My Journey

I have made all the calculations; fate will do the rest -(Napoleon)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Salvation



"..work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"

- Philippians 2:12

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Monetary Policy & Global Economy


Bank of Finland has released their paper on "Monetary Policy and Global Economy". It is a nicely done concise report and could be accessed here.  Some of the points and my observations are

1. Euro zone growth was picking up but slowed down in the second quarter of 2014. This was due to Germany slowing down and Italy going back to recession. The Geopolitics of Ukraine and Russia didn't help either.

2. The fastest growing European country would be England. USA will continue the growth curve and China will still grow briskly if slower than past.

3. The inflation in Euro-zone is going to be below the target level, which should allow ECB to cut interest rates. However to address long term interest rate ECB will have to introduce Quantitative Easing (similar to US Fed) and buy asset backed securities.

4. As expected, yesterday, US Fed committed for keeping the long term interest rate to their continued low figures. You can't blame the market to have jitters before every such planned policy communication. However with Europe still struggling to grow, the ECB keeping the interest rates low, and planning on QE,  Fed would never have gone the other way.

5. The Bank of Finland report, having reduced the growth rate for 2014, has kept 2015, and 2016 rates unchanged. I think this is highly presumptive. We have not seen the full extent of Ukraine crisis. There has to be refinement of 2015 and 2016 figures. Also Germany is getting some systemic issue of high energy cost - this is affecting the investments. This effect has to be factored as well.

Overall quite a good view of the global macro-economy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Diplomacy & Realpolitik


Another must read book in diplomacy and real politics is Henry Kissinger's  "World Order"; this book seems special because it contextualizes history from Bismarck times to present day Putin.

By the way - the picture of the dead German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck is considered to be the world's first paparazzi photograph.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Holocaust Memorial


Even though I keep finding myself in Berlin, two years ago, it was my first opportunity to visit the Holocaust Memorial. It was soon going to be spring, snow was becoming slush, and in that dusk I found myself standing infront of the memorial. Except it didn't feel like any memorial. It was a sloping piece of land with concrete slabs(Stelae), of different sizes,  neatly placed. From a distance it might give an impression of a cemetery -  typical for fallen soldiers. The stelae weren't of uniform sizes or like tombstones; it was like a maze. It was confusing to be a memorial. 

I didn't have much time to think so I decided to enter the memorial walking along the snow covered alleys between the stelae, and then it dawned on me. Even though there was uniformity in the alleys, still it appeared confusing and claustrophobic. There was nothing significant in that place except those stelae, it was difficult to breathe and you would feel like a prisoner in the maze. There was nothing to remind that I was a human while walking on those alleys except the crunching of the snow beneath the feet. That's how those Jews, who were murdered, must have felt. Not a human being anymore, no wish, no choice, no joy but a prisoner on the endless maze. An ordered yet a cruel system. That's how they would have felt while living in concentration camps, in ghettos, being gassed or burnt in the incendiary towers. The ashes falling like flakes to which they were reduced. One can feel the suffocation, the yearning, the desire, the pain, the tears of not being human being anymore. The sudden and excruciating degradation from human to an object.

The Nobel laureate novelist, Imre Kertesz in his book "Fateless" describing the life in concentration camps has through the protagonist Gyuri made a point - Gyuri accepts the inhuman treatment, he just wanted to know why ?

The greatest injustice is not the cruelty perpetuated on you, but not even having the opportunity to seek justice. The greatest injustice is not to bear the suffering, the pain, the agony, the torture, but not to even know why these were inflicted on you?

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Narcissist Next Door - by Jeffrey Kluger



If you love reading Malcolm Gladwell then you will definitely like " The Narcissist Next Door" by Jeffrey Kluger. Gladwell can scientifically explain dog whisperers and why some excellent players choke in their final game, similarly Kluger gives psychologial explanations for everyday observations. Kluger, a popular TIME editor has written one other book on similar lines.

In this book, he explains the narcissistic behavior that "desire equals license" and quotes Woody Allen. "The heart wants what it wants" - said Woody Allen in a supremely narcissistic moment as he blithely explained his decision to ditch his longtime partner Mia Farrow in favor of her 21 year old daughter.

He has also quoted Bernie Madoff. This should be an interesting read.

(Source TIME:Sept1 edition)

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Today

Two things for today

1. Word - 'Marginal' means trifle by itself, but it has huge meaning when it is the preceding one - Marginal Cost, Marginal Utility, etc

2. Philosopher - Jeremy Bentham - I am amazed by this British philosopher, how much he could accomplish in a life's time, and how much he contributed to the world.


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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reconcile v.intr - To bring (oneself) to accept


In the last ten years of this blog, several times, I would have blogged about 'no sleep' nights of mine, so I will not do it again. I have accepted it - if I don't get sleep, I will not ask for it. However simple this might sound, but I am wondering about the stark reality embedded in this acceptance. Have I started to reconcile, or finally learnt ' to give up' ? The constant fight for everything and anything that I want has brought me many things in my life, but it is also starting to get tiring. There is only so much before one starts to let nature, fate and destiny take over. It was difficult for me to type the previous sentence and I did delete it twice, but  if even Napoleon had to make way for destiny then who am I ?

I still wish and submit to the powers to let me have atleast the following four things before I die. Only four things!

1. A formal degree in Economics - I have learnt this subject, in bits and pieces in many of my courses, took some self taught modules however I still long for a formal degree that comes with transcripts and seal of a University. Not sure when and how will I get to do this ?
2. Greek Mythology - Agreed it is myths, stories, but it is also about these tales of remarkable and unremarkable people that still shape and in many cases explain our modern world. I have taken the first step of enrolling in a semi-formal course but will see if I could do it properly.
3. Understanding of 'Classical Music' - Yes, I kept myself from scratching the surface of it, unsure of my inclination. However I succumbed to it after watching the 2009 TV movie of Dr Ben Carson. I have not reached anywhere, other than playing it non stop on Spotify every night.
4.A month in Amazon - I think I crystallized on this idea 7 years ago, after one of John Grisham's book, and I have least hope of ever getting to do this out of the the four wishes. I would still keep this as one of my sputtering hopes.

Now that I have documented this, I hope the 'powers that decide(? dictate)' have mercy on me. No wins for you, I am prepared(and accept) to fail. Amen !


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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Still on the island ..

It is ironic that I am watching 'Cast Away' on telly - the last twenty minutes. I had flipped to the other channel but the movie there was shorter, and I got drawn here.

Irony that ten years ago, I started this blog with a bit on this movie. Ten years have passed. Has anything changed ?

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bond We Had

"What will you do when the war is over, tender comrade
When we cast off these khaki clothes
And go our separate ways
What will you say of the bond we had
Tender comrade"


(Billy Bragg - Tender Comrade)

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Movies

I am sick of movies that are more than 90 minutes long and what is wrong with Hollywood these days? They seem to love making three hour movies under the garb of true stories