8th July 2017
My comment on an article today:
The situation described in this article is typical of all activities in which the Indian government is involved. We do not have basic rule of law. We do not protect property. Justice is so heavily delayed that it is non-existent for all practical purposes. Then, there’s little infrastructure and there are dysfunctional primary and secondary school systems. Vocational training in manufacturing and construction trades is almost non-existent. Almost all ministers are corrupt and almost all bureaucrats are incompetent. With this kind of governance it is futile to aspire to become a First World nation any time soon.
I resigned from the IAS after working in the government for 18 years (6 of them abroad in higher studies) and realising that the system is fundamentally corrupt and incompetent.
I firmly believe that only through political action we can address the total failure of India’s governance system. Since I resigned I have been working towards this alternative. I am now part of India’s only liberal party which offers a comprehensive set of reforms that will, without any doubt, take India out of its Third World quagmire.
I invite all those who are fed up with India’s corrupt and incompetent governance to consider the political route. Unfortunately, none of the existing mainstream parties are up to this task.
8th July 2017
My comments on an article in The Australian today:
Crytocurrency is no flash in the pan, no tulip bubble. It is a mega breakthrough in peer to peer trust technology and represents one the earliest uses of this technology, which is already making its way across the existing banking system, across central banks, across governments, in hundreds of forms and shapes. Stock exchanges are soon going to work with companies to abandon existing record keeping systems and replace each stock with a contract compatible blockchain.
Like Kodak was overtaken by digital cameras, any company, bank or stock exchange, any central bank that does not actively use this technology to assure trust will face an existential threat within the next ten years. Just like journalism (including The Australian) has come under pressure from peer to peer commentators such as bloggers and Australia Post’s business has radically changed over the past two decades, this is a revolutionary technology and will change a vast swathe of the economy. The CBDs of Sydney and Melbourne, the financial hubs of Australia, will potentially get restructured as much of their business moves into peer-to-peer transactions.
Money is purely subjective. It begins with an experiment (exchange) between two people and is ratified through experience (repeated games).
Many types of things have acted as money in the past including pieces of metal, shells, cows, and cigarettes. When two people agree to use something as money, it becomes money – provided sufficient number of other people agree to use it as money. Today millions of people believe that Bitcoin is money. That makes it money.
Bitcoin started with an exchange of 10,000 bitcoins for one pizza. Its market value was thereafter ratified through an increasing number of transactions. Today, around 200,000 transactions take place per day. That’s a truly rich money market.
Note that gold has no “intrinsic value”. ALL value is purely subjective. This is the first lesson of economics. Since gold is scarce, it drives market value. Similarly for most cryptocurrencies. Just a matter of supply and demand.
I’ve come to the view that cryptocurrency is real money. The moment someone is willing to sell you a pizza or beer in exchange for Bitcoin, that hurdle is crossed.
8th July 2017
At Horasis someone (I forget who) said to me that the IAS is modelled on the British civil service. I recall someone saying something on these lines to me many years ago as well.
Well, that is pure nonsense.
The fact is that the top civil service in the UK is not recruited by the political leadership from the open market as in Australia but is still recruited pretty openly FOR EACH POST.
There is no tenured civil service in the UK. It is broadly similar to the New Zealand model, where a public service commission gets involved in recruiting people to INDIVIDUAL POSTS at the senior levels. There is no tenured service from which people are automatically selected to become secretaries, as is the case with the IAS.
For the majority of posts up to and including SCS pay band 1 level, departments and agencies are free to conduct open competitions without direct Commissioner involvement. In doing so, the Orders in Council require them to adhere to the Commissioners’ Recruitment Principles (which replaced the Recruitment Code with effect from 1 April 2009). Recruitment at these levels is also subject to an audit regime which the Commissioners undertake on an annual basis.
The Commissioners are directly involved when a vacancy within the top pay bands of the Civil Service—SCS pay band 2, SCS pay band 3 and Permanent Secretary (a total of around 600 posts)—is subject to open competition. We may also chair the recruitment boards for some other posts by agreement [Source]
And the senior officials are paid very well.
I have not had time to explore how they are dismissed, but I suspect there is a system of accountability built into the service.
While the UK public service system is not as efficient as the Australian one, it is close enough.
And MILES APART from the archaic and inefficient system in India.
6th July 2017
Came across this. It was the earliest MARKET transaction of Bitcoin on 22 May 2010.
The pizza is estimated to have been worth around $25USD, giving a value of 25 cents to the first market transaction of Bitcoin.
It is now worth $2600.
Overall increase in value so far has been over 1 million times. In a mere seven years (from 0.25 cents to 260000 cents). See price chart here.
Is this a bubble?
I don’t think so. Bitcoin has a number of problems that might limit how much more it goes up in value, but it will not go down consistently in value anytime in the forseeable future. Even if good competitors enter the market, it will retain value since its total supply is limited (currently 16 million in all; ultimately 21 million).