Wednesday, May 18

Globalization and Poverty - Part Deux

A while ago i had mused on how I thought Globalisation will reduce poverty in the world is a false thesis. Here's a link to that article.

NPR is currently running a weeklong special on globalization. On Wednesday (today) they telecast a discussion on globalization and poverty. You can tune in for the retelecast by KCPW at 7pm or listen live at the same time on KCPW website.

Here's NPRs brief about the program:

Garrick Utley and Kojo Nnamdi host this town hall style discussion. The show features discussion with experts on globalization, economics and global poverty. Panelists include John Ambler (Oxfam), Adrian Wooldridge (The Economist), Professor Jagdish Bhagwati (Council on Foreign Relations), Professor Allan Meltzer (Carnegie Mellon University), and Professor William Easterly (New York University). Listen for “Globalization and Poverty,” Wednesday at 2, with a repeat broadcast at 7 on KCPW.

Thursday, May 12

VoIP - it is happening!

Two or three recent stories have led me to write this post. There was no doubt in my mind that VoIP is the "killer app" for broadband access. In January, Standard & Poors declared "cable operators call on internet phones for growth" and went on to say VoIP is fuelling growth in broadband customers. A new report (May 10) on VoIP Spending and Trends by eMarketer says "More telephone services are being offered over the Internet through VoIP (Voice Over Internet protocol) and its steady growth this year will see a spillover into mainstream US residential households and businesses by 2006". I personally use Vonage as my VoIP service provider. Privately held Vonage recently announced that it raised 200 Million in funding led by Bain capital. But what happens to the service providers may still not be as clear. While Vonage has run up to the top with more cash (maybe cash is a means to show its credible), there are over 1100 different VoIP service providers. Then there are the RBOCs who are as of yet watching from the sidelines. From this murky picture, two certainties arise:

  1. VoIP equipment manufacturers will win - specially the leaders. And the leader today is none other than Cisco. Cisco reported earnings on May 10 and whats important to note is that "the IP telephony group "blew past" the $1 billion run rate, joining security in the billion-dollar club" according to CEO Chambers.
  2. VoIP bandwidth providers will win. The bandwidth providers are the backbone for VoIP service providers, their data networks and fiber pipes carry the packetized VoIP data from a subscriber to the service provider. Mind you, that it is not just data, but it is a VoIP call. Level 3 is among the foremost in this intelligent voice bandwidth provisioning with many products at different entry levels geared towards VoIP service providers. More importantly, Level 3 already has its network built out (since they got such a head start thanks to the prescient CEO Jim Crowe).

Wednesday, May 11

Microsoft and Tata Consultancy Services to Deliver Connected Services Framework to Telecommunications Providers

"We are extremely pleased to extend our long-standing collaboration with Microsoft to jointly provide leading-edge solutions such as Microsoft Connected Services Framework to the telecommunications industry,"

Microsoft and Tata Consultancy Services to Deliver Connected Services Framework to Telecommunications Providers

Virtual Voice Network - from Interoute

Interoute is a European network carrier, has launched a "web-based commission free voice trading ARENA". They say "traditional providers of voice exchanges charge a commission for passing traffic throught the exchange, [Interoute] customers are only charged for port use on their softswitches." India's VSNL is one of their customers.

Its basically, a web-based VoIP peering services management portal.

press release: Arena Launch

GM, Ford Junk Bonds

If you care about the auto industry, the recent flaylings of the American auto manufacturers and hybrid cars, read on!

GM, Ford Junk Bonds

Monday, May 9

A buoyant India dares to ask: Is a billion so bad?

"...a growing chorus of academics, business leaders and writers question the conventional wisdom from which population control flows: the very idea that a billion is too many"

A buoyant India dares to ask: Is a billion so bad?

NPR : George Soros Discusses Efforts to Spread Democracy

NPR : George Soros Discusses Efforts to Spread Democracy

Blog Maverick - _

Blog Maverick - _

Tuesday, May 3

Globalisation and Poverty

I seriously doubt if the benefits of "Globalisation" will ever directly affect the poor in any 3rd world country. Globalisation in my opinion serves as a catalyst in many ways - it opens up markets, trading opportunities, sharing of technologies, etc. however it halts at the local government level. Those who understand the benefits of globalization get into the game early but those who are handicapped by their own lack of education, infrastructure and responsible leadership can only but wait for someone more privileged to uplift them. This can happen only at the local level not at the global level. When Vinoba Bhave (even before Gandhi) worked for the upliftment of the Harijans in the Hindu society, there was no globalization; today when thousands of social workers dedicate their own time, effort and money in to help bring electricity or education or freedom of speech/religion/etc. to the poor in various quarters of the third world, there is no globalisation effect that drives it. It is (1) the desire of those who want to move up combined with (2) good willed and benevolent volunteers. Tying it all back together, I think Globalization plays a role in the sense of raising awareness of the poor to a larger audience, thereby theoretically increasing the possibility that more volunteers may come forward to help them. But thats about it.

A more current example is China. There is little argument that China is fiercely and aggressively becoming a dominant economic force in the world as a direct result of their open-ness to globalization. And yet at the same time it is also well reported that China's poor, rural population still waits to benefit from the massive inflow of capital, job creation and outflow of manufactured goods. The proponents always make it a point to point out that there is job creation which directly affects the poor - but blindly discount the displacement of workforce and skill-sets at such a grand scale. A farmer who now has to weave wicker baskets because thats where the money is does not equate to a new job. A school teacher in a village school who now transcribes medical records is not a new job. It is, in my opinion, a zero sum game. Yet another argument is that Globalization helps the new members who enter the workforce. While this argument holds some ground, it stears away from the topic of addressing poverty.

An argument can even be made that it is raising the gap between rich and poor in the world.