This post contains fabulous longform articles categorised under Economy and Business. These are handpicked articles over the course of years for CAT Aspirants. This post contains articles I had shared in 2018 and 2019.
Every Article will have blurb, either written by me or an extract from the original post (mostly the latter) followed by the link to reach the article.
“The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code
Bill Benter did the impossible: He wrote an algorithm that couldn’t lose at the track. Close to a billion dollars later, he tells his story for the first time.”
“The notion of ethics in business can be traced back to the earliest forms of bartering, based on the principle of equal exchange. Countless philosophers and economists have examined the topic, from Aristotle and his concept of justice to Karl Marx’s attack on capitalism. But the modern concept of business ethics dates back to the rise of anti-big business protest groups in the United States in the 1970s. ”
“A rocker’s guide to management
Bands are known for drink, drugs and dust-ups. But beyond the debauchery lie four models for how to run a business. Ian Leslie explains”
“Cryptocurrency Will Not Die.
You thought you successfully avoided ever having to learn how crypto was going to take over your life? Well, too bad: It’s back and maybe stronger than ever.”
“Mukesh Ambani Won the World’s Most Expensive Sibling Rivalry
Being the brother of Asia’s richest man is harder than you think.”
“‘If one of us gets sick, we all get sick’: the food workers on the coronavirus front line.
Low-paid women in US poultry factories are leading the struggle for fair conditions and basic safety. As Covid-19 rips through plants across the country, they have a fight on their hands”
“The untold story of Stripe, the secretive $20bn startup driving Apple, Amazon and Facebook
Patrick and John Collison have democratised online payments – and reshaped the digital economy in the process”
“For a generation, Americans have been outsourcing work to India, where companies like Infosys grew bigger than Facebook and Google combined and created a new middle class. It seemed as though the boom would last forever.”
“My zits didn’t show up with much esprit de corps until I was in my twenties, but in an effort to get ahead of embarrassment, my mom ordered Proactiv—the “easy three-step system that works for all ages and all skin types”—for my brother and me one lazy afternoon when we had the TV tuned to the infomercial channel. It was a whole ordeal. Someone over eighteen had to call a 1-800 number, and the phrase “check or money order” was involved. When the bottles arrived, I used the system once and got a rash in the shape of a beard around my jawline, an early but indelible lesson that anything describing itself as a “system” will come with some measure of pain.”
“Since Uber launched in Argentina in 2016, taxi drivers have come out in force, torching ride-share cars, beating drivers, and shaming passengers. And they’re still angry.”
“The 1918 calendar reform was an abrupt, one-off change, designed to signal the irreversibility of the leap from the ancien régime to the new. Undoing the revolution would now mean literally turning back time—which is what some upper-crust characters attempt to do in Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s 1929 novella Memories of the Future when they ask the inventor of a time machine to take them back to the days of serfdom.”
“It is said India reforms only in crisis. Hopefully, this otherwise unmitigated tragedy will help us see how weakened we have become as a society and will focus our politics on the critical economic and healthcare reforms we sorely need”
“Even before the latest shock, gas operators were reeling from self-inflicted wounds. They had taken on too much debt and drilled so many wells that they had flooded the market with gas, sending its price into a tailspin.”
“None of us ever expected to be emergency workers; the idea of an ‘essential worker’ is a totally new concept that no grocery store bag boy considers when they drop off an application,” a current Whole Foods worker who prefers to stay anonymous told me. “There’s all of this rhetoric around how we’re just as important as the doctors, and yes, that’s true, but we’re getting paid way less, and medical workers have a little bit more of an idea of the risks that they are setting themselves up for. . . . We’re not used to this shit.”
“Throughout all this, Neumann was being Neumann. His private jet trips may have involved some incidental transportation of marijuana across international borders, his wife may have fired employees for their bad vibes, and the company may have ended a meeting announcing layoffs with a performance by a member of Run-DMC.”
“Today, China uses almost half the world’s concrete. The property sector – roads, bridges, railways, urban development and other cement-and-steel projects – accounted for a third of its economy’s expansion in 2017. Every major city has a floor-sized scale model of urban development plans that has to be constantly updated as small white plastic models are turned into mega-malls, housing complexes and concrete towers.”
“Javier’s father jokes that once his son leaves home, he’ll be stuck with only women. “And, God willing, my last remaining son will pass the border safely,” the elder Hernandez says. “I’ll be left with pura mujeres (only women at home).”
In the decade since I met the Hernandez family, their modest hacienda-style home — several tin-roofed rooms scattered around an inner courtyard — has improved thanks to the buying power accrued through remittances sent from the U.S. Erika, one of the three Hernandez sisters still living in the area (the fourth immigrated), gives me a tour, saying that a new room will be added there, where now the ox and sheep are tied to a post.”
“In technology and software, the employees are the company. They are the intellectual property. There’s no machinery. The people are both the labor and the capital. And so, if the employees want to go a certain direction and they are united, well then, I don’t think there’s a CEO in the world that could defy their entire employee base.”
“Prices of voice calls had started drifting lower from 1999 itself. From 16 rupees a minute to 6 rupee a minute to 2 rupees a minute to virtually zero by 2016-17 after the new big player Jio entered the market, voice, which was the bedrock of profitability of telecom companies, started contributing almost nothing towards revenues from 2017. Data became the principal contributor of revenue. Yet, the Average Revenue Per Unit (ARPU), which was about Rs. 1600 in 1998 got down to only Rs. 72 per month in March 2018. Profitability of the telecom companies tanked.”
“Hurrying across the marble floor of Hospital Angeles, I approached a receptionist and explained that my husband needed ankle surgery. She gave me the names and office numbers of two different orthopedic specialists who happened to be in that day. I could just drop in, she said; a hospital staffer would get a wheelchair and bring my husband up once I made my selection. At that moment, I felt like we were part of the 1%, getting the best health care available in a country where we weren’t even citizens.”
“It is a case of capitalism at its most hyperactive and brazenly inventive: take a freely available substance, dress it up in countless different costumes and then sell it as something new and capable of transforming body, mind, soul. Water is no longer simply water – it has become a commercial blank slate, a word on to which any possible ingredient or fantastical, life-enhancing promise can be attached.”
“To understand what has gone wrong, we need to start first with the centralised nature of the current government. Not just decision-making but also ideas and plans emanate from a small set of personalities around the Prime Minister and in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). That works well for the party’s political and social agenda, which is well laid out, and where all these individuals have domain expertise. It works less well for economic reforms, where there is less of a coherent articulated agenda at the top, and less domain knowledge of how the economy works at the national rather than state level.”
“While China is the biggest consumer of both products, the United States follows close behind as the world’s second-largest consumer of oil and the third-largest user of sand. Depending on its market price, crude oil is often the first or second most exported good in the world by value. Today’s relatively low prices put crude oil exports in second place, after automobiles. At the end of 2015, the U.S. government rescinded a forty-year ban on the export of crude oil from the States, and since then the country has aggressively reentered the global oil market, becoming the world’s third-largest exporter of petroleum and its refined products, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia.”
“The bank was searching for a way to escape this bind, and found it in Janklow. “We were in the poorhouse when Citibank called us,” the governor recalled in a later interview. “They were in bigger problems than we were. We could make it last. They couldn’t make it last. I was slowly bleeding to death; they were gushing to death.””
“Today’s global economy has an insatiable need for raw materials. That’s as true for China’s rise as it is true for the maintenance of America’s economy. With China exporting some 40% of its GDP, Americans need to understand that behind that Made in China tag at Wal-Mart is a mutually reinforcing death spiral. We are beginning to overwhelm our host.”
Short but brilliant read on student debt.
“For Walsh, ballooning tuition didn’t leave much time to consider such questions. The average cost of attendance at public, four-year universities has increased more than threefold since 1987, with much of that increase occurring after the year 2000. This has spawned a vast, all-consuming student finance industrial complex, replete with numerous financial products that emerged like rats from a trash heap to help families pay for their children’s education. In addition to 529s, there are direct private and federal parent PLUS loans.”
“Boris Johnson will kiss hands the next day, not elected by us, not with our consent, no “one nation” unifier but leader of a dysfunctional, disunited kingdom. He will get the usual goodwill poll bounce: May and Gordon Brown had theirs. Skipping spring-heeled across the Downing Street threshold, full of vacuous optimism and “let the sun shine in” self-intoxication, he may bring smiles to the faces of admirers.”
““My input costs shot up from 4,000 to 15,000 rupees [$62 to $235],” remembers Manam’s brother Veeranjaneyu, who still works as a farmer. “The yield increased a little, but not nearly enough to cover the increase in input costs. And my crops sold for less money than before. I was forced to take out six lakhs [$9,412] in loans from private moneylenders. The loan has been a horrible burden on my life.”
“The system now pits human against human,” says Manam, arguing that capitalism reduces the world to competition and cruelty. “People should always be kind and loving to others. People should help one another, whether that person is family, a neighbor, friend, or complete stranger.””
Much detailed version of Anil Ambani’s Journey. Worth reading.
“Anil Ambani – whose surname is so powerful in India that when Ambani sneezes, the who’s who in India catches cold – was asked by the top court of the land to clear his dues or risk going to jail. In a country, where the rich and powerful rarely follow the rule book especially when things go wrong, the Supreme court’s decision is both ground-breaking (for the masses) and earth-shattering (for the classes).”
” Even with training, some said, it is exceedingly easy to revert to the original biases.
“In the moment of stress, we tend to forget our training,” said Mark Atkinson, the chief executive of Mursion, which provides a simulation platform for training workers in skills like interpersonal interactions.”
“Brands like Glossier and Milk have garnered impressive cult followings, thanks to their social media-friendly packaging and refreshing approach to beauty. But, by and large, most brands seem to be all about finding the next trendy ingredient, featuring it in their products and convincing us that their formula is better than the others on the market.
The fact is, certain products don’t work for certain people. We’re all unique, with different skin types or hair types, and have different goals for what we want to achieve. Most beauty brands aren’t selling products tailored to individual consumers. Instead, they’re selling a brand, a luxury, a lifestyle or some product that will magically work on every skin type and solve every skin problem.”
“The following is from an old article from 2015. The article is not just factual, but also opinionated. One can expect to see similar articles in the CAT.
Right to buy is a zombie policy – an idea that’s intellectually dead and widely accepted as harmful, but one that politicians keep trying to revive. Keen for an easy vote winner that essentially amounts to bribing voters in social housing with eye-watering discounts of up to £103,000, the Conservatives have proposed extending right to buy to Britain’s 1.2m housing association homes.”
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.
“The United States cannot win its tariff war with China, regardless of what President Donald Trump says or does in the coming months. Trump believes that he has the upper hand in this conflict because the US economy is so strong, and also because politicians of both parties support the strategic objective of thwarting China’s rise and preserving US global dominance.
But, ironically, this apparent strength is Trump’s fatal weakness. By applying the martial arts principle of turning an opponent’s strength against him, China should easily win the tariff contest, or at least fight Trump to a draw.”
The world of work is undergoing a massive shift. Not since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries and the Information Age that followed in the last century has the scale of disruption taking place in the workforce been so evident. An oft-cited 2013 study from the University of Oxford predicted that nearly half of American jobs—including real-estate brokers, insurance underwriters, and loan officers—were at risk of being taken over by computers within the next two decades. Just last fall, the McKinsey Global Institute released a report that estimated a third of American workers may have to change jobs by 2030 because of artificial intelligence.
Neat article that pokes around with questions that are supposedly Common sense. Talks about how spending culture has lead to the America being where it is now, and why it is important for the old to retire and let the young take on the reigns.
““Look out for China.” “Look out for robots.” Robots? The robots have yet to appear, as Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute has pointed out. (If they were here, productivity would be accelerating, he has said, but that isn’t happening.) Toe-to-toe, it’s the elderly and not the robots who are taking jobs from the young. Too many workers are showing up. In a sense, millions of new elderly workers are gushing into the workforce—simply by staying put.”
Why is it difficult to invest in China? Does the government mechanism strong-arm western investors just with their policies in-to “Forced” technology transfer? Read on to know. Informative read. “China’s main official argument is that, as a developing country, domestic firms are at a disadvantage vis-à-vis foreign investors, which possess advanced technologies that the local companies do not understand. But while this argument may hold water in some of the less developed countries that use it to justify restrictive FDI regimes, China’s technological capabilities have exploded over the last couple of decades.”