Thursday, May 30

[Letter from Lima] | All Politics Is Local, by Daniel Alarcón

This is such a foreign world to us Kannu. We live in a bubble where people like Avi only appear in magazines or in news stories. But we are locking up more and more people. They need to be locked up. They need to be tried. They need to be rehabilitated. And and. Interesting society we are raising. 



[Letter from Lima] | All Politics Is Local, by Daniel Alarcón | Harper's Magazine

Single Page

To understand a place like Lurigancho, it’s best not to dwell on words like prison or inmateor cell, or on the images these terms generally connote. The 7,400 men who live in Lurigancho, Peru’s largest and most notorious penal institution, do not wear uniforms; there is no roll call or lockdown or lights-out. Whatever control the prison authorities have inside Lurigancho is nominal. They secure the gate to the prison, and little else.

The complex’s twenty housing blocks can be divided roughly into two sections: the better-off inmates live in El Jardín (the Garden), the odd-numbered blocks. The greenery withered long ago, but the name and its cachet have remained. Many residents carry the keys to their own cells and are free to wander the grounds as they wish, though some prefer not to leave the relative calm of their territory. The other side of Lurigancho is known as La Pampa (the Plain), the even-numbered blocks, home to thousands of accused murderers and petty thieves. The density here can be twice that of El Jardín, the conditions unsanitary and often violent.

Wednesday, May 29

My Hyperinflation Vacation

Day before, I raised a cheer son. This was when I read that USA was paying back it's debt after many years. While I recognise that a debt market is required for the proper functioning of a modern economy, too much debt can be bad. 

At end of the day, somebody has to lend to you. You have a choice, you do thus voluntarily or involuntarily. Voluntarily is fine, you can ask for higher returns commensurate with the potential higher risk. But when this avenue is cut off, then govt's will go down the involuntary route by forcing banks insurance companies and pension funds to hold govt debt. 

And the returns are paltry. Like India and Egypt and Argentina, so many countries have done so. And when govt's spend too much, like now, they have to print money when debt financing is not possible. Then inflation raises its head. Inflation is the silent economy killer son. 

This is another reason why govt's and govt spending must be kept on check because inflation hits the poorest and eldest who are on low or fixed incomes without any way out. 



My Hyperinflation s Vacation - Graeme Wood - The Atlantic


Continue to the


The Money Report April 2013

A trip to the Iranian resort island of Kish illuminates the pressures, limits, and strange consequences of economic sanctions.

Graeme Wood Mar 20 2013, 9:50 PM ET

Kevin van Aelst

For years, I have been advising my cash-poor friends: the secret to an ultracheap international holiday is a Google News search for the words runaway inflation. The place listed in the dateline of any recent articles including that phrase should be your destination. En route to your home airport, visit the bank and withdraw U.S. dollars in crisp hundreds and fifties. At your beleaguered landing place, the local currency’s value will be melting away like a snowman in July. Your greenbacks will remain pleasantly solid. Everyone at your destination—hoteliers, restaurant staff, tour guides—will covet them and cut you deals. For you, luxuries will suddenly become affordable. Until your return flight (assuming you make it back safely, and are not robbed by an increasingly desperate local mob), you will experience the dismal science at its most cheery.

Economists’ name for truly berserk runaway inflation is hyperinflation. America’s most nightmarish bout of inflation—in recent memory, at least—came and went at the end of the Carter administration, when prices rose by about 14 percent in 1980, the peak year. Hyperinflation, by contrast, is beyond nightmarish: a rise in prices of at least 50 percent amonth, according to the generally accepted definition. Thankfully, it is rare. Steve Hanke, an economist at Johns Hopkins University, has documented 56 instances since 1795, ranging from a comparatively benign monthlong burst in Taiwan in 1947 (prices rose by a little more than half in that month, then the increase slowed), to a truly surreal year in Hungary in 1945–46, when at one point prices doubled every 15 hours. In Slobodan Milošević’s Yugoslavia in 1994, hyperinflation stopped only when the presses at the national mint, in Topčider, overheated to their breaking point.

Tuesday, May 28

Aethelflaed: Iron Lady of Mercia

An example of another Iron Lady, poignant when another Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher just died. Interesting character kids. And one which isn't taught enough in history. Fascinating. 

We live in London and this place is absolutely drenched in history. Battles were fought few kilometres from our homes between the Romans and native tribes. 




Aethelflaed: Iron Lady of Mercia | Alex Burghart -

Æthelflæd: of Mercia warrior queen 60 BBC History Magazine Anglo-Saxon kings Viking victory Æthelflæd was a far superior ruler to her husband Æthelred, and made Mercia a kingdom to be feared, repelling foes from her borders and bringing unruly neighbours under her control Her deeds are largely forgotten, but as Alex Burghart explains, Æthelflæd turned a cornered kingdom into a powerhouse that defeated the Welsh and the Vikings xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx A ALAMY nglo-Saxon history is full of forgotten heroes. This year marks the 1100th anniversary of the accession of one of the most forgotten and, in some ways, one of the most remarkable. In 911, Æthelflæd, daughter of King Alfred the Great (871-99), succeeded her husband, Æthelred, as ruler of the midland realm of Mercia. In doing so she became one of the only Anglo-Saxon women to rule in her own right, and a key player in the period that would shape the formation of England. Rarely has British politics been so turbulent as it was in the late ninth and early tenth centuries. In 866 a huge Danish force had landed in eastern England and started, systematically, to occupy regions and kill kings. By 877 roughly all the territories to the east of Watling Street (the A2) – the kingdoms of Essex and East Anglia, East Mercia (the east Midlands), Lindsey (Lincolnshire) and Northumbria – lay in Danish hands. Nor were they the only hostile power. From early in the ninth century Norse Vikings (from Norway and no friends to the Danes) had established bases in Ireland and were using them as springboards to launch forays on mainland Britain, attacking and sometimes allying themselves with the Welsh kingdoms. Anglo-Saxon England appeared to be on the brink of becoming AngloScandinavian England. It was under these pressures – and others from the Welsh kingdoms to the west – that, in about 879, Æthelred, the new leader of the remaining Mercians, chose to submit to King Alfred of Wessex. Asser, Alfred’s biographer, says that Æthelred agreed ‘that in every respect he would be obedient to the royal will’, and it seems that he was as good as his word. In our sources, Æthelred is never called ‘king’ only ‘ealdorman’ or ‘lord’ – there was to be one king: Alfred, and it is his name alone which appears on the royal charters and coins of the time. So seriously did Alfred take this new alliance that he gave his eldest daughter, Æthelflæd, to Æthelred in marriage. Exactly when this happened is not known