Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fwd: What If Lee Kuan Yew Had Been Our First Prime Minister - By JAY BHATTACHARJEE


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jay Bhattacharjee


AN EFFICIENT, BENEVOLENT, HONEST AND VISIONARY AUTOCRAT

MY ASSESSMENT OF LEE KUAN YEW JUXTAPOSED AGAINST NEHRU

WARTS AND ALL, LKY EMERGES MUCH BETTER THAN OUR OWN JLN
___________________________________________________________

The stringent word limit for a column in the New Indian Express did not really allow me to present a complete assessment of Lee. In any case, a full analysis of the man and his track-record would require volumes of books (and years). 

Best wishes, 

Jay Bhattacharjee
____________________________________________________________



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                                      (E-PAPER)

________________________________________________________________


When Lee Kuan Yew passed away last Monday, his tiny island Republic was grieved to its core. Yet, public life and affairs continued as usual and there was no outpouring of mass hysteria and fraudulent grief as we see on our shores, whenever some neta or a public figure is called to meet the maker. There was a dignified official press release that conveyed the sad news in prosaic language. More importantly, Singapore did not shut down even for a day, whereas we are unable to contain our sorrow on similar occasions in less than three to five days.
The contrast between Lee's death and Nehru's in 1964 could not be starker. In honour of our first PM, India shut down for a whole week. The entire affair culminated in a bizarre display of national mourning when Nehru's ashes were taken in an Air Force plane and scattered over the countryside. It was left to the irrepressible Ram Manohar Lohia to observe that Nehru had left his cash for his daughter and his ashes for the nation, or similar words. The Congress acolytes went ballistic, but the doughty socialist stuck to his guns.
This provides the appropriate backdrop to study two completely different models of post-colonial development. The first one crafted by Nehru from 1947 onwards, was faithfully followed by all his successors, and defined our developmental process until mid-2014, when some effort started to design and implement a slightly different paradigm. The second model, from 1965 onwards, owed its origins and parameters uniquely to Lee and the institutions that he created, and which his successors are following till today.
Let us now look at the two development trajectories, one adopted by Lee's Singapore and the other by Nehru's India. The broad features of each are spelt out, so that we can compare them. The Singapore version went something like this. On the economic front, the tiny island nation that was a minor trading post with no natural resources, surrounded by much larger neighbours (basically hostile) and owing its strategic importance to a dwindling British naval base, took a long and hard look at its chances in the real world.
Lee and his People's Action Party that had steered the country to independence decided that they would capitalise on their most important assets—the commitment, hard work and intrinsic intelligence of its people. They started making the country an attractive and viable place for international corporations to do business. The core ingredients for this were a squeaky-clean administration, a legal system that delivered justice and an infrastructure that helped industry and business to operate. The results were quick—many MNCs set up their manufacturing bases there, to cater to the entire region. Trading companies followed suit. The country's savings rate was bolstered by a Provident Fund system that was transparent and completely above-board. It was also mandated to invest heavily in public housing, another important plank in Lee's social policy. Soon, Singapore was labelled as "Switzerland on steroids".
On the social front, Lee was adamant that the new nation would be bound together by common ethics and principles. The tiny country could not afford fissures on the basis of race, religion or language. While recognising the separate roots of the Chinese, Malays and Indians who had made Singapore their home, Lee ensured that an overarching "Singaporean" ethos and identity was soon forged. This was his crowning achievement, a proud new breed of South East Asians, an altogether different version from the decadent Homo Britannicus. And above all, there was zero tolerance of corruption in any form and by anyone.
In the area of defence, Lee took decisive steps to collaborate with the Israelis to build a military that could punch above its weight, with much bigger countries in the region. Military service was made compulsory, so that the country ensured that its youngsters bonded together in an ambience of discipline and commitment.
Our experience under Nehru was radically different. He pushed for a constitutional structure that had built-in provisions for disunity. He also designed an economic and business framework that ensured stagnation under the veneer of "socialism", which was nothing but venal state capitalism. He turned a blind eye when corruption stared him in the face; worse, he allowed Menon to become a Cabinet minister despite his ignominious record. Finally, he decimated the country's armed forces, by allowing Menon, Kaul and company to run riot, not to mention his own paranoia about our men in uniform. 
The comparative data is clear. Singapore's per capita GDP is about US $50,000 in PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) terms, whereas ours is around US $5,500. We have performed dismally in all other areas. Yes, there will be alibis and excuses galore, but Lee emerges a clear winner.
To wind up on a touching note, when his beloved wife lay bedridden after a stroke, Lee would read her favourite books to her every evening. Here too, Nehru fares dismally.

 





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Fwd: Sewa Sandesh March 2015


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sewa International Bharat <sewainternationaldelhi@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 4:59 PM
Subject: Sewa Sandesh March 2015
To:




Sewa Sandesh
 
 
March 2015
 
SEWA INTERNATIONAL LAUNCHES 2015 YUVA FOR SEWA SUMMER INTERNSHIP
Sewa International has launched its annual Yuva for Sewa (YFS), 8 to 10-week volunteer summer internship opportunity for college students to travel to Bharat to contribute their time to serve humanity. Since its inception in 2006, 52 YFS youth interns have volunteered their time for healthcare, education, environment, women's empowerment, rural development, and microfinance. Interns work with community NGOs to serve and engage in an empowering self-transformative experience to make an impact in their chosen field.
To know more about the Yuva for Sewa program, log on to http://www.sewausa.org/yuva-sewa-appeal. Interested candidates apply online at http://www.sewausa.org/yuva-sewa-2015.
 
SWAYAMSEVAKS CLEAN HOSPITAL CAMPUS
 
Thirteen RSS swayamsevaks at Shastri Nagar in Chennai on March 1 joined a seva activity of cleaning the Siddha Hospital campus. They segregated the waste into bio degradable and non bio-degradable ones. They heaped the bio-degradable waste around the trees and used 'Ghana Jeevamritham' spray on it for faster degradation. It was a highly satisfying experience for all. 
 
LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE AND MOVE AHEAD
—MOHAN BHAGWAT
 
"Before doing any work, one should analyse what will be its impact on the society. Ekal has completed its 25 years and it's time to analyse what we have done in all these years and how we have to move ahead on this path. Learn from the experience and move ahead," said RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat while addressing the concluding ceremony of 'Parinaam Kumbh' organised at Golf Ground of Dhanbad to celebrate 25 years of Ekal Vidyalaya.
Shri Bhagwat appreciated the work being done by Ekal volunteers. He said it is the education system, which would lead the country to holistic development. He said Ekal Abhiyan is not just an educational initiative but it is a people's movement for all round development of the Vanvasis living in remote villages.
The seed of Ekal Vidyalaya germinated at Ratanpur village under Tundi block of Dhanbad. From this village it spread all over the country and then in many countries of the world. Today it is India's largest non-governmental education initiative, which provides education to children in rural areas. It works on the concept of 'Ek Shikshak, Ek Vidyalaya' (one teacher, one school). In Ekal schools local youth teach in regional languages using various methods like story-telling, folk dramas and songs. Apart from education, Ekal also imparts moral education, health care education and farming techniques.
VHP patron Shri Ashok Singhal while speaking at the function said once India was repository of education but today we lack a lot in this field. Ekal schools would prove to be Brahmastra in educaiton and can achieve what we have lost. "Through Ekal, we not only provide education but also try to make India of our dreams. Time has come to recognise our strength and return to the roots. We have to again make Bharat Vishwa Guru," he said.
Founder of Vatsalya Gram Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara stressed the need to come together like a river for development for Bharat. "Children are the future of Bharat. Through Ekal we can secure their future by providing education and inculcating in them the moral and cultural values. There are many hurdles in the way but we have to overcome them to achieve our goal." she said.
Global coordinator of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation USA Ramesh P Shah while talking to 'Organiser' said, "I have been associated with Ekal for the last 15 years and feeling blessed after being part of it. We have a five-point agenda Bal Shiksha, Swastha Shiksha, Gram Vikas Shiksha, Sanskar Shiksha and Jagran Shiksha." He pointed out that they operate around 54,000 Ekal Schools in India, about 1500 in Nepal. Now Afghanistan has also contacted them to start Ekal Schools there.
Shri Shyamji Gupta spoke on the vision for next 25 years and said Dhanbad is like pilgrimage for Ekal karyakartas. Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Chairman of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited Subhas Chandra and many more dignitaries also attended the function.
About 50,000 Ekal workers from all over India and also from overseas countries like USA, Australia, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand and Germany attended the three day event.
The grand procession taken out on this occasion was joined by about 40,000 villagers including women. These people belonged to the villages of Ekal schools. The speakers energised the workers tracing the successful journey of the Ekal. The presentations by various workers highlighting heart touching experiences were highly inspiring.
SEWA SANGAM-2015 
 ENDEAVOUR FOR HARMONIOUS AND PROSPEROUS BHARAT
-Suhas Hiremath

Our ancestors thought and acted for the welfare of entire universe. That is why our sages and seers, since centuries, have been praying: Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramaya Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu, Maa Kashchid Dukhabhag-bhawet (let none be sick and deprived in the world). The essence of this prayer is that working for others' happiness is the best way to be happy in the life.
We have a rich tradition of serving the needy with this feeling. The great saint of Gujarat, Narasi Mehta, called those who feel the sufferings of others as 'Vaishnava Jan'. The concept of sin and holiness has also been defined accordingly. Sant Tulsidasji has also said, Parahit Saras Dharam Nahin Bhai, Parpeera Nahin Adhmahi.
 
Amma to inaugurate on April 4
The Sewa Sangam will be organised at Blue Saffire' & 'City Palace' Resort, GT Karnal Road, Alipur, NH1- Delhi) It is expected to witness the presence of more than 3,000 representatives from 700 sewa organisations. It will include more than 500 women workers. An exhibition highlighting the sewa activities of various organisations will also be organised. The Sangam will be inaugurated at 10 am on April 4 by Mata Amritinan damayi Devi. Noted industrialist of Meerut Shri Atul Gupta will be the chief guest. RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi will address the gathering at 5.00 pm the same day. On April 5, the Sangam will be addressed by RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat and founder of Wipro Shri Azim Premji. The concluding ceremony on April 6 will be addressed by RSS Sah Sarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale. The exhibition will be inaugurated by Swami Rajrajeshwarashram on April 3.

This is basically the eternal truth. Our ancestors have taught us that sewa should be done with the feeling of duty and worship. Ramakrishna Paramhansa called it Shiv Bhaav Se Jeevsewa, while Swami Vivekananda saw the God in the sick and needy people. He used to say, "I serve God whom the people unknowingly call man."
This is the reason lakhs of people in the country are serving the needy people recognising them as a form of 'God', and that too without wishing any publicity or honour in exchange. Many people are working individually or through some organisation.
Some families are also dedicated to the social cause. Unfortunately, the media today do not provide adequate space and attention to the work of such people or organisations. They give undue publicity to the bad practices or wrong activities undergoing in the society. If we sincerely study the society, we find that the number of good people is more than the bad people. Equally, the number of people who are working selflessly is more than the number of greedy and corrupt. Because the truth does not come out, the atmosphere of depression, despair, apathy and negativity seems to be dominating. It ultimately makes good people inactive. In such an atmosphere there is dire need to bring all the people engaged in service activities at one platform, help them understanding each other and exchange their experience. It will not only boost confidence of the society, but will also lead to right direction.
Therefore, strengthening the work of sewa so that there is harmony in the society and none is exploited is the prime objective of the Sewa Sangam. The Sewa Sangams organised in different parts of the country during the last three-four years have been organised with the same objective. More than 1,35,000 sewa projects are being carried out by 600 RSS inspired organisations in different parts of the country up to village level. There are many other organisations too which render yeoman services. All the sewa organisations are working for betterment of the society and also to make everyone happy.
This Sewa Sangam will prove to be a milestone in the journey of realising the objective of making all the deprived self-reliant, self-respected and full of nationalist feeling. It will be held under the aegis of Rashtriya Sewa Bharati (RSB), an umbrella organisation of sewa organisations active from Prant to village level all over the country.
It is hoped that the three-day event will energise the workers and the feeling of sewa will get strengthened. The endeavour is that the sewa work is collectively expanded to the extent that nobody in urban or rural area is deprived and ultimately the country becomes harmonious and prosperous in the days to come.
Titbits
 
 
  • On March 2, 2015, Shri Santhanam (55), a farmer from Sriperumbudur, had it all, from hopes to misery to euphoria, in a span of 10 hours.  He misplaced a cloth bag with Rs 1.8 lakh cash meant for his daughter's marriage. The bag had the cash and invitation cards in it; it had slipped from his hand and had fallen on the road. Minutes later, Shri  Rambabu (60), living nearby, came to see off his grandchildren to school. He noticed the brown cloth bag on the road, in which he found bundles of currency The man took it to the Tambaram police station and handed it over to the police. Santhanam, who was not sure of where he had misplaced the bag, had approached the police station near his house. On receiving information from Tambaram police, Santhanam went to the Police Station; it was confirmed that he was the owner of the bag and the cash was handed over to him.  Rambabu runs a fertiliser store at Padappai, near Tambaram.
  • Smt Kanthimathi serves food to destitutes battling hunger, poverty and diseases  -   veg biryani and butter milk - on the dusty pavement opposite an oil store on East Masi Street Madurai (Tamilnadu, Bharat).  Kanthimathi, the 64-year-old wife of an ailing tailor, who ran out of business a few years ago, goes on giving. It has become a daily routine for her for the last 12 years. Kanthimathi does not have the means to feed the poor. It was 12 winters ago when she spotted social worker Siva Anbanandan serving food to beggars, street urchins, mentally and physically challenged individuals, the poor and the abandoned. Siva Anbanandan was looking for a cook. Kanthimathi volunteered instantly. Since then, she hasn't taken a day's break. Even during illness she prepares the meal and ensures that it reaches the people on time. (She recalls with sadness how on the day Siva Anbanandan died a year ago – in 2013 - , he arranged for rice, sambar and curd. "I served the meal here before going to the cremation ground," she says). Among the nearby shopkeepers, somebody buys the vegetables, somebody donates rice and oil. And it keeps flowing to meet each day's requirement. Kanthimathi believes there is God's hand in arranging the items uninterrupted for so many years. Says Kanthimathi, even passers-by stop to see what is happening and spontaneously donate sweets and fruits; even plates, tumblers and sitting mats.
  • You cannot find a single cigarette butt, plastic bag lying around in Mawlynnong (Meghalaya, Bharat), a small village 90 kms from Shillong. It was awarded the tag of 'Cleanest Village in Asia' in 2003 by Discover India Magazine. Pallavi Pasricha, a journalist, describes the village thus: "I reach here and I am stumped. Not only is this village spotless clean but it's one of the prettiest ones I have seen in the country. I am greeted warmly and taken to the guest house, my home for the night. I walk on cobbled streets bordered with thatched Khasi huts and go past gardens that are full of colourful flowers. To keep the village clean there is a bamboo basket outside every house. After a 15-minute walk I'm face-to-face with one of the most spectacular natural bridges that's made by twisting the roots of the gigantic trees. The roots make a pathway across a stream, making it easy for villagers to commute. Another interesting thing the villagers have constructed here is the Sky View, an 85 feet high viewing tower that's made of bamboo. When I reach on top I get stunning views of not just the village but Bangladesh on the other side. It's simply gorgeous. I realise that it's the simplicity and warmth of the people that makes Mawlynnong so special getting there." 
  • An NGO, My Home India (MHI), has successfully reunited 170 lost children who were abandoned in the city, with their families over the last one year. The NGO is now planning to expand its activities across the country. MHI was founded by Sunil Deodhar, who was  formerly a full time RSS worker in North-East states. According to Deodhar, the NGO had searches for abandoned children in and around the city. We found that many children were willing to return to their families but could not do so because (they were unable to contact them). Most children were from Karnataka, UP and Bihar.(We have helped to reunite them with thier families). (So now) they are happily living with their families," he said. The NGO has focused on children who either run away from their homes or are forcibly pushed into child labour in big cities. Deodhar, a former president of the BJP's North-East cell, said that MHI has sought permission from Centre to spread their search for abandoned children to other states too. "Our duty does not end after a child is handed over to his parents. We also continuously monitor whether he is happy with the reunion," he said. MHI also tackles issues of security, law and order, social, economical and emotionalalienation faced by the people of North-East states in other parts of the country.
  • Punsari village, barely 100 km from Ahmedabad (Gujarat, Bharat), could be a textbook case of development. Closed-circuit cameras, water purifying plants, air-conditioned schools, Wi-Fi, biometric machines - the village has it all. And all of it was done in a matter of eight years, at a cost of a mere Rs. 16 crore. The man behind the transformation is its young sarpanch: 31-year-old Himanshu Patel. A graduate from North Gujarat University, Patel had won the panchayat polls in 2006 at the age of 23. Back then, the village didn't even have proper roads, power or water. The panchayat funds were in deficit. Punsari's turnaround happened when the village sold part of its land for plotted schemes. The money, deposited in government coffers, is used to fund the village's welfare schemes. The results are obvious. Recently, a team from the Central ministries of rural and urban development had come to study the "Punsari model". But the young sarpanch is already onto his next projects - a unit producing electricity out of plastic waste and e-rickshaws for garbage collection. At the village school, the number has doubled from 300 students in 2006 to over 600. The classrooms are not just air-conditioned but also have computers and projectors."We have managed to attract more children," said teacher Narendra Jhala.  Sarpanch Himanshu Patel says, "The main intention was that we should have an atmosphere of a village, but facilities like those in the city". It's just that the village has managed its accounts well and has made optimal use of government schemes.
  • Born in 1979 in Tumkur district of Karnataka, D K Ravi began his career in civil services as Assistant Commissioner in Gulbarga. He lived a simple life and gained people's trust. He would go meet them at their homes, sit with them and have food with them irrespective of their status or caste. He worked extensively for marginalized communities and was accessible 24×7. He was transferred 28 times in his career span and collected Rs. 138 crore tax dues in just two weeks. Though he flawlessly performed his duties as an IAS officer, he was a much bigger a person who was doing everything possible to help the poor. He was running free coaching classes on Sundays for poor UPSC aspirants and had resolved to eat at one Dalit family's home every week. It is said that he was under pressure from his department to slow down on investigations as a lot of big names were involved. It is also claimed that he had received many threat calls from the underworld. Recently he was found dead in his residence under mysterious circumstances. The country will surely miss such an outstanding officer but we hope to see many more Ravis coming up and taking on all the corruption is this country like he did. (Courtesy: Panchaamritam)
For Further Information Please Contact:
SEWA INTERNATIONAL BHARAT
49, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg,
New Delhi – 110 002, Bharat (India)
Telephone   +91-11-43007650, 23232850

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Fwd: Jagdish Bhagwati: False Alarm over Christians in India + An UNHOLY ALLIANCE: biased reporting of New York Times by Vivek D


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeev nayyar


1. Jagdish Bhagwati: False Alarm over Christians in India 30/3/15.
Alarmist views about Indian Christians being under threat are overplayed and must be forcefully exposed as such

Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/lNKcsuArsta4yushnlQ9cI/Jagdish-Bhagwati--The-false-alarm-over-Christians-in-India.html?utm_source=copy
 
2.  An UNHOLY ALLIANCE by vivek dehejia 30/3/15
 
Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
https://twitter.com/sanjeev1927
To unsubscribe write back



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Monday, March 30, 2015

Pak Sending Troops to Saudi

As a follow-up to Saudi Arabia's invasion of neighboring Yemen to fight Shia Houthi tribal militias who have seized most of the country, Pakistan will be sending troops to Saudi Arabia's border regions to reinforce against any possible spillover of the conflict onto Saudi soil:

http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/03/30/pakistan-saudi-arabia-yemen-idINKBN0MQ1GB20150330

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/the-great-game-folio-38/

Given Pakistan's desire to maintain good relations with its Saudi patrons while not alienating Iran, the military deployment decision is seen as fraught with risks, including possible fanning of Shia-Sunni tensions in Pakistan itself.

Fwd: The Tears of the Rajas by Ferdinand Mount

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Atanu Dey" <atanudey@gmail.com>
Date: Mar 30, 2015 10:37 PM
Subject: The Tears of the Rajas by Ferdinand Mount
To:
Cc:


Even William Dalrymple, seasoned historian of India, finds the scale of violence and racism during the Raj quite jaw-dropping

William Dalrymple's review of The Tears of the Rajas by Ferdinand Mount reminds us that the British empire was erected on the dead bodies of hundreds of thousands of its Indian subjects

ellen pao case on gender discrimination at kleiner perkins

she lost.

and the desi guy ajit nazre sounds like a sleazeball.

And Then There Was One

Reposted from Shefali Vaidya of "The Frustrated Indian":





Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pure in her course, from the Mountains to the Ocean

As well as presenting us with images of a powerful, fast-flowing, roaring river the Rig Veda tells us something else, very, very clearly, that at first sight does not appear to be historically accurate at all. It tells us that the Sarasvati known to the Vedic priests and sages ran unbroken from the mountains to the ocean: 
This stream Sarasvati with fostering current comes forth, our sure defence … the flood flows on, surpassing in majesty and might all other waters. Pure in her course from the mountains to the ocean
The problem, in a nutshell, is this: the satellite studies indicate that the last time the Sarasvati flowed into any ocean may have been more than 10,000 years ago – in other words during the final millennia of the post-glacial meltdown. The combination of the remote-sensing evidence and the textual evidence carries an interesting chronological implication: the composers of the Rig Veda were in the Sarasvati region at a time when that river still ran all the way to the sea, and this would be closer to 8000 BC than it is to 1000 BC. 

It goes without saying that such a date is not just ‘somewhat earlier’ but dramatically, startlingly, inexplicably earlier than any of the conventional chronologies for the presence of Vedic Aryans in the Punjab. So has the modern science of remote sensing revealed one of the deeper layers of the Vedic palimpsest? Or is it just a fluke that what appears to be an accurate geographical account of the Sarasvati river as it last looked 10,000 or even 12,000 years ago seems to have been preserved in the Rig. 

Since leading mainstream scholars like Gregory Possehl have already all but accepted the heretical possibility that Vedic civilization was present in the Punjab by 2000 BC (on the basis of the colorful description of a full and turbulent Sarasvati) it seems invidious of them to ignore or sidestep the Rig’s equally colorful description of the Sarasvati flowing to the sea. However, this is exactly what Possehl does. Quoting the relevant passage (‘pure in her course from the mountains to the ocean’), he admits that ‘the Vedic pundits thought that the Sarasvati went to the sea’ but explicitly advises students to treat this observation ‘critically, not literally’ – presumably because to take the observation literally would imply an ‘impossibly’ early date for Vedic civilization. 

 
Graham Hancock: Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization

AAP's "Fresh Politics" Leaves Delhi Stinking

Delhi's municipal garbage collectors have dumped garbage in the streets of the city, to protest the fact that Kejriwal's govt hasn't paid them in 3 months.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/AAP-has-Miles-to-Go-to-Honour-its-Promises-in-Delhi/2015/03/29/article2736037.ece




So much for AAP's "fresh politics" of the "jadoo" - they're of course trying to put blame on the BJP. There's an old saying about how people get the govt they deserve. In this case, Delhiites are going to have to lie in the bed they've made after having voted for AAP's "governance". Perhaps the strong stench of trash will help to educate Delhi voters on their own folly, in a way that mere words can't.



George Orwell's Kejriwal Farm

AAP is now imploding, as the innate crookedness of its constituents causes them to turn on each other. Should anybody be surprised when a Ship of Fools runs aground?








http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/animalfarm/quotes.html

traditional knowledge in action: tarun bharat sangh revitalizes aravallis

the post on rajendra singh reminded me of something i read years ago: tarun bharat sangh *listens* to traditional knowledge about where to put in check dams etc, and they have managed to re-green, re-charge the bare aravalli hills. 

amazing use of TK (traditional knowledge).

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Quick notes: Indian microprocessor, Annapurna Labs...

  • India to invest $10 billion in chip manufacturing facilities. "India would also be investing $400 million in developing an Indian version of micro-processor."


  • Annapurna Labs: Why would a secretive Israeli startup call itself  Annapurna Labs?


  • 'Water man of India': Rajendra Singh uses a modern version of the ancient Indian technique of rainwater harvesting. The judges of the Stockholm Water Prize say his technique is cheap, simple, and that his ideas should be followed worldwide.


  • Fighting pollution: Only one half of the motorists in Paris will be allowed to drive on any given day based on license plate number.


  • Cleaner diesel: Propel launches high performance renewable diesel.


  • GDP mirage: China to focus less on GDP, more on sustainable, higher-quality expansion.


  • Navarasa Kanada in Adi:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fwd: Recent Silicon Valley lawsuits by Chinese women


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: K

In two of the cases the defendants are indian men. This may seem paranoid but how far fetched would it be for Chinese intelligence to encourage some Han women to raise a shit storm in the US tech industry and also demonize indian men in the process? It's high return and a small investment.






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the rise of machine intelligence: the end of the line for us humans?

terminator. golem. skynet. pretty scary. 'apocalypto'?


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It is tempting to suppose that AI would be a tool like any other; like the wheel or the laptop, an invention that we could use to further our interests. But the brilliant British mathematician IJ Good, who worked with Alan Turing both on breaking the Nazis' secret codes and subsequently in developing the first computers, realised 50 years ago why this would not be so. Once we had a machine that was even slightly more intelligent than us, he pointed out, it would naturally take over the intellectual task of designing further intelligent machines. Because it was cleverer than us, it would be able to design even cleverer machines, which could in turn design even cleverer machines, and so on. In Good's words: "There would then unquestionably be an 'intelligence explosion,' and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make."

rest deleted...


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Quick notes: Cow protection, Antibiotics problem..

  • Muslim spreads message of cow protection: "Cow is not the mother Hindus only, but, as Veda says, She is the mother of all (Vishwa Mata)," said the 34-year-old preacher, who has so far delivered about 200 lectures on cow's importance in schools and other institutions 


  • The Antibiotics Problem in Meat: Approximately 95 percent “of adults in India carry bacteria resistant to β-lactam antimicrobials.” 


  • The Myth of High-Protein Diets: Low-carb, high-animal-protein diets promote heart disease via mechanisms other than just their effects on cholesterol levels. Animal protein increases IGF-1, an insulin-like growth hormone, and chronic inflammation, an underlying factor in many chronic diseases. Also, red meat is high in Neu5Gc, a tumor-forming sugar that is linked to chronic inflammation and an increased risk of cancer.


  • Germs are our friends:

Monday, March 23, 2015

can modi take on lee kuan yew's mantle as a great leader?

my old piece on how both have used a similar hindu-buddhist social contract and how that can lead to prosperity.

lee kuan yew's amazing record

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/03/lee-kuan-yews-singapore?fsrc=scn%2Ftw%2Fte%2Fdc%2Fanastonishingrecord

he's da man. prosperity is everything. you can have freedom of speech after you have had enough to eat. 

lky created wealth and distributed it equitably.

the commies have been distributing wealth without creating it.

nehru was just confused. so nehruvian stalinists stole the wealth that existed and created nothing new. 

--
sent from samsung galaxy note, so please excuse brevity

Saturday, March 21, 2015

naipaul: isis is the 4th reich, nazis reborn. of course, so are xian missionaries

Fwd: THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Why Islam Needs a Reformation

i have deleted most of the content of this note from ayaan hirsi ali, and what is reposted here falls under 'fair use'. i do not condone copyright violations :-)

ayaan hirsi ali, as usual, is forthright and thought-provoking.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: ramnath narayanan


 

 

Mecca Muslims versus Medina Muslims: If the Medina Muslims win and the hope for a Muslim Reformation dies, the rest of the world too will pay an enormous price—not only in blood spilled but also in freedom lost.

 

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-reformation-for-islam-1426859626?mod=trending_now_1

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

 

THE SATURDAY ESSAY

Why Islam Needs a Reformation

To defeat the extremists for good, Muslims must reject those aspects of their tradition that prompt some believers to resort to oppression and holy war

 

By 

AYAAN HIRSI ALI

 

Updated March 20, 2015 10:00 a.m. ET

 

"Islam's borders are bloody," wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, "and so are its innards." Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims. In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide. The lion's share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.

Not all of this violence is explicitly motivated by religion, but a great deal of it is. I believe that it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace.

 

When I assert this, I do not mean that Islamic belief makes all Muslims violent. This is manifestly not the case: There are many millions of peaceful Muslims in the world. What I do say is that the call to violence and the justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam. Moreover, this theologically sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offenses, including but not limited to apostasy, adultery, blasphemy and even something as vague as threats to family honor or to the honor of Islam itself.

 

It is not just al Qaeda and Islamic State that show the violent face of Islamic faith and practice. It is Pakistan, where any statement critical of the Prophet or Islam is labeled as blasphemy and punishable by death. It is Saudi Arabia, where churches and synagogues are outlawed and where beheadings are a legitimate form of punishment. It is Iran, where stoning is an acceptable punishment and homosexuals are hanged for their "crime."

... deleted  

 

No symbol represents the soul of Islam more than the Shahada. But today there is a contest within Islam for the ownership of that symbol. Who owns the Shahada? Is it those Muslims who want to emphasize Muhammad's years in Mecca or those who are inspired by his conquests after Medina? On this basis, I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims.

The first group is the most problematic. These are the fundamentalists who, when they say the Shahada, mean: "We must live by the strict letter of our creed." They envision a regime based on Shariah, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version. What is more, they take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.

I shall call them Medina Muslims, in that they see the forcible imposition of Shariah as their religious duty. They aim not just to obey Muhammad's teaching but also to emulate his warlike conduct after his move to Medina. Even if they do not themselves engage in violence, they do not hesitate to condone it.

 

It is Medina Muslims who call Jews and Christians "pigs and monkeys." It is Medina Muslims who prescribe death for the crime of apostasy, death by stoning for adultery and hanging for homosexuality. It is Medina Muslims who put women in burqas and beat them if they leave their homes alone or if they are improperly veiled

The second group—and the clear majority throughout the Muslim world—consists of Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence. I call them Mecca Muslims. Like devout Christians or Jews who attend religious services every day and abide by religious rules in what they eat and wear, Mecca Muslims focus on religious observance. I was born in Somalia and raised as a Mecca Muslim. So were the majority of Muslims from Casablanca to Jakarta.

Yet the Mecca Muslims have a problem: Their religious beliefs exist in an uneasy tension with modernity—the complex of economic, cultural and political innovations that not only reshaped the Western world but also dramatically transformed the developing world as the West exported it. The rational, secular and individualistic values of modernity are fundamentally corrosive of traditional societies, especially hierarchies based on gender, age and inherited status.

deleted...

In any case, regardless of the numbers, it is the Medina Muslims who have captured the world's attention on the airwaves, over social media, in far too many mosques and, of course, on the battlefield.

The Medina Muslims pose a threat not just to non-Muslims. They also undermine the position of those Mecca Muslims attempting to lead a quiet life in their cultural cocoons throughout the Western world. But those under the greatest threat are the dissidents and reformers within Islam, who face ostracism and rejection, who must brave all manner of insults, who must deal with the death threats—or face death itself.

For the world at large, the only viable strategy for containing the threat posed by the Medina Muslims is to side with the dissidents and reformers and to help them to do two things: first, identify and repudiate those parts of Muhammad's legacy that summon Muslims to intolerance and war, and second, persuade the great majority of believers—the Mecca Muslims—to accept this change.

Islam is at a crossroads. Muslims need to make a conscious decision to confront, debate and ultimately reject the violent elements within their religion. To some extent—not least because of widespread revulsion at the atrocities of Islamic State, al Qaeda and the rest—this process has already begun. But it needs leadership from the dissidents, and they in turn stand no chance without support from the West.

What needs to happen for us to defeat the extremists for good? Economic, political, judicial and military tools have been proposed and some of them deployed. But I believe that these will have little effect unless Islam itself is reformed.

Such a reformation has been called for repeatedly at least since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent abolition of the caliphate. But I would like to specify precisely what needs to be reformed.

I have identified five precepts central to Islam that have made it resistant to historical change and adaptation. Only when the harmfulness of these ideas are recognized and they are repudiated will a true Muslim Reformation have been achieved.

Here are the five areas that require amendment:

1. Muhammad's semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran. 
Muhammad should not be seen as infallible, let alone as a source of divine writ. He should be seen as a historical figure who united the Arab tribes in a premodern context that cannot be replicated in the 21st century. And although Islam maintains that the Quran is the literal word of Allah, it is, in historical reality, a book that was shaped by human hands. Large parts of the Quran simply reflect the tribal values of the 7th-century Arabian context from which it emerged. The Quran's eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.

 

2. The supremacy of life after death. 
The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.

 

3. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation. 
Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.

 

4. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law. 
There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.

 

5. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war. 
Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.

 

Let me make two things clear. I do not seek to inspire another war on terror or extremism—violence in the name of Islam cannot be ended by military means alone. Nor am I any sort of "Islamophobe." At various times, I myself have been all three kinds of Muslim: a fundamentalist, a cocooned believer and a dissident. My journey has gone from Mecca to Medina to Manhattan.

...deleted

But it is not only Muslims who would benefit from a reformation of Islam. We in the West have an enormous stake in how the struggle over Islam plays out. We cannot remain on the sidelines, as though the outcome has nothing to do with us. For if the Medina Muslims win and the hope for a Muslim Reformation dies, the rest of the world too will pay an enormous price—not only in blood spilled but also in freedom lost.

This essay is adapted from Ms. Hirsi Ali's new book, "Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now," to be published Tuesday by HarperCollins (which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp). Her previous books include "Infidel" and "Nomad: From Islam to America, A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations."

 




--
sent from samsung galaxy note, so please excuse brevity

Friday, March 20, 2015

Quick notes: English class, Lesson for nationalists...

Karnataka Govt begins slander campaign against DK Ravi


Defamation tactics

http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=305363

...CID officials have said that the lady IAS officer to whom Ravi reportedly made '44 calls in an hour' has recorded her statement, saying that Ravi was in love with her and was 'pestering' her to marry him, even though both of them were married. The lady said she rejected his pleas for marriage, says the report, quoting a senior officer.

K'taka CM interfered with post-mortem

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/DK-Ravis-death-Opposition-target-Karnataka-CM-seek-CBI-probe/articleshow/46604718.cms?
Aunt dies (heart attack caused by stress?)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/IAS-officer-DK-Ravis-aunt-passes-away/articleshow/46636978.cms

BENGALURU: IAS officer DK Ravi's aunt passed away due to a heart attack on Friday.



Sonia Madam advises Siddaramaiah to hand over probe to CBI 

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-ias-officer-dk-ravi-s-death-sonia-gandhi-advises-karnataka-cm-to-hand-over-probe-to-cbi-2070549


Wonder if there is a case for imposing President's Rule.

Fwd: The Coming China Crisis


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: ramnath narayanan


 

 

Dear Friends:

 

Here below is what looks like a credible analysis of the Chinese economy as the world moves further into 2015 and the next few years. It's not a pretty picture!

 

An issue not mentioned in this essay is its implications for India and how India should respond to the likely Chinese downturn. Will she be able to raise and stabilize her GDP growth if and when China starts sliding down?

 

Ram

 

SELECT QUOTES:

 

"The problem for China in 2015 is that it looks a lot like the United States in 2008 or Japan in 1991."

 

"If too much capacity and too many bad loans are the problems, the solutions are time and capital: time for organic growth to absorb the excess capacity, and capital to repair banks and borrowers. Monetary and fiscal policies might soften the blow, but since they do not address those two fundamental issues, they cannot solve the underlying problem."

 

"The growth in the ratio of private debt to GDP over the last five years is an astonishing 60 percent, and that ratio now exceeds 200 percent. China's runaway debt growth has primarily been in business loans, and now its total business loans are greater than in the United States, even though, based on exchange rate, U.S. GDP is 82 percent larger than China's. (For China, we use the term "private debt" for the sum of business and consumer debt, though some analysts refer to it as "non-government debt.")"

 

"Quite simply, China has produced and built far too much capacity, through overinvestment in steel and cement firms and in accelerated housing development. In the process, it has amassed the largest buildup of bad debt in history."

 

"China today is likely to have an estimated $1.75 trillion to $3.5 trillion in problem loans—a figure well in excess of the $1.5 trillion of total capital in China's banking system."

 

"Because there are few good choices to adequately boost growth, the continued decline in commodity prices and real estate will make the problem loans in China's banks worse, as a massive amount of the country's private debt is secured by commodities and real estate. Based on its recent behavior, the Chinese government will likely address deteriorating bank loan quality with an overt and broad guarantee to consumers for deposits and possibly also wealth and trust certificates. It will also quietly fortify these lenders with capital. If China pursues these policy choices, it will indeed avoid an immediate financial crisis. But it ultimately cannot reverse the trend of decelerating growth over the next three to four years—perhaps to a level approaching zero—and China will be left facing a "lost" generation of very low growth similar to the last 20 years in Japan."

 

"China now presides over enormous and in some respects unprecedented internal problems, and we should understand the limitations they impose on what the country can achieve in the near term and resist making policy blunders by overestimating its relative strength."

 

"Our policy-makers should move beyond the fixation with public debt and turn their attention to the true problem of private debt. They should recognize the inadequacy of the timeworn tools of monetary and fiscal policy and lead a discussion of strategies—especially restructuring—to address the key issue of historically high private-debt levels. Indeed, low private debt, combined with low capacity (the supply of housing, factories, etc.), was the precondition for the economic boom we experienced in the post-World War II decades."

 

"China's downturn will only add to our challenges. The modern world has had four major economic engines—the United States, China, Europe, and Japan—which together constitute 60 percent of world GDP. While the United States moves toward respectable growth, both Europe and Japan—also hobbled with high private debt—are struggling to show any progress."

                                                    

"But it is China we should be worried about. China is facing a generation of dramatically slower growth. Its slowdown will cause trouble for its trading partners and lenders across the globe. And while the economic impact in the United States will be softer than in any other major country, China is now so large that we too will feel it."

 

"The question is whether we will also learn from it."

 

http://www.democracyjournal.org/36/the-coming-china-crisis.php?page=all

 

Issue #36, Spring 2015

 

The Coming China Crisis

 

Rapid private-debt growth threw Japan into crisis in 1991 and did the same to the United States and Europe in 2008. China may be next.

 

Richard Vague

On the morning of September 8, 2016, the Wenzhou Credit Trust, one of the many trust companies in China, went into default. The firm discontinued all new lending and suspended redemption and interest payments on its trust certificates, the equivalent of deposits made by its customers.

 

At the time, the failure didn't seem all that unusual. A handful of trust companies—"shadow lenders" that make loans, often the riskiest ones, outside of China's conventional banks—had done the same in recent years. But within a week, another trust company went into default, and the following week, so did seven more. Angry trust-certificate holders protested in Wenzhou and Chongqing but were quelled by police. Those protests hardly seemed noteworthy at first—for years, there had been hundreds of protests and disturbances across China—but it turned out they presaged something new.

 

Within a month, more than 50 trust companies defaulted. The protests escalated and spread throughout the country. In the panic, new real-estate lending plummeted, putting more downward pressure on real-estate prices and hurting local economies. The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets plunged. The prices of iron, steel, coal, copper, aluminum, and other commodities—including oil—accelerated their downward spiral.

 

The government of China, which in recent years had tolerated these failures as part of its attempt to introduce more risk into the system, dramatically reversed course and intervened, injecting funds into these lenders and assuring customers that it would stand behind these institutions. This calmed equity markets, but commodity prices continued to sag and the renminbi fell, bringing the specter of devaluation.

 

By winter, the impact had shattered markets and companies throughout Asia and Australia, and markets were in retreat in Europe and the United States.

 

The Great Panic of China was in full swing.

The future, of course, doesn't have to unfold this way. China, the world's second-largest economy, could still act to prevent much of the above from happening.

 

But what cannot be changed is this: China, fueled by runaway lending, has produced far more housing, steel, iron, and a host of other goods than it knows what to do with, amassing unprecedented levels of overcapacity and, by my estimate, making a staggering $2-$3 trillion in problem loans in the process. And since GDP growth is more a measure of capacity being created than capacity actually needed, even China's high rate of GDP growth, fueled almost entirely by continued ultra-high levels of lending growth, compounds rather than solves China's fundamental overcapacity problem.

 

Which means that the global economic boost from China, the world's only major growth engine since the crash of 2008 in the West, is rapidly diminishing and will soon largely end. The only question is how.

 

China's bad-debt problem is unprecedented in scale, but not in nature. In the United States in 2007 and 2008, we saw our own economy crumble under the weight of bad debt. And the system didn't know what hit it: On the eve of our own collapse, even though more than $1 trillion of bad mortgages had already been made and major financial fallout was inevitable, banks' loan-loss provisions—the amount they set aside to cover bad loans—were near an all-time low, while consumer net worth and the stock market were at all-time highs.

 

Neither of the two dominant economic theories of our time forecast the coming storm. The doves—those more in favor of lower interest rates and government stimulus—were sanguine, unconcerned by rapid loan growth. The hawks—those more focused on curbing the money-supply expansion through higher interest rates—were sounding dire warnings of inflation. Both were wrong, but neither has since changed its theory.

 

Our 2007-08 meltdown was entirely foreseeable, despite claims to the contrary. It was not a "black swan" event. Examining the historical record leads to the conclusion that major financial crises can be anticipated so long as you're on the lookout for the red flag of rapidly rising levels of private debt. If we are to avoid repeating history, we would do well to observe the Chinese predicament, understand its implications for the global economy, and apply lessons to our own economy.

 

Our Private-Debt Problem

 

The ongoing debate in Washington over government debt misses the point. In the years leading up to the U.S. crisis, the remarkable fact was not an increase in the level of federal debt, but the explosion in the size of private debt relative to GDP, which rocketed from 120 percent of GDP in 1997 to 165 percent in 2007. By contrast, federal debt barely changed, declining from 63 percent of GDP to 62 percent during that same period. Private debt is the sum of consumer debt, including mortgages and business debt. In my view, a healthy private-debt ratio would be no more than 125 to 150 percent of GDP.

 

While many observers missed the signs, some saw that private debt was somehow key to the American crisis, since the rapid increase in home mortgages was widely discussed as a culprit. And a closer look at the historical data shows that this relationship between private data and financial busts appears to be universal: When we examine financial crises in other countries, we see that—even when these crises were attributed to other causes—private debt was the fundamental factor. Private debt can be good when overall levels in a country are low or moderate, and when, for example, it is used to finance projects whose income can repay that debt. The problems come when private-debt growth is too rapid or reaches levels that are too high.

 

That certainly was the case in Japan in the years before its 1991 financial crisis:

 

The chart shows a familiar picture. In the years before the crisis, Japan saw a major spike in private debt. And that's the same picture we see in crisis after crisis.

 

As I've previously written, there is a formula to predicting these crises. A financial meltdown is probably on the horizon if the ratio of private debt to GDP rises by roughly 17 percent or more over the course of five years and exceeds 150 percent. That rise in private debt will likely fuel runaway growth before the crash (think the 1920s, or Japan's boom in the 1980s). But those gains will be evanescent. Driven by private-debt growth, they'll eventually give way to a financial crisis.

 

In past crises—1929, Japan in 1991, the United States in 2008—high government debt was not the culprit, since in each case the ratio of government debt to GDP was generally flat or declining. Nor did they correlate with any of the long list of other widely cited causes, including current account deficits and interest rates. (Rapidly rising government debt generally becomes an issue after a crisis, as tax revenue plummets and deficits rise, government "safety net" programs get higher use, and governments counteract declining private spending with higher government spending.)

 

Why does runaway growth in private debt lead to financial crisis? First, because it means that far too much of something has been built or produced. It was primarily housing in the United States in 2008; in Japan in 1991, it was primarily commercial real estate. And second, because it means far too many bad loans have been made in the process. By 2007, for example, the U.S. banking system had roughly $1.5 trillion in total capital, but an estimated $2.5 trillion in problem loans.

 

If too much capacity and too many bad loans are the problems, the solutions are time and capital: time for organic growth to absorb the excess capacity, and capital to repair banks and borrowers. Monetary and fiscal policies might soften the blow, but since they do not address those two fundamental issues, they cannot solve the underlying problem.

 

The Potential for Crisis in China

 

The problem for China in 2015 is that it looks a lot like the United States in 2008 or Japan in 1991.

 

The growth in the ratio of private debt to GDP over the last five years is an astonishing 60 percent, and that ratio now exceeds 200 percent. China's runaway debt growth has primarily been in business loans, and now its total business loans are greater than in the United States, even though, based on exchange rate, U.S. GDP is 82 percent larger than China's. (For China, we use the term "private debt" for the sum of business and consumer debt, though some analysts refer to it as "non-government debt.")

 

Quite simply, China has produced and built far too much capacity, through overinvestment in steel and cement firms and in accelerated housing development. In the process, it has amassed the largest buildup of bad debt in history.

 

The cause of the accelerated rise in private debt starting in 2008 was the collapse of the export market that had fueled China's growth to that point. From 1999 to 2006, China's exports-to-GDP ratio had exploded by 95 percent. China's net exports, as measured in dollars, were the highest in recorded history. But they were growing on the shaky foundation of the debt-fueled expansion of the West that led to the crash of 2008. When that demand evaporated, China's exports evaporated too. Addicted to its rapid expansion, China built a lot of real estate and produced lots of goods—both unjustified by actual demand—to fill the export hole, all financed by an unprecedented rise in private debt that is almost certain never to be fully repaid.

 

As a result, China is now sitting on top of the greatest accumulation of bad debt and overcapacity in history. According to the Survey and Research Center for China Household Finance, more than one in five homes in China's urban areas is vacant, with 49 million sold but vacant units, and 3.5 million homes that remain unsold. Behind those vacant and unsold units is private debt, both loans to developers and mortgage debt. Housing values in China increased on the same perilous trajectory as in the United States before 2008 and Japan before 1991—and they have now started a similar decline. Meanwhile, real estate was 6 percent of U.S. GDP at the peak in 2005; today, it is as much as 20 percent of China's GDP.

 

There are other red flags. China produced 8 percent of the world's furnace iron in 1980; it now produces 61 percent, even though the rest of the world still continues to produce every bit as much as it has in the past. As China's iron production accelerated in the period from 2002 to 2011, iron prices increased twelvefold in response to debt-fueled demand. (Increases in debt cause increases in prices.) But now that iron capacity has piled up beyond need, prices have tumbled by over 50 percent, and the excess capacity is so great that even the demand generated by rapid credit growth can no longer prop prices up. Also, China used more cement in the period from 2011 to 2013 (6.6 gigatons) than the United States did in the entire twentieth century (4.5 gigatons).

 

These are but a few of many examples. Researchers at a Chinese state planning agency said recently that China has "wasted" $6.8 trillion in investment. Overcapacity is so significant in many sectors that it will take years for it to be absorbed by organic demand. Ironically, this problem is compounded by China's own continued high growth rates, since high GDP growth is a measure of the creation of additional capacity even if that capacity is not needed.

 

Good and sound loans, by definition, result in commensurate GDP growth. So when private-loan growth outstrips GDP growth, much of that excess—from one-quarter to one-half, based on evidence from other crises—will be problem loans. Based on this formula, China today is likely to have an estimated $1.75 trillion to $3.5 trillion in problem loans—a figure well in excess of the $1.5 trillion of total capital in China's banking system.

 

Of course, China's banks and shadow lenders are not reporting bad loans close to this amount. But neither did U.S. banks: On the eve of the U.S. crisis, banks were making loan-loss provisions at very low levels. Lending booms create the false appearance of prosperity, and fraud and corruption can make the picture even prettier.

 

Some dismiss these warning signs, noting that many economic prophets wrongly made the same dire predictions for China during the late 1990s. But there's a big difference: In 1999, China's overall level of private debt was 111 percent of GDP; today, it's almost double that, at 211 percent. In 1999, it had plenty of room to power growth through continued private-debt expansion, and the debt boom in the West fueled unprecedented export demand. The opposite is true today.

 

China's Future—and the World's

 

China's slowdown is already underway. Nominal GDP growth has already slowed from over 15 percent in 2011 to around 7 percent in the last year—and some analysts believe it's actually closer to 4 percent. The decline will continue to play out, perhaps dramatically, over the next three to four years. How well or badly it plays out, however, depends on the approach the government takes to simultaneously managing both the short-term problem (slowing growth) and the longer-term problem (the overhang of private debt).

 

The trouble for China is that these two challenges summon conflicting responses. GDP growth in any economy is largely dependent on private-credit growth, yet the Chinese private sector is massively overleveraged. Ramping up credit might reverse the slowdown but will further increase bad debt and compound the ultimate problem; reining in debt, on the other hand, would help the debt problem but slow down growth.

 

True, China's economy is largely a closed system that can make—and suspend—its own rules, which means China's leaders can prop up their lending system for a time. (Even Japan was able to prop up its banks for several years after its stock market collapse.) What they can likely no longer do, however, is effectively prop up real estate and commodity prices. Over time, because the decline in real estate and commodity prices is evidence of China's overcapacity and those assets are collateral for so much debt, it will be China's Achilles' heel.

 

The fundamental problem is that China has misused debt to grow far faster than income growth prudently allowed. While on the surface the choices look bad, China—with its vast assets and low central government debt—in fact has the tools to navigate this crisis yet. China's impulse is to return to practices that have succeeded in the past, so it's difficult to imagine it abandoning the three pillars of its past growth strategy: exports, business credit growth, and infrastructure spending. But there is now a diminishing return from each: exports are constrained by low global demand; businesses are already overleveraged; and China has already built too many roads to nowhere.

 

Since these will not suffice, China will likely consider other growth channels: increasing consumer credit growth; ramping up other categories of government spending such as military spending; encouraging continued migration of rural populations to the cities; and perhaps even renewed devaluation. But these options, if employed, will still collectively fall short.

China's consumers reportedly do have low leverage, but household debt is already growing much more rapidly than is prudent, and is ultimately limited by household income. And consumer debt in China may be higher than indicated due to high levels of unreported, informal consumer lending. Further, China's consumers have put a major portion of their savings in real estate—many own several apartments—so the ongoing decline in housing values will discourage consumers from taking on significant new debt.

 

Increased government spending could help pick up the slack, especially if it is focused on areas where there is not already too much capacity, such as military spending. But even here, the scope and pace of additional spending are inherently limited by operational realities. China hopes to bring hundreds of millions more rural Chinese citizens to the cities, to increase both wages and housing demand. But these plans crucially depend on job growth to support these migrants, and job creation has been a leading casualty of slowing exports. Finally, devaluation works best when matched with high global demand, risks driving out badly needed foreign capital, and, in any event, would likely be matched by competitive devaluations from other nations.

Both "rebalancing" and "reform" are cited as important parts of the solution. Rebalancing is needed—China's growth has been far too dependent on investment by its businesses as compared to consumption by its households. But rebalancing is hard work that will take years, not quickly enough to reverse China's decelerating growth. Reform of business practices is needed as well, but that too will be very difficult, and likely won't happen fast enough.

Some believe that through continued high productivity gains, China can sustain high growth without worsening its private-debt picture. But in recent years private-debt growth has almost equaled China's increased productivity, calling into question the sustainability of those increases absent continued high private-debt growth.

 

Panic and the Path of Contagion

 

Because there are few good choices to adequately boost growth, the continued decline in commodity prices and real estate will make the problem loans in China's banks worse, as a massive amount of the country's private debt is secured by commodities and real estate. Based on its recent behavior, the Chinese government will likely address deteriorating bank loan quality with an overt and broad guarantee to consumers for deposits and possibly also wealth and trust certificates. It will also quietly fortify these lenders with capital. If China pursues these policy choices, it will indeed avoid an immediate financial crisis. But it ultimately cannot reverse the trend of decelerating growth over the next three to four years—perhaps to a level approaching zero—and China will be left facing a "lost" generation of very low growth similar to the last 20 years in Japan.

 

The question facing the rest of the world is whether there will be a crisis in other countries because of China's troubles. What will the path of financial contagion be?

 

Financial contagion is not some mysterious force that overtakes the healthy and unsuspecting. Any impact on non-Chinese companies and countries will come from: 1) overlending to troubled Chinese banks and businesses; 2) an overconcentration of exports to China; 3) a dependence on high commodity prices; and 4) a currency devaluation necessitated in an export-oriented country because of a devaluation by China.

 

Most countries in the Asia-Pacific region have significant export concentrations to China and will be adversely affected by China's slowdown, as will many countries in Africa and South America. Europe has exposure too, especially in the area of high-end automobiles and luxury goods. The United States has more limited exposure, but some sectors such as high-tech and construction have significant sales in China.

 

Although there are allegedly low levels of foreign debt in China, these levels may be underreported; banks that have lent to companies or banks in China face real risk as growth decelerates. Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UK are among those with the highest lending exposure to China. Countries dependent on high oil and other commodities prices are also at risk. If China devalues its currency, many of its export-oriented Asian neighbors would be forced to follow suit—and in fact may act to devalue ahead of China—bringing the specter of a banking crisis to these countries.

 

Reckoning with Private Debt

 

In the 1980s and early '90s, my formative business years, the media regularly trumpeted the news that Japan was ascendant and would eclipse the United States as the world's business leader. When Japanese firms purchased iconic properties such as Rockefeller Center in New York and Pebble Beach golf resort in California, it was confirmation of that trend. In the 1980s, Japan reached 18 percent of world GDP. Today its share of GDP has fallen to 7 percent. We now know that its seeming path to dominance was paved with runaway private debt.

 

While China's trajectory might not be the same as Japan's, there are profound similarities. China has had years of runaway private-debt growth, and its GDP growth is now decelerating. There is no doubt that China, with a population over 1.3 billion, will be an increasingly important player in the world, economically and otherwise. But there has been a tendency to overestimate what China can achieve economically over the near term. America's economy is almost twice the size of China's, and our relative influence will continue to reflect that difference.

 

Indeed, we should take a more balanced view of China. With its growth, China has had a significantly higher profile in a variety of policy areas. It has been more assertive in military matters. It has expressed a desire to have the renminbi take its place as one of the world's reserve currencies—in essence competing with the U.S. dollar for a bigger role in the world's economy. U.S. policy-makers have struggled with how to respond to this assertiveness. Much of it should be unsurprising, given China's rise to its current position as the world's second-largest economy. But even with its successes, China now presides over enormous and in some respects unprecedented internal problems, and we should understand the limitations they impose on what the country can achieve in the near term and resist making policy blunders by overestimating its relative strength.

 

So what should China do? My recommended course is for the country to directly address not slowing growth, which is only a symptom, but the real problems: overcapacity and excessive private debt. In this scenario, China would prudently slow both lending and growth, allowing demand to begin to catch up with overcapacity. What's more, China would also preemptively recapitalize its lenders.

 

However, my recommendation goes well beyond China's past cosmetic bank cleanups. It needs to take the further step of requiring lenders to broadly, quickly, and decisively restructure debt with overburdened corporate borrowers—to provide, in other words, real debt relief and restructuring that allows those corporations to resume productive investment, not simply accounting sleight of hand. Otherwise, high debt will linger for years as a long-term drag on China's economic prospects.

 

Large-scale corporate debt relief would be complex and difficult. But the lesson from Japan's experience, where the private-debt-to-GDP ratio reached a staggering 221 percent, and timely and meaningful debt restructuring was not adopted, is that it's necessary. A generation later, Japan's private-debt-to-GDP ratio is still a stifling 170 percent and remains the neglected central issue in Japan's lackluster growth.

 

China may never undertake such systemic private-debt restructuring, but it is the surest path to revitalizing its beleaguered business sector, remedying overcapacity issues, stabilizing prices, and restoring reasonable growth. By alleviating rather than simply disguising China's high private-debt-to-GDP problem, it would leave corporations in a much better position to lead renewed (and, hopefully this time, more measured) growth after the slowdown.

 

Lessons for America

 

Runaway private debt brought America to its economic knees in 2008. It did the same to Japan in 1991. And it is in the process of doing the same to China. Yet the schools of economic thought that dominate thinking and policy-making in Washington pay scant attention to private debt.

 

And so our economists and politicians will continue to err in forecasting crises, and will also make inadequate repairs after the fact. Just as runaway private debt causes crisis, the overhang of private debt after the crisis constrains growth. Private debt has been underemphasized by economists in some measure because of the view that for every borrower there is a lender, and thus private debt "nets" to zero. This view neglects consideration of the distribution of debt: Lenders tend to be institutions, and borrowers tend to be those middle- and lower-income households most needed to sustain economic growth. Private debt has also been underemphasized because public debt seems more our public responsibility, and private debt seems more off-limits—the domain of the private sector and "the invisible hand."

 

Seven years after our own crisis, private debt in the United States stands at 143 percent of GDP—lower than its apex of 167 percent in 2008, but still high. The high level of private debt in the United States represents a drag on economic growth, most starkly evident in the almost nine million of the nation's 53 million mortgages that remain underwater. In fact, private-debt levels across the globe remain sky-high—not that anybody's paying attention. The piling up of private debt over decades smothers demand and dampens economic growth.

 

 

China's economic challenges offer the United States an opportunity to learn and recalibrate our economic thinking. Like China, we should now concentrate on scaling back private debt (which we did not do in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis). We need to act differently this time around if we are to avoid having our recovery swamped by the next slowdown (from China or anywhere else). Debt relief in the form of restructuring or partial debt forgiveness should be seriously considered as an option. What if we were to let lenders write down underwater mortgages over an extended time frame (30 years)? While less necessary today, if this had been done in 2008, it would have made an enormous difference in the trajectory of the recovery.

 

Our policy-makers should move beyond the fixation with public debt and turn their attention to the true problem of private debt. They should recognize the inadequacy of the timeworn tools of monetary and fiscal policy and lead a discussion of strategies—especially restructuring—to address the key issue of historically high private-debt levels. Indeed, low private debt, combined with low capacity (the supply of housing, factories, etc.), was the precondition for the economic boom we experienced in the post-World War II decades.

 

China's downturn will only add to our challenges. The modern world has had four major economic engines—the United States, China, Europe, and Japan—which together constitute 60 percent of world GDP. While the United States moves toward respectable growth, both Europe and Japan—also hobbled with high private debt—are struggling to show any progress.

                                            

But it is China we should be worried about. China is facing a generation of dramatically slower growth. Its slowdown will cause trouble for its trading partners and lenders across the globe. And while the economic impact in the United States will be softer than in any other major country, China is now so large that we too will feel it.

 

The question is whether we will also learn from it.

 

Richard Vague is the author of The Next Economic Disaster, managing partner at Gabriel Investments, and chair of The Governor's Woods Foundation. He was formerly CEO of Energy Plus, Juniper Financial, and First USA Bank.

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sent from samsung galaxy note, so please excuse brevity