You are browsing the archive for 2014 May 18.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Congratulations, Class of 2014: You’re Totally Screwed

May 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Thomas Frank,

College costs more and more, even as it gets objectively worse.

Welcome to the wide world, Class of 2014. You have by now noticed the tremendous consignment of debt that the authorities at your college have spent the last four years loading on your shoulders. It may interest you to know that the average student-loan borrower among you is now $33,000 in debt, the largest of any graduating class ever. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, carrying that kind of debt will have certain predictable effects. It will impede your ability to accumulate wealth, for example. You will also borrow more for other things than people without debt, and naturally you will find your debt level growing, not shrinking, as the years pass.

As you probably know, neither your parents nor your grandparents were required to take on this kind of burden in order to go to college. Neither are the people of your own generation in France and Germany and Argentina and Mexico.

But in our country, as your commencement speaker will no doubt tell you, the universities are “excellent.” They are “world-class.” Indeed, they are all that stands between us and economic defeat by the savagely competitive peoples of Europe and Asia. So a word of thanks is in order, Class of 2014: By borrowing those colossal amounts and turning the proceeds over to the people who run our higher ed system, you have done your part to maintain American exceptionalism, to keep our competitive advantage alive.

Here’s a question I bet you won’t hear broached on the commencement stage: Why must college be so expensive? The obvious answer, which I’m sure has been suggested to you a thousand times, is because college is so good. A 2014 Cadillac costs more than did a 1980 Cadillac, adjusting for inflation, because it is a better car. And because you paid attention in economics class, you know the same thing must be true of education. When tuition goes up and up every year, far outpacing inflation, this indicates that the quality of education in this country …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

How Migrant Labourers Worked in Modi's Favour

May 18, 2014 in Economics

By Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Most of us are still struggling to grasp the dimensions of Narendra Modi’s victory. He won a mind-boggling 71 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 seats. So he won far more seats in UP than the Congress party did in all India. Mayawati, who aspired to become prime minister in a hung Parliament, was so engulfed by the Modi wave that she did not win a single seat. In West Bengal, the BJP won as many seats as the Left Front, which had earlier won seven elections in a row.

For the first time the BJP emerged as a truly all-India party, winning seats in every region. It came first in distant Assam, made a clean sweep in Rajasthan and Gujarat, and came close to a clean sweep in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

These states are poor, backward and rural. Villagers there know little about conditions in other states. How did they get to see Modi’s Gujarat mode as a beacon of hope? Some analysts attribute this to massive election spending by the BJP, aided by contributions from big business. Others give the credit to the RSS cadres and Amit Shah’s organizational skills. Still others give the credit to the spread of TV and cellphones, which enabled Modi’s election campaign to reach even remote villages.

I disagree. The biggest, most credible explanation I found in a pre-election tour of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar was the message carried home by migrant workers in Gujarat.

Why did they think Modi would change their lives, and how had they heard about the Gujarat model? None of them said they had met, let alone been swayed, by RSS cadres. None had been won over by the BJP’s advertisement-packed campaign through TV and other media. Indeed, none of the villagers I met watched the cable channels that were full of BJP advertisements. They had no cable TV, and watched only Doordarshan, the government channel, which was obviously slanted in favour of the ruling Congress Party.

The villagers had a low opinion of politicians, as vultures who came around promising the moon at election time, and were never seen thereafter. Why then did the villagers see Modi as a different sort of politician, or believe his claims about what he had done in Gujarat?

This is where the answers got interesting. Many villagers said they had heard tales of good governance from migrant workers who had returned from Gujarat to …read more

Source: OP-EDS