Which Countries Win the International Mathematical Olympiads

IMOI was asked on twitter how students of Indian origin do in the maths equivalent of the US spelling bee contests. (I had written a blog post on how students of Indian origin appear to have cornered the market on US spelling bee contests.)

I guess they do well in math too. I did a bit of searching on the web and here’s what I found.  Continue reading “Which Countries Win the International Mathematical Olympiads”

India: A Case of Bad Governance

In today’s Business Standard, Pranab Bardhan in his article “India — A case of bad governance“, makes a number of very important points.
Continue reading “India: A Case of Bad Governance”

Solution to India’s Greatest Failure

In a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “India’ Greatest Failure,” Paul Beckett writes about T.S.R. Subramanian who retired as India’s most senior civil servant in 1998. Beckett quotes from TSR’s book, “GovernMint in India” — “Since no part of the Establishment has an interest in punishing corruption, trying for a more sweeping solution quickly leads into the realm of blind hope.”
Continue reading “Solution to India’s Greatest Failure”

Lee Kuan Yew on PURA

In an article in the Business Line titled “Kalam’s PURA will not work,” Lee Kuan Yew makes the case for urbanization of the population for India to develop.
Continue reading “Lee Kuan Yew on PURA”

Abolish the Haj Subsidy

A few days ago the Supreme Court of India admitted a petition challenging the subsidy for haj. (Link). The Rs 280 crore (~ US$ 60 million) a year subsidy for Muslims to visit Saudi Arabia, the petitioners claim, is not just unconstitutional but discriminatory.
Continue reading “Abolish the Haj Subsidy”

Of Freedom, Markets, and the Future of India

Markets Work, Incentives Matter

The two broadest generalizations one arrives at from a study of economics are that markets work and that incentives matter. People respond to incentives because that is at the core of what it means to be rational. To the extent that humans are rational, their behavior is predictably in the direction that existing incentives point to. Trade between humans is rational because both parties in any voluntary trade benefit. The abstract mechanism which enables trade is called the market. Markets work in the sense that they maximize the gains from trade among an arbitrary number of entities. There are other methods of enforcing trade among people, such as the command and control mechanism often employed by communist governments. But they are at a distinct disadvantage relative to the market because the latter is based on the premise that rational actors respond to incentives.
Continue reading “Of Freedom, Markets, and the Future of India”

Happy Independence Day

Happy 60th Independence Day!

My analysis is one of hope, potential and possibilities. Although political freedom was achieved 60 years ago, economic freedom is still a distant dream for the majority of the population. It is understandable why political freedom is easier to achieve relative to economic freedom. The entire population of the nation has an interest in political freedom — with very rare exceptions. But there are factions within the country that oppose economic freedom because they have a vested interest in the perpetuation of a command and control economy. Yet without economic freedom, the nation is unlikely to achieve its potential.
Continue reading “Happy Independence Day”