Friday, December 15, 2006

Pondering over moral dilemmas

I was reading New York Times and came across this article - Diamonds Are for Never?

Following is an excerpt from the statement that caught my attention,

Tom Zoellner, who researched the industry for his book "The Heartless Stone" (St. Martin's Press, 2006), said the Kimberley Process doesn't concern itself with objectionable practices like the use of child labor in India, where most diamonds are polished. But he said because many Africans depend on them for their livelihood, a boycott is not the answer. The best defense against dirty diamonds, he said, is to ask questions.

Are these two moral dilemmas comparable ?

Should potential buyers of diamonds boycott them because these gems passed through sweatshops employing children in India?  Well, there are umpteen number of goods that have the toils of third world women and children written all over them. Shouldn't the developed world be asking questions about the carpets in their living floors?

Very few firms in the western world have monitoring practices to oversee their suppliers in the developing world. Such costs just add up to the transaction costs and increaser the clearing price between the parties involved in the transaction and therefore often such situations result in a tacit "don't ask don't tell" understanding.  An unwritten norm of governance between the two parties.   Although sad, such a system does ensure that some of the world's poorest of the poor do get some form of economic livelihood.  At least for products that are smeared with the "sweat" and not the "blood" of children should be bought more pro-actively. 

Abolishing child labor is not a necessary and sufficient condition for  improving the welfare of these children. Education too is just a necessary condition, but not sufficient.  But, what education does provide is a self-belief in their own potential, a big picture view, and the confidence to aspire for a better life.  Is there a one necessary and sufficient condition ?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

On Exec ed programs

I found this interesting remark on the Economist.

Mr Hochstein pointed to two programmes in particular: the $92,000 boardroom executive MBA programme offered by Queen's University and Cornell's Johnson School of Management; and the $90,000 executive MBA programme offered by York University's Schulich School of Business and Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. "Practically nobody fails and a failure rate less than 10% is suspect," Mr Hochstein said. As for accelerated programmes, he wondered how schools can justify allowing students to study for less time simply because they paid a higher price. "I don't trust any MBA grad any more [who obtained a degree in] under two years," Mr Hochstein said.
Alan Hochstein, is a finance professor at Concordia's John Molson School of Business.

I do not agree with his viewpoint, and moreover, in my opinion executive MBA's are not enrolling to learn "business concepts", but rather to gain access to the valuable network capital that is offered by the above mentioned schools' alumni.

Executive programs might provide a formal structural framework which these individuals can then use to encompass their practical learning. 

Old Memories

My dear old friend Sam sent me this pic a couple of days ago. It brought back infinite memories - that eventually formed a collage in my mind. This photograph was taken in 1987-88 when I was in my fifth grade. I wish I had saved the class photographs of all my school years. I don't think I have all of them and it makes me feel very sad that I never bothered to save those memories.

I am still in touch with --hmm, 8 out of the 52 that are in the pic. Five of them are actually stacked one after another along with me in the pic, and I can't help wondering if that means anything, given that we are still keeping track of each other.

Well, those who know me and who read this blog, try guessing my location in the pic!! Posted by Picasa

BBC E-mail: Indian army's biggest enemy - stress

I found this very sad story not reported in any major newspaper in India.

I have fond memories of the army as I had been selected into the NDA and the only reason I am not in the Indian army is because of me failing the eye test.

For good or bad, that was a turning point in my life.

Dr. Mallapragada could have been Lt. Col. Mallapragada!!

** Indian army's biggest enemy - stress **

Do you want get laid ?

When Microsoft announced that it would be taking on the iPod with something called Zune, did its branding team realise that the word translated into French slang for genitalia and a Hebrew term meaning getting laid?

Read the entire article here

Read the reference on Amit Varma's blog here.