comedian compares Ponna toactree Rukmini of the 1945 film Sri Valli. And at another place we find that she has seen the movie. For a nice review of the film see
On the 'cancer train' of India's pesticides from Al Jazeera
Visible Work, Invisible Women-Full Tour A video of  P.Sainath's photographs (1993-2002) of rural women and their work.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Vedic stuff making waves again

I am reminded of Aravindhan's remarks quoted at the end of this post. As Mumford says in his review of Kim Plofker's book on Indian mathematics says "Nevertheless,it is much more satisfying,when reading ancient works,to know as much as possible about the society in which these mathematicians worked,to know what mathematics was used for in their society, and how they themselves lived."

Saturday, January 03, 2015

From 'Executive Suite' 1954
A review of the movie here : "William Holden only guessed at catastrophe for the company and the nation in a booming 1954 when the net dividend for the stockholders was starting to become the benchmark for the health of the company, not the quality of its goods or services, not how many people it employed or if those employees were able to earn a sufficient living."

Another Emmanuel Todd link

I have been mentioning some of Emmanuel Todd ideas based on a reading of some of his books from the eighties. It seems that are some refinements later mentioned in
The article has links to a couple of research papers related to Todd's work.

From a comment in this blog

A suggestion from a comment in this blog (in a post on Roberto Calasso):
I just wanted to share as a dalit, apprentice mathematician vexed with the intellectual and socio-religious history of the subcontinent, two books I have found very enlightening:
1. Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe, and
2. Jonardan Ganeri, The Lost Age of Reason: Philosophy in Early Modern India

P.S. This is the sort of reason why I started the blog. To scratch the surface, learnt a bit and once in a while responses come either privately or in comments which help me to learn a bit more. Thanks.

After retirement(and after children settled to various occupations), I have been sending 15 to 20 percent of my superannuation payments to some weaker groups in coastal Andhra. Last year I sent some money to 3 Dalit students and 3 Dalit farmers who wanted to lease some land and farm. The three farmers decided to share it with five others and the students shared it with ten others. That makes me feel optimistic about the new year. I have also been trying to follow up the sanitary napkin program which has been initiated by Arunachalam Muruganantham in Guntur-Vijayawada area, but no progress so far.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Brian Arthur on complexity economics

Expository essay: Complexity Economics: A different framework for economic thought via Chris Dillow's post "In praise of complexity economics'.
There was a link to an interview with Brian Arthur a few years ago in this blog. In that interview he talked a little about India and China. He also said
 "The U.S.’s competitive position will benefit from globalization, the digital revolution, and its strong position in science and innovation. And barring catastrophes such as pandemics and wars, or severe government bungling, this will continue for several decades."
I feel that US is a bit in the second mode now, mostly self made, because of fears of loss of hegemony. But probably the developing countries will suffer first says Illargi. See also his post The year in 5 narratives.
There will be distress for some time but alternatives will develop, I think. See the recent articles of Pepe Escobar in Asia Times.
See also Emmanuel Todd's article.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Some exhilarating dance moves

In Five exhilarating dance moves that celebrate the traumas of modernity by Ananya Jahanara Kabir asks "But do we realise that many of the dance forms that exhilarate us, either as observers or participants, are born out of the deepest traumas of modernity?"
One of them 
Check also