Showing posts with label Economics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Economics. Show all posts



A World Bank working paper finds that AK-47 prices are around $500 lower in Africa than elsewhere - around $150 compared to $650. Stumbling and Mumbling suggests that western governments should buy Africa's AK-47s. This would transfer wealth to the continent and reduce the means of conflict.
What is wrong with this policy?
Warlord buys AK-47 for cheap, sells to Western Agency, pockets a handsome profit, buys another AK-47, or even two this time. Warlord becomes rich. The position of a warlord looks more attractive, there are more people trying to become warlords. More civil wars. This is one more case of a simple policy gone wrong. There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong. H. L. Mencken, Prejudices: Second Series, 1920US editor (1880 - 1956).


Europe > US Markets...

via nyt


The Market For African Babies...

It is a win-win situation, celebrities and rich western folks adopt a baby from Africa, give them a weird a name, they can then call themselves proud parents, thus stable resume, envy of their neighbours, tax breaks, good ole sense of fulfilment also known as giving back to the planet that has giving you so much. For the kids, an opportunity of living well above average in a Western country. Not bad I'd say.
My grouse with this is the deceitful, 'save the world' pretext in which this cases are being filed. As a right leaning, pro-capitalist, sympathetic to the gotta-get-mine philosophy. I believe we all should be more upfront with the new wave of outsourcing child birth to poor African women. If a product satisfies greed shouldn't the fair market value be paid for such a product.
I have never been a fan of charities. Charity is a feel-good tonic for the rich, meant to counteract the rape which they have caused the poor. More importantly the prevalence of charitable organisations is a sign of the failure of Capitalism. Note: Capitalism is by itself is not a failure but the current implementation of selective capitalism is the failure. Free Trade somebody.
Afrigator looks to me like a great idea, African technorati LOL. Now the content generated by Africans will no longer be lost in the vast ocean of the www. I am not a fan of that candy green color though, too trendy. The badge is a bit too chunky, for a claustrophobic individual like moi. I wish one could choose the size and background for the badge. After all said and done its still a great idea and I am rooting for the Afrigator team. The country channel is the best idea I have seen in a long time. Gracefully acknowledging our differences and still managing to bind us together as Africans.

Grin, White, Grin...

After reading Forbes's story on the worlds most corrupt countries, I had mixed feelings upon discovering that home country was #18. Strikes me as an improvement on the past. Top ten was a mix of African countries and it left a sour taste in my mouth. As usual the professional mockers (Aka Associated Press photographers) were at it again with unflattering pictures. This aside, I was a encouraged to see the acknowledgement of home countries anti-corruption efforts. These are good signs. The Western media may be willing to give us an oppourtunity to tidy up our countries image.
Each passing day I increasingly feel optimistic about our future. We are on the verge of a leap. The global market is matured and ready for our coming of age.
What should every Nigerian do?
1. Put an end to 'siddon look', with respect to our attitude on curbing fraud and fraudsters (I refuse to use the three abominable digits on this blog).
2. Network, network, network, this can not be over emphasised. There is very little room for growth for a divided army in this phase of the global economy. There is a demon which torments us, nobody dares to speak about it. The level of trust for a fellow country man.
3. Repeat after me, EXPLOIT CHEAP LABOR, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HUGE DEMAND (okay we know the demand is a bit depressed at the moment, a little boost can jump-start an unprecedented wind fall for entrepreneurs).
I am not a fan of elaborate economic analysis dotted with pesky details details which inevitable turn the conclusions on its head, at every turn. The way forward is hidden in plain site.
Dudu Notes...
In the Forbes story Nigeria was praised for its anti corruption efforts. Why did the author have to mention that our finance minister was MIT educated, the author had to put MIT next to the only nice thing he had to say about us uhn!
Next post will be on a few lessons worth learning from India.


Predatory Borrowing...

So much as been said about the American Real Estate Market 48 firms have gone belly up. My opinion is that this sentiment is over-rated, but like most most macro financial set-ups it does not matter whether it is overrated or not. The emotions of the moment, coupled with a drop in confidence run the show.
Picture client A with mortgage payment of about $5000 where the joint income (husband and wife) is about $5,500. When asked why they made such a ridiculous choice, their answer was; "We were cajoled into buying this house". Can someone tell me what a store clerk is doing at the Ferrari dealership?
Inasmuch as lenders are driven by greed (that's why they are investors), home buyers who have refused to cut their coats according to their cloth carry as much blame as the lenders themselves. Home buyers should stop whining and fork over those huge payments. Got to go Client A is on the phone again.

For all that, “predatory lending” is a woefully inadequate explanation of
the sub-prime turmoil. If sub-prime lending consisted only of lenders exploiting
borrowers, after all, it would be hard to understand why so many lenders are
going bankrupt. ... Focusing on lenders’ greed misses a fundamental part of the
sub-prime dynamic: the over ambition and overconfidence of borrowers.


Income: Which would you prefer?

Imagine you have a choice between earning $50,000 a year while other people make $25,000 or earning $100,000 a year while other people get $250,000.
Prices of goods and services are the same. Which would you prefer.
Informal survey.

Elsewhere in Duduland
I just received my copy of JPG magazine (a photography magazine), it is so so cool, 111 pages and less than 10 ads. Why am I blogging About this? Because the content in JPG is all user generated, members post their pictures, the JPG community vote for which pictures should make it into the issue and kapish the magazine is born. The quality of the print is so good and the pictures are magnificent. This is probably the biggest testament for user generated content, I have ever seen. I am so feeling this move. Wouldn't this be a good framework for a Nigerian magazine. I am thinking of starting one culture arts type sha. But its going to be a PDF magazine though, I do not have time to chase the printers about. If anybody out there starts this before I do, I will be willing to contribute hala at your boy.
Here is a link to half of issue 7, its a bit chunky 10meg


Blackberry Brigade: The Slaughter...

Earlier this week Mr Greenspan used the 'R' word, analyst were up in arms, waving his commentary off, the rants of an old man well past his prime, they said. How dare you Mr Greenspan use such abominable words as recession to describe our strapping economy. An economy so promising one would think, for a moment, that we were reliving the late nineties all over again. Oh well, the first Dow correction was written off as a glitch in the system, the second dip was a nuance, we would put that on the account of unscrupulous China. There is no point arguing with the Economists who have successfully predicted 10 out of the last 5 recessions. My focus is on the guy on the streets, the broker, the sales person, the account manager and the relationship manager. I am talking about the Blackberry Soldier.
The Blackberry Soldier..
The blackberry wielding, PDA flashing, smart phone flipping, messenger bag carrying individual, he comes complete with a sweet mouth. He has the paraphernalia of the busy and multi-tasking squad. His income depends solely on how many emails he can reply in sixty seconds. He is risk loving, and earns a premium on the risk.
The Slaughter...
Since November of '06, the soldier has been at war with the economy, hanging on for dear life. This week the battle was lost, it was a massacre, there is blood on the streets. Three major investment banks closed shop today, thousands of workers in finance lost their jobs today. The soldier was left with not barrack to retire to. Imagine this, you arrive at work in the morning and there is a notice on the door, all operations are suspended, and you find yourself without a job. Management didn't have the decency to allow the staff to reyrieve clippings of Homer Simpson on the office bulletin board.
The warriors dilemma...
How will the bills get paid? Mortgage, car note, Brooks Brothers credit card, black-berry bill, LOL. I should not be laughing, this are perilous times. Suddenly that aerodynamic Saab becomes a burden rather than a status symbol. Chei... if only he was informed of things to come, shey he would have chilled on the happy hour thing, saved some money. All those burnt bridges, friends abandoned forthe sake of the 'career'. Missed family hook-ups and cook-outs, all for the sake of climbing the corporate ladder.
Capitalism will play the working class over and over, leaving us with the short end of the stick. We shrug it off, and we live to fight another day. My heart goes out to all those who lost their jobs today and throughout the month of February. I leave you with the sound track from Hustle & Flow, It's hard out here for a pimp...


From Forbes...

This article is in the subscribers only section so I have decided to paste it here for all to read.

Silicon Valley's Immigration ProblemElizabeth Corcoran, 03.05.07, 6:00 AM ET
If you could choose between starting a high-tech career in India or the U.S., which would you pick?
Indian immigrant Rosen Sharma opted for the U.S. in 1993 and has done extraordinarily well here. But if he were just coming out of college these days, he says, he would pick India. The business opportunities are better, he says, and quality of life issues are at least as good: Nice housing? Schools? Safe streets? The chance to feel prosperous on a young engineer's salary? India is holding its own just fine against the U.S., he believes.
Sharma's answer is unnerving. A big part of the U.S. tech boom over the past 20 years has come from our ability to pull in the best and the brightest from India, Taiwan and other Asian countries, year after year. We've taken it for granted that these talented immigrants want to come here and that they will help the next generation of American start-ups achieve greatness.
But Sharma's perspective demands our attention.
In 1993, he says, after graduating with flying colors from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, Sharma headed straight for the U.S. So did most of his classmates. Of the 40 people in Sharma's graduating class at IIT Delhi, he says, all but three came to the U.S.
It was a smart move for him and a great deal for the U.S. Sharma earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University and has since started more than a half-dozen companies--building products, generating revenue, rewarding investors and creating jobs. Now he sits on five company boards and runs his own start-up, SolidCore Systems, in Palo Alto, Calif.
The U.S. is home to Sharma now. He's applied for U.S. citizenship. He's raising his children here. He wants the U.S. to be an engine of innovation, for U.S. companies to build sought-after products and to generate good returns for workers and shareholders.
But Sharma, who is president of the IIT Delhi Alumni Association, says the next generation of Indian engineers are unlikely to feel the way he does: Last year, only 10 of the 45 IIT graduates who went through the same program Sharma did decided to pursue jobs in the U.S., he says.
If this represents a trend, it will have significant consequences for the U.S. AnnaLee Saxenian, now dean of the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, has devoted years to tracking the impact of immigrant entrepreneurs. Along with researchers at Duke University, she reported in January that foreign-born immigrants helped start one of every four U.S. technology start-ups over the past decade. Together, those companies employed 450,000 people and generated $52 billion in sales in 2005, according to the study.
As America staggers toward the next national election, we'll hear plenty of slogans about making the U.S. "more competitive." Candidates will debate tax policies and vow to fix our public schools. Chances are you won't hear them talking about making the U.S. more receptive to ambitious graduates from overseas. But they should.
But take another look at my first question: It doesn't just apply to foreign nationals. If you're a bright young person born in the U.S., where should you begin your career? In this country or abroad?
"Overseas," asserts Sharma--but this time, for positive reasons. In order for U.S. companies to be competitive, to serve the largest number of customers and build the most suitable products for customers all over the globe, they will need executives who have broad global experience.
Students are already sensing this trend: Several months ago, when I spoke to business school students touring Silicon Valley about job prospects, many said they were actively considering international opportunities, too.
It sounds like a contradiction--that the U.S. should continue to try to try to woo the best and the brightest from overseas even as homegrown emerging stars seek their fortunes outside our borders. But in a world where competition is truly global, that kind of exchange program makes sense--particularly if those Americans eventually return home and help build stronger companies.


Basic Economics (Def Poetry Video)

'Nuff Said... link


Oyinbo Economists do not get it...

This article in WSJ caught my attention because the topic is close to my dissertation. Mr Wessel's ideas are cutting edge and definitely goes against the grain, he is essentially suggesting, though in a subtle way, that economists in developed countries do not get 'it'. Which from my experience is absolutely true. A high school student from any developing economy can pick holes in the theories put forward by most of the best papers in developmental economics.
We are forced to live through these, day in day out, due to the imbalance of power. The stronger dude is right even when he is glaringly wrong. Academics of African descent ought to forge together in order to bring forth a formidable voice. A voice worth reckoning with. This guys do not know half of the things they claim to know. Developmental economics is unique as it can not be put in any neo-, post-, pre- box. It's case dependent.
When next any of those Ivy league trained boys talk about the causes of under-development in Africa, please ask them my favorite question. Have you ever been to Africa? If they answer NO, please tell them to "hang it".
Why is that? Why aren't more poor countries catching up faster?
One view, articulated by Ms. Krueger, is that so-called Third World governments and their First World advisers applied sound economic principles incorrectly or without sufficient attention to the reality. Policies to encourage exports and shield embryonic industries from imports until they got rolling sounded good, for instance, but bred corruption, infantilized industries and created politically powerful vested interests that blocked needed change.
Another view is that poor countries got bad advice and paid the price, but that today's experts know much more than their predecessors. "We don't have recipes, or a checklist," Mr. Edwards says. But, he says, we do know the ingredients: educating workers, accumulating capital and investing it widely, improving productivity. Even he concedes economists are better at dissecting success stories -- China, for one -- and identifying particular reasons for each one's success than generalizing to advise struggling countries what steps to take to boost living standards for the masses.
A third view is that earlier economists focused on the wrong thing. Mr. Johnson, among others, argues that what really matters is having solid political, legal and economic institutions -- courts, central banks, honest bureaucrats, private-property rights -- that allow entrepreneurs to flourish. Imposing what seem to be sound economic policies on corrupt, incompetent or myopic governments is doomed. Building strong institutions is a necessary prerequisite. In this camp, there is a running side argument about which comes first: the institutions or the educated people who create them. Was the Constitution key to U.S. success, or was it Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton?
Technological advances and the spread of markets likely will boost the overall income of the world significantly over the next 25 to 50 years. "But," Mr. Johnson warns, "at least half the world's population will likely not participate fully" -- unless his crowd finds better ways to spread prosperity along with better health to poor countries.


Riding to work with a bullion van, LOL ...

I saw these funky report on, the investigative journalism guys, I tend to take the reports from agencies like this with a pinch of salt, at the same time there is no smoke without fire. This reports shows how the current Central Bank president lives like an emperor.
The part that caught my eye;

As a matter of fact, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria goes to work in a larger convoy than the Vice President of Nigeria, according to out investigations. In the CBN Governor’s convoy are at least three Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV’s) commonly referred to as Jeeps in Nigeria. There are also motorcycle outriders, a bullion van and other vehicles.

What? Bullion van, did this dude see the four walls of a college at all? What kind of satisfaction does a human being derive from being escorted by a bullion van. See me see trouble o, wonders shall never end, and he is supposed to be one of the few enlightened ones o.


Head Count...the debate continues

My point is this; if Nigerian bloggers can not come to a consensus about, the male- female ration in Nigeria; Nilla feels there are more males, Anthony feels the reverse is the case while David is sure there are more females. Isn't it inherently difficult to talk about the demography of a country just by relying on our day to day perceptions. Since the NPC carried out the exercise and they have come up with their result, I believe we should all hush, and accept this result. What will we base any disagreement on? This point extends to the Lagos vs. Kano thing too. I hope we all realize that its Lagos 'State' and Kano 'State' in question and not the city. Hello absolute population figures are in question here not population density. Things are not always what they seem.

Nilla wrote;
Like Zee, I'm not really sure what's happening... But I think it's interesting that there are supposedly more males than females in Nigeria...(I mean with all those men that have more than 1 wife, plus all the mistresses on the side). I'm not really sure what to make of the results.
Anthony wrote;
If there's anything ludicrous I've heard this new year, it's the declaration by National Population Commission that there are more people in Kano than in Lagos. Haba! As David said, it seems as if they counted cows & goats join human beings.What made me finally deduce that everything is a shamble and a pack of lies is the statement that 'there are more men in Nigerian than women'. What do these people take us for, bonfools? Has any of them come to the streets of Lagos to see how girls flock every nook & cranny? Go to a party & you'll discover that. The rate at which girls dey fight overs guys sef is a serious statistics.That's the greatest joke I've heard this year. No way! Chicken no dey cry for night.
David wrote;
How did we end up with more males than females?


Can Nigerians Count?

Seriously can we count? can we count without delving into tribalistic issues? Are 3 yoruba men harder to count than 3 Hausa men? From all indications Nigerians can not count. We all ought to cover our faces in shame. Do the babariga and buba wearing policy makers realize that a national census goes way beyond 'a funky quota system' , there are policy issues in healthcare and educations that are more important than how much money a state governors gets to play with. Most of the funds disbursed by the FG end up in foreign accounts anyway.
For a few days now we have been greeted with news headlines of meetings, reactions and counter reactions, on the results of the National Census, Oh Kano is more populous than Lagos, oh this can not be so, oh the Census was rigged. Only in Nigeria, where did the Lagos State government get the 15 million figure from. If they had it all figured out what was the point of the excercise in the first place. Since when did we need a seal of approval from the citizenry for the result of a head count. Public officials need to be held more accountable in Nigeria, some of their utterances are highly divisive. Lets face it, this bruhaha is not about the election figures, but another indicator of how divided we are as a country.

The Lagos State Government said it would take its time to study the released document before making any pronouncement on the figuresPrior to the conduct of the census in 2006, the state government had stressed that the population of the state could not be less than 15 million people.The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, told newsmen before the conduct of the census that any figure less than 15 million population would not be acceptable to the generality of Lagos residents.

Events like these make me wonder if Nigeria as we know it today, is better of as separate innibitsy countries. Okay I'd settle for a federal system of government.

My spell checker isn't working please bare with me.


Outstanding article in the Vanguard..

This article in the Vanguard newspaper is outstanding, wooo I wish 'Pieper' could see this. Situations like this only arise in Nigerian websites, where there is no link to the second part of two part article , are we careless or what. Why are Nigerian websites so squished together, grrr. When are we going to get feeds from Naija newspapers which are usable by aggregators (chei aggregators is not a dictionary word, that is news to me) like Google reader etc, I guess we have to 'dobale'. Is there anybody out there with a workaround, my "search Nigeria news" feed in Google is not working as well as I would like it to.

Excerpts ... "Economists seem to believe that once they explain the factors underlying factor accumulation and the institutional dynamics that underpin it, bingo: they can pontificate on growth. In recent years, such ‘right institutions’ are believed to hover around democratization, rule of law and secure property rights. I must confess as an economist that our predictions have not proved to be very accurate in several cases and China remains puzzling in many ways. A striking lesson from the transformation of China, according to Qian Yingyi (2003: 331) is that “unconventional solutions applicable to developing and transition economies usually come from the people who have a stake in the economy and have information about its own initial conditions and history”



Finally a book on one of my favorite subjects; online collaboration. I can not wait to read this one.


Branson, Charity, Books and

Mr Branson donates 3 Billion bucks to the global warming cause. H mm I do not believe in the global warming brouhaha, at best, I do not believe its high on the list of problems that plague our dear planet. Maybe I am just a clueless social scientist.
The new wave of charitable donations is suspicious, there is no smoke without fire, its getting quite freakish. I do not see how charitable donations make a dent in the problems that plague us. This is why:
1. Charitable donations, in many cases allow governments to relax or step back from their natural roles as providers of public goods. i.e gives room for embezzlement.
2. Charitable donations are not spent in an optimal manner, after all its booty.
3. In many cases money chases solutions, under normal circumstances solutions would chase money/funding.
4. Charity does not fit into the greed driven economic system we currently have in place. I am not saying this is the best system, presently it's the cheapest system to administer.
5. Charitable donations afford the donors a sense of 'goody goody' which I do not think they deserve. I know this bit is a bit hard-line though.
6. Donated monies provide the poor a false sense of relief thereby postponing the revolution to a latter date. My Omodudu views surface for a second.
Forbes report on the ownership of the media outlets in the US, Hmm why do all of them look so 'unfine', leaving out Bloomberg.
My suspicion is confirmed, books are bad for you, see what I mean.


India's 40 richest, by Forbes...

Here is Forbes list , Nigeria is so similar to India, better still, there was so much similarities at some point in time, but recently such similarities seem to be fading into thin air. The list includes tech guys, real estate blah blah, I wonder what Nigeria's list would look like. Oil guys, government guys, etc.

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