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links for 2010-06-29

29 Jun
  • Suddenly “what shall I take today” does not seem like a trivial decision. A book is many things. It helps fill time between appointments, on trains. It may spark an idea or help consolidate one. It enables a solitary experience inside one’s head while one navigates a crowd jostling for space on the pavements of Oxford Street.
    Yet a book is not really about appearances. More will see the handbag. Few, if any, will see its contents.
    And there lies the rub. We pick many things for fitting into specific contexts. Our clothes, for instance. But a book allows us to be ourselves.
  • In a completely unexpected move, Congress today expelled its Rajya Sabha member and current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from the primary membership of the party for six years, but the party said that it will let Dr. Singh continue as the Prime Minister of the UPA government.
    Party insiders say that the decision was taken to help Congress perform well in the coming state assembly elections…
    Sources say that Congress was mulling over the expulsion of Manmohan Singh for a long time so that they could call themselves just an ‘ally’ of the central government and could enjoy the ‘flexibility’ other allies have enjoyed for long…
    After this expulsion, Congress is planning to hold countrywide demonstrations against the recent hike in petrol prices and burn effigies of Manmohan Singh to reach out to the aam aadmi.
  • Professor Charles Handy explained his Portfolio Life concept at an Institute meeting: 'What I am trying to do is evolve a lifestyle for myself. I looked into my concerns and activities, and one thing I did was to resign my full-time, tenured professorship. I created what I call 'a portfolio life', setting aside 100 days a year for making money, 100 days for writing, 50 days for what I consider good works, and 100 days for spending time with my wife…
    If, rather than think of life as work and leisure, we think of it as a portfolio of activities – some of which we do for money, some for interest, some for pleasure, some for a cause – that way, we do not have to look for the occupation that miraculously combines job satisfaction, financial reward and pleasant friends all in one package. As with any portfolio we get different returns from different parts and if one fails the whole is not ruined.
  • There are two modes of work: doing stuff, and deciding what stuff you have to do. The essence of working smart is balancing those two. If you do before you decide, you get stuck in the busy trap.
    You want to think first, act next. Because you never know when the next interruption is coming, make sure you always have a broad overview of all of your projects in one place. Regroup and review your lists on a regular basis…When you have clarity about what you need to be working on at the moment…you can say "sure, no problem" or "I'd love to, but can I delegate project X to make time for it?" instead.
    The fact is, interruptions will always come at you in the form of emergencies, requests, surprise meetings, co-worker problems. That won't change. What can change is how you react to them. When you're clear on the state of your current projects and priorities, you can make informed decisions about how to deal with that interruption, the right way, on the spot.
  • the ULIP dispute has been presented as a contest between SEBI and IRDA…This is misleading. One scenario would have each regulator govern the portion of ULIPs which fall within their domain…Some might suggest that this would lead to too much complexity. Yet, we are more used to dealing with complexity than we realize. A person driving a vehicle who causes damage to property could be liable for damages under rules of the Motor Vehicle Act, tort law and possibly the Indian Penal Code. That the net zone of freedom of action in driving a car would be limited to the conjunction of the areas prescribed by these laws seems hardly remarkable. The government would never declare that all motor vehicle drivers are immune from civil or criminal laws. The more complex the transaction, the more regulation might apply. Financial firms are as well-equipped as any actor in society to handle this complexity.
  • big business is as much the enemy of free markets as big government is.
    The cornerstone of free markets, competition, is great for consumers, as it delivers better-quality products and services at lower prices. But it is terrible for established businesses, which are constantly under pressure to keep prices low and salaries high, and may be wiped out by more innovative and efficient competitors…
    now that communism is dead, one of the greatest threats to freedom everywhere is not socialism, but crony capitalism…
    Big government is one ass cheek, big business is another, and together they're shitting on capitalism…
    And here's an excerpt from a speech Manmohan gave in 2007: "Are we encouraging crony capitalism? Is this a necessary but transient phase in the development of modern capitalism in our country? Are we doing enough to protect consumers and small businesses from the consequences of crony capitalism?…
    why on earth was he asking those questions? He's the prime minister, no?
  • At one level, it's a free market; people should be able to buy what they want, even if they choose to overpay, especially when such information is available to them. On the other hand, we have seen a worldwide financial crisis built on the back of information asymmetry; you must decide based on what you know, and you can't possibly know enough. The answer: regulate, de-incentivise, litigate. There has to be a little of each, because in the end we are not rational beings. But it looks like the government decision seems to have just favoured the unregulated market.
    Buyer beware. If you ask me, I would tell you to blindly refuse any ULIP offered to you, for which you will undoubtedly receive a large number of unsolicited enquiries in the coming months. But maybe there is a way to benefit: I suggest you demand Rs. 500 per phone call, payable in advance. For this advice, I demand no commissions.
  • The sale of 'corruption licenses' alone would generate so much money for the exchequer, it would make A Raja look like a cop who just accepted a twenty rupee bribe to overlook a traffic-signal violation. And that's just for starters. Legalizing corruption means that you can tax it directly – resulting in seriously big income for the Government, freeing them up financially so they can ditch hare-brained schemes such as the NREGA and focus on building important stuff such as hideous statues of political figures, ugly memorials to great people and private roads for everyone…
    The beauty of this idea is that it is completely foolproof. Of course, any license-based system is vulnerable to being exploited by corrupt officials, but since, under the new rules, corruption itself would be quite legal, these unscrupulous elements would be in a fix…Anyone looking to take bribes to award 'corruption licenses' would have to obtain a license themselves first.
  • The days are long, but the years are short.
    Someplace, keep an empty shelf.
    It's okay to ask for help.
    You can choose what you do; you can't choose what you LIKE to do.
    Happiness doesn't always make you feel happy.
    What you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE.
    You don't have to be good at everything.
    It's important to be nice to EVERYONE.
    You know as much as most people.
    What's fun for other people may not be fun for you — and vice versa.
    If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.
    No deposit, no return.
  • I think false choices are tempting for a couple of reasons. First, instead of facing a bewildering array of options, you limit yourself to a few simple possibilities. Also, the way you set up the options usually makes it obvious that one choice is the high-minded, reasonable, laudable choice, and one is not.
    But although false choices can be comforting, they can leave you feeling trapped, and they can blind you to other choices you might make. “Either I can be financially secure, or I can have a job I enjoy.” “I have to decide whether to marry this person now or to accept the fact that I’m never going to have a family.”
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Posted by on June 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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