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  • DECEMBER 4, 2008

'Perennial bear' hopeful on India

Stephen Roach on India, US
"The tragedy in Mumbai is certainly a devastating blow to the exceptional characteristic of the Indian economy, but I am hopeful that it will not derail the improved macro performance." These are the words of Stephen Roach, the Chairman of Morgan Stanley's Asia operations spoken in an interview with DNA Money.

He is of the belief that the world will be in a recession till the end of 2009 and will gradually recover in 2010. Mr. Roach, who is also termed as the 'perennial bear' for his long lasting grim views on the US, believes that the US consumer is in for very tough times ahead with unemployment rising and incomes coming under pressure. He has predicted of an 'economic Armageddon' (crisis) way back in November 2004, in part due to the record US current account, trade and government deficits.

In the meanwhile, stocks across Asia are trading strong currently and are being led by benchmark indices in China, Hong Kong and Singapore (up 2% each). This follows the gains in the US markets yesterday, as Dow and Nasdaq closed with gains of 2% and 3% respectively.

An eye for an eye?
“Let's not pay taxes.” “Let's not vote.” These were a couple of banners seen in yesterday's gathering at the Gateway of India that protested political apathy at the terror attacks in Mumbai an paid tribute to those who died.

There has been a lot of flak that our politicians have received over the past few days, both for their apathy and insensibility of speech. The political system has seemingly never felt the heat of an irate populace such as it has in the Mumbai aftermath. The torrent of condemnation has been swift and has been handed out to all political parties. “We do not want the politicians,” some have said.

But can we do without our politicians? Not really! Politicians will continue to survive till democracy survives. Asking for their extinction is like asking for the end of democracy, asking for the end of our rights - to equality, freedom, constitutional remedies and against exploitation.

Someone rightly said that politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason. In that case, we definitely need change from the dirty politics of today. But how does one guarantee that the next diaper a.k.a. politician will not become as dirty?

As Mr. Ajit Dayal writes in his latest Honest Truth - “You cannot eradicate terrorism, but we can defeat it by continuing to live life normally. And we can help remove the reasons for home-grown or foreign terrorism by eliminating corruption and weeding out the politicians who have debased the political process.”

As such, rather than only asking the politician to change, let us be the change we want to see in the country. Let us obey all rules (traffic included). Let us never pay bribes (some term it action money). Let us never accept mediocrity at governance. Let us go out and cast our votes for the candidate we believe in...and hope that this country is better governed for the next five years.

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