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Friday, April 18, 2014

Jagdish Bhagwati in the FT 

David Pilling has lunch with Jagdish Bhagwati. This is JB at his charming best. Even the missing Nobel is discussed. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Are you part of the top 1%? 

Fascinating factoids from World Bank economist, Branko Milanovic: You need an annual income of just $34,000 a year to be in the richest 1% of the world. To be in the top half of the globe you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it's $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000. Something to ponder next time we rage about the top 1% :)

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Ambedkar vs Gandhi on village empowerment 

Swami Aiyar channels Ambedkar in his criticism of well-meaning village empowerment, a subject made topical by the AAP party's moves towards decentralization to the mohalla level. 

Arun Shourie's Wincott lecture from 2008 

Weekend long read 2: Arun Shourie delivers a masterclass on the political economy of reforms. A must read for anyone interested in why it is so difficult to do the manifestly obvious. 

Car dependency in the US vs Europe 

Nine reasons why the U.S. ended up more car dependant. 

The consequences of equal marriages 

Weekend read 1: A very thoughtful New York Times magazine story. Long, but worth reading to the end. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Middle class revolutions 

Vivek Dehejia on middle class revolutions in the context of the recent AAP party win in New Delhi and the confusion that followed. 

Letters and more letters 

First Bill Gates wrote his 2014 Gates Letter. Bill Easterly responded in the Financial Times. And Chris Blattman graded the original letter

Thursday, December 12, 2013

One Uber to rule them all? 

And another dimension of urbanization, and the role Uber may play in this. An Amazon for urban transport and logistics?

Policing and Cities 

Paul Romer discusses with Bill Bratton at perhaps the single most important issue in a fast urbanizing world, especially in the developing world.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A reason to visit Zwolle 

This is brilliant use of historical space; an old cathedral that's been converted into an amazing book shop. I have been to Zwolle before, but clearly I need to visit again. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why growth matters: A panel discussion at AEI 

Arvind Panagariya and Jagdish Bhagwati discuss why growth matters with Sadanand Dhume and Pravin Krishna. Arvind, as always, is compelling with the data.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ray Dalio on the Economic Machine 

Ray Dalio, founder of the world's largest hedge fund, presents an interesting and easy to understand lecture on the economy as machine.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekend reading 

Excellent profile of Raghuram Rajan in Caravan Magazine. Strangely, no mention of the Fischer Black...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hello again, Julian Simon 

Overpopulation is not the problem, says Erle Ellis.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Traveling Salesman, meet Algorithm 

Fantastic read. Unhappy Truckers and Other Algorithmic Problems. (Via Marginal Revolution)

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Book Review: The Idealist 

Seems like The Idealist is a must read book for anyone in the development business. The sub-title reads "Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty." And here is a review by James Traub

Nerds and Humour 

These have to be among the most high-brow jokes in the world.

Sample 1:  The barman says: “We don't serve faster-than-light particles here.” A tachyon enters a bar.

Sample 2. How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb? 
A fish.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Cynicism, thank god! 

Dalibor Rohac makes an eloquent defence of cynicism.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Sweden as a model of economic recovery 

Fred Bergsten on Sweden. Money quote: "The country’s guiding principle is that a successful social welfare society must be fiscally conservative and administratively efficient."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A documentary on Rush 

Blast from the past. Rush featured in an excellent documentary called Rush: Beyond the Light

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Private capital in public projects 

Isher Ahluwalia thinks Hyderabad shows the way. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What is public transit worth? 

A lot more than you might think, according to Atlantic Cities. The original paper is here

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Measuring Malnutrition 

My op-ed, defending Arvind Panagariya's EPW paper on malnutrition (link) appeared in Mint last week. I am also reproducing the full text here.


Read more »

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weekend Infotainment: George Soros FT Lectures 

Mr Soros provides fantastic insight into global currencies, the renminbi peg, the great crisis, financial sector reform etc in these conversations with Chrystia Freeland, US managing editor of the Financial Times. You can find the lectures here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Henry Markram on building an artificial brain 

One of my favourite talks at TED Global in Oxford just went live. Enjoy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

PJ du Jour 

(Via Martin)


Source

This is Jam Heaven 

Thom Yorke. Flea. Live. Need I say more?



Monday, September 07, 2009

A Wayback Machine for Manhattan 

(via Benku) I am a fan of the Wayback Machine. It should come as no surprise then that I am now addicted to the Mannahhatta Project (that's a pun, not a misspelling). The project explores Manhattan before it became Manhattan. What did the island look like? What sort of flora/fauna was native to the island?
It turns out that the concrete jungle of New York City was once a vast deciduous forest, home to bears, wolves, songbirds, and salamanders, with clear, clean waters jumping with fish. In fact, with over 55 different ecological communities, Mannahatta’s biodiversity per acre rivaled that of national parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Great Smoky Mountains!
The project uses detailed maps of the island created by British Army cartographers in 1782 together with a knowledge of the ecology and species around at the time to create computer-generated 3D images of Manhattan in the 1780's. There is a full 3-D topography of the island complete with vegetation going back to 1609. Heck, you can even look up specific addresses and see what it looked like way back when. Incredibly fascinating, and not just if you're addicted to Manhattan.

The Great Firewall of China at Work 

I am in China to attend the World Economic Forum in the north-eastern port city of Dalian. The event starts this evening, so I spent the morning exploring the great firewall. First, I realized some search results were being filtered. I tried Facebook and my blog and found both were unavailable, as was Blogger itself. Here are some screen shots (FB and my blog, respectively).




Obviously, they aren't too serious about the filtering because I am using a very simple proxy to route around the block. In the meanwhile, on telly, there is the shocking spectacle of horrible Indian soaps dubbed into Chinese. This is just so goddamn wrong...