Friday, March 6

The story of a ship

Some amazing photographs of the Arizona, one of the famous battleships of WW2. Here are some of the ones which I liked, but you can go to the link and see much more…


under construction 1913


FDR visiting the ship







After modernisation in 1931, see the towers..


after the Pearl Harbour attack.


what was left after the cleanup of the wreck


and how it looks now.

Thursday, March 5

Amma’s Multifaceted Empire, Built on Hugs


Few things to note here in this description of an Indian religious leader's life and work. 

First is that when governments are failing or are unable to function, these religious - social movements frequently fill the void. It's a fascinating phenomena. For example people worry about Islamist or Hindu or such like movements. But this is because governments give them space because of their incompetence. 

Second is to note how single prophets and guru based religious movements can turn into long term movements. India Middle East etc etc all give rise to movements like this. Think of the Ramakrishna mission which is a broad mission now. Same with like Narayan guru. Or shirdi sai baba. Scientology. Etc etc. Islam and Christianity also started with individual prophets like this. 

Third is that religion is frequently associated with money. It's like flies t honey. Very common to see cultish behaviour. 

So this kind of behaviour isn't strange or unknown. People have this bizarre tendency to need to have gurus and prophets. I personally find it bizarre, just like I find people needing drugs or drink to be merry. But logic or arguments don't work on these people. Seriously. I used to argue and debate once but nowadays I just give a jaundiced look and back away slowly and stay away from them. People who can act irrationally like this can't be trusted to be around when you leave your guard down. 

Still one good thing, give hugs son. That's great and wonderful behaviour. Hugs make so many things better :) 



Amma’s Multifaceted Empire, Built on Hugs -

THERE are entourages — and then there is the retinue of Mata Amritanandamayi, a 59-year-old Indian guru known simply as Amma, or “mother.” On Friday, she began a two-month North American tour during which she will be accompanied by 275 volunteers. They plan to ride in four buses across the continent from Bellevue, Wash., to Marlborough, Mass., visiting 11 cities, including New York. And at each stop along the way, Amma will sit on stage for 15 hours at a stretch, greeting her thousands of devotees.

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.