The helplessness of being the victims of collective insanity, nauseating role played by the lobby groups and media in bringing the world to such a pass is appalling. The dread that there was such colossal and collective failure in getting the fundamentals wrongly read and interpreted is perhaps something which leaves one shaken-was all that we were taught wrong, where are our management gurus, where are our money spin doctors who just knew everything, where are our evangelists and crusaders of economic reforms? Economic reforms only means that govt. should underwrite the risk while the rich make merry. Where are our all knowing mandarins of planning commission who feel that by legislation human nature can be governed and piece of paper called contracts can get work done. [I have always wondered why have not these people not yet targeted the largest spender of public money-the armed forces and police, why do not there be a tender for manning military & para-military forces-oh I forgot learned finance ministry should set up a regulator in such a scenario-let a beautifully drawn concession for 30 years be granted to whomsoever quotes the lowest]
The other day my niece who studies economics in XI std. told us that consumption is good for economy-her teacher says; well then perhaps our teachers forgot to teach the Keynes’ ‘paradox of thrift‘-what is good for an individual may ignite recession! Well it is not thrift but unbridled consumption that threatens nation states to go under-something which did not happen even in 1929.
Day in and day out we are bombarded by the adverts making a compelling case to spend over our means-we are told by our money managers that PPF is bad, MIS of postoffices should be scrapped-let all money be handed over to a few, handful private entities-so if you retire and find that you are old, sick and without a job and that the fund house which YOU chose has gone under-don’t complain-it was your choice of portfolio/money manager, so please don’t complain. NBFCs of broking firms were ready to give easy credit on phone call to make investments by putting only 10% of the trade amount. We have in a long fit of collective insanity overlooked fundamentals-our intellectually superior management gurus and money managers promised to create a perpetual motion machine and we believed.
What worries more is the impending burst of credit card credit-a staggering $950 Bn-much of it as toxic (I like the choice of word) as sub-prime related papers. To quote from BW <As with mortgages, banks bundle groups of so-called credit-card receivables, essentially consumers’ outstanding balances, and sell them to big investors such as hedge funds and pension funds. Big issuers offload roughly 70% of their credit-card debt.> Well look at the domino structure!!! Well I wonder what have engineers contributed in finance when most of the MBAs are having tech background-we are taught how to decouple problems and how to have containment in our designs. Lessons famously and tragically learnt in Chernobyl disaster have just been these-don’t make the system interdependence so much that physical separation in crisis is not possible [in this accident as the reactor heat escaped the safety systems and power supply to pumps also got burnt-making a reactor rescue hopelessly impossible]. I have always admired the last line of defence followed by nuclear reactors. When everything fails, under gravity the reactor is just flooded with normal water. [In Narora, when power and some safety systems failed following hydrogen leak related blast-in bellowing smoke operators forming human chain poured Boron compound from jerricans to kill the reaction]-well atleast we need to start decoupling the instruments. [in signal analysis every derivative makes the result jerkier unless the input is a pucca sinus wave ] & teach ourselves that there is something called moderation and thrift, which incidentally is one of the few antidotes to the in-the-wings environmental Armageddon.
Toynbee famously remarked <It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in human history , the only way of salvation is the ancient Hindu way…>
I am attaching an interesting article on new American discovery-thrift.
Pained…confused and angry,
(written in 2009-this was covering mail to an attached article addressed to my colleagues at RDSO)