What should I ask Raghuram Rajan?

I will be doing a Conversation with him, no associated public event, and note he has a new book coming out The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave Community Behind.  So what should I ask him?


Maybe make it a conversation this time. Not an interrogation.

more bonesaw!

f*** you bonesaw ben salmon
they are actually pretty good
without any more of ur murderous bonesawing

what was the most surprising thing about being a public official in India?

I don't expect Dr. Rajan to answer this in public, but try and get him to talk about corruption in Indian business. I'm 99% sure he's taken a bribe to do something that would help some Indian billionaire. I would be shocked if he was like Gandi and not corruptible. It's almost like the Colombian "plata o plomo", silver or lead.

Gandhi never held official political or bureaucratic power. What would have been the point of bribing him?

Gandhi had tremendous political power. Remember 55 Crores ??
He never held any specific office of power.

His opinions about demonetisation. Also, how has India's government interfered in the monetary system and what has been the impact

What is the relationship between his Engineering training and it's application in Economics? What does Mr. Rajan see as the relationship between the two ways of thinking about the world ?

What is Dr. Rajan's opinion on the state of public discourse of science in India ?

India recently moved to a formal legal mandate for the central bank to target inflation with a monetary policy committee. How does R.R. assess the impact of that. Inflation targeting has been partially blamed by some analysts for slow nominal income growth and consequent rural distress among farmers. Does R.R. think that in a country that has key supply shocks with oil prices and monsoon rains a nominal income target would have been a better policy target for t(e central bank, rather than an inflation target.

+ 1 . Nominal GDP or GDP per capita or total wages or some percentile wage. Any of these would eliminate most of the govt-RBI conflict and if set at an appropriate level, would assure international investors as well.

Indians have a great love for gold. Does he considers this love as less than helpful to India becoming a modern economy? If so, What might be the shape of a generational plan to reduce this love?

Sir, Please ask Raghuram Rajan sir, What should a person do and avoid if he/she wants to pursue career in economics (PHD) in India?

Chicago Booth Economic Outlook 2019:

“One of the big issues today is the rising anger in different countries. Not just the West. It is also in India, in China. A lot of it has to do with jobs, not enough high-quality jobs. My worry is we are paying too little attention to this, saying that this is just part of the cycle. It’s not about the cycle. As economists, we need to think about what can we do to essentially diffuse this kind of anger and protect the system. Forget the ups and downs. The system itself is being challenged today.” —Raghuram Rajan

“This trade imbroglio, many people now think, is going to be more harmful in the long run than initially thought, because it’s depressing investment around the world. We are really much more interconnected than we think.” —Raghuram Rajan

Besides Rajan, the January 17 event included Randall Kroszner, Erik Hurst, and Austan Goolsbee. Here is the link to the selected comments and the full podcast: https://news.uchicago.edu/story/chicago-booth-experts-global-economys-biggest-questions-2019

As economists, we need to think about what can we do to essentially diffuse this kind of anger and protect the system.

Not possible in the current climate. To the populists on the right and the left, such anger is good for its own sake. It doesn't matter if it burns good with the bad. And a statement calling for "defusing" this anger will itself be treated as a conspiracy theory, the Davos elite trying to appease the proles while merrily continuing to oppress the working man (or corrupt the race/culture.)

Just have to let the anger burn itself out in its own time, and not do anything to exacerbate it.

How can you “empower local communities” without ending up with economically inefficient and basically racist NIMBY zoning regulations?

Ask him 1) if as a central banker he consiously used a macroeconomic theory in formulating monetary policy 2) which macroeconomics book he would reccomend for students who are not majoring in economics 3) why
Does he say that to be a good economist one should master general equilibrium theory when even Frank Hahn was skeptical about its practical usefulness 4) if he was appointed again as the chairperson of the Reserve Bank of India what he would do differently 5) in an interview Rajan mentioned Marx as a favorite economist of his along with the likes of Hayek and Friedman, adding that Marx cannot be ignored. What aspects of Marxian thought does he think is important today?

How would you say your thoughts on inequality have evolved since you wrote Fault Lines in 2010 (in which you listed inequality as a key Fault Line)?

Even if this is meant to be a joke it is in poor taste.

It appears you may not be a frequent reader of this blog. If you were you would ignore Thiago's anti-India and other rants.

Thiago is the village idiot around here. Please ignore him.

Maybe you are the idiot, bootlicker.

Sick burn, bro

Thank you. He deserved it.

You're welcome. And bravo to your obvious intelligence.

Unlike Mr. Trump, I would rather not brag, but thank you.

Again, you're welcome. You are a credit to the Uruguayan people.

I can not say I care about your feelings. I care about the Truth. It is written: "For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary."

All mayor bank crises have resulted from excessive exposures to what ex ante was perceived as very safe but that ex post turned out to be very risky.
Therefore you could always ask him for an explanation of the current risk weighted capital requirements for banks, those which are based on that what’s perceived as risky is more dangerous to our bank systems than what’s perceived as safe. Good luck!

In an era of entrenched partisanship (in many countries), do central bank presidents and other unelected officials have a better chance of becoming "statesmen" than elected officials?

What are the best ways to reduce the advantages that incumbent capitalists enjoy? What are his views on antitrust and land monopolies? Has he read Henry George? Tim Wu? Lina Khan?

Is he a proponent of the Minksy's Financial Instability Hypothesis? Why does he think this may or may not be the case? Does IS-LM account for the banking sector's money creation role, and if not, what is wrong with MMT?

Who are these constituents of capitalism if not capitalists? Does he believe Peter Thiel's theory that capitalism and competition are mutually exclusive? If so, do we need a new word to describe proponents of free markets who are not capitalists?

Does an oversupply of labor lead to underinvestment in capital, to the degree that they are substitutes? How does this apply to India, if at all?

In what way is government influenced by private interests, and how do we separate private interests from the public interest? How does the public interest differ from the sum of private interests?

Now that he has been both an academic and a prominent policymaker, what should India feasible do to maintain a fast economic growth rate while reducing poverty?

Indians do not worship Tom Brady.

Not Tom Brady, Satan, the Father of Lies, the Prince of Hell.

I bought India ETF last week. Why is this a great idea?

The description of his book reminds me of The Great Transformation by Polanyi. I'm curious if he has any thoughts on Polanyi.

1) Does interest rate control work in India ? His cuts were never passed on.
2) Was he surprised by amount of NPA that came out of woodworks?
3) Indian Public sector banks lend only to few prominent industrial houses - how can banking work if banks are incapable of judging good investments? Government employees are unwilling to take any risk - is this responsible for poor investment and scarcity of funds?
4) What are top issues banking and finance sector needs to fix

Ask him about the abandonment of the US dollar as a reserve currency.


How is it that a group of largely untrained and wholly unelected activists with made up professions, for the most part, end up creating an education policy in India whose effects a terrorist organization hell-bent would envy? I'm referring to the National Advisory Council under the UPA gov.t.

Also, they quite successfully keep using the phrase "neo-liberal" to refer to India which has labor laws that even the most gung-ho trade unionist would call excessive and tangled. Would it help to explain to them why India is not neo-liberal, or are they too enamored by the bearded German to listen to reason?

"whose effects a terrorist organization hell-bent would envy" - Pray tell, what are these earth shattering effects?

Dr. Rajan once said that a central banker can't just go by the models and has to aggregate additional information to reach an "informed" decision on inflation forecasting. Given advances in machine learning, big data and information processing, does he see an algorithm replacing a central banker. Also, what are the current forecasting models lacking today and what information is needed to do get an accurate inflation forecast and eliminate the human central banker. Can we hook up a microphone to various food markets in India and process the sounds of people haggling over prices to have a more "informed" inflation forecast?

Why are there no Austrian school economists from India? Are we inherently prone to think ideologically and not in terms of complex systems? Or is this a path dependence beginning with Nehru and his fondness for Fabian Socialism.

His views on one of India's first free market economists, Bellikoth Ragunath Shenoy.

What are his big goals in improving india for next 5 years and how is he going after them?

Never heard of the man, but his book looks interesting. I would say "yes" to this from the Amazon description of his book:

The "third pillar" of the title is the community we live in. Economists all too often understand their field as the relationship between markets and the state, and they leave squishy social issues for other people. That's not just myopic, Rajan argues; it's dangerous. All economics is actually socioeconomics - all markets are embedded in a web of human relations, values and norms. As he shows, throughout history, technological phase shifts have ripped the market out of those old webs and led to violent backlashes, and to what we now call populism. Eventually, a new equilibrium is reached, but it can be ugly and messy, especially if done wrong.

Right now, we're doing it wrong. As markets scale up, the state scales up with it, concentrating economic and political power in flourishing central hubs and leaving the periphery to decompose, figuratively and even literally. Instead, Rajan offers a way to rethink the relationship between the market and civil society and argues for a return to strengthening and empowering local communities as an antidote to growing despair and unrest.

Ask him if he saw symptoms of what happened in the US during the real estate boom (and potential crash) in India. Could that happen here? Why, or why not?

Does he believe that motives behind Demonetisation were sinister? If the idea behind demonetising the currency was to eradicate why wasn’t there a reasonable Tax Slab introduced? Was it a scam by the ruling govt to collect 20-30% of all black money through a network of agents, or as I like to call it privatisation of Incone Tax...

If invited by a winning coalition to be their leader would he accept the job of Prine Minister?

What would he say to the critics if central bank autonomy who argue that central bankers are unelected people but with power without responsibity

Would be interesting to hear him address India's corruption issue and the lack of a functioning legal system. Does he think things in this regard have improved over say the last 20 years or worsened? Also offshore Indian money routed through Mauritius and Sing. and its use in corrupting government officials. Does he think he was effective as the head of the CBI & if not, why not? -- my impression is he was hamstrung by corrupt business and political interests and did not accomplish what a man of his abilities should have accomplished. Rajan is an impressive guy and the time i heard him speak quite direct -- he probably has a lot of insight into these issues -- if he is willing to discuss them.

Consider it an achievement if you can extract anything worthwhile out of him.

To be sure, he is a very smart guy, but regardless of how deep his technical oeuvre is, his conversations tend to mostly consist of useless platitudes. Those who like his platitudes might find them deep, though.

@blah, I am surprised that there is actually someone (e.g. you) who agrees with me on this.

Jesus Christ. I always wondered how many non-Americans read this (obviously US-centric) blog. This post has clearly brought the Indians out of the woodwork at least.

He's among the best. Ask him about narrow banking.

What was wrong with the intellectual climate of the IMF in the 80s and 90s? What changed? Is it better or just different?

How close to "Yes Minister" is India's bureaucracy? Does the IAS have a Humphrey Appleby?

Hows Krea University going? Could we get Tyler to be visiting faculty there?

1) His thought process on how India should go about job creation as manufacturing is probably not the easiest solution
2) Any regrets he has from his time as RBI governor

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