Friday, June 29, 2007

Will that be a large?

Concession stands at movie theatres are a great source of conversation among economists. While I am a strong believer in the consumer driven free market idea, I am still struggling to understand the simple idea behind higher prices of candy and soda in cinema halls. I can understand product differentiation, and bundling as an argument. I must be pretty dense if I do not get Landsburg's idea in The Armchair Economist. Here is an interesting article from Slate about the history of concession stands. It is interesting to note that there was a period when cinema hall owners were against the idea of food in the theatre. Of course! I always succumb when asked the question in the title. Do you?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Happy Birthday

Desi Libertarian is a Year Old. I am thrilled we lasted this long. It started as a stress buster during the difficult pre prelim days last summer, and became a more serious academic ideas blog when Non-Resident-Alien was born last October. Thank You all for your support. I do not have statistics on how many people visited, but I do know I have a loyal following among classmates at GMU and friends in India. Thanks guys! Hopefully, this will prove helpful as a sounding board for ideas as I continue serious work on my dissertation in the next few months.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bharat Punarnirman Dal

The last month or so has been a time of several agitations and riots in India. I am sure this is pretty common here, but I am observing it first hand now that I am physically here. A couple of weeks back in Rajasthan (a north western state) two communities clashed and riots ensued. The Gujjar community were demanding that they be categorized as Scheduled Tribe (ST) and the Meenas who are a dominant 'backward' community in the state were protesting because they felt that the Gujjars would pose a direct competition to them. The competition here is in securing seats in educational institutions and government jobs where there is a quota for people belong to different 'lower' castes. First there is a 15% quota for SC and ST, on top of that there is a 50% quota for Other Backward Communities (OBC), in addition there are State specific quotas and the list goes on.

It is ridiculous to see such riots. It is also very sad because it is indeed these differences that politicians exploit to keep this country from progressing. For long we have been complaining about this but nothing seems to be happening. Now however, I am happy and proud to know that youngsters in India have started progressively taking positive steps towards political reforms rather than just sit and complain about it all the time. With the intellectual atmosphere at an all time low due to riots and agitations in every region of the country demanding more quotas and more reservations for 'backward communities', this is a welcome relief to me. At times it is despairing to see that the lower castes call themselves the minority, when they make up about 60% of the population, and more and more communities fight for minority status.

A group of young and well qualified youth have started a political party with good intentions towards reforming the political system from within. They call themselves the Bharat Punarnirman Dal, which roughly translates to a India Reconstruction Group. Here is their website. They do seem well qualified and they have a practical workable agenda. This is a group that needs to be closely watched cause they have great potential for success in their plans.