Tremor or earthquake?

Tremor or earthquake?
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First Published: Thu, Mar 08 2007. 12 37 AM IST
Updated: Thu, Mar 08 2007. 12 37 AM IST
In one corner we have Nouriel Roubini. “This is the beginning of a massive market fall after a period of excessive liquidity, bubbles in many assets and markets and underpricing of risk. All sorts of risky assets will be persistently under pressure.” In the other corner we have Business Week “... 27 February will turn out to be more of a tremor than an earthquake. Notably, US indexes gained on 28 February. That’s in part because powerful forces are undergirding stocks now in a way they weren’t in earlier bear markets.” Craig Newmar
Free to choose?
A recent issue (of the Asia Sentinel) carried a knowledgeable piece about Milton Friedman’s romantic view of Hong Kong. The great economist and his wife touted the former British colony’s devotion to laissez-faire principles in their 1980 documentary series, “Free to Choose.”
But Friedman routinely overlooked three key facts about the city in the years of its rapid growth: as much as 50% of its housing receives a substantial government subsidy; its citizens enjoy almost free medical treatment at government clinics and hospitals; and the cost of its defence has been borne entirely by the UK and now China. Mark these services to their market prices, said the Asia Sentinel, and the famously low share of government spending in GDP climbs sharply. David Warsh
India’s bandwidth
There is no shortage of hype about India’s superpowerdom in IT and telecom.
However, the truth seems to be far from it. Why is it that there is not a single provider out there who is capable of providing decent broadband access, for instance?
The prevalent logic seems to be that the only thing that matters is price, seemingly oblivious to the fact that some consumers may be price-insensitive when it comes to fast and reliable broadband access.
The US is not the model to follow but even so, you could get 3-4MBps throughout at any given time for $40 a month (Rs1,800). I bet there’s at least a million households in India that are willing to pay Rs2,000 a month to get decent access. I certainly would be willing to pay that much.
Instead, all you have are providers who claim to provide you high bandwidth, but then place download limits. What do you need 1 MBps for, if you can only download one GB worth? A single album from Itunes is about 700MB, so what’s the point?
Surely, you don’t need high bandwidth to check emails? If they give you unlimited download, they restrict your speed to 256KBps maximum.
So, what the hell are these guys thinking? Or is there some problem with the bandwidth available to each of these ISPs? It seems to make no sense otherwise, when there is an obvious business model in price discrimination, right?
I know the available bandwidth in India today exceeds 20TB. The question is how much of this is lit. Does anyone know? Secondly, are there any ISPs out there that are actually providing high bandwidth residential access with unlimited downloads? I am sure lots of readers would like to know, besides me. Reuben Abraham
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First Published: Thu, Mar 08 2007. 12 37 AM IST
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