PSUs and theory of Trust

A nation which doesn’t trust its people, will have its own enterprise while a nation which believes in its people will invest in them. That is the fundamental difference between India vs US or China.

Indian Govt created PSUs, funded them and crowded out private capital and innovation while US dept of defence helped launched multiple defence behemoths and even today are key driver behind the success of likes of Space X etc ..

Equity & Debt

Equity is forgiving and ignore all sins / exuberance while creating reward for all parties but debt like truth is stark, doesn’t allow even marginal error and generally destroy all, its rewarding only to disciplined souls or one backed by again unlimited equity.

Flirtation with debt has rarely ended well be it individuals, corporates or nations.

Debt which ideally shall only be for creating capital assets or meeting capital expenditure, always end up funding consumption or revenue expenditure, and hence doesn’t end well.

Debt require discipline which by design Nation, corporates rarely have as the cost is generally not paid by the one who take the decision of debt. Hence its a asymmetrical proposition – all rewards but no pain and for next in command all pain and no rewards.

India, The land of experts and committees

  1. Indians love committees. 
  2. And more so Governments and politicians.
  3. Whatever the situations or crisis, a group of people at many level are huddled together to solve this.
  4. And a committee is the perfect solution. A set of experts who seems to know finer nuances debate together and bring out a best solution after doing a good “brain storming.”
  5. Seems like that committees are most beautiful product of democracies and there are committees of all type with all fancy names and titles 
  6. There is High empowered group of ministers committees, there is committee of secretaries, there is committee of experts, there is a committee of state ministers, there is committee of assistants, there is committee off mohalla people also 
  7. Interestingly while there might by 100s of committees with variety of people and team, they rarely change the game or able to bring disruptive ideas and reasons may be many 
  8. First and foremost, generally experts or people handing a status quo are not the best people to disrupt it. 
  9. Think of US President forming a committee in 2003 to imagine innovation in mobile 
  10. Which experts would have been natural choices ?
  11. CEO OF Noika, Palm, Ericsson, Sony, Alcatel, Blackberry- in fact in 2019, it is hard to recall champions of Mobile in 2003
  12. Would they have invited Steve Jobs from Apple or senior guys from other leading brands of today. 
  13. Or a team to discuss banking reform and ease micropayment in 2010!! Would PayTM be a part of same or top executives from HDFC / ICICI / SBI driven it. 
  14. But that is the not the only flaw of teams / committees that look at rear view mirror and past rather future
  15. The even worse outcome of a team / committee is the outcome which is always a compromise, a timid agreement or the common minimum program
  16. An agreement, a consensus is fundamentally flawed as it has already devoid of hope and is more suited to fulfilling agenda, personal relationship or timidity of the room than that of hope and bold new dawn.
  17. In committees, either the orators win, or the strongmen. History has shown that in fight between phosphor and wrestler, it is always the wrestler which wins but not that the solution by wrestler is the the best solution. 
  18. And one of the biggest flaw is lack of accountability and ownership. It is decision of group, so nobody can be blamed for it as its always the group, and hence there is no skin in the game. 
  19. A decision without skin in the game is like headless chicken and is doomed for failure from day one while protecting its decision makers from any of negative consequences. And hence no soul.
  20. Hence a committee or group of experts is always a path to backward and leads to nowhere 
  21. No nation , or company or society has been built by a team of experts but by leaders and their core group who can dare to imagine and bend the spoon. 
  22. Remaining societies / teams / companies / nations just form the committees and study the outcome. 
  23. The End

The night that stayed

Long back ago on a starry night,

I met a thief, 

He had an attitude

And yes lot of stories

Interesting ones,

funny ones,

But then as it turned out

all were fake

while i was mentoring him, 

he was stealing on my name

And now he is offended,

As not believing something which was once believed 

Is also a violation of faith

Change of pattern

And thief feels betrayed that no longer I hear his stories

and the night is refusing to end

Oh I met a thief and he got an attitude

Capital & Labour

There is capital and there is labor.

Both fight for primacy of each other 

And where Capital is expensive, labor becomes cheap,

and where capital is cheap, labor besoms expensive

and gain dignity

 Incidentally nations leaning on Socialism, keep capital expensive and labor cheap 

And hard core capitalistic societies keep capital cheap and see labor becoming expensive and gaining dignity

Paradox of Ideologies

War & Peace and personal positions in the time of Social Media

You are either a Warmongers or Peaceniks – unfortunately both positions are wrong

India is run by an experienced professional setup so leave their job on them and focus on yours. Support nation and keep opinions low

Still if you have strong views, do something which costs

Ideologies always cost, and if your opinions don’t cost, you are an opportunist not an ideologue.

Continue reading

Dawn of digtial: The end of Nation State, advent of Corporate State Part I – Mind

One fine morning In India, millions of Android phone users (Google Mobile operating system), discovered a strange phone number in their address book which they have never entered. It was the number of UIDAI helpline, and all hell broke loose (UIDAI is managing Aadhar – a Govt run a biometric program to create a unique identification system for all Indian citizens). Pretty soon, it started trending on Twitter with allegations flying thick and high. Privacy activists who are already highly suspicious of Narendra Modi Govt went on a super allegation spree. Is it Ministry of Electronics or Ministry of Communication or UIDAI itself or BJP govt (interesting nobody blamed foreign hand – the default culprit behind everything going wrong in India). However, all the outrage quickly died down when it appeared that it was Google which had inserted UIDAI contact number in phone books  (so it was really a foreign hand this time). All outrage on a state having access to phone books while no outrage while a private company incorporated for profit having full access!!

In another universe, some years back there was a huge uproar about NSA snooping over call data / accessing chats/emails etc. It created a huge uproar among activists/privacy champions and everybody questioned NSA who was trying hard to figure out terrorist activities. However, there has been no outrage or hysteria when same activists buy Amazon eco and use Alexa or Google assistant and allow the companies to listen to everything. Some activists believe that one can opt out from subscribing to these services and these are optional services. Really!!

Very recently, in a coordinated move, Apple, FaceBook and Google, all US companies governed by US laws, purged some ultra-right activist presence on their system as they found his content offensive. No first amendment/free speech protection worked here. There were hardly any voice protesting this move but rather applauses as the majority was not happy with that particular person. What if the leadership of these technology majors subscribe to some extreme ideologies or have the error of judgment? any scope of appeal or play of natural justice.

It seems that citizens have more freedom in physical space and access to the law but are just powerless data/revenue source without any right/legal recourse for all tech companies.

From a distance, it seems like the biggest paradox of our times, where we are willing to put maximum trust in the for-profit digital private enterprises but are deeply suspicious of Governments/welfare state.

The one reason can be related to the influence or control which digital private enterprises have on our life compared to the governments. While we are hardly dependant on the govt in conducting over day to day life, we literally can’t function without access to the digital world. Imagine for a moment where Facebook bans you and google does not accept you as you refuse to sign their “not another yada yada” terms of conditions! You are an app developer or an Amazon seller and one fine day without assigning any reasons, Google / Apple / Amazon can wipe your economic existence without giving even a hint or scope of redressal. Life suddenly can be very lonely or can have server economic consequences against which you have very little chance of appeal or redressal. Courts can do a little as you have agreed to those 40 pages of terms of conditions and knowing your senator/member of parliament won’t help as we are yet to build a knowhow to penetrate support call centers.

Interestingly while one shall expect Governments to be extra vigilant about the excessive power being enjoyed by these digital private enterprises, Govt seems to be either clueless or seems to be providing more and more powers to these faceless, unaccountable private enterprises who are getting more and more powerful thanks to the network effect. However, we hardly see any government action like it was done against AT&T etc in the early 70s. Interestingly governments seem to be totally oblivious to the danger and power of these new powerhouses as we have seen in terms of fake news or Cambridge analytics scandal etc.

The role of Russia in manipulating US presidential election is still being debated however very few have questioned the role Facebook played in influencing elections or pondered about the role except few meme or jokes. Any law being passed to limit social media control. What if there is an enemy within and some evil Dr manages the election using social media? So far, all focus has remained on Russia, but almost negligible measures have been taken to control or manage SocialMedia influence related to management of state/democracies. Already elections are being won or lost, people are being killed on basis of some rumors being spread on social media, reputation, and livelihood of the digital population is being managed beyond their control while the state looks on in a confused state!

Has the end of nation-state began and the age of corporate state arrived?

Part II – Money