Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Okay, so the posterous thing did not work out. I think blogspot put a jinx or something on it. Though i still hold that the posting options in posterous was way better than this site, especially so as it allowed me to upload pdfs with all the formatting done before-hand.

But i now have to come back tail between my legs, and get back to blogspot. So hello ghostly viewers.

Will try to put some-thing up. Ha, try, if only i had a penny for everytime i said that.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Moving to new Blog address []

To the non-existent visitors, am moving to the new add given below. The reason for moving is the atrocious formatting and word document settings of Blogspot. This is not to say that 'posterous' [the new site] is brilliant, but it allows me to put up my .doc files as is, without being fussy about footnotes and bulleting- and i love my bulleting. Will be putting up new [and old] material on the new site and hope you are more interactive in future.

- Mike.

New address:

An economic rant [in more ways than one] :)

Assumption: There exists a “disconnect” between the markets and reality with regard to valuation and methods to determine the same. Also assume that we are all rational investors.

A simple and oft repeated maxim for a retail individual is “buy low, sell high”. Investment theory, macro-micro economic policy everything else is white noise for a middle class retail investor. Now reflect how many times you actually followed this maxim. As with everything else in life, practical application is the greatest challenge. It is very difficult to follow the maxim when the neighbours are all either panicking or in euphoria. Going with the herd is as strong an instinct as life-preservation, but a great deal more subtle.

Look at the present situation, the domestic market we see today is on the last legs of the “mispricing” of risk phenomena, that has been the life of the party for more than a decade. Institutions “mispriced” the risk of perverse incentives, macro-economic policy wonks mispriced the importance of achieving a stable inflation rate, loan officers “mispriced” the cost of giving loans to high credit risk clients, bankers “mispriced” the cost of packaging and leveraging risky products and rating agencies “mispriced” the cost of closing their eyes to everything.

Now lets agree that we all got sucked in by the aggressive expansion of the last decade. Truth be told we are still reluctant to give up this story. The present situation is pretty muddled and for a retail individual extremely confusing. Especially so as the present market rally has come on the heels of a sobering shock. Look around, the BSE and NSE are hovering within sniffing distance of their pre-2008 highs along with high growth for gold, silver, oil. Throw in a few scares like the rare earth shortage, fear of sovereign default contagion spreading through EU, political instability throughout the middle-east, food price inflationary shocks, natural disasters and we have got a tinderbox primed and ready- or at least feels like one. The market is currently living out its half-life moment.

The prime market of the world, United State of America is presently involved in papering over its shot up economic engine by monetising its GDP. The ill-effects have been out-sourced to the world, such is the price we pay for the “reserve currency”. Credit expansion with low policy rates and sustained high liquidity has been the default policy and the same is being rolled out on a world wide scale in an attempt to ride out this storm. For the politicians and policy makers such short term strategies make sense especially in a democratic set-up where the costs will be borne by the next government.

The present uncertainty is not just a regular event in the economic model, but a result of limitation of the model. It is imperative that the economic model of sustained high growth, low interest rates, high and continuous liquidity with large resource utilisation be discarded. In the meanwhile, the retail investor will continue to be taken for a ride on the wildest roller coaster in the world. 

Friday, June 24, 2011


I had put an article on the UNCRPD and thoughts on the same yesterday (the Hindu incidentally stole this theme, apropos the editorial today); bad coding of the word processing (if it can even be called that) on BlogSpot saw to it that I inadvertently destroyed the formatting completely. Having been on the blog for a short while, I now see two types of postings; well have seen only one but I mean space for two types: Short articles, like the opinion-editorial pieces which come within a page or five and then the plodding articles and regurgitated minutiae like what I have put up running into 8-15 pages, and then there is the third type which is the twitter-facebook-gtalk status updates (of which the less said the better- possible motto there eh.....!). A reason for twitter-facebook-gtalk popularity is because the vast majority of us have nothing much to say, and those who do either have a willing audience to impose on or the wherewithal and means to enthral an un-willing one. This leaves misanthropes like me, who have the need and information to say something, but cannot be bothered to interact with humanity long enough to say their piece.

In an earlier age you would have recognised me as the old curmudgeon who lives at the edges of the village, who talks to himself and is generally the fertile source for the village’s pity, incomprehension and a handy character to be murdered in the early chapters or a side hero in disguise. However please spare a moment for us seemingly ill-tempered old men, and think of the information and knowledge these characters hold. For after all what do you think misanthropes do, except observe that which they avoid. In a way we are the local philosophers or more appropriately the local AA equivalent for the maladroit humanitarian. Misunderstood as we are, we could not do much, for a call for to unite us would be futile, anarchists face the same conundrum. The internet is therefore an answer to our prayers. We can now speak to humanity without talking to humanity. So the next time you spy a grumbling old man, spare a thought for us, ignore our rasping demands to be left alone and ask us if we have a blog, you might be lucky enough to see the rare sight of a misanthrope smiling.  

- Mike

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Turbomeca-HAL dispute.

The news and discussion on Turbomeca-HAL dispute on provision of Shakti engines for LUH; set me off on thinking on what would be the commonality of engines for Helicopters for the Largest users and producers of Helis viz., USA and Russia. Accordingly have collected the information on an excel sheet. 

If we see the US numbers we can see that only 4-5 powerplants have been repeated across a minimum of 19 helicopters. A number of platforms have been excluded as being variants of the same platform. A similar case is seen with the Russian helicopters. Here my information is severely lacking and the conclusions might be wrong. However it might be safe to assume that commonality of engine across platforms is not a compulsory best practice.

Though the benefits of commonality are obvious, it might be more important to find an engine which is more suited to the need of the platform.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


So, have been remiss in missing my self imposed deadlines. However in the interest of furthering  my 10000 project, will do the needful this week, pakka. The topics that will be covered are (tentative list):
1. Foreign Policy for India 2nd post.
2. Preliminary analysis for US Senate data; raw dump for which is already put up.
3. A jab at discussing the defence industry development in Korea and Israel, which this author thinks are the closest parallels for Indian Defence Industry. More to the point, why the clamour for increase in FDI in Defence may be a case of barking up the wrong tree.

Well that should make it a busy week.

I discovered a new feature in the settings section, called "Stats". It is not 'new', but new in the sense of newly discovered. Now i thought that no body had read this blog as of yet, and was pleasantly surprised to know that the visitors numbered in the low three figures, but then again that might be just me visiting this page. Further i realised that there were a few visitors from the Russian Republic. Now seriously that warms the cockles of my shriveled heart. So here is a shout out to the mystery Russian visitor or visitors: "Hello".

Also could you, please tell me what brought you to this blog. It would genuinely help in boosting my ego :).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Attempt to quantify political background of the US Senate

This note was triggered by an article of ‘Patrick French’ which looked at the composition of the Lok Sabha and came to the conclusion that a significant minority of the Members of Parliament [henceforth MP(s)] had political family backgrounds. According to this study the breakup was as follows (descending order)[1]:
No significant family background

With family background
Student politics
All number in percentages.

Mr French also provides numbers for the political back ground of the “gen next” Lok Sabha members. These numbers are quite intriguing. According to Mr French’s analysis, the majority of MP (Lok Sabha) seats are earned so to speak, with a significant minority being cornered by the politically influential. What is significant here is that an overwhelming majority of the gen next politicos are from political families, with many winning from regions which have been loyal to their family for at least a generation. These seats might be considered a version of the English phenomenon of ‘Pocket Burroughs’.

I am not writing this post to actually comment on this article, nor to bemoan the alleged decay in Indian democracy. My main purpose is to see if I can do a similar analysis, with collection, sorting of information and analysis of trends. To this effect, I have chosen to do a comparative analysis of the political backgrounds of the 116th United States Senate. The US Senate was chosen to fulfil twin objectives of gaining experience in analysis and to put the Lok Sabha numbers in perspective by creating a counterpoint. Let me clarify that as I wanted to see how I would fare in my first attempt, I have not looked at the numbers, research methodology or information sorting system employed by Mr French. This would be done after the first attempt.

I am compiling information on the senate members, with information sourced from the open source web. The initial list will only contain information on senators that have politically backgrounds in my opinion. I would here like to explain my under-construction understanding of “Political Background”. As has been mentioned before, the definitions and methods employed by Mr French have not been looked at, except a cursory look at his article. A general online search does not provide a definition of “political background” which would be independent of regional context. An attempt at defining political background is fraught with pitfalls as more often than not it might include self-made individuals who might be part of popular families or might exclude individuals who are politically strong but are not in the public eye.

I believe that irrespective of individual capabilities the power of ‘linkages’ helps in tangible means, albeit ones which do not lend themselves to 2 paragraph descriptions on ‘Wikipedia’. This is one of the larger challenges for a researcher that is lack of a local context. The category for defining a senator as one having ‘political background’ is to confirm the senator has someone in the family who is or has held political posts in the government. As I have chosen to give importance to the power of linkages i have also included family members who hold or have held posts in the military or diplomatic corps especially if these posts were held at significant moments of national history.

Examples are the reefs on which many a definition founders. Especially if the definition is an tenuous as the one above. I have sought to place importance on strong hereditary political influence. This however is inadequate in categorizing individuals who have attended schools with future leaders; or if an individual’s close relations marry into a political family; or if only the first wife was from a political background.

The list of Senators with political backgrounds is being provided below:

[I have to attach the documents as .png format as Blogspot does not allow excel to be incorporated into the post.]

Analysis should come up this weekend.