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".

Friday, May 9, 2014

MISCELLANEOUS: Re: Your critique of my poems, saikus and a critique of Thomas Piketty

My email to Rakesh Bhandari this morning.


Hi Rakesh,

I want to respond more fully to your mini-poem critiquing/criticizing my poetry.

First, my poetry is akin to the songs of struggle that are found in social movements across the world. Nobody parses the songs sung by the dispossessed Narmada Valley people to see if it meets the standards of the poetry sections of "The American Reader" or the New York Times. I don't know if you know this but the book "The Essence of Leadership"  (reviewed very positively by Stanford's founding father of OB, James March) which I contributed to, develops leadership ideas based on readings from literature.

Second, I have been developing a new type of poetry that I like to call "saiku". It stands for "satirical haiku". Saiku captures in three or four lines the essence of a criticism/critique. I don't know if you were basing your critique/criticism on said poems. They are all over the South Asian Journalists Association's website.

Third, these saikus are enormously effective in that they capture a lot of wisdom in three lines (or less). I could convey my critique of Thomas Piketty (he is the latest fad these days, isn't he?) in three lines. In fact, your own critique of my poetic efforts is an instance of the effectiveness of this compressed criticism technique. It is devastatingly effective at times.

Best wishes,


"Capital in the 21st Century"
Ho hum, what shall we say about this latest fad?
      The emphasis on inequality is misplaced - 
capital has raised more people out of poverty in India and China 
in the last 35 years 
than in the previous 70. 
      The idea of a world tax is unworkable -
The problems facing each country/region have always been particular to that country/region.
They may have roots in particular sectors
e.g. financial sector (Japan), the automobile sector (Detroit),
et cetera.
So only a sectoral analysis would provide any means of a solution.
      What could be done? -
certainly, not a world tax.
Other ideas and proposals must first be explored
      (Read- would each one of us say- those would be my own ideas? :) Say, Digital Green for me? :))
Sorry, "Occupy" people.
has a counterpart.
In an earlier era,
it was
Das Kapital.

Update (11:53 a.m.): To be perfectly clear, what I am saying is not that Thomas Piketty is wrong to focus on inequality (please be careful when I use poetry - I don't intend for it to be read literally). Piketty is good in his descriptive analysis from what I have read so far. Also, from what I understand, his empirical work is very sound and quite good. It is not his descriptive analysis that I fault but rather his prescriptive analysis.

First, the world tax concept proposed by Piketty is not a workable one. I don't see how the mandate for something like that could be obtained. Second, we must keep inequality in perspective. The fact is that the poor in America live much better lives than even the upper class did 200 years ago. They typically own one or two cars, have at least one TV, possess at least one cellphone, and live in a reasonably sized home. In fact, the house of the average poor person in America is larger than the house of the average European. This is not to say that being poor in America is easy. It is just to say that we must keep things in perspective given the economic history of the United States over the past 200 years. Third, taxes are opposed by a significant cross section of American society - even taxes for other Americans. This is a matter of conflicting economic viewpoints or philosophies. If your viewpoint is that the government's role is to provide equal opportunity for all, then you would come to one conclusion regarding the proposals in the book. If you think - as Obama and most liberals do - that the government is within its rights to tax more (or, as some would put it, to engage in 'forced redistribution of wealth' or, again to put it less gently, to seize even more wealth than it already does), then you would come to a very different conclusion regarding the prescriptive proposals in the book. Given what we know about the distribution of political opinion within America, it is highly unlikely that many will take kindly to the concept of a world tax - if at all, they would be for more tax revenues to help other Americans. The fact that so many are opposed to taxes (one of the many of the ideas expounded in the book) simply indicates their political viewpoints on forced wealth redistribution. No matter how you phrase it, everybody knows that means. Nobody is getting fooled.