Tom Friedman Earth Day Lecture Welcome Reception

Tom Friedman gave an Earth Day lecture in Brown University recently. He was received very warmly by concerned students interested in protecting earth from corporate environmentalism. Here see for yourself the warm reception he got:

Friedman, Outsourcing, Globalization-My Analysis

Here is my analysis of Tom Friedman’s take on Outsourcing. Mr. Friedman seems to overstate the impact of outsourcing on India and he seems to jin-up the young and upcoming youth in India. Yes, true call-center jobs have indeed opened up new vistas to a lot of Indian youth, but these jobs have high turnover rates and low job satisfaction. Besides, these are not career-paths, the terrible hours, high-pressure environment, bosses obsessed with the bottom line and mean clients produce very minimal attachment to these jobs. These positions are bottom-feeders and they are unlikely to push India up the value chain in the long-run. Now, if you are serious programmer, with good coding skills, and language ability I am sure you will be picked-up by the MNCs and exported abroad.

Towards the end of the video clip, Tom Friedman travels to the slums outside of Bangalore and meets with some NGO activists. The most problematic element of this tour is that despite seeing the devastating poverty around him, he simply ignores them and continues to focus on the Malls, software industry, etc. Mr. Friedman’s selective analysis leaves one with the impression that everything is hunky-dory in India. Few weeks in India, with its terrible infrastructure problems, sky-rocketing food prices, and housing market that has hit the stratosphere will only demonstrate that life in India has become really miserable and the lives of the common-man or the aam adami lies shattered. Bollywood stars, supermodels, and Cricket players rake it in, while the rest transfer their wealth to them so that they can view the shameless and grotesque displays of wealth.

Reflections on Karl Marx and Capitalism

Here is a series of interesting posts on the relevance of Karl Marx by noted economist and UC Berkeley Prof. Brad Delong and very interesting comments his posts on Marx have elicited. Students in my campus are equally attracted to Marxian thought. We even have the main square on the campus named Red Square.  Although students are less and less taken in by the complexity of Marxian thought.  They revert to reflexive criticism of modern capitalism, particularly globalization and corporate capitalism.  More than anything else I am extraordinarily tired of students believing that somehow “centralized state socialism” has provided all the answers and that Cuba has a great health-care system.  Why don’t they fly to Cuba to get their major medical ailments fixed?  Why head to Mass General?  I will answer this another day.But, for now let us turn to Karl Marx. Now, I am not going to say anything about Karl Marx himself, but turn you to the post by Prof. Brad Delong.

Essence of the Free Market System

Here is the essence of the free market system as articulated by Milton Friedman from the University of Chicago.

Refrigerator Ownership and the Rise of the Supermarkets

Yesterday, we had an interesting discussion on Refrigerator Ownership and its relationship to bulk shopping in malls and grocery stores and daily shopping in small farmers markets in many developing countries. My argument was that increase in bulk shopping or weekly shopping is associated with globalization as well as increase in appliance sales in developing countries. For instance with the growth in appliance sales, particularly refrigerator ownership in developing nations, small farmer markets selling locally grown produce has been declining. This decline in locally grown produce is associated with increase in refrigerator ownership and use, which has not only increased electricity consumption, but also introduced the concept of mall shopping and large grocery supermarkets, a Western or rather American concept, which is rapidly over-taking developing states such as India and China. A new brand of refrigerator launched by the Korean firm Samsung is expected to rake in sales of 65 million dollars in India within the first year of launch.

For example, refrigerator ownership in Peru was about 10 percent, by the year 2020 it is expected to increase to 80 percent; similarly, in South Africa refrigerator ownership was below 10 percent, and it is expected to increase to 70 percent by the year 2020. This data is derived from a study done by Michael A. McNeil and Virginie E. Letschert of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I have linked the article here; you can check it for yourself. As I pointed out in class, increase in refrigerator ownership seems to be correlated with the decline in traditional markets.

Nobel Economist Milton Friedman on the Logic of Capitalism

Few days back we had a discussion on this topic in our class. Many of you seemed shocked by my views of Communism or least it seemed that way to me. Nonetheless, here is the view of one of the most artful and effective defenders of the theory of individual choice.

Link via (India Uncut)