2018: Tipping Point: Rise of Middle Class

According to a report published by the World Economic Forum (refer to my tweets), 2018 is going to be a huge tipping point.  For the first time since civilization began, more humans are either rich or in the middle-class as opposed to those in poverty or susceptible to poverty).  More than 50 percent of the population will now be classified as those falling in the middle class ( household spending $11-110 per day per person in 2011 PPP)  compared to those in extreme poverty ( per person earning below $1.9 per day). Continue reading “2018: Tipping Point: Rise of Middle Class”

Japan, Bullet Train and India

Many Indians have grown up with the wonder of Bullet Train, a synonym for technology, speed, and comfort. The Japanese are the pioneers of high-speed trains (French close competitors with TGV in Europe) and due credit to Mr. Hideo Shima, the father of the Shinkansen train aka the bullet train. It’s not a pleasant surprise that the Japanese government will be facilitating the development of high-speed rail in India. The public-private partnership model sponsored by Japan offers an extremely generous rate of 0.1% with repayment of 50 years for the yen denominated loan. A huge game changer for India, trains would be operating at speeds between 300 to 350 km per hour. It’s going to save travelling time, increase productivity and over medium term bring down costs of traveling within India especially airfare. India will buy 18 Shinkansen train sets with the first high-speed rail working by 2022 between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Apart from extremely benevolent funding agreement,  there is also  provision of transfer of technology to develop production locally. An article published in Economic Times, states that the economy class will only cost INR 3000 (USD 40) for travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad (508 km). This is one of the best policy initiatives taken by the government and must be given the utmost importance for support for effective implementation. Further high-speed railway network should be implemented nationally along key routes with increased alacrity.  Continue reading “Japan, Bullet Train and India”

One for Jack Ma, Philanthropy and Education

Jack Ma’s recently full-time foray into philanthropy shook the world in a better way but China is no stranger to largesse and giving. From Confucius to Buddha, China has been for centuries a country known for sharing prosperity. Although until recently China was lagging behind the world in charity, a lot has changed in the last few years. There are a plethora of reports on the emergence of philanthropy in China with a lot of focus on education. Jack Ma established a $ 3bn dollar fund in 2014 for philanthropic causes while Pony Ma co-founder of Tencent (WeChat fame) is known for his legendary philanthropic zeal. It seems Ma surname is ubiquitous with charity in China. Just kidding…Another co-founder of Tencent, Charles Chen Yidan whose contribution to charity is monumental, especially in education. China charity law, passed in 2016, gave a huge impetus to non-profits and giving with the aim of regulating domestic charitable organizations within the People’s Republic of China. They are too many reports on the surge in philanthropy in China and it’s beyond the scope of this article to highlight all of them. Li Ka Shing foundation is a very prominent foundation involved in charitable causes just to cite an example. Continue reading “One for Jack Ma, Philanthropy and Education”

Trickle-down Economics: End of an Era in the US

Last few months have been very tragic for the world and especially for the United States. Global trade war esp. focused on China, Iran sanctions and multitude of disrespectful tweets have become the norm now out of Washington. I have studied in China and the US, so have a very close experience with people from both these countries. Some of the best people I have met in life are Chinese and Americans. Graceful, advanced, measured and wholesome.

Anyways, I always tried to write a bit about Trickle-down economics. If you want to know a bit about American political and economic ideology which divides Republicans and Democrats, then the best place to start would be the 1980s era which implemented the so-called Trickledown  economics. The policy reduced taxes on the rich apart from disrupting social welfare programs hoping that it would stimulate entrepreneurship within the society leading to more jobs for the less privileged people in the society.

This is the greatest fallacy thrown to the world. The concentration of the wealth among the rich increased after the 1980s especially among the top 1% of the population. Moreover, Gini Coefficient, an inequality measure increased over the years. The higher the gini coefficient, the more the economic inequality among the population. Continue reading “Trickle-down Economics: End of an Era in the US”

The Innovative Finance Revolution: Private Capital for the Public Good (Foreign Affairs Special Edition)

Foreign-Affairs-Inn-Fin-cover-440x367.jpgThe Innovative Finance Revolution is one of the best reports on innovation in social finance. Social finance was evolved over the years and with philanthropy and corporate social responsibility evolving through evidence-based social impact, attracting private capital has been imperative for sustainable work in the social sector. I read this report while I was in Seattle and found it to be one of the most comprehensive reports on different projects and modes of financing used by various foundations, multilateral organizations and nonprofits in implementing sustainable social projects in emerging and poor economies or sustainable infrastructure projects in Americas. From social impact bonds, green bonds to vaccine immunization bonds, report chronicles articles by leading experts and practitioners in developmental finance. UN estimates $50 to $70 tr of capital to implement Sustainable Development Goals over the next 25 years, a huge task which can only be achieved by attracting private capital. Rockefeller Foundation is the world’s leading foundation and a bellwether in innovating impact capital in philanthropy. To achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals, a gap of approx. $2.5 tr annual funding gap is required from the $200 tr pool of private capital. Continue reading “The Innovative Finance Revolution: Private Capital for the Public Good (Foreign Affairs Special Edition)”

Book reviews coming soon…

downloadI am presently reading, The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs which includes a foreword by Bono, one of the greatest musicians of our time. From I still haven’t found what I am looking for to Staring at the Sun, Bono of U2 group is a quintessential pop and rock musician, known among other things to be a great philanthropist and humanitarian.The End of Poverty gives an in-depth analysis of the various factors that led countries on different paths to prosperity and poverty. Jeffrey Sachs, an imminent development economist, shares both practical and pragmatic overview of international development and policies pursued in eradicating poverty. A detailed review would also come up. The other book which deals with eradicating poverty and on my reading list is Banker To The Poor, by Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank. Dr. Yunus, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, revolutionized micro-finance in Bangladesh and is known as father of modern micro-finance.  Continue reading “Book reviews coming soon…”

Aadhaar Inclusion and Causality Inference

According to a report published today in Economic Times, 92% of the population in India (based on 2018 consensus) with nearly all adults barring 3.5 million have an Aadhaar card. This is a phenomenal achievement in bringing underprivileged people for social and financial inclusion. Aadhaar card’s unique identification number will soon work as a social security number for the population. Making aadhaar card essential for all monetary dealings ultimately aids in widening tax bracket. Over a period of time, casual inference using multivariate analysis will help in measuring the social impact of aadhaar inclusion.

Coming to multivariate analysis which is correlation analysis using multiple variables to measure causality. Although Random Control Trial (RCT) is the gold standard to measure causality between two randomly selected samples sizes i.e. control group and treatment group,  in this case, it will not be possible to make two groups randomly selected i.e. two groups with very similar demographic profile randomly selected, one sample without aadhaar card and one sample with aadhaar card. However, a time series data of the population over a decade before and after aadhaar implementation might lead to useful insights. This form of statistical analysis is not a form of RCT analysis.  Continue reading “Aadhaar Inclusion and Causality Inference”