Quantitative Easing… made easy for at least 1.2 million people!

After watching this cartoon by Omid Malekan, QE2 must be clear – at least conceptually – to the 1.2 million viewers who’ve watched the video on YouTube! If that hasn’t worked for you, try following Felix Salmon on Reuters to see why Quantitative Easing may not quite be the solution to solving America’s ‘burning’ issues/problem/s – job creation, to begin with; the liquidity trap, deflation… Ben Bernanke’s nemesis? Yep, this reference is to QE2 – hot in current news, being touted all around, for more than one reason.

Feel like you’re sailing in uncharted territory aboard the maiden voyage of QE2? Well, breathe easy, you’re not alone! Just twitter about it… no, then how about this? Talking and blogging about a maiden voyage  (hear a lighter note?), here’s some trivia…

Prince Charles was the first “civilian” passenger to board QE2, with her first captain, William Warwick. Now, talking of Bill (no, not from the US Federal Treasury), indeed, Prince William is the first among England’s “royalty” – just engaged – to embark on a life-voyage with Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton, a “civilian”. 🙂 😉

It appears that QE2 may well be the current hot news… not only around financial round tables, but also in socio-economic circles! 😉

Dig Gold?

Well, if you dig gold, you’re probably going deeper in the hole right now, even while I’m writing this just now. Despite the upward swing of the past week which carried DGP all the way up to an all-time high of $43.23, right now, it’s way below $38, with over 3.6% plunge in the first few hours of trading today alone! Still want to hang on to your gold?

Well, make your call…  inflation has spiked; Ireland also needs a bailout with Europe fearing another “debt-laden Greece” in the making; South Korea has raised a key interest rate with China possibly headed the same direction shortly; is it surprising that the DOW is taking a beating?

Like some would say, “Cut your losses, get out now… there’s always another day.”!

 

 

 

38 Gold…

Yep, DGP Gold is hovering under $38 today, a steep stock-price plunge  of almost 6% since yesterday. For the past 5 days or so, it hovered at all time highs of over $40.

Five days ago, at final count, India had bagged an all-time high number of gold medals at the CWG 2010 in Delhi38 – to be precise! Congratulations to all Indian athletes who brought India’s total tally to 101, including the bronze and silver medals as well. Well done, guys and gals!

Is everybody in India celebrating this success in every gully and nukkad across the nation, I wonder? Are kids enthused to taking up sports more seriously, now that national pride has been restored somewhat, after the CWG success, both, as host and as participant, I wonder.

Netas are now back to squabbling, sorting out allegations of ‘corruption‘ during the ramp up of the Commonwealth Games 2010… will there be a true resolution on this front? Will the monies be returned (if they were wrongfully taken in the first place) to the national coffers, I wonder.

In the meanwhile, heavyweight China rattled stock markets worldwide by it’s surprise move of an interest rate hike, the first in three years! In the US, DJI, NASDAQ, NYSE, S&P… you name it… are all down… hold your breath, holy-moly… that’s almost 2-3%! Here’s more from Andrew Batson!

38 Gold sounds good on the sports track… but if you have investments in Gold on the stock track… keep a close watch, so you’re not caught unawares! Talking of stocks, sports, and celebrations here’s something to smile about… the Scots will roll up their sleeves, put their Scotch aside, and gear up for the next Commonwealth Games in 2014. The Queen’s baton was officially passed on to the bagpipers…

Lift, Wrestle, Shoot… just get Gold!

In Delhi, at the Commonwealth Games 2010, India shines with 11 Gold Medals. Having bagged Silver and Bronze as well, Indian athletes are displaying a sterling performance, much to the surprise of spectators with their watchful gaze at this sports concourse.

In world financial spheres, on the bourse, with the intra-day high of $1,351 per troy ounce, Gold is displaying never-before-seen staggering numbers, so those holding gold are unlikely to part with it during this rising tide, whereas others fearful of another downturn in USD and the general economy (despite conflicting opinions) are bound to tug and pull their resources locked up elsewhere to enable them plow back in Gold. How long this rally as in ‘The Gold Rush’ will last, is hard to tell, ’cause markets are manipulated to an extent where the common man is throughly lost, loses track of trends… any which way seems to be a losing battle for all but a marginal few.

For those wrapped up in the daily routine of a basic job, it’s hard for them to keep track of a diverse financial portfolio. Economists and financial planners seem to be lost as well due to never-before seen fluctuations. For everybody, it’s a guessing game. Gold’s glitter has always seemed attractive… so may be the best bet is to go for gold… on, or off the field!

Urban Indians’ bombastic attitude… nothing but talk!

“Words are cheap… “ is oft stated, and more so, it seems, by India and Indians. Charlie Chaplin went on to say ” … the biggest thing you can say is ‘elephant’.” Indeed, the Commonwealth Games 2010 may well turn out to be the proverbial ‘white elephant’, at least for India; to say the least, I’m ashamed! A mammoth opportunity to woe (and wow) the world… has fast faded, forever!

So, the stock market has spiked…  virtually to 20K, and along with it escalates euphoria among those following Mumbai’s Dalal Street, a.k.a. India’s Wall Street. There’s talk of going “from third world to the third most powerful nation”… would you believe that? I’d like to, but am sorry, and sad to confess… that just won’t sink into my head. So what, if the source (we’re lead to believe) is the US National Intelligence Council (and I can’t get around to believing the NIC has reported that, although, I concede, to not having read their entire report)!

Euphoria released a song, “Dilli Meri Jaan“, dedicated especially to the Commonwealth Games, one of four, created in recent times; if these weren’t enough, yet another one was released, “Come out and play, Balle Balle“. Kudos to its composer & singer, Anand Raj Anand, both, for the composition, singing, and above all for his implicit faith in the nation. Alas, not quite sharing this sentiment, at this moment, as I write, it seems the Games are “Khallas” (“over”), even  before they’ve begun. Doomed from the beginning, thanks to India’s ‘system’… i.e. corrupt government, now even the stadium ceiling has collapsed!

During July 2009 through March 2010 I assisted a buddy in India towards organizing a trade show, in anticipation of the Commonwealth Games; the event didn’t take off the ground, thanks to Indian bureaucracy, and lack of support from the sporting goods trade… only now am I beginning to understand that veterans in the local domestic trade could foresee the doom, way ahead. In hind-sight I’d say, promoting your brand of sporting goods in such a mired environment would indeed have been an expensive exercise… not quite in monetary terms, but certainly in the long run for your brand/s! A wise decision to steer clear, folks, I now agree, with a somewhat heavy heart, and long-faded hope.

Many will accuse non-resident Indians for an ‘unpatriotic’ stance, but the fact remains, that if most of the burgeoning middle-class India – and Indians – continue to wear an attitude that says “we’re resilient“, I say, this vindication is the fundamental reason for the nation’s slow progress… this tolerance towards mediocrity!   Again, many will react and say, “Hey, you’re being an armchair philosopher”; to those I say, we, out here, sitting so far away from mathrubhumi (motherland), are able to view India with a different perspective. Myriad and varied reasons lead us to make another nation our home; even so, it pains us to see India in this state, even until this day… along with pain, now there’s shame! Wake up ‘Shera‘! India, wake up to hard facts and reality… the roar from Beijing’s silent stadiums resounds!

Oversight… the contradictions in its meaning just irk me!

Talk about anomalies in language, particularly in English!

Even in the past, I blogged about this. Why can’t people just use another word when they mean “supervision”? Under the guise of ‘oversight’ so much damage has been done to this country… not all of it inadvertently!

Yet again, Mr Bernanke claims “lax oversight caused crisis“! I say, it will happen again and again and yet again… not through oversight; not inadvertently, but in full view and with the full knowledge of the powers that be! Until they stop pushing everything under the carpet with this blanket use of ‘oversight’… whoever cooked up the dual meaning of this word had to be all messed up… blame it on oversight – inside and outside! Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But this is just my weird blog… what about the weird goings-on on the stock exchange and in the world today… everybody suddenly seems to be on a high. Wonder if it is oversight… seeing above and beyond… you see, I’m extending the usage of ‘oversight’… surely that will pass? All’s not well with the world, and yet the markets are surging, folks are euphoric, thanks to improved oversight… or what???

You may ignore my diatribe (with a singular meaning) above, but someone please take a look at the text below, and the visual Thesaurus that follows…

Main Entry: oversight
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: failure, omission

Synonyms:

blank*, blunder, carelessness, chasmdefault, delinquency, dereliction, disregarderrorfault, inattention, lapse, laxity, miscue, mistakeneglect,overlook, overlooking, preterition, pretermission,skipslip, slipup

Antonyms:

attentioncarerecollectionremembrancesuccess
* = informal/non-formal usage
http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/oversight#visualthesaurus
Main Entry: oversight
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: care, supervision

Synonyms:

administrationaegischargecheckcontrol, custody, directionguard, guardianship, handling,inspection, intendance, keepkeepingmaintenance,management, superintendence, surveillance,tutelage

Antonyms:

ignorance, neglect
Defining Oversight_Visual Thesaurus

Boom, Bust, or Echoes of the next Debt Bomb…

Dooba, Doobai, Dubailand

While on the subject, interested in watching The Slaves of Dubai? Click  here.

Mother India beckons me… o’, does she?

My friend and I often ponder about returning to India… someday! In my own mind, though, I believe we are merely flirting with the idea of returning to our motherland… back to Bharat mata.

Neither of us are anywhere near the retirement age.  Besides, there’s every possibility that by the time we do approach it, the official retirement age may get pushed farther back… retirement, therefore, is still a long way off. So, will we ever move back to India to take up a job there, or to set up an India-based venture?

We hear and read about numerous ‘success’ stories of repats (or ‘returnees’), including former East Indian immigrants, Indian-Americans, non-resident Indians who, after living outside of India — mainly in the US, Canada, UK, or Australia — are returning to their country of origin.  Quitting jobs in Seattle, or at Sun Microsystems, or, from venture capital companies in Silicon Valley… technocrats are gung-ho about heading start-ups, or funding Web 2.0 apps; India’s booming economic stratosphere lures venture capitalists to lead as head honchos of hedge funds! But wait, are all the repats ‘successful’ or ‘happily settled’ in India?

As a working adult in a large metropolis, or, if you’ve lived, studied, and grown up in India, all the visible chaos is simply accepted as ‘a part of life’… the struggles of the people; the national politics at the macro level; and work-place dynamics at a micro level; the bureaucracy at the government level percolating down, and through to the private sector; the farcical current education system with parallel private tutoring; the perennial search by households for a reliable ‘maid-servant’; the annual monsoons, the droughts, the daily commute to and from work during the summer heat… all the tedium is a part and parcel of daily life… but what is apparent to the rest of the world is India’s fast-growing, booming stock-market, with consumerism scaling new heights, and a middle-class that only seems ‘modern’! Living by a new set of rules, with new values, attitudes, and behavior, the burgeoning youth population seems alien from any previously known Indian generation.

Hey, this is just the surface… scratch and scrape just a wee-bit, and it’s not hard to see that age-old behavior patterns, beliefs and psychology prevail. Once the novelty of the ‘returnee’ wears off, the repat will have to ‘fall in line’. The ‘system’ compels them to accept age-old lackadaisical work ethics of the nation. Expecting a higher degree of discipline? Chances are, you’ll be disappointed. The fault lies with the expectations of the returnee… the changes in the ways and values of the local people, visible at first glance, are all a mere illusion. So, how can you be truly happy? If you’re not happy, would you say you’re successful?

Attitudes take far longer to change. To get ingrained or locked in the DNA takes far longer… but then human behavior analysts would know that, right? In a vicious cycle, it is for the very same reason that old set of attitudes take far longer to change… you can expect the changes to occur over a long period of time… over several decades… hence, may be in a generation or two.

Interestingly enough, India appears to be a fast progressing, upwardly mobile, youthful nation that seems to be breaking away from the psychological shackles, and Victorian values and vestiges of the Raj era gone past. India, today, boasts of a new generation born to parents of the post-Independence era who, neither experienced, nor suffered the travails of their own parents i.e. the previous Freedom Fighters’ generation.

Paradoxically, the early immigrants from the mid-20th century, across the Indian diaspora, were educated Indian professionals from the very same Freedom Fighters’ generation. It is their children, or their grand-kids today, who are seeking opportunities in what was once their homeland… India, to them, is the country they often visited during their childhood, or viewed through their grand-parents’ rose-tinted glasses.

Listen carefully to Indians in India… Has anybody sensed the contempt in their voices towards the US or towards Indian Americans? They express a lack of interest or desire to visit the US. Once, not too far back, Indians clamored for immigration to the US. The difficult US immigration process and the officers may be one reason for the disinterest now, but there are other reasons as well. Today Indians have a choice… Canada, Australia, the Middle-East, South Africa, Botswana… who knows, may be even Timbuctoo. But most of all, this contempt seems to stem from India’s newly acquired power and wealth… a new attitude that mocks at a nation that has been thus far the super-power.

Even so, I don’t see the new generation boycotting American, Canadian, Australian or any other foreign goods or services… be it jeans or their latest jalopy; higher education at NYU or a vacation in the Rockies! I don’t see malls proud to display local brands! Why are parents sending their kids to IB schools? Why are cruises to the Caribbean or Alaska so popular? Foreign brands in India are raking it in. There seems to be no embarrassment in embracing foreign labels… but then, this is not a new phenomenon. For decades, Indians and Indian businesses have been eager to ‘tie-up’ with foreign collaborations. Indians would rather seek acceptance from a “foreign” boss, even in their own nation, than allow the Indian-American ‘returnee’ to succeed in his homeland… have Indians truly broken away from the shackles of the British Raj?

Think again… my dear MIT friend… the work you do here will, at some point in the future, be adopted by your country cousins… if routed through the ‘appropriate’ channels. But if you decide to move back to India today, after 20 years of being away… you will be saddened when you do arrive on Indian shores… for good.  My feeling is, let us continue to flirt with the idea… the idea is exciting… but succumbing to the idea may actually mean death of the dream!

Of course, my thoughts may seem fragmented… they were triggered this morning after I read Heather Timmons’ article, “Some Indians Find It Tough to Go Home Again”. Although I now live in the US, I spent a fairly long period of my working career in India. I’m quite familiar with how folks think out there, how most people work out there, and how unlikely it is that those attitudes would have changed since I left the country. I was considered ‘self-righteous’ by the so-called ‘successful elite’, and ironically, ‘way too professional’ by some in government service, ‘to succeed’ in a world that measured success by a set of values diametrically different from mine.

Ironically, home was never home for me… and today, as a relatively new immigrant I’m still trying to make this place my ‘home’ since several of my friends who grew up here, who went to school here – earlier immigrants – wish to head back ‘home’! As I see it, I behold India from afar… she is exotically beautiful, but has a long way to go before she is bold… bold enough and comes into her own! Who knows, I may be unknown and alone here… but to move away from India, I must have been bold… enough to be here on my own, far away from my family and friends, and from all that was familiar, into the unknown!

In the war against Al Qaeda, how will the US cope with rebellious local youth!

Billions of tax dollars are spent by US to wage a war against terrorist groups outside the nation. But then a young man from Long Island, New York, travels all the way to Afghanistan, receives training from Al Qaeda, then plots a terror attack over his home base, then goes on to confess… who and what should the American people fear more?

The anger and terror lies within the common people of the US. The reasons may be varied… frustration about the status quo, ignorance, prejudice, poverty, skewed perceptions, unreasonable expectations of life…

It’s odd though… people from other parts of the world have thus far believed that Americans have it all… with no reason to be frustrated, that they are all rich, beautiful and smart! The irony of it all… and now in the present downturn, we have already heard of how these pent-up emotions of frustration and anger of the unemployed can take shape!

W2 or ‘no W2’… there’s no escape from filing… spring into action, folks, or the IRS will!

A neat presentation…  An alarming view…  A harsh reminder!


Picture the Recession