Weekend links – 27.2.2016

Pramit Bhattacharya weaves together many different research papers and findings on economics education.

Somalia leads the world in heralding a cashless society.

The value of goods that crossed international borders last year fell 13.8 per cent in dollar terms — the first contraction since 2009.  I think 2016 decline will be worse than 2015.


India is an outlier with its low tax/GDP ratio. Some interesting charts from Praveen Chakravarty and Vivek Dehijia.

India is also an outlier with its highly fragmented farms and factories. Explanations as to why it is the case? Jerry Rao has one here. Rigorous academic investigations needed.

According to Jayant Sinha (MoS, MoF), four pillars of the budget will be poverty eradication, farmers’ prosperity, job creation and a better quality of life for all Indian citizens. These are permanent planks of government policy. Does not give much clues as to what the budget, in particular, can do and should do.

The government’s budget promotion marketing strategy. H…mmm

Andy Mukherjee on the bad idea of a bad bank for India

T. N. Ninan strikes the right note of caution for Modi. Wailing against conspiracies is usually not a good sign. He has faced them all through his political career.

LIC includes the third gender in its forms now.


EU businesses warn of potential trade strains from China’s overcapacity. In eight industries, they say that capacity utilisation has declined in China, since the crisis.

China speaks out against EU steel tariffs imposed last month.

A very chilling article (from February 19), in a way, on the Chinese President’s attempt to seek full control of the media.

Saudi Arabia

Jack Kemp has a good piece (dated Feb. 18) on Saudi Arabia vs. US shale producers. Saudi credit rating lowered two notches on Feb. 17.


A conventional explanation of what ails Brazil.

Uber driver suspected to be involved in Michigan shooting that killed six people. Shooting in Kansas leaves 4 people dead. Real intolerance in the US.

A woman’s plastic surgery (cosmetic) in Brazil turned her into a kleptomaniac, briefly. The story seems to have ended well.

Delightful news: Digitally weary users switch back to real smart phones – stupidly called ‘dumb’ phones.

An interesting speech by Sri Lankan Prime Minister on Nov. 5 on reinvigorating Sri Lanka through market economics (ht: Café Economics)

Money Changers helping ISIL – unwittingly or otherwise.

Geo-politics watch

The Centre for Strategic and International Studies says that China building high-frequency radar installation in South China Sea is a bigger threat to the balance of power in the region.

US wants to deploy anti-ship missiles soon (what exactly does it do?) in South China Sea.

China says that the United States has no place in South China Sea deployment or disputes.

US wants many countries such as Australia conduct ‘Freedom of Navigation’ operations like it did, in the South China Sea.

Australia will boost its annual defence spending by 80% within a decade. Australia is particularly concerned by the unprecedented pace and scale of China’s land reclamation activities,” says a white paper, which warns that territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas have “created uncertainty and tension” across the region.

FT reported on Feb. 15 that Russia and Turkey could be edging closer to direct confrontation in the (Syria’s) country’s increasingly internationalised war.

Russia says that cross-border shelling by Turkish artillery in Syria is unacceptable.

A quick short summary of the situation that Turkey finds itself in. This is from February 19.

Turkey wants the US to declare YPG (a Syrian-Kurdish militia) a terrorist organisation.  US is not ready since YPG is helping US fight IS in Syria. Turkey are US are NATO members who are sworn to protect each other from external threats.

Turkey is not so hot on the ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia

Europe (including the UK, for now)

Brexit. A horrible word. But, from now on, we have to track it too. Referendum is on June 23. Forty-eight percent of Brits want UK to stay in the EU. I think it would go that way.

Standard Chartered Bank declared its first loss since 1989 and is looking to claw back bonuses from those found guilty of compliance and risk management breaches.

North America

Defaults in sub-prime auto loans on the rise, to levels not seen since 2010. This is in the US

Justin Trudeau is ready to break all his three promises on the fiscal front. Modi should ring him up before Feb. 29 and take talking points.

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