Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Can You Do with Rs500 (US$10)?

What can you do if you get Rs 500/- (approx US$10)?

Maybe nothing!... it is so little
Maybe everything!... it is so much!!

One of my students sent me this amazingly simple - yet unsettling - 2min clip by Nitin Das of Filmkaar (Our mission is to make 'Extraordinary films with Ordinary people'):


After all, we do live in "two Indias", where:

  • where crossing the distance between a slum and a mall can be a stroll - or an arduous, but diginified, struggle

  • where numbers of one India defy/deny the numbers of the other India

  • where Rs 500/- can make a life-change for 80-90% of population

  • Thursday, November 20, 2008

    ...putting the Humpty-Dumpty/ Global Economy together again!

    The Global Economy, as we know/ believe/ are told, is in recession/ downturn/ meltdown....and the corporate and global leaders are trying their best to repair/contain the damage. Ordinary people around the world are told that everything will work-out fine with the new initatives where the government and industry leaders are working hand-in-hand... They will, so to speak, put the humpty-together again!

    Of course, these are complex decisions, having wide-ranging impact on the national and global economy; most people don't know/understand how these decisions are taken.

    Here are some examples!!

    Fed Hires Failed Bank Executive
    The Federal Reserve Bank is drawing jeers for hiring a former top executive from the now-defunct investment bank Bear Stearns to help it gauge the health of other banks.

    The Federal Reserve Bank has hired the former head of risk management for Bear Stearns, which imploded this spring.

    Michael Alix was head of risk management for Bear Stearns for two years until the institution imploded this spring, a victim of its (risky) subprime-mortgage related investments.

    Last Friday, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York quietly announced it had hired Alix to advise it on bank supervision... [Read on...]

    ...On Private Jets to Plead for Public Funds
    The CEOs of the big three automakers flew to the nation's capital yesterday in private luxurious jets to make their case to Washington that the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy.

    Even as their companies fail, Ford and GM CEOs continue lavish lifestyles.

    The CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler may have told Congress that they will likely go out of business without a bailout yet that has not stopped them from traveling in style, not even First Class is good enough.

    All three CEOs - Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford, and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler - exercised their perks Tuesday by flying in corporate jets to DC. Wagoner flew in GM's $36 million luxury aircraft to tell members of Congress that the company is burning through cash, asking for $10-12 billion for GM alone.... [Read on...]

    AIG Execs At Posh Resort After $85 Billion Bailout
    News cameras watched as American International Group, or AIG, executives were once again living it up at a fancy resort in Phoenix.

    Cocktail parties, limousines and dinner at a top Phoenix restaurant were part of their latest retreat.

    AIG instructed the hotel to keep everything secret, no signs with its name were allowed.... AIG made significant efforts to disguise the conference, making sure there were no AIG logos or signs anywhere on the property.

    An AIG spokesperson said there were no AIG markers in order to minimize signage costs and to lower the company's profile.

    A hotel employee told ABC15, "We can't even say the word [AIG]."... [Read on...]

    $500 wine at White House Financial Crisis Meeting?
    The global economy may be undergoing a significant downturn, but the White House's dinner budget still appears flush with cash.

    After all, world leaders who are in town to discuss the economic crisis are set to dine in style Friday night while sipping wine listed at nearly $500 a bottle.

    According to the White House, tonight's dinner to kick off the G-20 summit includes such dishes as "Fruitwood-smoked Quail," "Thyme-roasted Rack of Lamb," and "Tomato, Fennel and Eggplant Fondue Chanterelle Jus."

    To wash it all down, world leaders will be served Shafer Cabernet “Hillside Select” 2003, a wine that sells at $499 on [Read on...]