Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not Just For Economists

Ah, this thing, Okun's law is there for my mid-term syllabus and I couldn't locate it in any of my books or notes (I hardly have any of the latter). Hence, I looked up online. Puspen, who's introduced here and everywhere else as my best friend's boy-friend asked me how long I'd be's the SMSes:

Puspen: "Does your free time end at 8pm?"

Me: "It should. But it won't. I've got some work online. Target: finish it a.s.a.p."

Puspen: "What work?"

Me: "Relation between GDP and unemployment. I can't find it in any of the books I read from, yet it's there in the syllabus...hence...get the rest"

Puspen: "that's a PhD topic!"

Me: "No. We were taught in the class. Okun's Law. I don't have the notes, that's all. It's pretty simple. What makes you think that it's a PhD topic? Everything has formulae in theory. PhD is just about showing that the formulae fail in real world"

Puspen: "Because I've always wondered why a country with the 2nd highest GDP growth has such widespread unemployment. I still can't comprehend it. I'd be happy if you could enlighten me."

Me: "1. Okun's Law states that for every 1 percentage point by which the actual unemployment rate exceeds the so-called natural rate of unemployment, the real GDP is reduced by 2.5%. This is an empirical observation, rather than a result derived from theory. It varies depending on the country and time period considered.
2. The part of the adult population that is not interested to work (or not interested to be literate enough to learn to work) is not included in the labour force. Thus they are not called 'unemployed'. An unemployed person is one who has been looking for work for the past four weeks from the time considered. (Strict definition)
3. Government policies are not made keeping economics in view. They're aimed at popularity, hence they deviate normal economic theories. The Minimum Wage Law ensures a price of labour (wage) which is well above the market equilibrium price. Since firms do not agree to pay the higher price of labour, they reduce the number of hired labourers, thus generating unemployment. (British Council has this book on how the minimum wage laws harm us. I'll get it if you want)
4. The country with the 2nd highest GDP is Japan. India has the 10th highest GDP. And India and Japan have same unemployment rates according to (updated on June 2007)"

Puspen: "I think I stated India has the highest GDP growth."

Me: "Here's what you said-'Because I've always wondered why a country with the 2nd highest GDP growth has such widespread unemployment. I still can't comprehend it. I'd be happy if you could enlighten me.'"

Puspen: " Ya. GDP growth. Not GDP."

Me: "You shouldn't have. In terms of GDP growth rate, India ranks 22nd in the world; according to"

Puspen: "My God!"

P.S.- Puspen is pursuing MBBS at SSKM Hospital. Since I had this discussion with a doctor-to-be, I might have taken advantage of his ignorance and used wrong terminology. Hence, corrections are welcome...
About you, you'll re-ascertain my 'aantelami'; so, I hope you won't read it...:P

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Who’s Gonna Be ‘Corrupt’?

A couple of nights ago, I was reading Amitabha Ghosh’s Countdown. A delightful read, I must say. One of those socio-eco-political accounts that will glue an intellectual’s eyes to the text. I read about how George Fernandes vehemently and violently protested against Indira Gandhi’s policies as a college-student in 1974, when India had its first nuclear test at Pokhran. Years down the line, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) & it’s allies came to power, with George Fernandes as the Defense Minister, they had five consecutive nuclear tests at Pokhran; and Fernandes himself signed the documents permitting them. What changed him? Or did he change at all? What makes a politician do things that are, seemingly anti-humanity? Do we really understand them beyond what the media shows us? Do we ever get to know what are the various (and, often conflicting) pressures that they carry on them, beyond what they themselves decide to reveal to the media? I think, NO.

I sent a message to all the people on my phonebook (oblivious of the expenditure, as usual!), which goes as follows:

“Suppose, you are the Prime Minister of India. The United Nations hands you a cheque worth Rs.20 lakhs INR for building 100 primary schools in the country. Your childhood friend is diagnosed with lung cancer; the best surgeons for treatment are in France; the expenditure is something like 20 lakhs. What do you choose to do with the money you have? Do you choose your childhood friend or your country?”

What I forgot to mention is that 20 lakhs is a hypothetical value, I understand that it’s certainly not enough to build a 100 primary schools. At the same time, what I meant to highlight is that the UNESCO and UNDP funds are never actually large enough to serve the purpose they’re meant for. The other thing is an assumption that you aren’t corrupt, yet. If you’re already corrupt you aren’t even remotely expected to spend the money for its intended purpose. Furthermore, if you’re corrupt, you already have enough money at your disposal to bother about a mere 20 lakhs or a mere lung cancer!


Save a few, most bothered to reply! Here are the various replies: (for a brief, tabular representation of the results, please scroll downwards):


(I hope none of my friends will take offence at my public publishing of their SMSes)


Agnimita: My country. If I’m the PM, then I can finance my friend’s operation myself. I wouldn’t need the money allotted for my country’s development.

Avik-Da: I will save my friend if he’s worth it.

Arijit Kundu: I would go for my country first, then any friend, then myself.

Amrita: I will choose my country. Because, for my friend, I’ll have black money.

Nikita: Good that you have provided me food for thought. I will ponder upon it and reply later on.

Kundan: I’d use the grant to build schools! And if I’m the PM, I’d have my own money enough to afford my friend’s treatment at France! So, both would be done!

Puspen: Friend.

Mrityunjoy-Da: Country…

Sagnik: Ask the Prime Minister himself, LOL

Neema: Dunno if it’s right or wrong, but I would save my friend. The schools can wait.

Gaurav Pande: I would return the money. If the choices would have been such that I would have to sacrifice something of my own for any of those causes, I’d readily done so. I can’t choose anyone of these options because choosing one of them may cause harm or difficulties to others. I don’t want to take decisions which bring joy to many and death to one. So better avoid. That’s the best way out.

Deshraj: That’s a tough decision. But I think I’ll choose my childhood friend…

Arpita Bayen: I’ll build primary schools with these rupees. And I’ll try to get 20 lakhs with all my money and property…if I can’t, I’ll get a loan for it. Because, I can’t use country’s money for my personal problem, and I can’t leave my friend either. (Arpita’s is the best reply according to me)

Sudeepa: Look, it’s easy to say that everyone has to die someday, so, it’s India’s future which should be considered here. Anyway, There isn’t any PM whose private possessions are less than 20 lakhs. So, both will be served.

Sudipto: Childhood friend.

Sujoy: As a Prime Minister, I must go for building the primary schools, as the amount donated is not for my personal use. And I hope my pals will also understand why I have done so. (the second best reply)

Souvik: As I’m a PM so I’d think for everybody! The schools can wait for sometime, but if I help my friend, I can save 1 life. So, I’ll help my friend first!

Saheli: I’ll chose my childhood friend.

Raka: When such a situation happens in reality, then, I’ll weigh the other factors and effects and decide. Till then, racking your brain over this is futile.

Bishwadeb-Da: Firstly, if I’m the PM, then I’ll have enough sources and power to sponsor and not require UN funds (assuming my friend is poor, and not one who can afford the surgery). Secondly, I am sure India has world-renowned doctors, so I will not need France for a surgery. (this response was good enough!)

Rumeli: I would choose my childhood friend. And do hell with my country. I will resign. And will see what happens later…because I love my friend a lot.

Sohini: My country.

Madhumanti: I will choose my country.

Moumita: Of course my country…since I’m answerable to my country & the UN…a responsibility as a Prime Minister. Maybe I could spare that amount from my pocket for a friend.

Sourav Roy: Childhood friend.

Sangharsan: If I were the Prime Minister, I’d never want or ask for money…I would work hard to keep my country in the best way possible. I will sell myself, and all my happiness to save my friend, but never my country. My friend would also never want me to do that.

Arijit Majhi: It’s simply impossible to set up 100 primary schools with 20 lakhs…it’s better to save my friend’s life.

Trishita: My childhood friend, of course!

Payal: I’ll think and reply after a few days.

Tiyash: I guess friend…or 50:50…

Manavi: Obviously, I’ll choose my friend. Why open schools and torture tiny-tots…right?

Elisha: Confused…but I’d do both…build 100 schools to maintain my image before the UN & curb illiteracy. Also try to fund my friend’s treatment with my own bank balance as much as I can do for my friend…

Torsha: Give me some time to think…will reply later

Rajarshi-da: Country….because it’s meant for the country.

Dipayan: I’ll start a 100 primary schools; that way, my country will be rendered necessary service…& my childhood friend will be proud of me. But out of black money (this is India), I’m sure those 100 schools will be made. It won’t hurt to become a bit immoral for my friend and my country! That’s the way…that’s why, be within the system…and only when needed, take the wrong path. We always have a choice; it’s upto us to use our choice and put it to good use, however bad it might look to the public eye or our own morals, if it finally helps the person or the system….that’s important to you. A problem is not going to exist without a solution! And to put it to a conclusion, what I don’t understand is, why do you have to choose between your childhood friend and country?

Suchandrima: He’s the PM, that too India’s, and he himself doesn’t have Rs.20 lakhs! And…100 schools with just 20 lakhs? No schools, only slums will be made! I’ll choose friend with my money, and country with UN money.

Aryan: I will choose my country.

Sonnet: Me, being a philanthropist, so NOTWITHSTANDING the matter of being my Prime Minister, I would always prefer my country when the fund is coming for a specified reason. As for my friend…I think I can live with one kidney. (the most ‘practical’ reply)

Sohom-da: I should divide these 20 lakhs between the two. Reasons: 1. The treatment can be started, paying the 10 lakh in advance and the 10 lakh out of instalments, in future (out of my drafts, bonds & estates). 2. The building project can be started using 10 lakh and the rest 10 lakh can be paid of any of the PM...funds. Time is what a PM needs.

Vaibhav-da: Well, for the time being, I’ll allocate 10 lakhs between the two causes. And invest the remaining 10…so that it will multiply itself in some time. Hence, both the causes will be served.

Avishek Das: Obviously, my friend.

Abhishek Banerjee: 20 lakhs are insufficient for building a 100 primary schools! So instead of taking on the project, I’ll use the money to treat my friend while in the meantime I’ll ask for extra funds. While the extra funds arrive the stock markets might show an up-trend and the extra funds will multiply and become enough for the project!

I was really kidding…I myself don’t know what comes first- duty or love. So naturally, I don’t know the answer to your question!

Koyel: Country at first. If abandoned educated fellows turn doctors, then many people’s childhood friends can be saved from lung cancer. (the third best reply)

Aishik: people of India.

Mum:  Tough decision to take. Leaving it for you.

Baba: Country. Because it’s wiser to invest in education than a disease such as lung cancer.

Bro: 10 lakhs to schools, 5 lakhs to friends, 5 lakhs for myself.

You know what I’d thought? If someone spends it on any other purpose than the intended one, he/she’ll be the one whom the common man calls ‘corrupt’. So, I’ve got a number of completely corrupt friends, and partially corrupt friends as well!


Number Of People Questioned


Number Of People Replied


Number Of People Choosing Country


Number Of People Choosing Friend (Corrupt)


Number Of People Choosing 50:50 (Partially Corrupt)


Number Of People Undecided


 Anyway, here's the same question for anyone who reads this:

“Suppose, you are the Prime Minister of India. The United Nations hands you a cheque worth Rs.20 lakhs INR for building 100 primary schools in the country. Your childhood friend is diagnosed with lung cancer; the best surgeons for treatment are in France; the expenditure is something like 20 lakhs. What do you choose to do with the money you have? Do you choose your childhood friend or your country?”

P.S: Please remember the assumptions...


Monday, November 3, 2008


Here's the FLIPSYDE song:

[Verse 1]
Hustlin's in my blood my father's name is Britain
His history consisted of robbery killin' and pimpin
Filthy rich and the biggest killer that you ever seen
Once I'm older I'm takin' over ima be king
I was locked up in jail when he got the new land
Opened his cells I guess that's how the story began
First mission was to clear it out and claim it as mine
Indigenous people were peaceful it took no time
Great grandmother Africa was blind and disabled
Sons was traitors we played divide and conquer invaded
Sold her children into slavery and profited quick
Started makin' side deals and that's how I got rich
Daddy Britain found out and tried to put me in check
He don't understand I'm a man and I deserve some respect
Tried to bring it to me but I play for keeps and I won
Still my daddy but you ain't the only man with a gun
More money More problems little brother is wild
They call 'em The South he's country with a big ass mouth
Tried to show 'em new business but he don't wanna change
I love 'em but I knew eventually I'd blow out his brains
I'm America!

You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless

[Verse 2]
Me and my daddy still cool and my uncles is with us
France Russia and Italy and we all killas
But it's this nigga named Germany that's out of control
Rollin with Japan and Turkey and them niggas is bold
Started fuckin' with my uncles and we all went to war
Uncle France damn near died at the tip of his sword
When the smoke cleared we won let 'em retreat
Shoulda' killed 'em cause they knew they had us close to defeat
Kicked it off again 20 years later it was on
This time my uncle Italy traded and he was gone
I was neutral when Japan hit me guess that he knew
I aint gone' let my family fight without me jumpin' in too
Woulda' lost if I didn't hit Germany's weapon supply
Kamikaze Japanese was always ready to die
Dropped atomic bomb let them niggas know that it's real
Speak soft with a big stick do what I say or be killed
I'm America!

You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless

[Verse 3]
I'm racin' with my uncle Russia we the ones with the guns
He supported the North so I rolled with South Vietnam
Thought it would be easy but almost 60 thousand died
They was harder than Korea so we ran for our lives
It's a family called the Middle East and they got bread
Sellin' oil they don't cut me in then off with their head
I got a nephew named Israel that's right in the middle
Pay his allowance as long as he can dance to my fiddle
I had a patna' named Iraq gave 'em weapons and money
Nigga started getting' power and he start actin' funny
Saudi Arabia's cool gotta son Bin Laden
I was trainin' his soldiers to go against the Russians and stop 'em
Then he tried to say I need to take my soldiers and cut
Gave 'em the finger that's when he flipped and blew my shit up
I took it to 'em, and then I took it back to Iraq and if you ain't my blood brother you gonna be flat on
yo' back
The sons of Africa just invented this shit called rap
Tellin' my secrets that's why I'm puttin' their heads on flat
Built an empire quick and it might not last
But I bet I go down in history as the one that smashed
I'm America!

You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless

Hustlin's in my blood my father's name is Britain
Hustlin's in my blood my father's name is Britain
The red the white the red the white the blue
The red the white the red the white the blue

Watch: the video's really worth it.

What can make the world a better place?