Sunday, July 19, 2015

On Facebook for a few days.

Trouble with laptop and I do not know how to do cut and paste on iPad. But I post similar links to here without passages on Facebook

Friday, July 17, 2015

An article about Syriza from January 2015

Why Syriza cannot save Greece. It seems to be from an anarchist perspective. It seems interesting to me and largely correct "But they are playing with fire, promising solutions they cannot deliver. If their failure could open the door for fascism, it could also create a new phase of movements outside and against all authoritarian power."

Narayana Murthy raises interesting questions

How can you, the graduates of IISc, contribute towards a better India and a better world?:
"...let us pause and ask what the contributions of Indian institutions of higher learning particularly IISc and IITs, have been over the last 60-plus years to make our society and the world a better place. Is there one invention from India that has become a household name in the globe? Is there one technology that has transformed the productivity of global corporations? Is there one idea that has led to an earth-shaking invention to delight global citizens? Folks, the reality is that there is no such contribution from India in the last 60 years. The only two ideas that have transformed the productivity of global corporations – The Global Delivery Model and The 24-hour workday – came from a company called Infosys.
Yet, let us look at the problems that surround us here in India. We have the largest mass of illiterates in the world. We have the largest number of children with malnutrition. We have the poorest public health service in the world. We have the dirtiest rivers in the world. Our vehicles produce he highest carbon per vehicle in the world. We have the lowest per-capita usable water in the world. Our primary education is one of the lowest quality in the world. I can go on and on. The important thing ls to recognise that this country has no shortage of problems to be solved urgently."
I think that hints answers to his questions in the first paragraph are in the second paragraph and also the discriminatory systems. It is difficult to raise too much above the surroundings; slowly the outside atmosphere seeps in. Moreover, these institutes are were based on some sort of trickle down theory, but they are acting as trickle ups for those who make it there mainly from the elites.
There are some reactions "And the answer lies in State funding, institutional autonomy, quest of excellence, and a pro-people development model." To me it seems like the elites are trying to preserve and enhance their gated communities. Another reaction here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


"The article, about five sewage workers, described what happened to them when they got into a manhole, at Mumbai's Usha Nagar Culvert on the Eastern Express Highway, to remove gunny bags from 35 feet under the sewage pipeline:
"Sameer, Rajesh and Dhaneshwar were the first to enter the chamber by means of a rope. Ravindra and Panchonan, who followed them, came out citing difficulty in breathing. After waiting for some time, site supervisor Shivanand Chavan called in the cops. By the time the fire brigade personnel entered the chamber, wearing gas masks, Sameer, Rajesh and Dhaneshwar had died."" from Bharat Ratnas: the Clean India army every Indian must meet. Another article (both via Benjamin Kaila). One of the photos:

Bharat Ratnas: the Clean India army every Indian must meet

The Iran deal

Some of the leftist blogs were skeptical that a deal would be reached. Juan Cole sugests a plausible reason:Did rise of Daesh/ISIL ensure Iran Nuclear Deal ? In another article he discusses Reagan's deals That Time Ronald Reagan Opened Iran and illegally sold Khomeini weapons : "Then Reagan had his people steal hundreds of T.O.W. anti-tank missiles from the Pentagon warehouses and illegally ship them to Khomeini’s Iran, then on the US terrorist watch-list. Let me just underline this. Reagan was prevented by law from selling US weaponry to Iran, and certainly without notifying Congress under the Arms Export Act. There was no aboveboard, legitimate way to do this. So he just had his people pilfer expensive weaponry and ship it to Iran. A notorious Israeli arms dealer was the intermediary.
Note, too, just for the annals of perfidy, that Reagan was at the same time militarily supporting Iraq,  and had told Baghdad they were his allies.Reagan, being a fiscal conservative, made Khomeini pay for the weaponry. Reagan then put that money in secret Swiss bank accounts and gradually sent it to the Nicaragua right wing death squads. That was how he got around the Boland Amendment. He didn’t use US government money for this purpose. It was Khomeini’s money.
In return for the American weapons, Iran agreed to pressure the Lebanese Shiites to let US hostages go, solving a PR problem for the US Republican Party."

Keynes in 1915

(via Lars P.Syll) Thanks to the departure of an arrogant negotiator, serious negotiations can begin now:
The negotiations on the Treaty of Versailles have so far been disrupted by the attitude of a British negotiator, a certain John Maynard Keynes. He has a flamboyant personality and dubious morals,[1] and has consistently employed an arrogant and professional tone to crush other negotiators with his contempt.
Ignoring the elementary lessons of economics, Mr Keynes has argued that countries running current account surpluses, and which have made significant efforts, are just as responsible as countries running deficits in creating economic imbalances. Moreover, he has asserted that in times of underemployment, the surplus countries should spend more, thereby encouraging prodigality. He has claimed that in periods of economic hardship, public spending should be increased, and has mocked officials who naturally believe that a country cannot increase its output by spending less in order to save more. He has supported the view that Germany should be allowed to reconstruct its economy by cancelling its debts, whereas crushing Germany under the weight of repayments would push the country into misery, and so encourage its far right. In fact, it is of course clear that even a partial cancellation of debts would set a dangerous precedent, and favour waste. Lastly, he has called on all countries to scrap policies decided unanimously, which support the return to gold parity at pre-war levels. Moreover, he has claimed that this objective is not only costly and unfeasible, but has also been responsible for Europe’s weak growth, while Mr Keynes has refused to accept that wages are excessive.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Anatole Kaletsky on the Greek crisis

Looking at some of the recent writing on the Greek crisis, I find that Anatole Kaletsky said in February that Greece is playing to loose. He was taken to task for it but he seems essentially correct. He also wrote a book Capitalism 4.0 in 2010 reviewed here by John Kay. Interview with Kaletsky.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Coming to a school near you

Atticus Finch in the sequel

Atticus Finch is a racist in To Kill a Mockingbird's sequel from The Guardian.
Purnaprajna Bangere comments on my wall: "This is truly surreal; the parallel existence of a fictional character has brazenly intersected with the reality of our times (and perhaps all times.) The surrealism comes from the fact that he was thought of as a real life hero fighting for justice in the first place.....shows how people live and seek solace in images, sentimentalism, fiction and more OR Is this all a ploy to merely sell? Amazed by the hoopla! Phew"
My comment: "I was stuck by the parallels with the development of caste consciousness I noticed among friends over the last sixty years or so."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Instruments of old Bollywood film music

Yves Smith on Greece

"Tsipras has just destroyed Greece" :
"As MacroBusiness sums up:
This is basically the same proposal as that was just rejected by the Greek people in the referendum…This makes absolutely no sense. The Tsipras Government has just:
  • renegotiated itself into the same position it was in two months ago;
  • set massively false expectations with the Greek public;
  • destroyed the Greek banking system, and
  • destroyed what was left of Greek political capital in EU.
If this deal gets through the Greek Parliament, and it could given e veryone other than the ruling party and Golden Dawn are in favour of austerity, then Greece has just destroyed itself to no purpose."
Long read. Towards the end, there is a list of Policy Commitments and Actions to be taken in consultation with EC/ECB/IMF staff.
Germany won't spare Greek pain - it has an interest in breaking us by Yanis Varoufakis:
"Based on months of negotiation, my conviction is that the German finance minister wants Greece to be pushed out of the single currency to put the fear of God into the French and have them accept his model of a disciplinarian eurozone."

This may be a sign of how weaker countries will fare under various treaties and globalization.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Links, 10th July 2015

About basic income from Vox (via Akshay Regulagedda). Beware of simple solutions.

James C. Scott review of 'The world until yesterday' by Jarred Diamond. He seems to go overboard in a couple of places; see the first few comments in this Savage Minds post

'We underestimated their power' says an insider from the Greek Government (via Doug Henwood): "In the beginning of February, [Dutch finance minister and Eurogroup president Jeroen] Dijsselbloem told Varoufakis "You either sign the memorandum that the others have signed too, or your economy is going to collapse”. How? “We are going to collapse your banks". He had said that. "

Critics say that porn degrades women, dulls sexual pleasure, and ruins authentic relationships - are they right?: "I heard the same refrain over and over, from every researcher and every member of the pornography industry I spoke with: pornography is to sex as Hollywood films are to real life."

Professor Madhukar Shukla in Melbourne

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Pope Francis pays homage to Luis Espinal

Links July 9, 2015

A quick overview of the rise of IS

in a book review The Hijackers by Hugh Roberts:
"...US intelligence had anticipated the rise of Islamic State nearly two years before it happened. On 18 May, a document from the US Defense Intelligence Agency dated 12 August 2012 was published by a conservative watchdog organisation called Judicial Watch, which had managed to obtain this and other formerly classified documents through a federal lawsuit. The document not only anticipates the rise of IS but seems to suggest it would be a desirable development from the point of view of the international ‘coalition’ seeking regime change in Damascus...........
If Islamic State escaped whatever influence Western intelligence services may initially have sought to have on it and went its own way, this means that people have been playing with fire.
I don’t pretend to know what the truth is. But there is no need to prove malign intent on the part of the Western powers. The most charitable theory available, ‘the eternally recurring colossal cock-up’ theory of history, will do well enough. If a more sophisticated theory is required, I suggest we recall the assessment of C. Wright Mills when he spoke of US policy being made by ‘crackpot realists’, people who were entirely realistic about how to promote their careers inside the Beltway, and incorrigible crackpots when it came to formulating foreign policy. Since it is not only American folly and incompetence that is in the dock, I would also recall the assessment of Ernest Bevin, who remarked that ‘superiority is claimed by the middle class in the realms of government, when as a matter of fact their work is a monument of incompetence.’
Western policy has been a disgrace and Britain’s contribution to it should be a matter of national shame. Whatever has motivated it, it has been a disaster for Iraq, Libya and now Syria, and the fallout is killing Americans, French people and now British tourists, in addition to its uncounted victims in the Middle East. The case for changing this policy, at least where Syria is concerned, is overwhelming......
What can be done about Islamic State? As things stand, very little. As Cockburn was among the first to point out, air power will not stop it and nor will the corruption-ridden and demoralised Iraqi army; meanwhile, the much more combative but ferociously sectarian Shia militias are driving Sunni Iraqis into Islamic State’s arms. Sending in Western troops would be folly, a gift to the enemy. Training a few hundred Iraqis here or a few hundred Syrians there is obviously not a serious policy but a fatuous surrogate for one. What does this leave? The answer is that unless the Syrian army takes on Islamic State, IS will stay in business indefinitely......
But I’m not a think-tanker. And, apart from wanting an end to the war in Syria for its own sake, I want and believe that every real democrat would want Tunisia, the sole democracy in the Arab world, to be helped and defended from the depredations of all forms of terrorism. Western governments must be induced by public opinion in their own countries to drop the veto on a negotiated end to the war in Syria that the demand that Assad must go has amounted to. This stance, pre-empting the right of the Syrian people to decide the matter, has always been wrong in democratic principle and it has been catastrophic in practice. This doesn’t mean that they have to declare that Assad can stay. That too would be wrong in principle. But they could moderate their position: they could say that they believe Assad should step down before long but that they recognise it is for the Syrian people to decide. "

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

A new theory of the invention of agriculture

Climate-driven technological change: seasonality and the invention of agriculture by Andrea Martanga: "I propose a new theory for the Neolithic Revolution, construct a model capturing its intuition, and test the resulting implications against a panel data set of climate and adoption. I argue that the invention of agriculture was triggered by a large increase in climatic seasonality, which made it hard for hunter-gatherers to survive during part of the year. Some of the most aff ected populations responded by becoming sedentary in order to smooth their consumption through storage. While these communities were still hunter-gatherers, sedentarism and storage made it easier for them to adopt farming." 
via On the economics of the neolithic revolution which has some discussion.

Geopolitical considerations around the Greek crisis?

Lambert Strether in the comments says "I’ve toyed with the notion that it’s U.S. policy to set the Mediterranean and Black Sea littoral ablaze, along with Syraqistan. This post would seem to fit right in with that." in the comments to an article by John Helmer republished in Naked Capitalism. There are various interesting comments. One by MRW:
“Having thundered for a year on the illegitimacy of the March 2014 referendum in Crimea, saying yes to accession to Russia
Effing idiots. The UKRAINIAN constitution written in 1992 gave Crimea the legal and constitutional right to determine its own future. Russian expert Matthew Crosston explains at the link:
That 1992 constitution, however, was the Ukrainian Constitution and not the Russian one. It does indeed grant the Crimean region effective independence within Ukraine and the right to determine its own path and relations with others. Ukraine wrote those words in the immediate glowing aftermath of Soviet dissolution, when, quite frankly, most in the West felt the true political and economic prosperity path shone brightest for Ukraine and not Russia. Many seem to have forgotten this but any simple source search back to the time period will reveal massive Western enthusiasm for Ukraine’s prospects while being skeptical of Russia’s size, infrastructure and historical legacy. So yes, it was quite true that the constitution recklessly gave Crimea the opportunity to pursue the very path it was now pursuing. But this flawed constitution was written by Ukrainians, not Russians. This is a reality not revealed to readers. The problem, once again, is a pervasive subconscious Cold War pathology that predetermines how readers around the world learn about the situation in Crimea and therefore how they see Russia’s role there. [emphasis in original]
So Nuland is lying to us, and the Europeans."
Another by gemini33:
"The fact that Obama kept Nuland in a position of power given Nuland’s ties to the neocon faction and her past role as Dick Cheney’s foreign policy advisor, then ambassador to NATO and CoS for Strobe Talbott under the Clinton admin (and Talbott seems to still have a hand in foreign policy in the region somehow) is really telling. If you listen to the weekly radio segment with John Batchelor and Stephen Cohen, they used to believe Obama was not in favor of this warmongering policy toward Russia but they no longer believe that because of a recent event with John Kerry.
Kerry went to Sochi in recent weeks and met with Lavrov and Putin. Kerry told them the US strongly supported the Minsk agreement, which maintains a ceasefire (mostly) between the Ukraine govt and the separatists in East Ukraine. He told them the US would like to be part of future Minsk talks, etc. At the same time Ukraine president Poroshenko was warmongering in Kiev, talking about resuming full on war and attacking the separatists. Kerry made a public, kind of scolding statement directed at Poroshenko (who is a US puppet) that it would be very unwise to do that. At this point in time it looked like the Obama admin. was changing course on Ukraine and Russia and pulling back from the brink. Given that Kerry is Obama’s Sec of State everyone thought Kerry was acting on Obama’s behalf.
But almost immediately, Nuland, from Kiev, publicly stepped all over Kerry’s statements and reversed them (to everyone’s surprise because he is supposedly her superior). Then Obama did the same. It was a massive embarrassment for Kerry and it makes no sense because there’s no way Kerry would go to Sochi without Obama’s blessing. There was talk that Kerry might step down as a result of it. But his bicycyle accident happened right after that and he was out of the picture for awhile, and then presumably he assumed his tasks with the Iran negotiations. I don’t know if he’s said anything about Ukraine or Russia since."
Many more such comments. It is difficult to know what is happening and what will happen.

Monday, July 06, 2015

"I shall wear the creditor's loathing with pride"

says Yanis Varoufakis after resigning as Finance Minister of Greece via FT Alphaville with additional comments from David Keohane.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Yves Smith on TiSA

here: "TiSA is arguably the most important – yet least well-known – of the new generation of global trade agreements. According to WikiLeaks, it “is the largest component of the United States’ strategic ‘trade’ treaty triumvirate,” which also includes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP).
“Together, the three treaties form not only a new legal order shaped for transnational corporations, but a new economic ‘grand enclosure,’ which excludes China and all other BRICS countries” declared WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in a press statement. If allowed to take universal effect, this new enclosure system will impose on all our governments a rigid framework of international corporate law designed to exclusively protect the interests of corporations, relieving them of financial risk, and social and environmental responsibility.
Thanks to an innocuous-sounding provision called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement, every investment they make will effectively be backstopped by our governments (and by extension, you and me); it will be too-big-to-fail writ on an unimaginable scale.
Yet it is a system that is almost universally supported by our political leaders. In the case of TiSA, it involves more countries than TTIP and TPP combined: The United States and all 28 members of the European Union, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey."

Friday, July 03, 2015

Some songs from Gopinath 1948

Two on Greek debt

When Greece forgave Germany's debt from The Age
An Economic Hit Man Speaks Out: John Perkins on How Greece Has Fallen Victim to  "Economic Hit Men"
John Perkins book "The Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" available online
A Telugu translation came out around 2006 ఒక దళారీ పశ్చాత్తాపం.
J.M.Keynes in !933 National Self-Suifficiency

Ambedkar's pamphlet on caste

On Anu Murthy's insistence, I finally read 'The annihilation of caste' by Ambdkar. The reason I did not read it earlier is I read excerpts from it in articles by D.R.Nagaraj, Valerian Rodrigues, Ramachandra Guha and others. Also I read Kancha Ilaiah 's book on caste and found it had some good points but found it was disappointing polemic. So, I did not want to read another polemic. But Ambedkar is different. It is a pamphlet in the tradition of Tom Paine. It is a bit over cooked after section 12 . In section 9, at the beginning he observes sanskritization later attributed to M.N. Srinivas. Later on he goes against the might of scholars like S.Radhakrishnan and asserts that Hinduism was a ' missionary' religion ( later on, he says that it is not really a religion). Richard Eaton confirms this in his book on conversions in Bengal right up to eighteenth century where both Muslims and Hindus were allowed to convert in the process of extending the frontier for agriculture. Hinduism might have lost its vitality by then or the competition is stronger. About 90 percent converted to Islam. Ambedkar's undelivered talk is resounding polemic. I am glad that I read it.
I think that Sumit Guha underestimates the influence of Hinduism and reliion in eneral in his book 'Beyond caste'. There are caste differences in all religions in South Asia but as Ambedkar says, these differences are different. 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Healing plants in the garden

Growing herbs, for a healthy body, mind and spirit (via Lambert Strether). In addition, I also grow marigolds, garlic etc to repel some insects. I seem to get pleasure out of getting my hands dirty but some people have come down with fungal infection from the soil, potting mix and other stuff.

My brother Kamalakar Gadde with his grandson

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Indians more prone to heart attacks?

"Most of us have heard that we should eat less fat and ghee, skip the junk food, pass on the soft drinks, and lace up our running shoes regularly to keep our hearts strong, bodies slim, and our blood sugar regulated. What you may not know is that if you are of South Asian descent (from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, or Nepal), you have an increased risk of developing heart disease, a big unhealthy gut, and type 2 diabetes, regardless of your other risk factors. That’s right—even if you are a slim, vegetarian, non-smoker with low cholesterol and average blood pressure, simply being Indian puts you at risk for these conditions." says Ranjan Sinha using a study in US. May be but I am not so sure.  Indians in US are not representative of Indians in India, I think that many tend to be from upper castes. Because of endogamy and such, it is known that there are differences in castes:
"Now, scientists have furnished genetic evidence to show that several thousand years ago, India experienced a change in ways of living, after the caste system came into being.
Marriages between different groups or communities became rarer leading to less mixing of genes between groups. Before this change, people easily married outside of their groups leading to a wider intermixing of genes, they said. 
Dr Lalji Singh, molecular biologist, vice- chancellor of Benaras Hindu University Varanasi, and one of the authors of a recent paper on the subject, said in an email to Express, “We have been able to conclude that admixture in North India had occurred approximately 2,000 years ago, while South India saw it approximately 4,000 years ago.  Earlier, we had described a mutation (change) which is responsible for sudden cardiac arrest; it originated 30,000 years ago and spread in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia etc. We also found that the caste system in India is a more recent phenomenon.’’ Singh  said that less intermixing has led to the finding of genetically recessive disorders. “Many Indian groups contain genetic variants which account for substantial rates of recessive diseases like Pseudocholinesterase deficiency in the Vysya population of Andhra Pradesh; Familial Madras Motor Neuron Disease (FMMND) that has a unique geographic distribution in Tirupati-Chittoor, Southern India; sickle cell anaemia in some North and Northeast Indian populations, including the tribes of Chhattisgarh; Handigodu syndrome seen in Sagara taluk of Shimoga district of Karnataka; predominance of breast cancer among Parsis and occurrence of sudden cardiac arrests in South Asians.”"
From Genetic Ancestry of Indians. A new Paper is Creating Ruckus by Suvrat Kher (2009):
"3) The findings indicate that there is a larger amount of genetic variation between Indian groups than there is between say European groups. This the authors suggest is a result of a small number of individuals founding different ethnic groups that then remained endogamous and therefore genetically divergent. This has important medical value as recessive diseases may correlate with ethnic groups."
P.S. Note that the full article quoted above and the last d not agree.

Bruce Greenwald on the death of manufacturing

Links, July 1, 2015

The hard work of taking apart post-work fantasy by Mike Konczal
China's annual human rights report on the US by Chris Blattman
The west has normalized racist wars- but you can't solve complex problems with 1000lb bombs by Frankie Boyle: "We live in a country[UK] where posting “Let’s riot or something bruv!” on Facebook will get you a couple of years in prison, while writing a column saying we should bomb Syria is practically an entrance exam for public intellectuals." Similar phenomena in many countries. 
The crisis of non-fiction publishing by Sam Leith (via Lambert Strether): "Where 15 or 20 years ago the big trade publishers were, oddly, swamping the market with sort-of-scholarly micro-histories of salt or longitude, they now seem, with exceptions of course, to be tiptoeing away from specific, knotty, deeply researched and nuanced books about things. The sorts of book on which they tend now to rely are investigations of “big ideas”. Their lodestars or exemplars are the Malcolm Gladwells and Daniel Kahnemans and Nicholas Carrs. I do not mean to denigrate those individual authors, rather to say that they produce a particular type of work.....The university presses are turning towards the public because with the big presses not taking these risks, the stuff’s there for the taking."
The psychology of saving by Tim Harford
Inequality, the state & the left by Chris Dillow: "Rather than merely hope that the state can be grasped by good people, the left needs to think differently. What we also need are horizontalism or what Erik Olin Wright has called (pdf) interstitial transformations - self-help groups independent of the state which can grow to supplant capitalism or at least act as a counterweight to capitalistic pressures.
Sadly, though, I'm not sure that much of the British left is thinking along these lines. Perhaps, though, real progress towards socialism will occur only when the left begins to question its love of the state."