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Is the edit page of 'The Economic times' written by daydreaming bonobos?

The thing with an empire is that that you can't keep on ignoring it. As biased and abrasive it might be to all things sacred, one has to deal with it, allow it in consciousness from time to time. I have managed to keep TOI out, but do read ET often. There are many things wrong with the publication. I will talk of just one instance right now (otherwise i will end up writing a thesis).

Read the editorial today - 'Open up for more Foreign investment'.

I haven't read a more inane editorial ever before. well, that is perhaps because I skip editorials most of the time. I understand that editorials have become lobby vehicles. But can't they be atleast intelligent? Is a well researched argument too much to ask for from the biggest business daily of the country?

First off, what is it with ET's love for FDI?
If ET were a doctor, it would be a road side haqim (wearing neck tie in a Air conditioned tent, modern haqim)
Like an unqualified quack, ET keeps on prescribing the same medicine for all ills - FDI. India needs more jobs - FDI. Rupee's harakiri - FDI. new technologies - FDI.
As long as their turf is covered - so you will always see them protecting 'media sector' from FDI.

This one editorial in particular is salivating at the thought of FDI unreservedly. There are sweeping suggestions without an iota of reasoning. Implicit is the assumption that FDI is good.

Let me read this one article for you.
1. FDI in telecom -  will allow AT&T, Verizon and allow Vodafone and DoCoMo absolute control. Yes that would be the case, but how is it desirable? Why would it be good for India? No mention.
2. For the editor 'the 49% cap on security agencies is incomprehensible and raising it to 100% makes sense'. The editor didn't think the need to explain his views. what happens in that gulf of 51%? how does the editor's incomprehension gets resolved between that gulf of 51%?
3. Apparently 'its also a good idea to allow FDI to go up in areas like supermarkets, defence and state owned banks.'
Why? How? i feel its a 'good idea' for the editors of ET to be fired.
4. 'More FDI in state owned banks will grow their operations using new technologies like mobile banking.' where is the evidence? are we living in 20th century now? As far as I know, major innovations and breakthroughs in mobile money is happening in developing nations, like India. The tech solutions are crossing boundary both ways.
Is the editor suggesting putting our state banks to risks (aren' global banks behind the global mess in the first place with their aggressive greed? haven't state owned banks done better, because of their conservative culture?) for a few benefits? How do you prioritize benefits? kuch toh reasoning ho in an edit article!
5. And lo and behold 'it is not a good idea to allow more FDI in crucial sectors like the media, because this can skew the public discourse in unpredictable patterns and directions'.
So ET wants to maintain its own monopoly but advocates in highly competitive sectors like Telecom.
Is banking and security service any less critical than media? Why do you want the public discourse to be predictable?
As a matter of fact, media is the first sector where competition needs to be made more aggressive to counter the dominance of TOI and ET. How about an Indian Jon Stuart/ Stephen Colbert to start with? :) An Indian Democracy Now? perhaps 'the hoot' needs a bit of help.

I have a suggestion for the moneybags seeking for new opportunities to invest in. There is no financial daily in India that really looks at the economics of the broader country. The corporates, organized economy and bourses are minor concentrations of wealth in the ocean of economic activity that is India. Vast majority of this economic activity is unacknowledged in the mainstream financial reportage. This reportage would be valuable to anyone who is keen to invest in India from a long term perspective. What you read in reports these days about Indian economy from consultancies is bull shit. Simplistic approximates, narrow expertise, narrower exposure of reporters. Tehelka was supposed to come out with such a financial daily. don't know what happened to the project.
Believe me, there's good gold with this white space.


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