Raghuram G. Rajan’s *I do what I do*

The title is apt, the book was published in India, and the excellent Rama Rao was so kind as to send me a copy.  It is a collection of columns and memos, many published in India and covering the economic affairs of India.  It’s a good way to get a look at what Raghu “really thinks,” at least as filtered through the media while he is central banker or earlier working at the IMF.  He writes directly, gets frustrated at people who don’t understand the rate of inflation, favors central bank independence, is skeptical about how much foreign aid can drive growth, and with Luigi Zingales tells us that “Capitalism Does Not Rhyme with Colonialism.”

Here are various Indian reviews.  Here is the link to Amazon India.

Comments

Given money neutrality by and large, short-term and long, about as interesting as railroad timetables, but nevertheless interesting to me (I like such trivia).

I have a lot of respect for him from his book Fault Lines, although I think his focus on income inequality and wage growth in that book were vastly overstated. Politicians don't need an economic rationale to pander to constituencies with apparently cost-free benefits. He was absolutely correct that everyone with a single-bullet theory of the crisis was wrong.

Life is confusing enough with basic laws of physics, but casting doubt on the basic laws of physics makes life unbearably confusing. That's not to say there can't be aberrations, as long as the aberrations comport with (and can be explained by) the basic laws of physics. If up isn't up and down isn't down, how can one get out of bed in the morning. Economics is like that: without basic laws of economics, upon which all rational and educated people can agree, any attempt to promote a stable yet robust financial and economic system would be equivalent to rolling a boulder uphill only to watch it roll back again. Fortunately, we have institutions like the University of Chicago, to which Rajan has returned. But not everyone agrees with me - about the basic laws of physics and economics, not the University of Chicago. We seem to be in an era where everything is in doubt, including up and down. This morning I read a profile of the author Dan Brown ("The World According to Dan Brown") in the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/30/books/dan-brown-origin.html. And then I read this: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/business/economy/public-health-insurance.html (it's only nominally about health insurance, so don't be confused by the title). I won't blame Dan Brown for leading the world astray, but ever since his ridiculous book (The Da Vinci Code) was published, the number of rational and educated people has plummeted. A coincidence?

So what are the “basic laws” of economics that are being questioned and leaving you unbearably confused?

In a year of homeruns and strikeouts, the batting average and the ERA are left astray. The Astros and the Indians and Sox average 10 k's per nine and around .275 hitting (.258 for the sox). The split will be doubles in 3-5 games.

I make up that you were speaking of some deep inner angst about not wanting certain topics discussed. Maybe a silly thing for me to infer...just curious though.

The customer reviews in amazon India tell you something about Indians and India than the book itself.

How much of the rural food-price deflation is down to Rajan? Is it good? Certainly peeps must eat, but others must plant. Any good lit or polemics on this?

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