McKenna’s Gold and Moral Dilemma

Yellow Metal – From Nanotechnology to Currency Buffer (Gold Reserve)

gold-nanoparticles-applications-and-challenges-10-638

For centuries now, we are aware of the value of Gold. Gold Standards have, in fact it has taken a central place in our nomenclature and reference. It is not surprising to see that Gold has made a foray into nanotechnology – from diagnostic tools, to conserving solar power to touch screens and advanced data storage. However, to me, the most influencing impact of gold is the gold reserve, that determines the health of the local currency of that country.

Known Gold and unreported Gold

gold-photo-1

Current gold reserves for India stand at 580 tons. India is the largest consumer of Gold in the International market after China. However, it is said that, India has a maximum of yellow metal with its household, amounting to 23,000 -24,000 tons. Countries as close to that value are China and Turkey. Though US has the most amount of gold reserves, standing at 8000 plus tons, it has the least gold consumption amongst the top consumers of Gold worldwide.

If only Southeast Asian countries like India bring the Household Gold on record and to international reserve, it would probably be one of the most influencing factor in circumvent the pressure on the national currency and buffer against the intransigence of fluctuations.

How do we bring the household gold to national reserve?

Of course a change of mindset is paramount. However, more than mindset, much of the gold is from unreported earning. That makes the conversion difficult. However, let us presume, we have the owners ready to declare the Gold. That conversion to national reserve can be on similar lines as holding a piece of land. Once the household gold is considered national reserve, it will be easy to protect that part of the Gold from theft or threat.  It is definitely a cultural change, no one wants to declare the amount of Gold they have, so also, no one wants to declare the amount of cash or other assets they hold. Gold can follow similar lines. We have to overcome the dilemma of declaring Gold.

Why not to expand Gold Reserve?

Expanding Gold reserve will reduce the pressure on the economy and the currency. However, the status quo may be affected because of doing so. Just imagine a currency reversal. Exporter will be significantly affected as exported products would become costly in the international market. However, imports too will be cheap. Products made abroad, ‘Foreign Made’ will flood the streets. Expat dollars flow will be reduced. All these will need a huge modeling to understand the impact. However, it would certainly equalize the value of currency (and efforts) of the common men.

‘Waiting for Godot’

 

As per the statistics published by as per the 8th Edition of the Status Paper on Government Debt released on Jan 19, 2019, the latest data available till September 2018, the total debt of the Central government stood at Rupee  82,03,253 crore, the corresponding amount till June 2014 was Rs 54,90,763 crore, the Finance Ministry’s data on government borrowings shows.

While the same white paper also projected the GDP to hit 7.5%. However, the rising GDP is not to the credit of the Government, Federal or State. So, despite the economy expanding, we still see mounting debt. To put it simply – those who are working hard, are truly increasing their output. However, servicing the union is drastically mounting. Let’s review select findings from the white paper.

  1. 35% of the current 82 Lakh crore debt is incurred in the last 4 years
  2. Velocity of debt accumulation was .84% from 1948-2014
  3. Velocity of accumulation has climbed to 1.14% since 2014-2018

 

Not sure if the spike since 2014 can be ascribed to devaluation. However, Its not Modi alone, let’s understand, he could not control the spiraling debt, it has been mounting since last 60 years. We and our media tend to be partisan, never issue based and our partisanship drowns our national interest and what we call as nationalism is actually pseudo inflated nationalism.

This is also a reason for the Rupee to depreciate against internal currency basket. That depreciating Rupee obviously makes imports, borrowing and servicing debts costly. Earlier i shared a clip on farmers loans. Unfortunately, farmer and the poor, who occupy the bottom of the food chain, really get squeezed due to these national macroeconomic malady. The unfortunate truth is that we are caught in the sensational and placating democracy model. This model induces the political dispensation to make concessions that in itself incur spiraling stare support for the masses (to win their votes). Consequently, the lure of power or its sustenance as a ruling party draws us further into this debt cycle which gets exponentially exacerbated with the passage of time. What’s the root cause? Of course the cause and effects are admixed above and the video by Justice Markandey.

Political Servitude to Pseudonationalism and Sensational Politicking.

 

This video from Justice Markandey is old but the facts remain true. We blame China but look at the quality of life, we find wrong when 1 million party workers are punished for corruption (of course there are underlying political reasons too), but corruption is punished, nepotism, communalism all are treated as perverse to the development of the nation. Here, we have pseudo nationalism, pseudo sense of religious identity and pseudo sense of glorious past to cajole us. However, the fact remains that the institutions formed to safeguard the purpose, themselves are under duress from our own sense of tolerance and indulgence. Be it corruption, communalism, nepotism, casteism, favoritism, we have totally devalued and eroded the system with our kind of Governance. Justice Markandey is bold to articulate that pain but rustic and rude to suggest its resolution. The next wave will capture, not our culture but subject us to servile economic conditions due to financial imperialism, mostly from east.

‘Waiting for Godot’ , a play by Samuel Beckett, in which the characters wait for the arrival of Godot (a fictitious character) who is a supposed to be a panacea for their problems. Our 70 year history is no different; we are waiting for the messiah who will help us through this impending economic imperialism. However, like the characters in Samuel Beckett’s novel, we too are engaged in a variety of discussions while we are waiting for Godot.

waiting for godot samuel beckett

India’s debt up 50% to Rs 82 lakh crore in Modi era 

Sabarimal Temple is about Choice

sabarimala

It is unworthy to dive and wade through a controversy which is already ravaging religious and political divide. Despite, it is never too late to share a perspective.

Since medieval times until recently, guardians of religion, especially those influencing the religious pulpit and dictating at the sanctum sanctorum, have treated women with lesser regards, often times humiliatingly. Though male chauvinism has perpetuated over the years, often I feel, women too contribute to their malady. I was talking with an IIT graduated with strong liberal views and I was surprised to hear her recantation of the age old dogmas. This IIT alumnus is not an isolated example, and not all highly educated women submit to the old dogmas. However, submission to these dogmas makes me think that women too contribute to this state.

However, times have changed and Women have become more aware of their rights. They have realized that it is time to stop this second class maltreatment. Women entering Shani Shingnapur’s inner sanctum after 400-year, broke the tradition. I am a strong proponent of equality between gender and women rights. I believe, though late, the global #Me Too, Women taking the wheels in Saudi Arabia are all signs of that awareness and assertiveness.

However, the story at Sabarimal Temple is different. It is in fact a desecration of the choice of Lord Ayappa. Lord Ayappa had chosen celibacy as his way of life and he wanted to stay away from the carnal world. Even if we are not to believe in his existence, it is about a choice and Sabarimal Temple represents that choice. Are we not to respect that, especially when we respect and accept prochoice (for abortions), or gender identity and preference (Guys and Lesbian)?

Sabarimal Temple represents a different ideology and we have to respect the views of that deity if we consider this as live and valid, if we consider it as a folklore, the reason to pay respect itself annuls.

It is interesting to read Suhrith Parthsarthy’s article on Sabarimala Singularity (Link provided in reference) as the authors wades through multiple facets of faith, equality and choice.

Also, criticism from other religious groups are most welcome, however, they should also abide and be receptive to receive reciprocal outsider perspective. This last statement is in reference to a IUML rally in support of the court verdict (reference below).

sabarimala-1

References:

Sabarimala: India’s Kerala paralysed amid protests over temple entry

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-46744142

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/shani-shingnapur-temple-trust-finally-accepts-hc-order-lets-women-in/

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-sabarimala-singularity/article24514458.ece

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/sabarimala-temple-row-not-only-hindu-outfits-iuml-too-supports-devotees/videoshow/66150798.cms?from=mdr

Sliping times, Shifting sand…

As Kamel Daoud said in Ney York Times, ‘The country produces, sponsors, shelters and feeds the Islamism that threatens its foundations and its future’. That shift away from radical religious ideology towards a more moderate Islam will have deep influence and impact on the current times of religious acrimony and bitterness unleashed by radical Islam.

While the Prince is doing the right thing, we want him to succeed. After all, the region has significant history of revolting and falling back to radical conservatism. That change is not just required for Saudi Arabia, that change is required for changing the mindset within the hotbed of radicalism. That change is the need of time and a change that will influence the harmonious existence between Islam and other faith.

… and the sand should not shift underneath our foot.

I woke up to the news on BBC that Black panther can be watched across select theatres in Saudi Arabia. That’s not an isolated reform; it is part of plethora of reforms, the scale of which is unprecedented as compared to the regions similar changes during the Shah of Iran.

This scale and its pace of reforms concern me. Not that those are not required. However, the concern is on an emerging pattern just like Iran, when the Shah was overthrown by the radicals in 1979. That’s where my fear and apprehension lies.

The conservatives or hardliners are so deeply anchored in old obsolete idea of Wahhabism that these changes are too radical for them to absorb. Saudi Arabia is radically drifting away from the alliance between clerics, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, and his rigid conservative doctrines.

The gender equality unleashed by Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Prince MBS), an example of which is the city of Madinah, which will be run by women. Women have got the right to drive, vote, institutional protection by the state and corruption amongst the ruling royal elite has been stemmed, removing guardianship laws that empowers women and makes them less dependent on the men, establishing an Islamic center that validates the sayings of the prophet Muhammed, Israel is no longer considered a pariah state, Saudi is building its own arms and relying less on conventional friend US. Reducing budget deficit, isolating Qatar and stemming support for radicals, openly defying Iran, and harboring an ambition to make a nuclear arsenal to counter Shia Iran, are just few revolutionary theme. The list goes long and I am concerned, the reverberations of these run even deeper.

All these reforms were long awaited for a Kingdom to rise to the aspirations of the next generation and waning oil dependency by the world and consequent reduction of oil revenues. As Kamel Daoud said in New York Times, ‘The country produces, sponsors, shelters and feeds the Islamism that threatens its foundations and its future’.

I wonder if the masses are prepared to take this even if we presume the country is getting ready for Vision 2030. I always think, and it applies to Saudi too, that we need to work with people and then plan to deploy and implement a change. A shift in ideology is always radical change to adopt. If that chasm widen, it generates revolt. That’s the concern with Saudi. We don’t want such nice and welcome changes to turn sour. We don’t want Saudi Arabia to be another Iran. The region has enough history towards backward conservatism.

We forget, social engineering comes before economic and technology transformation. We mostly see the reverse. Our collective conscious and framework of living in consonance and within the realms of nature and our own evolution, creates a milieu composed of culture and artifacts that are deeply embedded within our ethos. Technology, as an isolated phenomenon, is too narrow in its ambit to influence these deep seated influences. However, when a swath of such technology (and related) changes engulf humanity, we are challenged and, collectively as a civilization, we fall back or default to old value system. That’s why, social engineering becomes paramount with such speed of change coming-not alone from technology but from all sides.

Saudi cinema screens reopen on 18 April ‘with Black Panther’

Jewish people have a right to their ‘own land,’ Saudi crown prince says as he seeks ally against Iran

‘This is a revolution’: Saudis absorb crown prince’s rush to reform

I will return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam, says crown prince

Shifting sands: What is changing in Saudi Arabia?

Transforming Saudi Arabia: Gender equality, economic reforms consolidate Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s authority

If Saudi Arabia Reforms, What Happens to Islamists Elsewhere? (New York Times, Kamel Daoud, Nov 16, 2017)

The Perils of Reform in Saudi Arabia

Anti-Muslim Tweets

These days, it is fashion to pass on slur or incendiary remarks against common innocent Muslims. Despite his/her participation or contribution, the common man is always at the mercy of such malafide treatment. Spare some time to listen to what Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London received as tweets. However, my response should help you understand how best to addresses the core of such aggression against the Muslims.

I cited an example from Mumbai on how Muslims rejected burial for Ajmal Kasab and expressed solidarity with the masses. Such lone incidences provide a solid strand to weave the fabric for social harmony. Is it not doable for the Muslim population at large?

Visit the link at https://wp.me/p7XEWW-12J. Please share if you find it reasonable.

A Muslim friend forwarded me the below clip. These days, it is fashion to pass on slur or incendiary remarks against common innocent Muslims. Spare some time to listen to those. However, my reaction addresses the core of such aggression against the Muslims.

Racial slur against Muslims in actually painful and intolerable. It is definitely an outcome of deranged minds. Give me an example of one sane person who can agree to any of the tweets which Sadiq Khan has shared.

Let’s visit the other side. Commoners form the base of the pyramid. They exists everywhere, in Islam and other faiths. They subscribe to most common apprehension, anxieties and fear.

Let’s look at the Muslim commoners – the uneducated, irrational and poor ones. They feel the pangs of frustration the most. However, they are the ones who are likely to be reactive to such racial slur. No doubt, if they find their back against the wall, they will react aggressively, with animal instincts overriding their wisdom and cognition. We can presume the outcome very well. A mass terrorist act that  incites a ripple of anguish against the name (of the person) that gets associated with the faith he follows. let us admit, there is more aggression amongst the followers of Islam. However, Islam is not the only faith with aggression. We miss the point that those sane, educated and elite don’t protest vehemently against the act of violence (especially during this juncture when it is required the most).

Let us understand the non-muslims who are commenting to Sadiq Khan on Twitter. As mentioned earlier, they are the irrational uneducated that respond to the global scale of violence that has been unleashed by Muslim radicals and mercenaries.

Islam as a faith and ideology never promotes such aggression, it is much misinterpreted faith (see below a clip to make an impression). However, the elite, educated and the clergy within Islam are muted, San Bernandino shooting is an example (2015 San Bernardino attack). They only respond in defense when Islam is affected (most protested the ban on Muslim nations when President Trump promulgated the ban of nationals of those eight countries).

To emphasize, they respond tepidly when a Muslim mercenary (aka terrorists) savagely kills scores of innocents. If these same elite and educated start responding to Muslim aggressors, it will be a show of solidarity with the general masses. That will automatically stop any slur or violence against the innocents.

A noteworthy incident happened in Mumbai. After the 2008 Mumbai bombing (26/11), Ajmal Kasab was found guilty and hanged. The Muslims in Mumbai did not give their land for burial of his body. The lesson here is the expression of solidarity with the general masses. That one incidence played on the collective subconscious mind of the general population. The non-Muslims realized that the Muslims too share their faith and agony.

This is a case in point towards weaving that social fabric on which we all exists. We have to rise above our ideologies, faith and narrow interest when it comes to wider cause such as society and our country.

As I have mentioned earlier, the onus of protecting our faith lies with the elite, erudite and educated. The responsibility falls on them. They should take the gauntlet and spearhead the cause of general social well being.

Social media is responsible but changing the social media policies will only help little. I see social media as a mirror to this looming malafice accumulated from the national and international acts of terrorism, I see it as an expression of the repressed fear and frustration. Changing social media policies towards responsible behavior is essential. However, changing social media policies will not be the best option to address the root cause.

Let’s address the root cause.

Meanwhile, please listen to this select interpretation of Islam. Muslims have a greater responsibility for sharing this.

 

Terror Financing, FATF and Crumbling Edifices

Pakistan has its own inherent challenges, as a country it has really not provided an institution to address bur rather subverted those democratic processes. Protection of the terrorist is the extremist narcissistic reaction and doesn’t address the root cause of alleviating nation and its miseries. Rather protection of terrorism is more of a reaction than a reflection and will only sideline and ostracize it and fall in the hands of Chinese hegemonist and imperialism.

It’s best they give in to international watchdog, renounce support and help eradicate terrorism from its soil and soul. The hope for capturing Kashmir or saving their land from imperialism or disintegration or disintegration is gradually diminishing.

Often, it is perceived that “Pakistani nationals have a peculiar mentality of establishing its supremacy through religion and religious pathways. It carries hatred for other religion and Nations. It’s hard to teach them anything. Hatred for India and Indians is deeply rooted even in the new generation of Pakistan. It’s being systematically implanted and imbibed in their minds, so difficult to eradicate. It’s best we move on with our goals and neglect them. No point proving or sermonizing anything to those Pakistanis…that Nation is on self-destruction mode so leave them to their fate”.

What is felt above is true about the political and military establishment, we have to first differentiate between Pakistan (Establishment) from Pakistanis. I met several Pakistanis in the last few decades. Citizens are like all of us, ordinary gullible and impressionable. What we are fed is what we harbor. We all, irrespective of border, have same concerns, same aspirations in life. No Pakistani or Indian wants a war. We all harbor the same suspicion and the zest to patch over as human.

In fact, when we step out of our country, we all harbor a bias, this includes we Indians and Pakistanis alike. However, those who have shared roots across the border, have a broader perspective and good will. As you leave out side (the country of your origin) for a longer period, you tend to develop a diminished acuity towards those biases. The Pakistani I mentioned is a very moderate one. If you read his note carefully, he just shared the news but we presumed what we wanted to. My response to him was part of a constant emphasis on the establishments vexed approach towards India as a country.

And I have forgotten to tell you, they feel torn apart, they love their country but can’t be part of the restive land. Their ladies are very less conservative than ours, their mindset and forwardism is like those under the rule of Shah of Iran (now dethroned). Many ladies hate to be under veil and they hate all the more to go back to Pakistan. That’s where they have to significantly compromise their freedom, which they so much enjoy here.

Pakistani establishment is different though, over the years, it has become a rallying point for those within the military, to maintain its control over the state and polity. It is not in their interest to have a restful populace. Just imagine the blissful utopian state wherein India and Pakistan are at peace, we have no border skirmishes and no border at all. Do you truly need that army on either side? Fanning those differences is in the interest of the military establishment.

We should avoid mixing religion and nationhood. Not all Muslims hate us as a nation. Muslims as a group has certain idiosyncrasies and those are across the board with other religions. As nations and as people,  we see a different breadth and depth of relations between individuals and nations. It’s only when we have a conflict that we see those problems and Kashmir is an area of conflict.

Peace is all about shared interest and shared conflict. When we move the fulcrum, we see instability.

Interesting reading…

Pakistan – A Rhetorical Democracy? https://wp.me/p7XEWW-11m

Implosions in Pakistan https://wp.me/p7XEWW-Qn

… a broken promise or a grand deception? https://wp.me/p7XEWW-Oo

 

Coalescence of Chaos or a Catastrophic War?

Coalescence of Chaos or a catastrophic war?

Another catastrophic war (if not a third world war) is more likely to happen if we imagine it to be impossible. Looking at the way major democracies across the globe are subjugated by autocrats, it is very much possible for pan-global war to erupt, and when such a calamity happens, it will pretty much engulf us suddenly, with minimal notice.

Democracies getting gagged in no hidden fact, either in China, Russia, Middle East, Turkey, Iran, North Korea are few major pockets where democracies are marginalized and despots have established their writ. All sane opposition is either marginalized or converted to a rubber stamp. These despots have shown that the experiment with democracy too is gradually coming to an end. Add to that, the weapons of mass destruction, either be nuclear, chemicals and biological. As if that is not sufficient, add that immense fire power.

https://wp.me/p7XEWW-12x

I see regional coalescence and confluence of wars emerging in discrete geographic areas.

1. The Syria, Turkey, Israel Iran Iraq, Russia, US and Saudi instability emerging out of complex threads like ISIS, Assads dictatorship and mass prosecution of his population.
2. The Congo Rwanda quagmire
3. The Southeast Asian cauldron of Koreas, China, Russia, US
4. The South China Sea
5. The everglades of Russia and Eastern Europe with Crimea and Ukrain

Of course, I haven’t added the Venezuela to the mix.

This is only infographic, devoid of intelligence. Now add a weakening US influence world across, the recession in Europe, Brexit and dilution of European Union.

Add to this the emerging threat of Chinese hegemony, Russian urge to be superpower while being deprived of basic economic successes.

As though Human intelligence was not enough, now we need Artificial Intelligence to understand and solve this quagmire.

The other day I talked about local IMA elections and how we need Social Engineering.

Not sure if democracy was the right answer to replace feudalism but across the globe, we definitely see failure of democracy.

To summarize, at atomic, local and wider swaths of global areas, we see pandemic of chaos confluencing from all dimensions.

Does that mean we are landing in chaos and anarchy?

Human instinct for survival is so strong that despite these challenges, a solution should emerge. Humanity themselves will discover the cause of the problems and produce a solution with ingenuity…. or at least we hope so. (Shashank/mymilieu.org).

Fear of war looms over Syria neighbours, Iran says
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43150440