Week with “The Economist”
by Chandrakant Sampat and Niti Sampat-Patel
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This is what we found interesting from the current issue of the “The Economist” (April 14th – 20th April 2012).

This is the third time in the last few weeks that we did not receive our issue of this publication on time. That being so, we may not be able to provide a write up on the latest publication.  However, since we had some time, we decided to look at the issue dated 14th April-20th April 2012. What we discovered was that this was one of the finest issues. There are three articles and connected they provide insight into how things are going wrong with the global economy and for humanity as a whole:

1.    Modell Deutschland uber alles: The lessons the rest of the world-should-and should not-take from Germany.(17-18)


“Despite being at the heart of sclerotic Europe, its GDP per head has risen more than any G7 countries over the past decade. In troubled euro zone it is at the highest since the single currency birth; in Germany it is at a record low. The Germans have long since repaired their public finance-the budget deficit is barely 1% of GDP, public spending as a share of GDP is well below the European average…” (17)


“There is also much to be said for emphasizing vocational training instead of producing more and more graduates with often useless university degrees.”


“Its (Germany) native population is shrinking and ageing fast, and the country does not welcome immigrants.”


“Above all, the country’s hair-shirt philosophy that favours austerity over growth, saving over spending.”


2.    Buttonwood: The question of extractive elites: (75)

“Much of the current economic policy seems to be driven by the need to prop up banks, with its record low interest rates across the developed world or the recent provision of virtually unlimited liquidity by the once-staid European Central Bank. The long term effects of these policies, which may be hard to reverse, are difficult to assess.” (75)

“Just as a ship’s hull acquires barnacles, a government naturally attracts all kinds of supplicants and subsidy seekers. If such behaviour is unchanged, then eventually the system may grind to a halt.” (75)

3.    Obituary: Fang Lizhi: physicist and dissident: (98)


1.    “Scientific inquiry, as he repeatedly, fearlessly wrote and said, needed spirit, ideas, passion and individual integrity.” (98)


“What it did not need was the ‘guiding role’ of Marxist ideology.” (98)


On Mao’s book of quotations, Mr. Fang said, “it amounted to blind worship of ‘some omnipotent Supreme.’” (98)


“It was better to question socialism than to love it he said, Marxist-Leninism was a worn out dress that should be thrown away.” (98)




The first note on the German way of doing things is considered unworkable because it is ant-growth and may harm the obsessive growth economy. Little do we consider that unsustainable growth is a cancer and has to be treated at the cost of human survival.   In the second set of points, Buttonwood describes the masters of the global economy, i.e. the financial community, politicians, elites and economists. They have a closed and selfish interest to maintain this unsustainable growth.


As the late Mr. Fang puts it—growth and greed are “ a worn out dress” that should be discarded.


It is essential for our survival that we balance the global population to the real resources that Mother Earth has provided us with. The relentless pursuit of growth is a disaster in the making.


Your feedback is welcomed at nitisp@gmail.com and sampat@capitalideasonline.com