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Narada (33)

The evolution of civilisation has negated virtually every form of excesses known to mankind, except perhaps with the sole exception of bureaucratic excesses. Even a liberal, open and functional democracy like the United States too had its share of such excesses. Readers may be aware that till mid 70’s a designated authority to control civil aviation fixed the prices of tickets within America. This had the calculated effect of the State preventing airline companies to be efficient. To beat these price regulations, efficient airlines introduced freebies on board to woo passengers, like for instance, a bottle of champagne. The civil aviation bureau would have nothing of it. The response was quixotic: the authorities prescribed what was to be served on board including the size of sandwiches! In fact, the authorities took on themselves to control kites and balloons flying above 500 feet!

The return of the Pied Piper of Hamlin

Investing in stock market is surely not for the faint-hearted. With its propensity to destroy the net worth of an individual, corporate or even a bank overnight, investment into the stock market is fraught with significant risks. It is also well known that the rewards are commensurate with the concomitant risks in the stock markets. But what intrigues me is fact that despite the inability of an average trader to stomach such risks, stock markets have become a habit nay a passion, why even an addiction for many. Neither is the stock market for the ignorant. For instance, in a highly integrated world, the happenings in distant America can make or break stock markets in India. But strangely, of late one finds the stock market infested with both the innocent and the ignorant, not only of happenings in distant America but even within India. Put bluntly, it has become a den for punting; an alternative to gambling with all its legitimacy. Naturally all these give stock markets a bad name.

Outsourcing irritation

As student of economics, let me make a frontal declaration: I favour outsourcing. However, in the Indian context, I find that it virtually absolves responsibility of both parties – one that seeks outsourcing and the other that does the actual work. Let me also hasten to add a caveat: perhaps an old man like me could be out of sync with the modern times. While cost cutting is the in thing today, cutting on services has been its unintended consequence. Here is my first hand experience with outsourcing, which could well be an exception, not the rule.

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