Wednesday, March 4

Is caring for elderly parents detrimental to women’s mental health?

We will face this problem more and more. I have heard so much from so many people that boys are useless idiots as far as looking after the parental units are concerned. Its the daughters who help look after the old folks. But people don't think about the impact this has on the daughters. One way of seeing this is to see if this has any mental health issues. This obviously means that the health care and social care sectors of the country have to worry about it. Also for the old fogeys, please put aside sufficient money so that you have proper support in a care home or with nursing, or what have you. You have already managed to bugger it up with loading debt on them but one to think deeply..

2.        Is caring for elderly parents detrimental to women’s mental health? The influence of the European North-South gradient Date:        2013-11
By:        Elenka Brenna (Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Universit√† Cattolica del Sacro Cuore ) ; Cinzia Di Novi (Universit√† Ca’ Foscari, Dipartimento di Economia, Venezia )
In the last decades, both the lengthening of life expectancy and an accentuated decline in birth rates have reduced the consistency of the younger generational cohorts. Due to an ageing population, the burden of care giving is expected to intensify in the next quarter of the century in Europe, especially for mature women. This paper investigates the impact of the provision of constant care for elderly parents on the mental health of adult daughters, between the ages of 50 and 65, living in different European countries. Data is collected from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Information on mental health status is provided by Euro-D depression scale, a standardized measure of depression employed across European countries. We focus on differences in the effects according to a North–South gradient: we test whether the relationship between informal caregiving and mental health differs across European macro- regions. Our results reveal the presence of a North-South gradient in the effect of caring on women’s mental health.
Keywords:        caregiver burden, depression, parent care, LTC systems, mature women
JEL:        I10 I12 D10

Tuesday, March 3

Love, money, and old age support : does parental matchmaking matter ?

Parental involvement in matchmaking may distort the choice of spouse because parents are willing to substitute love for market and household production, which are more sharable between parents and their children. This paper finds supportive evidence in a survey of Chinese couples. In both rural and urban areas, parent matchmaking is associated with less marital harmony between the couple, more submissive wives, and a stronger belief in old age support for the son. In contrast, its association with couple income differs by rural and urban regions, perhaps because of differences in earning opportunities and in the enforcement of the one-child policy. Moreover, parent matchmaking is associated with more children for the couple and lower schooling for wives only in rural areas. Thus, in places with a stronger need for old age support, parents tend to be involved in matchmaking and use it to select submissive daughters-in-law to ensure old age support. The results render support to Becker, Murphy and Spenckuch (2015), who imply that parents would meddle with children's preferences to ensure their commitment to providing old age support.

whilst this was a Chinese study, based upon the little I know of many traditional societies in Asia, Africa and also Latin America, this definitely has legs to stand true. It makes perfect sense. I have heard so many times that people look at their kids as their pensions. That’s the inter-generational compact if you will. One more reason perhaps why some mother in law’s in India are terrible to their daughter in laws despite the fact that they were also subject to similar inhumane treatment when they were daughter in laws.

Monday, March 2

India and the great divergence: An Anglo-Indian comparison of GDP per capita, 1600–1871

quite an interesting paper.

Estimates of Indian GDP are constructed from the output side for 1600–1871, and combined with population data. Indian per capita GDP declined steadily during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries before stabilising during the nineteenth century. As British growth increased from the mid-seventeenth century, India fell increasingly behind. Whereas in 1600, Indian per capita GDP was over 60% of the British level, by 1871 it had fallen to less than 15%. These estimates place the origins of the Great Divergence firmly in the early modern period, but also suggest a relatively prosperous India at the height of the Mughal Empire. They also suggest a period of “strong” deindustrialisation during the first three decades of the nineteenth century, with a small decline of industrial output rather than just a declining share of industry in economic activity.

Some of the interesting findings of this paper show that India was already much further behind the west even around the 17th century. So the idea that India was very rich and powerful before the Brits came in is not really held up based upon this rather comprehensive survey.


Its very difficult to compare properly, look at how 2 studies differ.


Let me quote the final paragraph, which is worthy of attention, because elements of this still exist..

This paper has set out to document what happened, and explaining these developments is clearly the subject of another paper. Nevertheless, it is worth making some final concluding comments in this area. First, India shared the pattern of declining GDP per capita during this period with China, although the decline started from a higher level and occurred at a faster rate in China (Broadberry et al., 2014a and Broadberry et al., 2014b). Second, in India, as in China, the decline was driven mainly by what happened in agriculture, with the growth of population outstripping the growth of the cultivated area, and crop yields rising insufficiently to offset the decline in cultivated acreage per head. Third, in common with most of the world at this time, and in strong contrast to Britain and Holland, Indian workers remained on the land, with negative consequences for agricultural labour productivity and the relative size of the industrial and service sectors. Fourth, again in common with much of the rest of the world at this time, India lacked the state institutions needed to underpin the investment and innovation which allowed Britain and Holland to break out of the Malthusian trap, allowing both population and per capita incomes to increase (Parthasarathi, 2011 and Broadberry, 2013). Fifth, although India's decline continued during the colonial period, it had already started during the Mughal Empire, and so cannot be attributed solely to colonialism. This conclusion is reinforced by the more rapid decline of China.

State Institutions! key, key, key! one of the major reasons why India has managed to be fairly successful going forward post independence compared to other countries who came out of colonial stage in the post WW2 era. The institutions were strong, although they are creaking a bit.

Secondly, I hope the United Kingdom understands the sheer weight of its history. So yes, the Mughals and others were crap at ruling India. But what’s the UK’s excuse? it had institutions, democracy, liberalism. At a time Queen Victoria was presiding over the greatest empire, it was hugely damaging India. It experienced an absolute decline of industrial output during the first 2 decades of the last century.

Friday, February 27

What’s Worse Than a Coworker Who Undermines You?


An interesting article on coworkers. Yes this has happened before to me. How do you deal with this?

Be very good at what you do. No weaknesses son. Second be very helpful. Third make your boss successful. Fourth no gossiping at work. Extremely professional. 

Remember son, you go to work to earn so that you can have fun with your family and be happy. You don't need shit at work. 



What’s Worse Than a Coworker Who Undermines You? | LinkedIn

Bad colleagues can wreak havoc. One of the signs of a bad coworker is a pattern of persistent undermining—intentionally hindering a colleague’s success, reputation, or relationships. If you’ve ever had a coworker actively interfere with your productivity, try to make you look bad, steal your ideas, or give you false information, you’ve been the victim of undermining.

The opposite of an underminer is a supporter. When colleagues are supportive, they go out of their way to be givers rather than takers, working to enhance our productivity, make us look good, share ideas, and provide timely help.

Most people assume that relationships are either bad or good. Our coworkers are either takers who undermine us or givers who support us. But research shows otherwise: negative and positive relationships are independent. Many of us have ambivalent relationships with a colleague who undermines us in some situations but supports us in others. What are the implications of these ambivalent relationships?

Thursday, February 26

Why it’s so hard to be a business leader in India


Son you have some inherent advantages. Amongst many others. But this one is an accident of birth. You are a descendant of Indians. You know Hindi. And culturally you have been exposed to Indian and Hindu culture. 

Now look forward the next 20-30 years. Where is the growth going to come from? And based upon the article below where is your competition going to come from? 

So how do you build on your strengths? And protect against your threats? Try to do an internship in India. Your challenge kannu is yourself. You are ferociously smart and intelligent and I'm proud of you but you aren't been tested against the brightest and best. So you're still in your comfort zone. That's why I suggested going to the USA or India. You don't have to stay there and work but have some experience. Like with SAMEER mama's firm. Or in India. Invaluable experience son. 

Think about it. 



Why it’s so hard to be a business leader in India



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India may be one of the toughest markets in the world for a global company, but this also makes it one of the best incubators for next-generation global leaders. Adversity, after all, breeds leadership. This fact is not lost on major companies like GE and Nestle, which are using the role of India head to groom their rising executives.

Yet many companies, put off by the country’s chaos and adversity, are redirecting their efforts and investments elsewhere. It’s hard to build a global business in India, and much of the success or failure hinges on getting the right leaders in place who can tackle the country’s unique challenges—the first being the structure of the market.

Wednesday, February 25

If you want to go to war, have a nuke

So here’s an interesting article on why Russia breached the Budapest Memorandum.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, brought renewed attention at the Munich Security Conference this month to the Budapest Memorandum, an instrument adopted some twenty years ago by Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.  The Chancellor said that the Russian Federation, by invading eastern Ukraine and annexing Crimea, “has broken its commitment to the Budapest Memorandum.”  Merkel asked, “Who would give up their nuclear capability if their territorial integrity were not respected?”

It reminds me of a quote that I read way back about when an Indian General was asked about his views on the second Gulf War (the first being the Iran Iraq War), he said, if you wanted to go fight USA, best have a nuke handy. I don't think the Ukrainians thought this through, did they? If they had nukes, would Russia attack? or maybe use battlefield tac-nukes to rip out the Soviet Armies massed on this side of the Ukrainian frontier? And will Russia attack back? I don't think so.


Which reminds me of this recent article which I read about the Davy Crockett. Which has a 0.01 kiloton payload.


totally crazy, I tell you. Having nukes is so stupid, you cannot imagine…anyway, its out of the bottle now.

Tuesday, February 24

Do not increase the school day, reduce absences instead

this was a very interesting paper.

While instructional time is viewed as crucial to learning, little is known about the effectiveness of reducing absences relative to increasing the number of school days. In this regard, this paper jointly estimates the effect of absences and length of the school calendar on test score performance. Using administrative data from North Carolina public schools, we exploit a state policy that provides variation in the number of days prior to standardized testing and find substantial differences between these effects. Extending the school calendar by ten days increases math and reading test scores by only 0.8% and 0.2% of a standard deviation, respectively; a similar reduction in absences would lead to gains of 5.8% and 3% in math and reading. We perform a number of robustness checks including utilizing u data to instrument for absences, family-year fixed effects, separating excused and unexcused absences, and controlling for a contemporaneous measure of student disengagement. Our results are robust to these alternative specifications. In addition, our findings indicate considerable heterogeneity across student ability, suggesting that targeting absenteeism among low performing students could aid in narrowing current gaps in performance.

so its not a question of increasing the school year, its a question of using the existing school year properly. if you are encouraging or condoning absenteeism, then the pupils dont take the lessons on board and do not have the discipline to handle the concepts. Quite an important finding, specially given the propensity of politicians to push for longer school years. See here for a UK example.

Monday, February 23

Insight on pathogenesis of lifelong premature ejaculation: inverse relationship between lifelong premature ejaculation and obesity


Although both biological and psychological factors are important in the etiology, the exact pathogenesis of lifelong premature ejaculation (PE) remains to be clarified. Obesity is a worldwide epidemic that contributes to many chronic diseases. Obesity is associated with erectile dysfunction, but the relationship between obesity and PE has not yet been specifically investigated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationships of these two conditions. Between January 2008 and December 2009, we evaluated consecutive patients with lifelong PE in the urology outpatient clinic. Control cases without lifelong PE were selected randomly among cases attending the department of internal medicine for a checkup procedure. The age and sex of control group were matched with that of the study group. Body mass index (BMI) of each case was calculated using the World Health Organization criteria by the measurements of the physician instead of relying on verbal expressions. The mean (±s.d.) age of the premature ejaculators was 31.7±5.7 (range 21–51) years and in the control cases it was 32.3±6.7 (range 22–54) years. The comparison of the mean (±s.d.) weight between the study (74.1±11.2 kg) and control groups (81.9±6.4 kg) revealed a significant difference (P<0.001). The mean BMI of premature ejaculators (24.9±3.4 kg m–2) was lower than the mean BMI of control (27.5±3.6 kg m–2; P<0.001). As the BMI increased, the number of patients decreased in the PE group. The number of the obese cases in the control group (n=26, 24.1%) was three times greater than the obese premature ejaculators (P<0.005), and the number of PE patients were approximately two times greater than the control cases in the normal-weight class (P<0.001). This is the first prospective study that investigated the relationship between lifelong PE and obesity, and we found that patients with lifelong PE were leaner than the healthy control cases.

what a choice…be a porky and have lesser PE, be lean and mean and have a greater PE tendency. Truly mother nature is naughty.

Friday, February 13

A House Divided


Discrimination based upon skin colour is rampant in the world and is very difficult to remove. Very. It's like it's in our genes if you excuse the pun. The main reason is that we are tribal people. At heart. Biologically speaking. We are predisposed to form groups. These groups are defined by as much as what they are as they aren't. In other words, people define themselves as something that they are and what they aren't with reference with others. This is very very common. I find myself doing this all the time. Casual racism and discrimination is rife son. The only two ways to sort this is by economics (money makes these differences disappear, somewhat) and intermarriage. This is true for non racial discrimination like religious, caste or jati, linguistic, national etc. 

but good intentions usually don't work out as this story tells. 



(Saving...) A House Divided | Moment Magazine

A Daniel Pearl Investigative Journalism Initiative Story

At apartheid’s end, the dorms of the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein were integrated.
At first it went well, then the students chose to resegregate. A story of the continuing battle against racism in South Africa.

Billyboy Ramahlele heard the riot before he saw it. It was a February evening in 1996, autumn in South Africa, when cooling breezes from the Cape of Good Hope push north and turn the hot days of the country’s agricultural heartland into sweet nights, when the city of Bloemfontein’s moonlit trees and cornfields rustle sultrily beneath a vast sky glittering with stars. The 32-year-old dormitory manager at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein was relaxing in front of a wildlife program on the TV with his door open.

Suddenly, he became aware of a new noise. Could it be the trees, rustling in a gust? No, it was heavier, more like trampling. Could it be his TV? He switched it off. The noise grew louder.

Thursday, February 12

Food stamps put Rhode Island town on monthly boom-and-bust cycle


Yesterday I was chairing the finance committee at a charity. Which is an animal shelter. We help abandoned and abused animals, train vet surgeons etc etc. Very nice place.

But one of the things that we were talking about was how do we help our staff members. The basic problem is that people cannot survive in London on minimum wages. At about £15000 per year, after taxes, it's impossible to live. Their money runs out about the 22nd of every month. And then it becomes a nightmare. Like it's described here in the article.

Kids, being poor is very bad. Having had gone through this, it's soul destroying. Specially if you have children. Yes you may ask why have children when you're poor and cannot afford them but human nature and sex does that. Be that as it may, the human behaviour of people changes when they are poor. Very differently kids.
But we've got to help them kids. That's the mark of civilised people that we help others who are unfortunately in a worse situation than us.

London is more expensive than rest of the country so minimum wage doesn't work. So we are going to pay our staff at minimum wage an increase to what's called as a living wage. It will impact our delivery. It's a difficult decision as every pound we spend on staff has to be taken away from an animal. But it has to be done. We have to think holistically. Animals wouldn't be treated well if we have an underpaid hungry staff member. Yes. Hunger happens here in the uk kids. You've never experienced it and I promise you never will as long as I am alive but it's a very corrosive feeling.

Read this article kids. And think about how you can help the more unfortunate members in our society. And what can we do as citizens to make sure that we avoid this problem in the first place.



WOONSOCKET, R.I. – The economy of Woonsocket was about to stir to life. Delivery trucks were moving down river roads, and stores were extending their hours. The bus company was warning riders to anticipate “heavy traffic.” A community bank, soon to experience a surge in deposits, was rolling a message across its electronic marquee on the night of Feb. 28: “Happy shopping! Enjoy the 1st.”

In the heart of downtown, Miguel Pichardo, 53, watched three trucks jockey for position at the loading dock of his family-run International Meat Market. For most of the month, his business operated as a humble milk-and-eggs corner store, but now 3,000 pounds of product were scheduled for delivery in the next few hours. He wiped the front counter and smoothed the edges of a sign posted near his register. “Yes! We take Food Stamps, SNAP, EBT!”

“Today, we fill the store up with everything,” he said. “Tomorrow, we sell it all.”

At precisely one second after midnight, on March 1, Woonsocket would experience its monthly financial windfall — nearly $2 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Federal money would be electronically transferred to the broke residents of a nearly bankrupt town, where it would flow first into grocery stores and then on to food companies, employees and banks, beginning the monthly cycle that has helped Woonsocket survive.

Three years into an economic recovery, this is the lasting scar of collapse: a federal program that began as a last resort for a few million hungry people has grown into an economic lifeline for entire towns. Spending on SNAP has doubled in the past four years and tripled in the past decade, surpassing $78 billion last year. A record 47 million Americans receive the benefit — including 13,752 in Woonsocket, one-third of the town’s population, where the first of each month now reveals twin shortcomings of the U.S. economy:

So many people are forced to rely on government support.

The government is forced to support so many people.