Weekend reading links – 6th March 2016

Global/General

Faced with incongruous evidence, we dismiss the evidence rather than the story.  We know it but good to be reminded, repeatedly.

Not much to quarrel with this FT Edit on Iran’s elections that have handed a victory for moderates. Details here.

The Department of Justice of the Government of Canada republishes the documents surrounding the reforms of the French judicial system in the late 18th century (ht: V. Siddartha).

Citi economists led by Willem Buiter talk of the possibility of a global recession. But, US stocks are in another planet and some are fine with it.

India

BBC has an article on whether the US is undermining India’s solar programme with a surprisingly favourable message for India, overall.

India’s crude oil consumption set to exceed Japan’s. I am not sure it is really a cause for celebration.

Good friend, Siddharth Singh, flagged this article in THE HINDU on the Sedition laws, as a warning.

A good ‘response’ in ‘Indian Express’ by Advocate Ashutosh Datar.

Siddharth Singh on the mindless adventurism encouraged by Academics in places like JNU.

‘Open’ Magazine piece on the Ishrat Jahan case and the pain inflicted on Rajendra Kumar, an IB officer.

CSIS (Centre for Strategic & International Studies) has its own reform score-card of the Modi government (ht: Siddharth Singh)

‘Sunday Guardian’ edit on coup by another name.

‘Freedom of screech’, an article in ‘Indian Express’ by Abhinav Kumar, a serving IPS Officer.

Rohan Parikh on the damage that India’s opposition parties are causing to the political system.

Prof. Bibek Debroy gives an update on the matter of repeal of old laws by the Government of India.

NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy’s blog post on the smart-city initiative of the Government of India is undated. But, it is interesting.

Prof. Bibek Debroy says that the death of Sanskrit is vastly exaggerated. His last para, not quite related to the story of Sanskrit alone, has a must-read and ‘reflect on’ message.

A photo-essay in Bloomberg on the industries that could make in India for the world.

PRS India has a concise three-page summary on Indian Railway budget.

A.K. Bhattacharya of ‘Business Standard’ compliments India’s pre-budget glasnost.

T.N. Ninan reckons that the middle class in India has to pay its fair share of taxes or accept withdrawal of concessions. I agree.

SBI among four foreign banks given license to operate 100% foreign-owned branches. The other three are from Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam. A somewhat surprising list.

Kanchan Gupta advises the Indian Prime Minister to spend the Holi with students in India.

T.V. Ramachandran commends TRAI recommendations on broadband released in 2015 and in 2016. I have no views.

My piece on the estimation issues with India’s GDP published here.

America

Adam Davidson finds a positive reason behind the cash-mountain in American corporations (article from January 2016).

U.S. imposes duty as much as 266% on cold-rolled steel imported from China. Five other countries, including India, targeted too but with different duty rates.

Warren Buffett’s letter to shareholders helpfully annotated by Bloomberg.

75 ‘no show’ days in the corporate bond market for high grades.

Just stumbled upon this link – a documentary (‘Money for nothing’) on the Federal Reserve released in 2013. Have not watched it yet.

US, India and Japan to conduct naval exercises near South China Sea. Dates and exact location not disclosed. Admiral Harry Harris appears to be wooing India big time.

China

China’ Credit Outlook cut to negative by Moody’s.

A Bloomberg (long) story on China’s rusting steel story with a headline that leaves nothing to imagination.

The silencing of Ren Zhiqiang in China.

Willy Lam Wo-lap on the absence of a proper succession planning in China and contrasts it with Taiwan’s democracy – an English translation here. Read his perceptive piece from January 27 too on the personality cult of Xi Jinping.

(Chinese) Government goals to cut oversupply in smaller cities and controlling the bubble in bigger ones “are contradictory,”

China’s nominal GDP, measured in US dollars, just grew 4.25% in 4Q2015 over 4Q2014.

“This move (China’s cut in the Required Reserve Ratio for banks) suggests that, in the end, supporting growth takes priority over other considerations.” – Comment by Louis Kuijs. Not new information nor insight for many of us.

These two tweets show us why reviving growth is an uphill task for China.

Europe

Merkel and the unravelling of Europe. A stark, short essay.

Woe betide a French politician who is not well read (FT Feb. 23, 2016)

Banking and Finance

Financial Stability Board will examine risks from Fintech. Didn’t know that asset management companies had managed to stave off being labelled Systemically Important Financial Institutions.

“Recent experiments studying behavior of a group of individuals in the laboratory show that economic systems may deviate significantly from rational efficient equilibrium at both individual and aggregate levels.” A short 2-pager but packs layers and layers that need to be carefully unpeeled.

Book Reviews

Siddharth Singh reviews ‘An economist from the real world’ (a book by Kaushik Basu, former CEA).

Bibek Debroy reviews the same book here.

Gabriel Schoenfeld reviews Michael Hayden’s ‘Playing to the Edge’. He was former Director of the National Security Agency and CIA. The hypocrisy of ‘New York Times, covered in the book, is mentioned in the review.

John Plender reviews Mervyn King’: “As King rightly remarks, the regulatory response to the crisis, however worthy, has done little to change the fundamental structure of finance.”

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