Happy Birthday, Ludwig von Mises

ludwig-von-misess-quotes-3Today, Sept 29th, is the 135th birthday of Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973).

I consider Mises to be one of my gurus. Just to be sure, I used the word guru very seriously — one who dispels the darkness (gu) of ignorance through the radiance (ru) of knowledge. I have been reading his magnum opus Human Action (1949) and The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science (1962) religiously.

Who was he? “Ludwig von Mises was one of the greatest economists and political scientists of the twentieth century. He revolutionised the understanding of money, inflation and recessions; comprehensively refuted the arguments for socialism; and provided a devastating critique of the methodologies of mainstream economics. His contributions to the Austrian School laid the intellectual groundwork for thinkers such as F. A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard and Israel Kirzner.” Continue reading

India and Foreign Direct Investment

The economic growth of any economy depends on how much is invested in creating productive assets in it. Factories, buildings, ports, the transportation network, natural resource extraction, manpower training, the use of modern methods of manufacturing, energy production and distribution networks — all require investment. Part of the investment arises from domestic savings, part from foreign borrowings, and part from foreign direct investment (FDI.) Let’s look at how India does in FDI compared to other countries.

Here I will not address what kind of changes need to happen for India to attract, say, 10 times as much FDI as it currently does. That’s feasible but not with the current policies and leadership. Anyway, here are the facts.

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Ask Me Anything — The Boston Edition

Greetings from Boston, MA. I arrived last evening from San Jose, CA to visit my friend Kanchan Banerjee and his family. The weather here was a shock — hot and humid — after the pleasant cool and dry of the SF Bay area. That wonderful weather spoils you something silly. Anyway, lots of stuff going on. What’s on your mind?

The Global Village

zzz404With all the great advances in the technology and engineering of global telecommunications systems, it is often claimed that the world has become integrated and is now a “global village.” Is it really?

What’s a village? One definition states that a village is “a group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area.” Therefore a village has a few hundred people, and there is a high degree of dependence among them, they know and mind each other. Their knowledge of, and their interest in, the outside world is limited and their concerns are primarily parochial. A village, by its very nature, is not an agglomeration of millions of people. That would be a modern metropolitan area, or a mega-city.
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The Journey So Far, and What Lies Ahead

Always at the start
The Road Ahead

I arrived in the US on this day, August 15th, back in 1982 at JFK in New York, NY around 5 PM Eastern (Aug 16th, 5:30 AM IST.) Though it’s been many years, I still recall exactly how I felt. It was the best day of my life that far.

I had no idea of what lay ahead.

I came to the US to get a PhD in computer science at Rutgers. At that time I had not known that I was at heart an economist. In any event, I worked for Hewlett Packard for some years in the Silicon Valley, and then went back to school. Now, after 20 years of studying economics, just this past month I concluded that I finally understood the subject.
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