Saturday, January 31, 2009

Question of Confidence !

Barack Obama recently mentioned at a congregation in Washington that federal government would do all that is needed to provide suitable climate for recovery and growth of economy.

Albeit there is absolutely nothing wrong with the comment , it is the tone bordering on nonchalance which is abhorable.

Even at the risk of being termed a pessimist , I don’t mind admitting that I am amazed at the confidence of the American president on kick starting the US economy.

I am a firm believer of " Yes , we Can " but i find his statement shallow , banal and it suggests lack of comprehension of the complexity involved in solving the Gordian knot faced by the erstwhile land of opportunity .

Therefore, i aim to look at the "suitable environment" and following points mentioned below ,are what it should entail :

1.Easy availability of resources for initiating and continuing business [ financial( credit) & non financial - commodities, raw material etc}
2.Favourable trade policies - low entry barriers
3.Protection on intellectual property rights of the stakeholder : the comfort that value created by taking risk will stay lawfully with the promoters .
4.Confidence - of the promoters , stakeholders, consumers etc...

Now, this would be an almost sufficient and necessary list to complete the climate ... however it assumes that losses stop at current levels which is improbable ... the point is ,that losses would reduce risk appetite - and therefore poor confidence begets.

Much has been said about the fiscal and monetary measures which are needed at this stage .Therefore ,I would like to ristrict my opinion on the last point - .i.e. confidence .

Not just academically , Confidence is the connection between expectation and performance....It is an everyday term which indicates future prospects in variety of circumstances .. self confidence of athletes , consumer confidence on spending, confidence vote of a political party .

It is like index to future expectation .That future would be better is what everyone is hoping everybody else will tell them.....and good news is awaited from any quarter.

Until now almost every single crisis has been handled through a Keynesian approach … which by the way did work. But this is different , decade long misallocation of resources has led to creation of the asset bubble that could not be sustained. Unfortunatley , It is widely believed that sudden fall in demand can be corrected by pumping enough purchasing power into the economy.

Until the feeling of "better days ahead " takes root it would be difficult to give direction to the recovery. Fundamental structure will be backed on creation of demand and as you all know demand (willingness to buy backed by capability) in a sense is connected to aspiration of the consumer thus indicating its linkage to future earnings , future outlook and therefore spending ... confidence in short !

To instill confidence there is also requirement of commitment and consistency of action.No more can demand be sustained on cheap credit .

Ironically , if there is one person who seems to have lot of it( confidence ) is Obama ! I hope it gets instilled in the investors , consumers and entrepreneur ...


Friday, January 30, 2009

This picture represents an old, leafless, worn out tree and still standing strong. A Show of resistance and courage in face of odds. I was wondering what the world would look like if all the trees were alike; the show of strength and courage would then termed as barren and lifeless.

The whole talk of global warming seems slightly misplaced to me... the concept seems alien and little to do with me...its a global problem and why should I be bothered, its certainly not my responsibility because I have been told that its every body's responsibility.

I would rather put it as local warming and a local problem. It’s when things come to shove does one realize that the stuff we thought would never affect us is in fact right at our doorstep and can change the whole complexion of the game. Its when the whole global thing threatens one's existence and way of life does he realize that he has to act before the forces of nature will act on him.

So the idea is to localize this problem, talk about local issues and how it is affecting local lives. If you are living near the cost then educate people on how marine life may get impacted, the whole coral reef might get destroyed and in turn affect tourism and this directly impacts their livelihood. If near the mountains talk about how a warmer planet affects the Flora and Fauna, the Ecological changes means more landslides, extreme climate and thus directly impacting everyone in the region.
If we can do this may see a much more concerted effort to root out this menace before it gets too late...


Saturday, January 24, 2009

a ship in the sky !!

I don’t know if you ever get the feeling of having a thought in your mind which only sculps out into prominence through the articulation of others. Knowing all this while, that it was right there ... somewhere.... perhaps waiting for a password to be uttered to bring it out in the open .

Like a young boy lying on green grass, looking up into the sky, nonchalantly giving form to white foamy clouds ...

Observations made while going about our lives , everyday, give birth to ideas and thoughts which float in your head much like the clouds above , but may not have shape and therefore lie undiscovered ,latent ,shapeless... falling short of becoming a revelation or breakthrough ....occasionally you add more matter and float some more bubbles in the mind tub.... until a friend prompts from arms length .. "over it not a ship!! " and like a magic sequence , the picture emerges on the indigo canvas.... ideas comes out of the clutter of random thoughts and breakthroughs occur.

That prompt is, perhaps , what we call as inspiration.. Hope u all hear your prompts soon .. and remember a friend at arm's length always helps :)


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Satyam to ASatyam

                                                               Its been a while since I wrote my last article and no excuses for the same, it just goes on to show that these I have not been managing my time well.

New Year has just started and already the news coming from home and abroad is not very encouraging. We had Mumbai attacks to end the year, the world has watched in horror the recent tussle in Gaza and the news in financial circles kept getting worse.

In India the revelation of Satyam CEO that he has been cooking the books for over seven years and all the reserves, fixed deposits and receivables that the company showed in books was just a mere entry in the books of accounts without any relevance i.e. all the money never existed and the assets were fictitious in nature. All the claims, quarterly, annual results, the auditors report, the corporate governance award, the eminent personality that made up the board of directors ...all resembles a house made of cards cemented by lies and when the cement went out of stock it all came crumbling down. 

I have often wondered that these kinds of acts are worse then the terrorism that we see around the world....i would term it financial terrorism. Both forms of terrorism bring in destruction and chaos but the important difference is that the perpetrators of financial terrorism hidden among us, the culprits are the most revered members of society and the one we all look up to.

Terrorist are generally the individuals who turn against state or a society because they have been indoctrinated against a particular faith and brainwashed into committing all kinds of crimes. As for the financial once they indulge into such scandalous act knowing fully well the consequences and being full aware of the implications of the same.

These people are like termites who gradually but surely eat up the organization from inside, rob a society of its values and ethics and before you know it, it’s too late.

The bigger question is how should such wrongdoers be dealt with? If I were to judge them I would see no difference between them and the present day terrorist and the most stringent actions must be taken so that one would shudder to think of committing such acts.

From glory to disgrace, Admiration to loath, Satyam to Asatyam (Sanskrit meaning of Satyam is Truth and Asatyam is False), the story of India’s most revered computer giant makes us realize that the real enemy lies within and not outside…..

But among these gloom and doom there is also some good news, Barak Obama taking office, the miraculous landing of the air plane in Hudson River, the truce between Hamas and Israelis finally at sight, the oil is at a all time low and its seems that the financial bad blood is finally getting out of the system…

May be all this is a omen of better times ahead….cheers



Monday, January 5, 2009

Path with a heart........

Any Path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others in dropping it if that is not what your heart tells you…. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question … Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.
Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juna

Pinnacle, Summit, Zenith, peak call it what you will but only a few scale the top…. So said chintu and I so very agree. They say that success comes to the one who works hard, diligently and dedicatedly, I say all that is a more of a survival tool in the competitive world of today but success comes to one who follows his heart….or rather chooses a path that has a heart.
Obviously it doesn’t get any easier doing that. A convention path is something that has direction laid down and that makes path seemingly easy with clear defined hurdles and destinations. We know the people who have in the past scaled right till the end, people who are in the race and who are out of it, we also know what went into the successes and failure and all we need is to emulate them to reach our goal. All this I guess, gives a feeling of security and these examples acts a check posts at different intervals.
Gullible that we all are, its is easy to given in to the lure or rather being fooled by the senses because the seemingly easy path is very treacherous with lots of twists and turns and lethal animals waiting to prowl on the susceptible. Its like a mirage in the desert where the reassurance of water is just a illusion.
For a path with heart requires lot of heart to choose. It’s like groping in the dark and trying to figure out a way and that might make it look very scary. Even if you have figured out a way…it might not be the way you want to tread and so begins a second, third, forth or fifth round or may be many more rounds of search. And finding a right path is just the beginning of the hardships because you really don’t have check posts, any clear defined hurdles and destination, it’s like you are making your own path.
But then the treasure lies for those who tread the untreaded or those who follow the heart because that gives him the heart to tread the most difficult of terrain and finally be on top.
As we are just warming up to a brand New Year what lay before us is unknown and in many ways undefined. Every year gives us an opportunity to explore newer paths or continue the old one. If we are already lucky we must have found our paths if not, we all have the choice. I just read a book named “How starbucks saved my life” which made me a firm believer that one can choose a path with heart no matter how much are the odds.
It actually reminds me of a line from one of my favorite movie or rather our favorite “Fight Club” - “If you are ready to loose everything, you can do anything”
Take your pick….