Untangle this Mess–Indian Telecom Infrastructure

There is much ballyhoo about the emergence of global outsourcing giant. It always been my argument that compared to China, India’s telecom and other infrastructure facilities are teetering on the brink. I got these pictures through email today. Talk about India’s telecom infrastructure. To say that it is jumbled would be an understatement. Here, take a look for yourself and identify which wire is connected to which call center. How long do you think this infrastructure arrangement will last?

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Bushism, Global Food Prices and India–The Blame Game

No doubt global food prices have gone up. Last week big box food retailers and wholesalers started to ration key grains such as rice. The reasons for the sudden jump on food prices is complex. Particularly, speculation in the commodity prices, jump in fuel prices, and use of corn as a biofuel, drought, global warming, and increasing consumption are some of the reasons for the jump in commodity prices. It is completely surprising for high consuming United States to argue that the emergence of the Indian middle class as the reason for the jump in global food prices. The current US administration has indeed hit the pits and reached new lows. Really, rise in the middle class in India is the reason for jump in food prices? Really? I mean really? India is a net food exporter not an importer. You are unbelievable, lil bush and condi. Did you guys know that US agri-business is heavily subsidized by the American taxpayers so that corporations can make a tidy profit.

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.

Outsourcing and Globalization-Tom Friedman

Here is Tom Friedman’s (New York Times and the author of World is Flat) take on the global outsourcing to India and its impact on globalization and Indian economic development. Take a look at the video:

LOST-Battle Over State Sovereignty

Interestingly, the administration of George W. Bush is urging the United States to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, popularly referred by the acronym LOST. The objective of this treaty is to provide universal legal standards for shipping, fishing, mining, and managing the environment of the high seas.  In addition, the Law of the Sea Treaty also harmonizes navigation and transit principles in the high seas that are already part of the customary international legal practices among states, and some legal experts argue that it will also enhance United States National Security.  However, significant opposition is growing among conservative organizations and some US Senators have expressed serious reservations against ratification of this treaty because of the fear that it will erode American sovereignty and prevent dominance of the high seas.  This ratification battle underscores the constant struggle between international organizations and states, where each attempt to structure the rules of international games to their advantage.  Interest groups within hegemonic states such as the United States are strongly pushing back as what is termed the growing global legal jurisdiction over sovereign states.

 

Take a look at this illuminating video primer for starters:

 

 

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.