The Peculiar Case of the Somali Shilling

Sudipta, a dear friend in the Silicon Valley, asked me to comment on a March 2013 article titled "Orphaned currency, the odd case of Somali shillings." The piece is about how the Somali shilling continued to circulate even after the Somali central bank was literally destroyed in the civil war around 1991. The bank notes … Continue reading The Peculiar Case of the Somali Shilling

Winter Solstice Greetings

The Winter Solstice began yesterday at 5:23 PM Eastern Time. It was the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere. Around here (Latitude: 39.68N Longitude: 75.75W) the length of the day was approximately 9 hours and 21 minutes. Happy Winter Solstice. Here's a track from George Winston … Continue reading Winter Solstice Greetings

Economic Growth, Population and Poverty Numbers

I normally don't do numbers. But in this post, I will have to refer to numbers because wealth and poverty have to be understood quantitatively too. So let's do the numbers. It is an amazing fact that extreme poverty has fallen both in absolute and relative terms. The world’s population living in extreme poverty has … Continue reading Economic Growth, Population and Poverty Numbers

The British are Gone but the British Raj Lives on

"It was [in India] the British learned the art of imperial power. ... India was decisive. It gave Britain the resources, the market, the manpower, and the prestige to build a world-wide empire. And in the years to come they worked feverishly to secure that prize." The British Empire could not have been possible … Continue reading The British are Gone but the British Raj Lives on

Strangling the Politicians

In my last post, On the Distress of Farmers, I wrote "that Indians will never be free until the last politician is strangled with the entrails of the last bureaucrat." I was echoing the European Enlightenment figure Denis Diderot (1713-1784) who wrote: La nature n'a fait ni serviteur ni maître; Je ne veux ni donner ni … Continue reading Strangling the Politicians

On the Distress of Indian Farmers – The Introduction

Of the three major sectors of any economy, agriculture is the primary sector. It is prior in time and naturally enough forms the basis for the other two sectors -- manufacturing and services. Without a solid foundation provided by an efficient agricultural sector, no society can prosper. Everybody -- factory workers, quantum physicists, doctors, programmers, … Continue reading On the Distress of Indian Farmers – The Introduction

Does capitalism destroy jobs?

If by capitalism one means “free market exchanges and production through the use of privately owned capital”, then indeed capitalism destroys jobs -- those jobs that are made redundant by increasing the productivity of labor. Imagine an economy which only produces food, and the only input to food is labor. Further imagine that the productivity … Continue reading Does capitalism destroy jobs?