Note to recruiters

Note to recruiters: We are quite aware that recruiters, interviewers, VCs and other professionals generally perform a Google Search before they interview someone, take a pitch from someone, et cetera. Please keep in mind that not everything put on the Internet must align directly to one's future career and/or one's future product portfolio. Sometimes, people do put things on the Internet just because. Just because. It may be out of their personal interests, which may have nothing to do with their professional interests. Or it may be for some other reason. Recruiters seem to have this wrong-headed notion that if somebody is not signalling their interests in a certain area online, then that means that they are not interested in that area at all. It is worth pointing out that economics pretty much underlies the areas of marketing, strategy, operations and finance. And this blog is about economics. With metta, let us. by all means, be reflective about this whole business of business. Also, see our post on "The Multi-faceted Identity Problem".

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Marginal Revolution University on India - insanely great

So I emailed Tyler Cowen in regards to his comments on India (specifically, on the so-called Kerala model of development) in a recent interview and he pointed me to which is a spin-off from his blog Marginal Revolution.

The teaching materials on on India are - one must be careful in one's choice of adjectives here - insanely great. I particularly like his three videos on Amartya Sen because they capture his ideas extremely well. Although I don't share Amartya Sen's views on the role of the private sector in boosting economic growth in India, his is, I think, an important voice that lends support to certain important moral ideas for India.

Below are links to the Amartya Sen videos on
  • Amartya Sen #1 :
  • Amartya Sen #2 :
  • Amartya Sen #3 :
Check 'em out! Updates on this topic to follow.

 Update (February 17): I think it would be useful for me to amplify my point on Amartya Sen. I think Amartya Sen overemphasizing the role of the public sector in many cases and, thereby, underemphasizes the actual role played by the private sector.

In this interview, for instance, he says that "Some areas of India are much better provided in terms of health care than others. For example, Kerala has very wide health care. Now Kerala is not any richer than the rest of India; it's in fact slightly poorer on average. If Kerala can do it, the rest of India also can. In fact, in terms of survival to mature ages, the African American population in the United States, though many times richer than the population of Kerala, actually has a lower chance of survival to mature ages. Low per capita income is not really such a barrier. That's the first thing."

But the fact is that the healthcare system in Kerala is, in actuality, not all that good. Private healthcare expenditure in Kerala is  much higher
than in other states (thanks to Tyler Cowen for the video and for emphasizing this particular point) and that points to a different reason why healthcare outcomes are better in Kerala (as compared to other Indian states).

It may be useful to look more closely at the instance offered by Sen of blacks in America - he offers this population as a population to contrast Kerala against. In my opinion, the African American population in the U.S. is simply not a good population to compare against in terms of this particular statistic - survival to maturity. The reason for this is simple. What is driving the low chance of survival to mature ages are factors like crime. People are dying at younger ages because there are more guns on the street. For the African-American population in the United States, what may be necessary is stricter gun control. Gun control is nowhere close to an issue in Kerala. So, what Amartya Sen offers is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

The problem with comparing two extremely disparate populations is that the problems faced by these populations can be extremely different. And therefore, it follows that the solutions to the specific problems may also be quite different. Increasing public expenditure does not now seem to be a good solution to Kerala's problems. Instead, greater liberalization - such as in the retail sector - is the right way forward.

Update (Feb 25): Also, updated the main post a bit.