Category Archives: Uncategorized

When I went to watch a Hindi movie

So on Wednesday I watched a Hindi movie in a theatre after a gap of a year and three months. The previous time too, Ashwin was with me, though the rest of the personnel were disjoint. Anuroop also joined us this time, before he embarks on a mission to sell phones in the seven hills. I had seen Baradwaj Rangan’s positive review of Jaane tu ya jaane na and wanted to see it. And given that there was no other half-decent movie around, we decided to go.

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Billing rates

When I got my house painted three months back, the head painter suggested a new method of calculating his fees. Instead of charging by the man hour, which is how usually painters are charged, this guy proposed that we pay him by the square foot. Once all the work was done, he and I together measured up our house, and calculated his fee based on that.

And he had different slabs of rates, depending on whether we were using a single or a double coat, and there was a different rate for windows and grill work (there’s a lot of those in my house). This method of fee calculation was extremely convenient from my perspective as I didn’t have to run after the painters and make sure they were working. In the traditional model of hourly payment, you need to run after the workers and make sure they are working. If they take a tea break, they are wasting your money. If they are doing something slowly, again you are at a loss.

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Munger on urban transportation

The latest podcast on Econtalk has Duke economist Mike Munger talking about public transport, and how things have changed for the worse in Santiago after public transport was nationalized.

One of the points mentioned in the podcast talks about homogeneity in services after nationalization. Munger talks about how usage of the public transport system dropped after nationalization and people started using their cars much more. The reason, he mentions, is that earlier there were different classes of service. But the current left-of-center government decided that everyone has to travel in the same way and so the class system in buses was abolished.

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Just wondering

Can Country A do something to Country B at the WTO because the latter is not passing on full fuel price to the customer, leading to no decline in supply? demand and consequently high prices of oil for Country A?

How do these kind of things work? Is it possible for one country to destroy market in another by controlling prices within the first country?

(new comment policy stands for now; in case you can’t comment, mail me at skthewimp [at] yahoo [dot] com)

ArthQuake

?plays bass for this new HindRock band called Arth. They have just released their first demo. You can find both the demo songs as well as the band’s blog here.

They have released three songs so far and they are all excellent, except for the vocals. Lyrics are awful as is the singing. I was telling Hari that they will get a much better response if only they translate the songs to some slightly more obscure language. Anyways, I urge you to listen the songs

Water Privatization revisited

I first wrote about water privatization on this blog back in 2006. I had written that bit as part of a term paper for an infrastructure course at IIMB, and it seemed like we didn’t do too well as far as the term paper went.

I revisited the topic sometime last year when i talked about water privatization in Kundapur. I cross posted that on the Indian Economy Blog also.

My main argument there was that privatization of water would ensure an OPTION for everyone to access clean piped drinking water, and this option value would offset the higher prices faced by those who already have the connection – who are mainly the reasonably well to do.

The latest to comment on this matter is Tyler Cowen. Writing in the Forbes, he calls for unregulated privatization of water supply in developing countries. And he mentions precisely the same reasons as I did in my earlier posts.

I hope Prof. Ranga, who didn’t give us enough credit for our term paper back then, is reading this.