Politics & the Nation
  • The Satyam saga continues
    • Now there is all sorts of chaos and confusion as expected.
    • The Company's interim management team sees more pressing priorities than bringing Mr. Raju to book.
    • Doubts raised about the head count of employees are being laid to rest.
    • The interim management admits that it may be facing a severe cash crunch and that it may not even be having cash to pay January salaries for its staff.
    • PwC the auditor of the company has stated that the audit was conducted as per norms only.
    • Until and unless the statutory authorities finish their investigation, no clear picture is likely to emerge.
  • Satyam is not alone in committing accounting frauds.
    • It has got some illustrious names for company.
    • Computer Associates International, AIG, WorldCom, Fannie Mae & even Xerox have all had indulged in accounting misdemeanors of one type or the other in the recent past.  Almost all of them got away by paying fines.
    • Should Ramalinga Raju or Satyam be forced to die when all such big names were allowed to continue their business by paying fines?  Though we don't hold any brief either for Satyam or for Mr. Raju, the fact is this:  it is a big company that is the bread winner for over 50,000 employees.  It has contributed to India becoming a top IT destination.  Should these not be good enough reasons for a quick investigation and punishment so that the company can continue with its existence and get on with business?  India is not short of capable minds -- be it among investigators, entrepreneurs or accounting professionals.  All of them should be brought together and the Satyam saga put an end to quickly so that a chastened Satyam can get on with its business -- ofcourse minus the Rajus in management.
  • How many days in year a does our Parliament work?
    • Media reports note that the number of days Parliament meets has dropped from 151 in 1956 to 66 in 2007 and around 50 in 2008.
    • Contrast this with the reported willingness of the US Senate to work even on weekends and stretch its working to even night times during the present crisis!  
  • Oil sector officers' strike continues for the third day
    • The striking officers are protesting lower-than-expected increase in their pay approved by the government in November 2008. 
Finance & Economics
  • I am sure you have heard about John Maynard Keynes.
    • Today there appeared a very good article from Manoj Pant, about a less known concept -- 'isolation paradox'.  This is the phenomenon which explains how self-fulfilling prophecies act out in reality.  While I recommend a read of the article  at least once, those of you that can't wait to know about the concept can look at this edited excerpt:
    • One of the remarkable features of Keynes’ thesis was that unemployment can persist. Producers can leave large capacities unutilised even while there are many workers looking for some job to do. The paradox is easily explained when one brings in ‘expectations’. A producer sees declining demand, expects it to continue and hence cuts back on investment and planning for future production. The consumer sees jobs disappearing, expects this to continue and start saving for a rainy day. The cut in consumer demand further justifies the producer’s expectations; he cuts back further on building capacities thus fuelling the consumer’s expectations and the ‘race to the bottom’ continues. 
    • Why don’t the two see how they are making things bad for each other? The answer lies in what micro-economists call the ‘isolation paradox’. Each individual takes a rational decision on his own but individual rationality does not imply collective rationality. Unfortunately, there is no ‘market’ to make consumers and producers come together: they work in isolation. Ergo, someone with a less myopic and individualistic view must step in: hence the role of the government in coming together to break the logjam of unilateral decision making. The government can presumably take decisions on expenditure that would never be rational for our producer and consumer. 
  • Limited Liability Partnership bill passed
    • We have noted about this concept sometime back in our blogs.  Back in July 2007, in Discover It blog, to be precise.
    • Now this has become law.  The basic idea of an LLP company is that the liability of business could not be tagged and made personal liability of partners constituting it.
    • This article that appeared today is a good read and enhances our understanding of the concept.
  • Ghajini shatters all box office records in India
    • The film has reportedly raked in more than Rs. 200 crores in two weeks.  This appears to be largest ever collection by any Indian film so far.
    • Did you see the film?  Or planning to see it?  I for one, decided not to see the film because it reportedly has excessive violence.  I can't put up with gore in movies.
    • A movie should be enjoyable, have a good and smooth storyline and lot of dance and music for it to appeal to me.  If the violence is from robots and sci-fi creatures, that's okay with me.
Language lessons
  • spiffy
    • Adjective.  Marked by up-to-dateness in dress and manners