Thursday assorted links

1. Cow dung cakes on eBay, from India.

2. “No puppyrazzi…

3. The ten best world thinkers.

4. Timothy Taylor on secular stagnation.

5. Expansionist India? (controversial, interesting ideas but note this is a slanted take on history)

6. The best whistler in the world?  “We cannot have mushy lips and be a champion!”


#1 - Where are sales of camel urine? For health reasons, The Prophet recommended drinking it.

I suppose you are referring to the recent scandal in Saudi Arabia.

#3 Why are there no progressives and persons of color or gender identity included?

This is in contention for the worst list I have ever seen.

Who doesn't have a gender identity?

Isn't white a color?

I believe the academically preferred term is "pathology"

Naomi Klein? #3? Seriously? That woman couldn't think her way out of a paper bag. If she weren't from a country smaller than the state of California, no one would have ever heard of her in the first place.

I used to really dislike Naomi Klein until I saw her on youtube in 2008 insisting that President Bush would declare martial law and cancel elections. Now she is my hero for warning us and saving the Union. God bless Ms. Klein.

5. I quite agree with the author. India is ruthlessly aggressive in its treatment of its neighbors. In particular the forceful attack on Goa, which was sovereign territory of Portugal, merely because India wanted it, should caution all Westerners about how India acts. Also consider the forceful annexation of the Princely States, particularly Hyderabad, which in today's world would be us conquering Canada because it should belong to us, dammit.

That says nothing about India's irresponsible nuclear activity. The Nuclear Suppliers Group was founded specifically because of India's weapons proliferation on the subcontinent.

India gets way too much lee-way because of its size and importance and because people think "democracy=good." China is a more responsible nation than India.

Are you being sarcastic by any chance?

The so-called contrarian take is plain stupid, or propaganda.
"South Tibet"? Aggression against China-when China has annexed Tibet
which has never been chinese or "annexation of goa" as a example of India's aggression really? Or Manipur? or aggression against protestors in Kashmir, when the great "independence" movement in Kashmir is full of islamist bigots and terrorists who have systematically driven out hindu minorities.

There is no propaganda about the US condemning India for aggressively seizing territory from Portugal. That's a US government statement. There are ways to peacefully resolve issues of colonial possessions, like Hong Kong. Or you can simply attempt to take what you want, like Argentina in the Falklands.

You might find Manipur irrelevant but it fits a large pattern of aggression by India to force the Princely states to accede, which should worry any contemporary Westerner. This included outright invasion in the early years.

The commenter is obviously biased and paints every specific scenario in the worst light possible, but I agree with the main thrust of the argument.

The independence of Tibet shouldn't be considered a relevant issue in this day and age and should have been considered a non-event even then. Obviously India bears no responsibility for the actions of the British prior to India even existing (South Tibet).

I see the Pakistani foreign ministry allows its employees to post on blogs from work now

Indeed, Hadur. If you look at the poster's comment history, the identical screed is repeated verbatim umpteen times.

Here is another one of the poster's comments:
Here is how competitive Indian professionals are:

Companies ruined or almost ruined by imported Indian labor

Adaptec – Indian CEO Subramanian Sundaresh fired.
AIG (signed outsourcing deal in 2007 in Europe with Accenture Indian frauds, collapsed in 2009)
AirBus (Qantas plane plunged 650 feet injuring passengers when its computer system written by India disengaged the auto-pilot).
Apple – R&D CLOSED in India in 2006.
Apple – Indian national and former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta charged with leaking Intel and Apple secrets over the phone.
Australia’s National Australia Bank (Outsourced jobs to India in 2007, nationwide ATM and account failure in late 2010).
Barclays Bank – UK executive management was corrupted by Shriti Vadera, the Indian-origin economist. His advice led Barclay’s CEO and other execs to rig Libor interest rates.
Bell Labs (Arun Netravalli took over, closed, turned into a shopping mall)
Boeing Dreamliner ES software (written by HCL, banned by FAA)
Bristol-Myers-Squibb (Trade Secrets and documents stolen in U.S. by Indian national guest worker)
Caymas – Startup run by Indian CEO, French director of dev, Chinese tech lead. Closed after 5 years of sucking VC out of America.
Caterpillar misses earnings a mere 4 months after outsourcing to India, Inc.
Circuit City – Outsourced all IT to Indian-run IBM and went bankrupt shortly thereafter.
Cisco – destroyed by Indian labor, laid off 55,000 in 2012, going down the drain.
ComAir crew system run by 100% Indian IT workers caused the 12/25/05 U.S. airport shutdown when they used a short int instead of a long int
Computer Associates – Former CEO Sanjay Kumar, an Indian national, sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for accounting fraud.
Deloitte – 2010 – this Indian-packed consulting company is being sued under RICO fraud charges by Marin Country, California for a failed solution.
Dell – call center (closed in India)
Delta call centers (closed in India)
Duke University – Massive scientific fraud by Indian national Dr. Anil Potti discovered in 2012.
Enron, WorldCom, Qwest, and Tyco all hired large numbers of foreign workers from India before their scandals.
Fannie Mae – Hired large numbers of Indians, had to be bailed out. Indian logic bomb creator found guilty and sent to prison.
Goldman Sachs – Kunil Shah, VP & Managing Director – GS had to be bailed out by US taxpayers for $550 BILLION.
GM – Was booming in 2006, signed $300 million outsourcing deal with Wipro that same year, went bankrupt 3 years later
HP – Got out of the PC hardware business in 2011 and can’t compete with Apple’s tablets. HP was taken over by Indians and Chinese in 2001.
So much for ‘Asian’ talent!

HSBC ATMs (software taken over by Indians, failed in 2006)
IBM bill collecting system for Austin, TX failed in 2012 written by Indians at IBM
Intel Whitefield processor project (cancelled, Indian staff canned)
Intel – Trade secret stolen by Indian national Biswamohan Pani in 2012.
JetStar Airways computer failure brings down Christchurch airport on 9/17/11. JetStar is owned by Quantas – which is know to have outsourced to India, Inc.
JP Morgan – Outsourced subsidiary & IT integration to India in 2009 for $400 million, lost $2 billion in 2012.
Kodak: Outsourced to India in 2006, filed for bankruptcy in Jan, 2012.
Lehman (Jasjit Bhattal ruined the company. Spectramind software bought by Wipro, ruined, trashed by Indian programmers)
London Olympics 2012 Security – Botched by India’s G4S
Medicare – Defrauded by Indian national doctor Arun Sharma & wife in the U.S.
Microsoft – Employs over 35,000 H-1Bs. Stock used to be $100. Today it’s lucky to be over $25. Not to mention that Vista thing.
MIPS – Taken over by Indian national Sandeep Vij in 2010, being sold off in 2012.
MIT Media Lab Asia (canceled)
MyNines – A startup founded and run by Indian national Apar Kothari went belly up after throwing millions of America’s VC $ down the drain.
Nomura Securities – (In 2011 “struggling to compete on the world stage”). No wonder because Jasjit Bhattal formerly of failed Lehman ran it.
See Lehman above.

PeopleSoft (Taken over by Indians in 2000, collapsed).
PepsiCo – Slides from #1 to #3 during Indian CEO Indra Nooyi’ watch.
Polycom – Former senior executive Sunil Bhalla charged with insider trading.
Qantas – See AirBus above
Quark (Alukah Kamar CEO, fired, lost 60% of its customers to Adobe because Indian-written QuarkExpress 6 was a failure)
Reebok – Massive fraud and theft in India second in size only to Satyam fraud
Rolls Royce (Sent aircraft engine work to India in 2006, engines delayed for Boeing 787, and failed on at least 2 Quantas planes in 2010, cost Rolls $500m).
SAP – Same as Deloitte above in 2010.
Singapore airlines (IT functions taken over in 2009 by TCS, website trashed in August, 2011)
Skype (Madhu Yarlagadda fired)
State of Indiana $867 million FAILED IBM project, IBM being sued
State of New York – Hired Indian-infested CSC in 1998 to build a new system, was 33 months late and $166 million over budget, a cost overrun of 47 percent. And then the system failed. So much for “they can do it better, cheaper, faster”. CSC also holds the sole contract for NC’s Medicaid system redesign. That project is hundreds of millions over budget and years late. India, Inc. is taking its time to maximize the amount it can grift out of America.

I almost always thought of India as a mostly benign country. Lately that has changed a bit. Put aside Pakistan and Bangladesh, for which the religious issues are too confounding; Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka do not have a benign view of India.

I don't trust the author of #5, because in the one case where I know the history, he is totally it. India did not create the Tamil Tigers. India did -- very foolishly -- support them for a few years, and India's neigbours are right to see through the Ghandist peace & love nonsense.

There's two bits to India's historical agressiveness:

* A wierdly 19th century great-game view of the world.

* Congress, and the ruling class, did not want to admit that India really always was a patchwork of nations -- rather like Europe. Goa and the princely states were too much of an insult to their pretensions.

I think both these factors are less important now than they were in the mid 20th century.

The typical anglo-saxon hype: Best this, best that in the world. Surely, the world's 21st thinker can do better than serve us those meaningless rankings.

3. Includes Andrew Sullivan but omits Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Ridiculous.

I would delete Sullivan and replace with Rudyard Kipling.

In fact, the entire list is bullshit. If that's the best they got, they are fucked. It's the reason everything they touch turns to shit.

Quite the list.

It is amazing that there are so many ways to say "take others stuff!". Well they deserve praise for relentlessly flogging such tired ideas. Kudos!

It's bad in a variety of ways. A serious list merely exhibiting strong left wing bias might include Piketty and Krugman, Roy etc maybe even Habermas but to include non entities like Brand, Klein and Varoufakis just makes it a joke.

A pretentious Leftist rag polls its readers for their favorite intellectuals and they pick a bunch of pretentious Leftists.

If I was the owner of that magazine I would be sufficiently worried about my readership to chart a change of editorial direction.

No one who admires even three of these people should be taken seriously on any subject at all.

As cruel as it is to experiment on live humans, I would welcome these folks to have their chance to run the show according to their agenda.

Give them some territory; put a wall around it; see what happens.

All experiments aside, doesn't being a thinker require a certain openness and curiosity about things rather than merely peddling the same threadbare old prescriptions no matter the circumstances?

But you don't understand, their ideas represent a global Maxima which cannot be attained without a global monopoly. You can't expect the socialist to compete with capitalism the system will only work if all nations in the world are in line.

Thanks for helping plug some gaps in my understanding of Marxist theory.

I was just looking forward to sitting back with a nice basket of popcorn to watch Yanis Varoufakis, Naomi Klein, Paul Krugman and Russell Brand run things after they get handed the reins of power... assuming popcorn doesn't suffer shortages and rationing.

The list has an obvious left wing bias, yes.

But to just that a profit-seeking enterprise should change their editorial bias away from their current readership does not illustrate good business sense.

The ease with which you write off people with whom you ideologically disagree makes it difficult to take you seriously on any subject at all.

Real learning involves being able to understand the "pro" side of arguments you are predisposed to disagree with, whereas you seem to package them all together with the Khmer Rouge.

the entire list is bullshit.

One thing which might be of interest is to look at a similar list compiled 50 years ago and see who on it might still be read and read for one's benefit, or to think of someone one might read today who'd have been read 50 years ago. Not many, and biased toward imaginative literature.

Taleb's a carnival barker and Sullivan's an inconsequential opinion journalist who produces little of value but is adept at persuading the philanthropic sector to hire him (and is perhaps, within that social set, better at producing click-bait).

Why do you define this a slanted take? Fairly straight forward collection of facts.

It IS a slanted take. For instance, the attempted "invasion" of Mauritius was at the invitation of part of the current government to prevent a coup. South Tibet was ceded to India when India was still a British colony.

No it wasn't. It was never ceded. The British tried to get the Chinese to agree to cede it but they refused. Britain simply quietly took it over. India kept it.

#2 Tyler ranks 21 which is pretty good. I find the whole 50 nicely confused.

(If I were to be down on anyone, it would be TED. So over. No longer required when ideas circle the globe in 5 Twitter minutes.)

TED is the late-20th century Chautauqua; accessible middlebrow uplift and edification.
I'm surprised the resemblance hasn't been pointed out in some throwaway column in NYT, WaPo or such.
I suppose whoever wrote such a piece would be throwing away any chance for a TED invite.

Bing before posting, not after:

There have been a few such articles, though they take a positive, "look what TED can do for you or your company" position.

Middlebrow is the best brow.

Make mine monobrow.

Thomas PIETY? Am I the only one seeing this fantastic typo in the caption to the lead photo? I truly did "LOL!"

Sorry, I got excited, shoulda clarified my comment was on item 3. the ten best world thinkers. (By the way, what is a "world thinker?" Is this like Iluvatar thinking up Arda? Is it "best thinkers in the world?" Is it "best thinkers about the world?" Never mind that, though, the typo is a Festivus Miracle!)

5. Indian expansionism is limited to where they were able to effect demographic change on the ground. All politics can be boiled down to the who whom and where subcontinental peoples grow demographically, India has sought and seeks to change borders. Sikkim is a case of a Buddhist Tibetan populated kingdom being being numerically overwhelmed by a Nepalese immigration wave of the 19th and 20th centuries that cost them their sovereignty. Bhutan was able to avoid Sikkim's fate by old fashioned ethnic cleansing.

In contrast to China's south sea island building, India's blatant hegemonic belligerence vis-à-vis Nepal in the form of a fuel blockade for months has been overwhelmingly ignored in the Western prestige press. Though in fairness to the NYT, it has naturally offered a hollow prevarication on the matter naturally for the forces of Chaos. The reasons are multifaceted but suffice it to say that Nepal's new constitution has provisions limiting citizenship to those it particularly feels as Nepalese and the audacity of a state exercising such autonomy is naturally proto-fascist in the eyes of the NYT editorial board and Indian interference in such affairs is to be on the side of angels.

I should add that the same demographic shift also occurred in Goa where the Luso-Goan Catholic population went from a majority of the population to a minority in the 20th century due to birth rate differentials and immigration from neighbouring Hindu lands. Precipitating the Indian armed invasion with anti-imperialism as the cassus belli.

The blockade is not imposed by India but by Madhesis, a minority population in Nepal who felt that the newly passed constitution discriminated against them. Not sure exactly what you expect India to do (or refrain from doing) in this situation.

If India was as hegemonic as you seem to fantasize, wouldn't Bhutan have been "annexed"?

India's denials about its role in the Nepalese blockade are as credible as Turkey's denials regarding Islamic militants in Syria. In other words bold faced lies.

There are worse things than discrimination, for example another rarely used d-word, dispossession. Something that happens to your children and your children's children should you fail to discriminate against who you grant citizenship to.

You do realize that despite Bhutan's nominal independence it is India's de jure protectorate. You should also realize that India did try to annex Bhutan and it was only adroit political maneuvering and compromises to its sovereignty that Bhutan remained independent and the eventual mass deportation of racially distinct immigrants that keeps Bhutan independent up to today.

And you know that Indians are lying about the blockade how? Are you privy to some information that's not in the public domain, or is it general paranoia about India and Indians?

And according to you, the people responsible for the blockade do not deserve to be citizens of Nepal? It's ok for the rest to deny them citizenship? (don't think the constitution does that though, it's only you who raised the point.)

Bhutan is sandwiched between India and China. To be an independent country and yet function at some semi-modern level, it has to depend on one of these two large countries. Any day it could have chosen (or can choose) China. But it doesn't. Any guesses why? As for annexation, could you kindly note and comment on the one incontrovertible forcible annexation in that region, of the kingdom of Tibet by the People's Republic of China?

If you want to be independent in any sort of way, Indian rule would be better than Chinese rule any day. States have enormous sovereignty over all manner of issues in India.

4. Taylor makes the mistake of saying one thing in one blog post ("it seems to me that we are in a situation where monetary and fiscal stimulus that has been extremely high by historical standards since about 2008 has had a much smaller effect on output and inflation than would have been expected before the Great Recession"), is corrected for his mistake ("So in response to the worst financial crisis in three generations, we briefly provided stimulus of a bit more than 2 percent of potential GDP, which quickly went away"), then responds to the correction with an entirely different argument ("In the paragraph that bugged Paul, I expressed doubts that fiscal and monetary policy would address a long-run secular stagnation problem, and instead suggested focusing on a structural pro-growth agenda"). I suppose that Taylor supports the proposition that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. [To be fair, lawyers, as advocates, are not only allowed to make inconsistent arguments, they are expected to make inconsistent arguments. Are economists, like lawyers, advocates rather than experts?]

Seems to me that the earlier piece called "Secular Stagnation: An Update" did indeed have secular stagnation as its narrative thread.

Krugman seems to have seized on the last paragraphs, and a partial reading of the phrase "a much smaller effect on output and inflation than would have been expected"

You know, without the "inflation" part. "Missing inflation" being a real thing.

You are cattivo, TC!

6. Best whistler in the world, eh? Pfft! That guy had nothing on Andrew Bird

#3 This list is perfect. Absolutely perfect. The full gamut of Leftism, the apolitical but truly interesting Daniel Kahneman, and John Gray who's conservatism is abstract enough to be allowed onto the list.

Yep, the top 6 would make a good Politburo. You need to get to #8 (Kahneman) before you find someone I would send one of my kids to study with.

#3...I wasn't going to comment on this list because it's not worth arguing about, but the idea that it's a list of buffoons is ridiculous. But then, I've actually read many of the people listed, and, in the case of Habermas, sat in on a course he gave at U.C. Berkeley many years ago. The idea that Edward Witten isn't worth being considered on a list like this is an embarrassing opinion. Do I really need to list the people on the list who are center-right? Why do people comment upon things they no nothing about just to tell us their political affiliation?

You clearly are referring to the entire list, not just the top ten.

Russell Brand.

3) A thin trawl, indeed.

I feel sorry for Atul Gawande.

From the same site as #3: "Obama has given US foreign policy something it sorely lacked–intellectual clarity"

Obama and intellectual in the same sentence is funny enough even without 'clarity'.

Re: clarity in foreign policy; this came out today -- .

AB...You're right. Let me be clearer. People differ about what "Thinker" means. Overall ( entirely ), it's a decent list. Why, then, plotz in public commenting that the poll's results don't reflect your political preferences? And why be so dismissive, acting like you're Edmund Wilson? Edmund Wilson gave more than pejoratives.

As for Naomi Kleim, I have numerous posts over the years defending Milton Friedman concerning his point about good coming about as a consequence of dire circumstances. If you look up the reference and read it, you'll discover that his example is...wait for it...Deposit Insurance.

I will agree that overall it's a decent list.
As far as plotzing in public -- I think I'm simply treating this discussion board differently from you-- more conversationally; free wheeling. My mental model is a bunch of people chatting at a cafe.

How can you not be embarrassed to have Russel Brand on your list of thinkers? I wonder how Krugman feels now that he's right there next to Brand. Not what he says in print or at parties, but in the morning, washing the face or grooming the Beard of Respectability, he's got to look at himself and wonder like the rest of us what happened.

3) I just can't let go of this list, even in its entirety. Here's a question: the following book is authored by two people. One of them, Jurgen Habermas, is on the list in the top ten. The other, Joseph Ratzinger has authored an extraordinary number of books and essays as well. He also did a stint as Pope. But does anyone here think that he has ever or will ever be in the top ten of a list like this?

AB...I 've read one book by Ratzinger entitled Intro to Christianity. As I remember, it was pretty good. He might make such a list, but I imagine theologians don't turn up on these lists very often as a rule.

I would be very embarrassed to be on a that top thinker list with all those other hacks

I don't think there's any risk of that.

On India, I think the same could be said of any socialist country. They talk like liberals but act like imperialists.

Piketty is dogma masquerading as truth.

1) While I don't imagine there is much good reason from the hygiene perspective, in India I always avoid food heated/cooked by dung cakes.

If there is "too much" demand, I fear that they will remove "too much" organic materials from farming areas, resulting in depleted soil, negatively affecting agricultural productivity. This could be a short term gain with negative long term consequences.

2) It amazes me that people are willing to splash out on such frivolous spending on their pets, who likely don't enjoy the benefits any more than simply tossing around a ball or being pet, while ignoring the plight of many other humans in their midst. I mean, pedicure for dogs? What the heck does the dog care?

4) I disagree with using the size of fiscal deficits as a measure of stimulus. Why? Fiscal deficits can occur due to falling receipts. If the question is about stimulus, then the focus should be on the size of spending and tax cuts, not the size of the deficit. However, it seems that Krugman was unnecessarily mean/childish in his critiques, and it is correct to suggest that there is disagreement which does not necessitate name calling of any sort.

#5 When we read something about a topic that you know very well and find how incorrect the reporting is, it makes me wonder whether all posts by Mike Kimball are so poorly researched or is the Author so blatantly biased against India.

#5 might strike some as surprising, but there is nothing 'controversial' about it. It's just that it's not very well-known. In the west, India and Hinduism are associated with so many things 'positive' and 'peaceful': Yoga, Gandhi, Non-violence, The Beatles. China, on the other hand, is considered a stereotypical expansionist nation that crushes its people under tanks, while India is the prototype of peaceful, Gandhian civilization.

The Sino-Indian border dispute is a textbook example of this. India has been holding up the resolution of the dispute for years. And the 'democratic' patriotic fervor and media-led jingoism in India (worse than even the US) ensures that a compromise with China is never reached. While China was willing to convert the current 'status quo' borders into the international boundary (keeping only 25% of its total claim), India wanted all the disputed territory for itself:

Contrary to popular imagination, there is overwhelming evidence (and agreement by historians) that it was India that was aggressively nibbling into disputed (and later Chinese) territory in the late 50s and early 60s, which is what caused China to 'invade' in 1962. After China pushed India back from the disputed territories, one would've expected China to keep the land that it claimed as spoils of war. But to everyone's surprise, China declared a unilateral ceasefire and retreated. It did not want to gain one inch of territory from winning the war. This proves that it was not territory that China sought - but a resolution of the dispute and a properly demarcated border. This was probably the only time in recorded history that the winning side did not taken advantage of its victory by demanding something more.

Henry Kissinger is reported to have said that if he had known the facts of the Sino-Indian dispute earlier, his image of Beijing as inherently aggressive would have weakened, together with his support for US intervention in Indochina. Robert McNamara, also confirmed that Washington's view of China as aggressive was the key factor behind the Vietnam war and the Indo-China invasions, with its three million deaths in Vietnam plus another million or so deaths elsewhere in Indochina.

This was probably the only time in recorded history that the winning side did not taken advantage of its victory by demanding something more.

How about the 1971 War of Bangladesh's independence when India did not force the Kashmir issue?

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