The Problem With Effective Altruism

  Ruritania, let’s suppose, is flooded with water. There are 100 people in Ruritania, half of them Muslim and the other half Hindu. You hear that aid flows from Muslims in other countries to Muslims in Ruritania. If you’re an alien from Mars who wants to really help the flood victims in Ruritania, what would

The Human Cost of Zoning in Indian Cities

Read my article The Human Cost Of Zoning on I hope zoning in the third-world gets more attention with essays like this. I am glad that Financial Times, Bryan Caplan, Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok, ACI Scholarly Blog Index, Orange County Register, Freakonometrics, Urbanomics and economist Ajay Shah blogged about this article. Government Of South Australia, Quartz shared it, and NYU Stern School Of Business’ Urbanization Project, Marron Institute,  and Brandon Fuller tweeted it.

The Lies Of The Land

Kerala is the most “socially developed” Indian state. It is also the state where mothers used to tuck their children into bed whispering the punishment for bed-time resistance. All it took to put a baby to sleep was a warning: “I will hand you over to communists.” Kerala is yet to go through an Industrial

In Defence Of The Wimp

Babies are deeply idealistic about love, because their prospects of mating are quite low on the probability scale. The voters who mock Manmohan Singh for being a wimp are in the position of the babies who hold others to such highly scrupulous standards in romantic love. Many Indians would want to replace him with a

Politics Without Romance

When a Nigerian gifts us his estate over email, we tell him: “Thanks, but no thanks!” We know that there are no such easy solutions to our personal woes. But, when an ex-army truck driver claims that he has found the solution to a nation’s woes, even otherwise sane men think that they have found

Should We Celebrate Record Polling?

Many decades from now, my most vivid memories of elections in my youth will be that of the indelible ink mark on the fingers of conscientious people littering my Facebook newsfeed. According to the Election Commission, the polling rate in the 2014 elections is the greatest in the history of independent India. Before you sing

Why Blame The Farmers For Price Rise?

Farming is considered a patriotic enterprise, and nearly half of India’s labour force is engaged in agriculture and allied activities. Almost everyone believes that in the election season, political parties should pledge to aid this patriotic endeavor to feed the nation. But, farming is a risky profession, and agricultural products form only 14% of India’s

Has The Indian Republic Failed The Youth?

India is the most populous democracy in the world. It is also the country where young men and women were once hauled away to forced sterilization camps. The youth learned that even the fundamental right to propagate one’s kind could not be taken for granted. But they still had the right to propagate political delusions. 

In Defense Of The Passive Citizen

When an auto rickshaw driver in Karnataka ferried people to the polling booths for free on the Election Day, the media called him a great philanthropist. But, is it self-evident that it is a virtue to vote? Does it make sense to encourage the passive to vote? The mainstream media celebrates the phenomenon of the

Does Corporate Funding Undermine Democracy?

If voters are decent fellows who are pained by the aggressive vote buying tactics of politicians, it is not hard for them to do something about it. They can easily decide to not vote for the politicians who spend more on advertising and campaigns. Nothing angers people more than the influence of corporations in elections.

Will The Internet Replace The Universities?

Several millions of students will enter higher educational institutions in the next one decade. The Human resources development ministry wants to double the gross enrolment ratio in higher education by 2020. The brick-and-mortar colleges in the country are not equipped to meet their needs. Many believe that with higher internet penetration, the demand for online education will grow radically in India.

The Politics Of Hatred

The Hindu nationalists see people of a different religion or ethnicity as rivals. The left-wing politicians perhaps hate the rich far more. But, almost everyone hates foreigners, though they do not always go overboard in expressing their hostility. Democratic politics in India is a lot more complex than that, but this does not change the

Why do liberal intellectuals hate Narendra Modi?

“For liberal intellectuals, it is very tempting to blame Modi for the “politics of hatred”. But, is there any good reason to assume that the vast ethnic massacres, ethnic cleansing and forced sterilisations that underscored post-Independence India like a long trail of blood has nothing to do with the “politics of hatred”?  The philosophy of anti-capitalism

Cash-Registers for hearts?

Many believe that Indian businessmen have cash registers for hearts. Their philanthropic contributions are believed to be insignificant in comparison to their wealth. According to the 2012 Forbes list, the wealth of the 100 wealthiest Indians is around $250 billion—13.89 per cent of India’s GDP. But, according to the estimates of a 2010 report of

Learning From The Inflationary Mistakes Of The Past

“As usual, inflation targeting began in the United States. In 1971, the US cut the link between the dollar and the Gold. Soon other countries followed suit. Inflation started rising to unprecedented levels in the US and the other industrial nations. Like in today’s India, the inflation of the 70’s was blamed on the rising