Saturday, February 13, 2010

Talk about a stupid idea

An advocacy group is bringing out a zero rupee note that is meant to shame those who demand bribes:
Vijay Anand, from the lobby group 5th Pillar, says they began distributing the worthless note because of a lack of practical solutions for tackling corruption.

"The topic of corruption have never been on the surface," he said.

"Everybody was practising it, paying bribes, getting their jobs done. We thought that the fundamental reason was there was lack of alternatives - there was no practical solutions, no alternatives.

"So we thought we should come up with something. One of our volunteers came up with the idea of the zero-rupee note and we then launched it on a wide scale."

The note, similar to a real 50-rupee note, carries 5th Pillar's email address and phone number.
You may have the occasional success with such a gimmick, but if you think this is going to do anything significant to tackle corruption in our country, you've got another think coming. The odds are better than even that a government employee, on seeing the note, would get incensed, and either a) increase his 'price' or b) make things so miserable for the note profferer ("I'm sorry, but is that your signature? Doesn't look so to me. Can you get a notarized affidavit in triplicate that says this is really your signature?" -- alright, I was kidding, a government employee would never say "I'm sorry") that he wishes he'd never heard of the note.

Any plan that exposes the public before they get their job done and get the hell out of the government office is doomed to fail, given the extent of the corruption in our country.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

American Divided Family

A letter to Mish Shedlock, through his blog:
My Dad, now 88 years old, sold out of everything, bonds, mutual funds and even his house a few years ago, right before the crash and has kept it all in laddered CDs. Thank-you for helping to inform our decision there, it helped preserve $150k or more.

Interest payments covered most of his expenses while he was getting 4-5%, but that isn’t happening now and, at 88, he certainly is in no position to go chasing yield elsewhere.

We have hit on what we think is a good alternative. I have seven years left on my mortgage at 6%. Better he should get it than Midland Mortgage Co. so Dad will soon be my new mortgage holder. He gets a monthly check, I get a little break on the rate (5%) and we keep the money in the family.
Can you imagine something like this happening in India? Let me count the number of reasons why not:
  1. An 88 year old person managing his finances independently

  2. Said 88 year old person also living independently

  3. The person loaning money at interest to his own son
Can you say ADF?