Showing posts from June, 2013

I want to be a garbage collector

The story that two garbage cleaners in New York were fined and forced to retire after being caught accepting a tip of $ 5 caught my eye.  Not for the reason you might think. This story would provoke hoots of laughter in my country where nothing happens in the public service without a gratuity.  Even in NY, this must be an incredulous story - every man and a dog demands tips shamelessly for just existing in the same space as you. But the real reason this story has prompted this post was buried somewhere in the middle. The two garbage men apparently netted $100,000 each, including overtime. Granted that they had put in long years of service. Granted that they probably earned lots of overtime. But still a wage of $ 100,000 for a garbage collector shows everything that is wrong about the United States. No wonder they lose jobs by the droves to India and China. No wonder unemployment is a stubborn problem. But this post is not to highlight the completely unrealistic pricing for labour in the…

Inquilab Zindabad ? No ! _____ (fill in the blanks) Murdabad .

What is common between a park demolition and a raise in bus fares. Well, something profound , I believe. Because in the last one month, I dare suggest that these were the two most important events in the world (NSA be damned ; as if that was a surprise)

The park issue was the first and it happened in Istanbul, Turkey.  The government had planned to demolish the Taksim Gezi Park and use the space to reconstruct the historic Taksim military barracks. About 50 environmentalists occupied the Park in protest. The police , predictably evicted them. That snowballed into massive nationwide protests and a huge Occupy Taksim Square movement started.  The issue of demolition of the Park has now given way to a protest against all sorts of unrelated issues and drawing crowds numbering in the tens of thousands. It is now an anti government protest without a coherent theme or leaders. A big section of the population is just protesting without a clear understanding of what they are protesting against …

The Business June 19th, 2013: The Birthday Bash Edition


Black yoga pants that "showed too much"

Some businesses I can completely relate to. Most businesses I understand,. But there are some that completely fox me .
Take the case of the quaintly named company,  Lululemon. I was, of course, blissfully unaware of its existence until I read a news item that its CEO was leaving (polite term for being fired). Naturally, with a name like that, I couldn't but help read up. Apparently this Vancouver based company is  in the business of "yoga inspired" athletic gear , whatever that means. They are fast growing , but reportedly had a product problem recently which led to the CEO's exit.
The "product problem" made further interesting reading, Apparently, their Luon range of black Yoga pants was getting too many customer complaints - the product was too sheer and ,er, "showed too much" ! A particularly sensitive topic when when doing yoga which involves stretching and contortions !! The outcry was so much that they had to pull the product from the shelves…

Who won the Cold War

I sometimes wonder, who the real winner of the Cold War was. Traditional wisdom is that capitalism won over communism, right ? The Western world over the Soviet bloc. Freedom and liberty over authoritarianism and government control. Etc Etc. But I wonder if this is really true ?
Take the capitalism versus state enterprise debate. Today capitalism is a four letter word to much of the world. The fastest growing economy in the world and the second largest, China,  is significantly  state enterprise driven. Government expenditure as a % of GDP is 53% in France (surprise surprise), 47% in the UK, 43% in Germany and in supposedly the bastion of free market capitalism, the United states, 39%. Government spending has propped up the global economy for five years now and bailed out financial institutions when they were mired in the quicksand.
What about freedom and liberty. After the revelations over the last couple of days from a certain Edward Snowden, we may have to redefine the word liberty. …

The Business- June 12th 2013: The Family Jules Edition


The Business June 5th, 2013: The Competitively Erotic Edition