Friday, February 28, 2014

Perspective: Land prices during Japan’s lost decade and economics behind it


And the accompanying economics are herewith:

Source: A paper by James Wlicox

Relevance to India:

India is no Japan but there are many similarities in data and trends:

Source: United Nations statistics
  • Population density (people per Sq. km) is comparable: 382 (India) vs 350 (Japan)

  • Population growth rates are declining in India too

  • Slowing GDP growth rate has put pressure on per capita income in the recent past

Source: World Bank Report

  • Bad loans in the banking system are rising and have not found a top yet

Source: Business Line


    If history is any indicator and the trends continue, land prices would soften in India too.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Review: Breakout Nations

Very few books successfully correlate history and politics with the economic progress of a nation in a specific time period and this book is one of them. It not only explores few countries but more than a dozen of them in search of a breakout nation. GDP, growth rate and per capita income are the common criteria used along with country specific information while concluding if a nation continues to be a breakout nation or falls off the list.

Author of this book Ruchir Sharma, who also wears hats of an investor and a traveler, puts the subject matter in a logical sequence and in a simple, crisp language which can be easily read and appreciated by non-economic background readers as well. He provides deeper insights into many nations on why they had a spectacular growth during the last decade and why the commodity driven nations would find their growth rates cooling down in the coming decade. He observes and explains why South Korea was able to build global brands and its neighbor Taiwan was not so successful in that despite both countries having similar background and greater influence (under colonial rule) from Japan. He also shows why there is room for growth only in the top in Russia and how USA can be a come-back nation again.

Chapter titles, sub-headings, captions for accompanying photographs are very catchy and mostly borrowed from common wisdom, famous sayings make the book very interesting read.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review: Walking with lions

Author of this book Natwar Singh held a wide range of positions in the Govt. of India beginning as an IFS officer to growing up to assume the position of a Foreign Minister in his career spanning more than three decades. He served Nehru, Indira, Rajeev, Sonia in different capacities and supported them in all kinds of situations. His loyalty to Nehru-Gandhi family was reciprocated and helped him raise the ranks swiftly. This book is a collection of 50 articles, basically author's experiences as a diplomat, and his interactions with a variety number of people from all corners of the world and all walks of life. Author had an unwavering respect for Indira Gandhi and disliking towards Morarji Desai for which he shows no inhibitions or hide them. 

This book would be a good read for those who want to know experiences of globe-trotting diplomats, and their nuances of life. While politicians fill most of this book, but yet other interesting personalities such as writer Nirad Choudhary, sadhu Chandraswami,  painter M F Hussain, film actors Nargis, Dev Anand also make their presence felt in the chapters dedicated for them.