The Democrats and the US media gave Trump the Modi treatment – with the same results
My friend Winston the electrician called round last week, a couple of days after Donald Trump’s election victory. I unlocked and swung open the gate and he was pointing at me.
‘You’re the man, Andy, you’re the man! You said Trump would win!’ he said.
I’d briefly forgotten the conversation we’d had the previous Monday, on the eve of the US presidential election, when I’d heretically argued that in spite of all the pro-Clinton hysteria on the TV and wireless, I thought that Trump had a very good chance of stealing victory from under the noses of the Democrat-supporting media. Almost all journalists and commentators were so frantically virtue-signalling that they couldn’t detect the reality of what was happening on the ground.
And so it transpired. I didn’t take any particular delight in Trump’s victory; I wasn’t even gruntled at having been more or less correct in predicting he would win. I didn’t like Hillary at all – a greedy, corrupt, establishment money-grubber and war-monger who had utterly forsaken the ordinary folk who were the Democratic Party’s mass (and essential) voters. Trump was loud, vulgar, abusive and egomaniacal – although he was less boring than the alternative. Like many, I quite liked some of what he was saying but I wondered if it was insincere and crazed gibberish that he had no real intent of making good on. But he certainly knew how to ‘lead and pace’ his supporters.
Continue reading “We don’t need no stinking dynasties!”
Modi and Doval ensure that Pakistan’s villainy is at last being internationalised.
If India seems to have an unusual affinity with Israel – they increasingly share trade and technology links and so on – it might partly be because their recent histories are oddly similar.
Both had the experience of declaring statehood as secular democracies at roughly the same time (India in 1947, Israel in 1948).
Then, immediately afterwards, both were attacked by Islamic neighbours: India by Pakistan; Israel by Egypt, Jordan, Syria and whoever else had a hammer. Israel was again attacked by Muslim neighbours in 1967 (the Six-Day War) and yet again in 1973 (the Yom Kippur War). Stridently Islamic Pakistan attacked India again in 1965 and yet again in 1971.
Continue reading “Turning the screw on Pakistan”
A lot’s happened since Bharatiyata! started half a year ago. Let’s have a quick review of what this is all about …
I started this website back in February and now, just over six months later, I’m going to do a quick upsum to see how far we’ve come, where we’ve got to, what topics we’ve covered and where we’re going. It’s a drawing of breath before moving forward again.
First of all, I haven’t done much over the past month – in fact the work has been mostly behind the scenes as I’ve been ‘SEO-optimising’ the site (mind-numbing work) and bringing various things up to date. At the start I decided I wouldn’t take advertising on here because Bharatiyata! was not created to be a money-making vehicle, at least not in the short-term sense of scraping fractions of pennies from click-throughs. I have zero interest in that model of commerce. I’m trying to be generous with this site and am simply attempting to give information and insight to people who might be interested in those topics. Continue reading “September upsum”
Will the RBI’s new governor be a stalwart and hold the line against inflation as Rajan did?
In three days’ time Urjit Patel will take up his post as the Reserve Bank of India’s new governor. He was previously deputy governor, and his promotion – which had been mooted as influenced by Modi’s old-boys network (Urjit is a Gujurati Patel) – is probably no such thing, as Patel is the eighth deputy governor to be promoted to boss of the RBI. It is a tradition.
Continue reading “New RBI boss Urjit Patel – just like the old boss?”
India’s imminent Goods and Services Tax (GST) will at last release the brakes of the Indian economy as everywhere else slumps into negativity
This does have to do with India’s GST, so please bear with me for a couple or three paragraphs.
Retail and commercial banks make money on the spread – the difference between the rate at which they charge interest on credit extended (money out – assets) and the rate at which they pay interest on deposits (money in – liabilities). Therein lies the problem with zero or negative interest-rate policies (NIRP, ZIRP) currently decreed by central banks. A bank cannot offer any interest to depositors if – because of ZIRP – its loans are paying anaemic income. Even if a bank receives, say, 2% on credit extended, it will not cover its costs – let alone make enough profits to survive in a competitive market – unless it offers -1% or less on deposits. Many banks, even Deutsche Bank, are already on the point of expiration and this regime will only make financial euthanasia across the industry the norm.
Continue reading “No need to be negative – GST: India’s new goods and services tax”
Studying the changing profile of power in Modi’s government will reward those who wish to understand and do business with India
A week ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated a major reshuffle of his cabinet and ministers. Halfway through the NDA’s term of government is a good time to take stock in a significant way, and to position the government for the coming election in 2019 whose approach is still just below the horizon.
What seems clear is that with this reshuffle Modi is further putting his stamp on the character of the administration, and that he has one eye on the future electoral profile of the BJP: good performance is rewarded and poor performance, including ministers getting too big for their boots, is punished. The demotion everybody is talking about is Smriti Irani being moved from Employment to Textiles due to her proclivity for never knowingly avoiding a fight and admiring herself way too much. Some claim it is not a demotion but a sideways deployment that positions her to fight in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections. (Note that the Gandhi family ‘pocket boroughs’, Amethi and Rae Bareli – which hold the honours of the most severe child malnutrition in India, and some of the worst highways – are in Uttar Pradesh.) Others say that is nonsense and that caste issues by far outweigh any influence that Irani could bring to bear in that state. We shall see.
Continue reading “So much more than musical chairs”
The moral infants who perpetrated the ‘ISIS’ Dhaka atrocity should be seen for who they really are
Bangladesh is slowly beginning to emerge from its rear-facing progress and is preparing itself to welcome a measure of development and prosperity. Despite having to live next door to Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal, the government of Sheik Hasina – who might not be perfect but is better than anybody else her benighted country has to offer – is proving herself amenable to change and development. The railway between India and Bangladesh is now freely open; cross-border trade and diplomacy, with the investment and economic expansion that will flow from it as part of Modi’s evolving South Asia free-trade area, will eventually transform the fortunes of former East Pakistan (West Pakistan take note). That is why Hasina is playing ball with India. But not everyone in Bangladesh is happy about it.
The problem with development and change is that it disrupts an existing system. Cybernetics and family therapy made the point decades ago that if just one element of a system, such as a member of a family, decides to alter their role or act differently it radically changes the positions and outlooks of everybody else (for example, an insecure teenage girl turns anorexic and instantly becomes the star of the family). Systems are organisms where each part is interrelated to the others and has an interest in maintaining not only its current state, but that of every other one. So change provokes resistance.
Continue reading “Pain and progress in Bangladesh”
India may well regret seeing off a sober money-man if it now lets slip the dogs of boom
This weekend saw the announcement by Indian central bank chief (and former IMF director) Raghuram Rajan that he would not take up a second period where, appointed by the previous Congress administration, he has been in post since 2013. Instead, Rajan will return to the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. There he is Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, and has been on an extended sabbatical that has seen him steady and even turn around India’s economic situation.
At least that is what some say. Others, such as deadly loose cannon Subramanian Swamy, who campaigned for his removal, accuse Rajan of hobbling India and indulging in egotistical grandstanding, to the government’s and the nation’s detriment.
Continue reading “Raghuram Rajan “resigns””
India’s massive and growing workforce represents either nightmare or dream scenario, depending on your outlook
Twelve million young people arrive on India’s job market every year; relentlessly, one million extra souls each month are looking to find work. There are two extreme ways of viewing this situation: either it’s an intractable disaster caused by massive overpopulation that is going to lead to starvation and economic meltdown, or it is the most blessed economic benefit that any country has ever experienced.
Because of its social structure – with large families and an agricultural basis, even now – a good proportion of India’s ceaselessly emergent workforce is simply absorbed into the fabric of the existing economy. The school-leaver will go to the field or behind the counter of the family business. That is not to say such a situation is economically efficient or ideal, or that it is best for a majority of the new workers, whose potential may be wasted in such unambitious occupations, adding only marginally to or even dividing the fortunes of family and country.
Continue reading “One million jobs a month”
Modi entered Delhi facing an entrenched and obstructive government bureaucracy that was bespoke-designed over many decades to serve the bigwigs of Congress
Despite being Modi’s biographer and genuinely liking the man, I am not here to defend him. It is a fact that as we pass the two-year mark of the BJP administration in power, there are justified criticisms to be made. Overall the biggest complaint has to be the apparently slow and timid pace of change and reform – for, incidentally, nothing dramatically disastrous or unforgivable has occurred, despite such being endlessly predicted by Modi’s political and media enemies loyal to the Gandhi dynasty.
When I am asked, as I always am asked, the reason why Modi has not changed everything quickly and delivered India to its wonderful prosperous destiny already, I reply with an offering of a reality sandwich. First of all, Modi entered Delhi facing an entrenched and obstructive government bureaucracy that was bespoke-designed over many decades to serve the bigwigs of the Congress Party and the Gandhi dynasty. Very many careers were owed to and depended upon the established structure; forcing it to change was always going to be a Herculean task. The babus of government service constitute a complete society, unbelieveably loyal to that Gandhi dynasty, and changing their orientation would be a work of years and would require a master administrator.
Continue reading “Things are finally moving …”