Manufacture or decline

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America is on the edge of an abyss called Industry 4.0, where it can either take the leap to the next level of innovation and productivity, or forever fall down into a state of perpetual decline of its living standards. There are many factors that point to the eventual decline of the American civilization and some say it started with the dot com crash, and others point to the Great Recession after the housing and financial collapse. The export of manufacturing to China and other nations and the dependence of the American consumer on other nations, both for its goods and also for its deficits is disheartening. We are on a downward cycle that is slowly spiraling out of control with trillions in deficits. A nation of debtors cannot lead, and the divide between the rich and the rest is growing, and will lead to class conflict, and a permanent rendering of our social fabric.

The decline in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education is worrisome and so is the disappearing middle class. More people are dropping out of the working class, because of inability to earn a living wage, and the destitute and disabled are straining the state and city resources. Good paying jobs have gone the way of the dodo bird, and we might as well tighten our belts, and pray that social security and Medicare will last into our old age. The despair is reflected in the dysfunctional election primaries we just witnessed and the rise of health and mental issues across the land. Some have felt the Bern and talk about a social revolution. Others believe that Trump is the leader of high moral standing, who will lead us to the next Cultural Revolution.

Personally I believe that there are green shoots coming up and some of it is the resurgence of manufacturing in America. I believe in a coming Industrial Revolution that will transform America and the rest of the world. Everywhere I look I see the emergence of new innovation and technology. From the days when Ford offered its customers “any color they want, long as it is black” to the new F 150 trucks which can be configured a million different ways from the same assembly line. American manufacturing has come full circle with robotics, lasers, software, hardware advancements that were scarcely imagined just a few decades ago.  The resurgence of the automotive sector where GM’s new cars are a marvel of efficiency and technology can scarcely be believed, from a corporation that Obama had to bail out just recently.

The never say die attitude of continuous innovation has brought cheap energy in abundance from the shale formations. Cheap gas has driven the largest coal producer Peabody bankrupt and gone a long way in the greening of America. We will soon be the cheapest producers of plastics, resins, steel, automobiles and planes in the world. Our labor is the most productive and if things continue with newer software and hardware convergence, the gap will only widen. There is no other silicon valley in the world and we still attract the brightest and the best. Even one of the oldest Dow Jone’s Company GE is reinventing itself, as an innovation driven, software optimized, 3D metal printing of complex jet nozzles, guzzler of latest technologies and manufacturing oomph. The green energy from renewal sources is just starting to take off at a massive scale,  and this will provide impetus to the next new smart cities and rising living standards. Driverless cars, green cities, research universities, modern factories with better paying jobs in manufacturing will bring new life into the economy.

The information age is built on a foundation of cutting edge technology, and majority of its innovation, still comes from America. Social media and the new unicorns of how we interact with society and each other are still being built out in America, and the rest of the world is following. There are cheaper and more efficient ways to do things as proven by the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber and others who did not even exist just a short time ago. The billions in new wealth created by these corporations is based on the emergence of innovative software and increasingly complex hardware convergence. The new Masters of the universe are not the Wall Street tycoons exchanging bonds and corporate paper, but the likes of Page, Bezos, Jobs, Zuckerberg. Gates and Allison who create the next new thing.

Yes my faith in American manufacturing has been reborn and I believe this will be the greatest century of American creativity and innovation. We have the vision and aptitude for disruption, and the universities and research and development between government and private sector, which is the envy of the world. Those who rumor that America is not capable of producing anything but services and information, in the mistaken belief that we are just an overgrown agrarian economy, are not seeing the whole picture. The rust belt based on coal, steam and old manufacturing may be dead, but its successors are proving to be far stronger and more resilient. Nano technology, Genetic engineering, Bio Technology, Custom production to meet individual needs are here, and will only improve at a faster rate as energy costs continue to go down and productivity improves.

The crucible of human endeavor is all in the spirit of our people. Long as we allow this spirit to grow, there is no other nation that can best us from our desired goals. We will stake our fortunes and take the risks of making a better world, just as the founding fathers did against the greatest empire and won.   There is no force that can hold us back if we stay true to our ideals and continue to strive for a more perfect union. Manufacturing powers can help us rebuild our Middle Class, with better paying jobs and a more equitable society. We can bring the prosperity to the rest of the world and lead in improving the living standards of humanity. With dedication and American ingenuity we can leap this abyss of  our despair, of Malthusian predictions of our decline, and come out even stronger on the other side!

US kids behind in Science education

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Our children are continuing to fall behind in STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and currently the US is ranked 44th in the world. The ranking has been on a steady slide downwards with no hope for improving. Other countries continue to improve their engagement in modern education, and help their students prosper, because of better policies and parent’s involvement. Paul Morgan of Penn State’s education department has done a focused study on the causes of this decline in America over the past decades, and come up with some startling findings. These are similar to the ground breaking work done by Fredrick Froebel (pictured above) over a century ago, who started Kindergartens and revolutionized children’s education, and was very influential in improving education in our world.

His research looked for the timelines when these declines happened, whether in High School, or 8th Grade, or third grade, or started in Kinder Garden. It also looked at racial and economic backgrounds of the children, and any other social factors that may be causing the US children to be consistently falling behind in STEM studies. He found this is threatening the development of the knowledge based society, required for our future. Given all the modern gadgets available and tools of our information age, it seemed strange that our children are not gaining ground, on the rest of the world. I was intrigued by the contrary findings of his research, as I would have expected that our children would have the benefits of an internet age, and be able to develop basic math and language skills, more rapidly.

His core findings are that the knowledge gap starts in Kinder Garden itself and children just do not have the general knowledge and societal awareness, which form the foundation for a good education. It is the parents and society that is failing the children by not exposing them early to the needs of a modern educated society. Mathematics and science exposure early is not required but just an exposure to general knowledge where we broaden a child’s horizon to include a broader exposure to our world. The child has to be given the opportunity to expand his\her brain by exercising it in learning general and broad spheres of knowledge. Especially in minorities an effort needs to be made to help groom the children early, to have this broader exposure to education, as soon as they enter, or even before they enter Kinder Garden.

His research talks about a “leaky STEM pipeline” where low-income, minorities and women are allowed to set lower expectations, and hence not encouraged, to challenge themselves, towards loftier learning goals. The same individuals when encouraged and provided the right support, can excel at basic STEM education, and develop into scientists and engineers in later life. While about 20% of white children and similarly about 20% of upper-income children do not display aptitude for science and mathematics, it falls to 52% for low-income students and 63% for blacks by the time they reach 8th grade. These low numbers are not acceptable if we really want these children to live an economically better life, in the knowledge based economy we are transitioning to.

The solution proposed is to encourage young children to become competent in English and mathematics at an early age. They should be guided to have more exposure to general knowledge in Kinder Garden and encouraged to broaden their horizons. Young brains must be encouraged to develop basic language and mathematical skills, along with physical and societal awareness. This foundation is to be built up to the third grade and if they are up to the grade level by then, it is highly probable that they will continue on that path, even when they are in the 8th grade. Education policy has to change and parents, teachers and society all have to contribute to the child’s success. Then the children having built this foundation and with the right expectations, will become competent in STEM education in High School and College.

As Paul points out “It is never too late to help children grow to be successful.” By starting early we can make them more aware of the physical and natural world around them, even before they reach KG. To make a great society we have to start at the beginning, and invest far greater effort in the children who are our future. To shirk this responsibility on the basis of race, ethnic, gender or economic background will be the greatest blunder we can make as a society. Each child deserves the opportunity to be successful in later life, and while not everyone has a STEM aptitude, not to be even allowed the opportunity to improve oneself, is a moral sin. There is still time to invest in our future, and by an early change in education policy, make America the land of opportunity once again.

Darkness, light and black holes

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“When you emerged from the black hole, was it God who pulled you out, or was there another great force that was pushing you out, from the great contraction of mass?” the teenager asked me with wide eyes in his excitement, as I spoke at my old Alma Mater on my latest adventure. I had returned after a harrowing mission and we had brought back elements that fitted into the missing pieces of our atomic table, which had not been found before our mission.
“Well it really started when I used dark energy to propel my spaceship many years ago, while still working on my research at this very school, but that is all an old story and I don’t want to bore you all with that,” I responded to the class of eager new space cadets, who had much greater heroes than me; to look up to. Our mission had lasted many years and I had returned a much wiser man after the journey there and back.
“Well nobody has ever returned from a black hole in our milky way, so what was it that made you enter it in the first place? Why everybody says it is a miracle that you are still alive to be here with us today?” the boy continued adjusting his mind prompter, to focus more clearly, on my thoughts. I could feel him probing into my deepest consciousness and opened the neurons to my memories of that day, when I was hurtling almost at the speed of light, and time was almost standing still; and great distances of space, rushed by. He was with me, as I guided my spacecraft to find that elusive gateway, out of the black hole, that my professor had theorized about in our research together. I let him peek in to finally see the portal, which led out of the densest of dark matter out into space again.
“Oh the pressure and the weight is so incredible, that you and your spaceship are almost crushed. What a horrible and strange way to die.” The boy’s broken and fearful thoughts communicated, breaking out in fear, from the memory of that moment. All the others turned to look at him, and the teacher turned his mind to him, and chided him for being so inquisitive, and to probe my mind in such a blatant manner. I turned my mind to happier thoughts, and spoke to the larger crowd, “Never give up on your dreams, as each day brave new horizons, open up to us. We are only what we dream and think and you are our hope now, and with you a new more equipped generation will enter space. I was lucky to have lived my years realizing my dreams, and I wish you to remember that everything you imagine will be possible, in the future. Just believe in yourself and have courage in your beliefs and nothing will ever hold you back from your goals.” I ended looking fondly at the young student whose wide smile and bright eyes, were our best hope for our future.
“We are all proud of this great traveler, who has so kindly graced us, with his presence today,” the teacher said, obviously embarrassed by the probing incident, that one of his students had carried out; against the norms, of our civilized society. “We should thank him for taking time out of his busy routine, to come and talk to us today.” He continued to keep the students from dwelling on the incident that had happened, and clicked through the images from my journey..

Ever since we had started inbuilding these capabilities into the new generations, we had also developed codes of conduct, on how to curtail the obvious abuses of privacy and mind control; that were possible, using these new capabilities. It had taken many generations to curb the enthusiasm, which the young boy had demonstrated. I remembered similar incidents from my youth when I had misbehaved in similar fashion, and smiled at his indiscretion, as he reminded me of a younger me; with his awe, and thirst for knowledge.
“We have all to explore new frontiers and develop new materials and for this we have to enter the crucible of a black hole or a super nova or pulsar, where new elements may be created for everyone’s benefit. It is a treacherous journey in our history, and many brave thousands have died attempting it, in our recent past. I and my crew was just one of the lucky ones to have survived, and for that I am eternally grateful” I said remembering the great alumni who had come from this school and gone on bravely, to carve out new fields of science, for modern humanity to survive and prosper.
Just then the commander who was the principal of the academy came in, and I knew at once that something was not right. He quickly addressed the class and thanked me for coming and told the students to work hard, and try to achieve what I had achieved in my short life. The students stood and cheered as I waved bye to them, as they had made posters and studied my exploits before my visit, and made a kind of hero out of me. As the commander took my elbow and guided me out of the hall, I could see that he had closed his thoughts, and I knew that there was more here than I could see. I followed him quietly to the secured room used for the secret communication channels, with external resources.
When we entered the room, all the secure walls were put up, the main communicator of the universe was opened and I noticed that some of the highest security codes, were collaborating in this project. The commander opened his mind and I saw my greatest fear in his mind. We were under attack and the forces of darkness that had been expanding the universe, were taking a pause it appeared and turning inwards, and the world as we knew it would be forever changed. After a thousand years of peace it appears that war is upon us at a scale, that the forces of the universe can scarce control, and the survival of our humanity is at stake. The opposing forces of darkness and light, are poised to turn on each other, and we are entering an area, that we have no idea about, in our long and storied existence.

“The great council has been assembled from across our universe, and the deliberations are about to begin,” the commander said, enabling some more communication devices for us, as we entered this new virtual reality meeting. We saw the assembly of leaders from across the lands gathering together and scientists showing the results of their investigations. I saw the troubled looks and heard the troubles thoughts of our friends and companions, as they reviewed the dark evidence being presented to them.

“We have been summoned at short notice to address a threat, which can wipe out all our civilizations, as we know them today,” continued the commander and I collapsed into an armchair suddenly very tired from my recent trips. “We cannot possibly head back to war again, after a thousand years of peace?” I though worriedly to myself, as I immersed myself into this new virtual reality..
‘The most important discoveries will provide answers to questions that we do not yet know how to ask and will concern objects we have not yet imagined.’ -John N. Bahcall, astrophysicist (30 Dec 1935-2005)

Hope for Chennai’s recovery

 

 

 

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The Chennai Municipal Corporation is divided into 15 zones, which include Manali, Royapuram, Anna Nagar, Alandur, Adyar and Perungudi, most of which were submerged after the incessant rains battered the city and triggered a civic, transport and communication infrastructure collapse. It has 200 wards, which have grown under it, since its humble beginings in the late seventeenth century. being the oldest Municipal corporation in India having started in 1695 almost 320 years ago, and has grown into the colonial Ripon Building. It hopes to deploy over 20,000 employees, and get help from surrounding corporations to clean up the mess. It is a herculean task for such an ancient corporation, and it needs all the help that we can give to it in manpower, trucks, loaders and civic garbage removal equipment.

Post clean up, proper reengineering of certain areas of the city is required to make Chennai a city capable of handling such a natural disaster. Engineering to allow water flows to remove excessive waters, by use of huge pumps like New Orleans at flood prone zones, and other diverting measures, from lessons learned in this last flood; should be implemented. We have to make Chennai into a modern city and remove the weaknesses in the civic center, by recognizing flood zones, and becoming better at draining them; using modern methods. The people of Chennai should demand this from their corporation as countless man-hours have been lost, which could have been used for better purposes. Climate change is here and if we do not change and adapt, then nature will change us.

In another sign of things to come India’s oldest IIT in Madras, had for the first time resort to using Skype to hold interviews for companies, which are not able to make it to the campus, for the placements. Internet video calling has come to IIT Chennai, and HR of major corporations; and I wonder if virtual reality, is next! New technologies are disrupting the most important human functions and interactions, such as hiring, which are major milestones in an individual’s life.

At a minimum we need to ensure fail-safe and secure information systems for a modern city. After the floods valuable lessons were learned, and now remedial measures can be implemented in a planned manner. We need the best minds to work on helping this great city.

We wish Chennai and its citizens a speedy recovery from this natural calamity, and hope for its corporations to emerge stronger at the end!

Global trade must grow

Rank Commodity Value in US$(‘000) Date of
information
1 Mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, etc. $2,183,079,941 2012
2 Electrical, electronic equipment $1,833,534,414 2012
3 Machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers, etc. $1,763,371,813 2012
4 Vehicles other than railway $1,076,830,856 2012
5 Plastics and articles thereof $470,226,676 2012
6 Optical, photo, technical, medical, etc. apparatus $465,101,524 2012
7 Pharmaceutical products $443,596,577 2012
8 Iron and steel $379,113,147 2012
9 Organic chemicals $377,462,088 2012
10 Pearls, precious stones, metals, coins, etc. $348,155,369 2012

The US trade deficit narrowed to $40.8 billion in September, down 15% from a $48 billion deficit in August, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The U.S. deficit with China rose 3.8% to an all-time high of $36.3 billion in September as imports from China hit a record. The U S dream is being fulfilled by Chinese factories it would appear, eager to satisfy the demands of the largest consumer society in the world. The mutually beneficial trade relationship has been one of the greatest eliminators of poverty in the world, as Chinese GDP rose at an unprecedented pace lifting millions out of poverty.

The fate of global growth sits on the buoyant shoulders of the American middle class’s ability to consume, beyond its means. Currently there are no signs of any of the high consumption years, as the consumer continues to increase our savings as a result of the fall in energy prices. The state of the economy is steady, and Christmas, should bring cheer all around. We can rest assured that the American consumers will open their purses to the world. Enough revenue will be generated from Black Friday to the holiday’s end to generate jobs all around the world.

It is the exports growth that is the true story here as manufacturing and infrastructure starts to pick up in the US. Public and private spending is required and finally the States and Center are starting to expand employment and projects. While the politicians in DC come to a stalemate, the business of the people must go on. The Trans Pacific deal could help to increase these exports for America. With our cheap gas and scope for renewal energy, the new industrial age is about to unfold in the US. Hydro carbons will find new uses as we move to a greener environment and climate change forces our hand on cheap coal.

There can be a steeply rising export curve for the US in the production, refining, producing, shipping products for the world’s hydro carbon needs. If DC does not get behind the proposal, do they really expect the world to sit back and wait, on what may in the long term be a good deal for all the countries? World trade will go on and with greater expectations from the general public, as there are no limits on human aspirations. Great industries will flourish on all sides of the Pacific and human needs will be met with greater efficiency. To increase international trade of the world is essential, to meet our future goals for humanity. Innovation and entrepreneurship will bring new prosperity to nations, who trade to their competitive advantage and the US must continue to lead the world in free trade.

The energy dilemma

Finally the growth of renewable energy outpaced that of fossil fuels in the electricity sector last year, with a record of 135 gigawatts of capacity added from wind, solar, hydro-power and other natural sources, a new study by REN21 in Paris, shows. China the leader in coal use today, is becoming the leader in renewable energy now. Globally every day in 2014, seven billion people were gorging on 15 million tons of coal, 92 million barrels of oil, 328 billion cubic feet of natural gas, 200,000 kilograms of uranium and millions of hectares of wind farms, solar panels, forests, cornfields and hydroelectric reservoirs as per a BP study.

Each percentage point of energy’s primary source market share (coal, oil, nuclear, wind, solar, bio fuels, geothermal, etc) is worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The stakes are enormous and the market leaders will fight for each point of share, as the demand will continue to boom. Developing countries will increase production to meet the demands of their energy starved citizens, choosing the cheapest alternatives. The good news is that overall energy intensity has stepped down again, which means that a dollar of GDP needs 15 per cent less energy to transact today, than only five years ago.

With a billion people India is just embarking on its coal build out, while nuclear, and other green sources will also grow. Germany is the clear leader in Europe and the US is just limbering up for the fight, with its dystopian public policy and rhetoric, as opposed to ground reality. The G7 may want to go to an alternate energy model by the 21st century but for that to happen, current transportation and heating and cooling of cities are unsustainable and will have to change. Just like the move from wood to coal in the 18th century and from coal to oil in the 20th, we have a lot of work to do in the next few decades.

In the absence of a giant catastrophe that reduces billions of our population, we will have to plan to meet the needs of our young, in a growing population. The next generations need our commitment to reduce waste and improve energy efficiency, while at the same time reducing greenhouse emissions. Climate change will have unintended consequences wiping out many species of flora, fauna and other living beings. As intelligent beings we have to look beyond our own selfish needs, and ensure the Earth is kept as pristine as possible, for life to evolve properly. We will become the dinosaurs of the 22nd century, if we cannot overcome our technical, financial and social problems and resolve our energy needs in an Eco-friendly manner. Disruptive technology is the need of the hour, whether it is fusion, or thorium based nuclear, better bio-fuels, solar, wind etc. and our best brains should be engaged in this race. The survival of humanity is at stake.

Having always had great respect for the Jesuits, it is good to see that Pope Francis, the first Jesuit Pope, using science. When Rick Perry (Republican candidate) said that pronouncements on Climate change, are best left to the scientists; he is perhaps forgetting that the head of his Catholic church, is a trained chemist, and knows what he is talking about. Energy for our future generations is one of the biggest dilemma’s we face and the hard decisions we face today, will shape our future earth and our very survival. May the greening of our energy continue, with greater disruptions in consumption, production and storage.

Wealth creation for masses

World Wealth Report: 2.8nm Indian HNIs, Yet 90% Population in Lower Income Bracket

RBI, Deputy Governor, S S Mundra says, “according to census 2011, out of 24.67 crore households in the country, only about 14.48 crore or 58.70 % households had access to banking services. Further, of the 16.78 crore rural households, only about 9.14 crore or 54.46 % households were availing of banking services.”

“The World Bank Findex Survey (2012) points out that only about 35% of Indian adults had access to a formal bank account and a meager 8% borrowed formally in the last 12 months,” says Mundra.

Historically even Lord Curzon vexed by the bureaucratic Indian Banks observed, “In respect of banking it seems we are behind the times. We are like some old fashioned sailing ship, divided by solid wooden bulkheads into separate and cumbersome compartments.”

In 1960, the State Banks of India was given control of eight state-associated banks under the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959. These are now called its associate banks. In 1969 the Indian Government nationalized 14 major private banks. In 1980, 6 more private banks were nationalised. These nationalised banks are the majority of lenders in the Indian economy. They dominate the banking sector because of their large size and widespread networks.

My request to India’s finance Minister is that when Indira Gandhi nationalized the banks and the Insurance Companies, it was for the purpose of ‘Garibi Hatao’ or the reduction of poverty, for the masses and the proletariat. If this is the property of the poor, then the time has come to return their property back to them. We now have the technology, microfinance systems and means; to finally bankroll the biggest financing and banking endeavor at an individual digital level. Do the greatest good by unleashing the power of the citizens, for the long term improvement, of the largest proletariat, of poor citizens in our history. Divest all the banks and lend all the money back to the poor and the needy, and let them decide what entrepreneurship they want to follow, to improve their lives. Human ingenuity knows no bound and unleashing its potential, is the greatest duty of its government.

The government has long tried its hand at Banking, Insurance and Finance, and it is time now for the people to learn and use what is theirs. Electronic banking can spread to the most remote digitally identified persons, who can borrow small loans, to take up a livelihood or trade. Whether it is the soon to be millions of urban poor, or the needs of the largely disguised unemployed in the rural sector, this money has been put in trust, for their use. This trust can now be upheld and the minister can prove himself trustworthy by disinvesting all these banks and insurance companies, and investing the proceeds in the modern schemes; of direct deposits, and microloans for over five hundred million citizens.

By husbanding this wealth in government hands, and not to let lose its benefits on the people who need it the most today, would be foolhardy and make little economic sense, or policy. The policy should be the greatest good at the fastest pace, and in the most efficient manner possible, for and by the people. It is time for the people to rise, and for the government to stand aside, and let it happen. The government can be a facilitator, but not the creator of wealth. The wealth belongs to the people, and they have first right on how to use it. We have the old socialists’ leftist parties in the opposition clinging on to an idea whose time has come and gone. The model of the Government being the “Ma Baap” of its citizen, crumbled with the Berlin wall, and China’s affirmation that it is glorious to be rich.

While my example talks only of Banking and Finance the whole communication revolution of digitized media is going to be the greatest enabler for India’s citizens. As the Minister for Information & Broadcasting it helps, as the digital revolution of providing information, and enabling broadcasting; is the base, for any digitally enabled economy. The example can be safely extended to Railways, Highways, Industry, Commerce and other areas where the government has no business being in any longer, and they should be allowed to grow on their own. The greatest fire sale in India, of its so called Public Enterprises; will go a long way in enabling the current government, to meets its new investment and developmental goals.

The goals for the country are economic and financial equality like the Nordic nations rumored to be amongst the happiest in the world. All the people’s money should now be invested in health, education, housing and infrastructure with the government as an investor and enabler. The people will grow the wealth, as they alone know how to do it. Given the knowledge and technology of the modern world, seamless digital transactions; will allow for the raising from poverty, of India’s masses. Just like China has achieved in the past decades, India can also continue to have a double digit growth for decades. Only India’s policy and methodology should not be central controlled, but pass to a million points of light. It is the people’s land and they will husband it and grow it, and make it fruitful, and you are only a custodian; of their wishes.

Sell everything that is publicly held, and convert that into the greatest private investment in the world. To lend a $ 1,000 to five hundred million people you only need fifty billion dollars. A Keynesian behemoth of spending, of this this size; by depositing these sums directly into individual accounts, will transform India for ever. The thing is that it does not have to be done all at once and can be spread out over decades. These private investments will grow well over the rate of inflation, given the growth potential, of the young population. This initial seed money, can grow exponentially over the century; to truly make India, into what it can be as an economic power.

For centuries the villages of India have been treated as the forgotten masses. For all the talk precious little was achieved in raising financial inclusion through education or technology. Now a simple mobile phone can become the vehicle of mass inclusion. Numerous new finance organizations in existence in Africa and elsewhere can now provide a loan within an hour to deserving candidates. A unique identifier for each citizen coupled with this new credit will allow each one to prosper, at his or her own pace. The multiplier effect of this mass infusion of capital; into a largely landless labor, will have a very beneficial impact, on the gross domestic product. Consumption will rise, and demand will go up; in an economically beneficial and ever expanding spiral.

At the same time the privatization of public enterprises, will allow for further innovation and improvements, in the disinvested large corporations; who will be free to grow, and become more efficient and better corporations. Foreign investments will pour in, as the diaspora and its friends learn of the new economic miracle, about to be unleashed in human potential. The direct growth in consumer consumption will allow for more expansion of the economy. For double digit growth we need transformation of the current finacial, insurance, mining, industrial and logistics, into a modern infrastructure built by the best engineering talent, and not bureaucrats living out their tenure. We can grow the talent as we have so much youth, and need to invest in them and not for them. You are the guardian of a great wealth, and as per the doctrine of parmo dharma, it is best to invest in the citizens, whose karma will make the new India.

Let me explain what will happen. Rural individuals engaged in agriculture will be able to buy their seeds, fertilizer, agricultural implements and sell their produce directly, without any middlemen taking their share of the profits, and making the systems inefficient. Those not actively engaged directly in agriculture, will be able to enter into trading, or providing services, required elsewhere. These will be the hidden labor that will become available to make the modern India. The industrial workers and the builders of the infrastructure and cities will come from these individually enabled citizens. Development needs great sacrifices and discipline and the government should provide better governance, defense and law and order. Get out of the people’s business, while it is still time, and let people live in a just and free society, or face a future of their unfulfilled dreams.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is only a small step in this direction and there is a lot of work to be done, to make a secure digital transaction system using mobile. This has not been tried before on the scale that India requires, but that is the beauty of new technology, which is easily scalable. A lot of it can be free funded by advertising, from the consumer goods and technology giants, which will help fund this new revolution. As money flows to the poorest of the poor, we will all benefit, for financial inclusion is the only way forward.

Emotional Zombies

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There is a new predator roaming our world and we are increasingly aware of it and constantly watching for its sound, vibration or sudden appearance. New studies have shown that it is even observed while we are eating as a family or in the privacy of our bathroom, and for some even while we are enjoying the most intimate of human interactions of sex. Countless accidents and deaths are now attributed to its rapid spread across the globe and numerous relationships have soured as its presence increases. By all counts it is spreading to younger generations and even the older more mature generations often fall victim to its inappropriate timings and appearances.

We are indulging in this creatures rise and there is no time of day or night when we do not fall prey to its insidious call. In fact we are encouraging it to grow and are now suffering depression, if it does not appear or responds in a timely manner when we engage in it. We lose sight of our immediate goals and important tasks that must be completed at once are put aside, as we cater to the increasing demands from this new beast in our lives. Children are left to cry and spouses left to fend for themselves as we withdraw from them and seek this newfangled devil, which attracts like no other.

Driver’s crash, lovers disengage, children disobey their parents, and responsible parties abscond from their work, as this new obsession takes over more lives every day. We are no longer masters of our own life and now cater to the constant interruptions, which lead us away from our planned goals. Why can we not resist this new plague that seems to grip everyone around us, as we move like zombies in a foreign land? Nobody talk to anyone and all we find are people staring at their devices as we commute, travel, attend meetings, go to social engagements or even as we gather at home as a family.

This is a new scientific phenomena and its rise will lead to the next evolution in our lives. The future of humanity is at stake and we will soon embed this new creature into our very brain as our obsessions increase. Today it is the phone or the watch and soon it will be a suitable chip implanted into our very nervous system. We will finally be always connected and the predator will have conquered our inner demons and we will no longer have a life of quiet and reflection. Finally it will tell us when, how and where to live our lives and we will succumb to its wiles and live in a freedom that is of our own creation.

Be happy as rational thought, meditation, contemplation and compassion will vanish and we will become yesterday’s news living today’s life. Such joy lies in our future that when we reach out for the person we love, we will find that all your expectations are met, as the device will be our companion made up of all our secret desires.

Building for tomorrow

High rise number 432 Park Avenue in NYC will have a total residential real estate value of $ 3.12 Billion. To put it in perspective that would make it more valuable than all the real estate value of major U S cities like Concord, NH, Trenton NJ, Juneau or even fuddy old Yankee Hartford Ct. We have to hand it to the braves or the fools of the current wild west view, that there are enough of the 1% around, to flip these properties. Fortune Magazine reported conservatively in its Dec issue, ‘The High-Rise Goes Nuts’ and for Fortune to talk like this, I had to sit up and listen. NYC, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other towers of the rich and famous came to mind, and the economic divide now splits the skyline in all its majesty.

All I wish for is that the much smarter civic action towards building the next smart cities required for human progress could get similar funding. While the billionaires are entitled to their stunning views there is a lot of other infrastructure that could be built with such large pools of money. The point being that there is enough capital to go around and I don’t mean to pick on Park Ave in particular and it is just an example. If capital can be invested into the new infrastructure required for smart cities, it will raise productivity and have its own upwards trajectory, by a corresponding increase of required and essential services.

When billions of people worldwide subsist on one dollar per day, we are a far cry from lifting people out of poverty, much less talk of smart cities. The contrast in prosperity between the top and the bottom can be erased if concrete steps are taken. We have today the means to improve the lives on one of the largest scales in human history. We are talking about the improvement in the lives of billions as compared to the few. The scale of human development in the next century should far outpace anything that we have seen in the last century.

We now have the technology and the knowledge to come up with a greener and more ecofriendly system of co-existence with our co creatures on this planet. When developing smart cities we must also at the same time make arrangements for natural reserves for other species on earth to prosper. The Oceans, Earth and our vulnerable atmosphere must be recognized as such and legislation passed to protect it. We must ensure more renewable energy and natural development while using modern means. The challenge for the leaders of the new millennium is the lack of confidence in the global economy. The US can lead but we need other economic engines to also invest in this new global infrastructure for the greatest good.

If we all rise to the need of the hour, to provide the needs of these billions; it will also ensure, an upward cycle of mobility. The beneficial effects of education, culture and the provisions of modern life for residential populations of these smart cities, will attract more and more populations; as they succeed in eradicating poverty. The internet of everything is coming whether we like it or not, and will need all its trappings. It will be a resource hungry world, and how we manage this supply and usage; will be the lessons learned, in the future. For now we just need the will, to move in the right direction; to build what is needed, for our future generations. Building for tomorrow has to start today!

Innovations come from first ideas

InnovationLifeCycle.jpg

The figure shows the beneficial effects of innovations. With each successive emerging technology that goes from innovation to diffusion the rate of revenue and return keep increasing. A series of these cycles can lead us into the next millennium for the betterment of all creatures, if we carefully nurture the seeds of these emerging technologies.

“The all items Consumer Price index for the USA increased 0.8 percent over the last 12 months. This is notably lower than the 1.3 percent change for the 12 months ending November. The energy index has declined 10.6 percent over the span. In contrast, the 3.4 percent increase in the food index is its largest 12-month increase since February 2012.” As per the US department that tracks these arcane statistics.
All the facts coming out of the US economy on manufacturing, employment, CPI, GDP growth seem to show signs of a stable environment, in which the markets may be poised to change, into a growth trajectory. With a crumbling infrastructure to take care of the president is promising huge projects. I agree that when a nation’s most memorable engineering works become five decades old, it is time to reenergize and start work on the boldest of the bold new projects now. The Golden Gate and the GW Bridges were great but now we need the next generation of green transport in the form of electric vehicles powered by solar or wind or other non carbon renewables.
New energy, transportation and information grids have to be built just like the old Interstates were built way back when. As cities become smarter they will generate a utopian lifestyle supported by the new information age. Wireless connectivity, driverless cars, efficient lighting and digital security are all developing at a rapid pace to meet this brave new world. Yet these developments need new ideas and thinking and innovators and problem solvers. We are returning thousands of PHDs and graduates every decade due to our immigration policy. The nation’s firms have to set up research centers in these foreign countries where they are returning, taking the jobs and new ideas with them.
Where will the highly skilled labor required for the next millennium come, if we continue to turn away the best and the brightest from our shores. The sign at immigration now reads to the world “Innovators not welcome; we are doing quite well with what we have.” Twelve million workers have disappeared from our employment ranks and millions more of skilled teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers and scientists will retire with the baby boomers. We need to replace these skilled positions with new replacements or our development and way of life will come to an end. With increased productivity fewer workers can support more dependents but there is a limit.
Our public policy must meet the people’s needs even when they cannot see it for themselves. An open society that welcomes new ideas and cultures thrives while a hemmed in society loses touch with the real world. Xenophobia may sound comforting but at the end one must realize that a State has no religion or race, as that would limit its future potential. Ideas and dreams make the future brighter and we must rise to welcome a new dawn.
What our new sign at immigration should read is “Innovator’s welcome, the race has just begun!”