Jul 20, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग १६ (विशेष प्रकारको मेला)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस १६औं भागमा जुजुमान एउटा विशेष प्रकारको मेलामा पुग्छन । उक्त मेला हेर्न मानिस हरु जती सबै जना खुशी भएर फर्कन्छन रे ।  उक्त मेलामा भाग लिने सबै व्यक्ती ले पुरस्कार पनि पाउँछन रे । त्यस मेला कि सन्चालिका सँग जुजुमान का लागी भनेर अर्को एउटा प्रस्ताव पनि छ ।  

त्यो प्रस्ताव के होला ? अनि त्यस मेलामा सहभागी हुने सबैले कसरी पुरस्कार पाउँदा रहेछन त ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।


पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला। 

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)- Episode 16

यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।


Jul 18, 2013

Free or Equal?

Freedom and equality, which one should a nation focus more on? The answer to this question seems to be diving the world as much as anything else.Although equality before law and equality of opportunities are not incompatible with freedom (in fact equality before law is one of the prerequisites for freedom), equality of outcome is incompatible with freedom. As Lawrence Reed elaborates in his speech "7 Principles of Sound Public Policy", free people are not equal and equal people are not free. So, what happens when a nation focuses on either of them. In 1980s, Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman had produced the series Free to Choose, insisting freedom matters more than anything else. Now, after 30 years Swedish economist and internationally acclaimed author (one of my favourite authors) Johan Norberg has produced a documentary, Free or Equal trying to answer this very question. In the documentary, Johan Norberg travels in Friedman's footsteps to see what has actually happened in the places where Friedman's ideas had taken hold in the 1980s.

You can watch the documentary below:



So what do you think? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments!

Jul 11, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग १५ (कलामा शुन्यता)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस १५औं भागमा जुजुमान त्यो अघी त्यो झगडा परिराखेको ठाउँमै रहेको ग्लिब पुस्तकालय भित्र जान्छन । त्यस पुस्तकालयमा पुस्तक बाहेक केहि कलाकृतीका सामानहरु पनि राखिएका छन । त्यस मध्य केहि कलाकृती चै जुजुमानले केहि गरे पनि बुझ्न सक्दैनन ।

यस्तो बुझ्दै नबुझिने कला त्यहाँ किन राखिएको होला ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।


 पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला। 

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)- Episode 15

यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)

Jul 9, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग १४ (किताबको झगडा)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस १४औं भागमा जुजुमान अघी बढ्दै जाँदा एक जना पुरुष र महिला ठुलो ठुलो स्वरमा र हात हल्लाई हल्लाई झगडा गरिराखेको पाउँछन । ति महिला र पुरुष किताब को कुरा लाई लिएर झगडा गर्दैछन । अर्थत पुस्तकालय कस्तो किताब राख्ने र कस्तो किताब नराख्ने भन्ने कुरामा फरक मत हुनाले दुई बिच झगडा परिराखेको छ ।

यस्तो झगडा समाधान चै कसरी गर्ने होला ? कुनै पुस्तकालयमा कस्ता किताब राखिनु पर्छ र कस्ता किताब चै हटाइनुपर्छ ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।

पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला। 

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)- Episode 14

यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)

Jul 7, 2013

Do you know the story of your t-shirt?

Whether you are a guy or a girl, you must have already worn and thrown lots of t-shirts by now. But do you know where and how your t-shirts are made? Or have you ever wondered about this? 

China. You must have said. 

It is ,in a way, true. Almost everything is made in China these days.But wait, there is more to it. Kudos to the globalization, a thing as simple as a t-shirt which we take for granted, travels halfway through the world before it comes into being. It's travel is not only complicated but very interesting and insightful as well. Most probably, the cotton of your t-shirt was grown in Lubbock county, USA. Then, it was shipped to China where young Chinese girls gave it the shape of a t-shirt and then it traveled all over the world. Some of them which landed in USA then further traveled to Africa, Japan and who knows may be Nepal too, once they were discarded by their original user.

I recently (in fact, it was two months ago) finished reading a book called The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade by Peitra Rivoli an economics professor at Georgetown University. She was inspired to embark on this quest when she witnessed students' anti-WTO, anti-globalization protests at her university in 1999. One of the student leaders had shouted in the microphone "Who made your t-shirt?". Rivoli was intrigued to find out the answer.

In the book, she has traced the story of the t-shirt from its birth to death. She finds out that majority of the cotton used to make t-shirts around the world is grown in the USA and it has been the way for more than 200 years now. The dominance of USA in cotton industry  is in part due to the subsidy it provides to its farmers but more important that the subsidy is the virtuous cycle created by the government, universities, corporations and farmers working together. The virtuous cycle ,which is missing in other cotton producing countries like India and Bangladesh, gives a competitive edge to American farmers that even subsidy could not give. She finds out that although sweatshops seem to be exploiting women and helpless, they are in fact emancipating women from drudgery of farm life and subjugation under male members of the family in their rural homes. She also finds out that it is not the free market but lack of free market that has been hampering the well-being of the poor people who are involved in the t-shirt business. She also finds out that, although doomsayers of globalization have been misguided to a certain extent, they have surely helped raise the working conditions at sweat shops through advocacy.

She also discusses about the hypocrisy of the US government regarding free trade. Contrary to their rhetoric of free trade, the politicians out of their self-interest (votes from manufacturing industry) have erected too many trade barriers for the garments produced outside US. But still, the barriers are becoming meaningless as more and more manufacturing factories are shutting down.

Interestingly, Rivoli discovers that the T-shirt that struggles throughout its life to find a free market, finally finds a free market once it is discarded by its original user. After being discarded by American consumers, the t-shirt travels to countries like Japan, Tanzania and other various countries where it is bought and sold in a truly free market.

Damn, I almost told the whole story. Still, I highly recommend you to read the book. It is an amazing read, insightful and informative for both globalization supporters and globalization haters. Happy reading!!

By the way, you can also watch Rivoli talk about her book in the following video:



Jul 6, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग १३ (बढ्दो अपराध)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस १३औं भागमा जुजुमान को एक प्रहरी सँग जम्काभेट हुन्छ । ती प्रहरीले पढिराखेको पत्रीकामा प्रकाशित एक समाचार अनुसार गैर्-कानूनी तरिकाले कपान काट्ने व्यक्तीहरुलाई शासक हरुले मृत्युडण्दको सजाय को व्यवस्था गरेका छन ।  

बिन-इजाजत कपाल काट्न नमिल्ने कानून कसरी बन्न गएछ ? अनि यती सानो अपराधको लागी मृत्युदन्ड जस्तो कठोर सजाय किन दिने गरिएको रहेछ ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।

पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला। 

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)- Episode 13

यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)

Jul 5, 2013

What does the Arab world need more? Democracy or Capitalism?

Image Source: Wikipedia
Egypt's misfortune seems to know no bounds. It was not much long ago, I was among the millions of people around the world congratulating Egypt for overthrowing its dictator. Now, Egypt's history seems to have re-winded itself. Military has deposed the country's first democratically elected leader and has appointed head of the country's Supreme Constitutional Court the President. 

Fraser Nelson of Telegraph has written an excellent article titled "It is capitalism, not democracy, that the Arab world needs most". He argues that Arab people revolted for their freedom (especially the economic freedom), not necessarily for democracy. He says:

Take, for example, the case of Mohammed Bouazizi, who started this chain of events by burning himself alive on a Tunisian street market two years ago. As his family attest, he had no interest in politics. The freedom he wanted was the right to buy and sell, and to build his business without having to pay bribes to the police or fear having his goods confiscated at random. If he was a martyr to anything, it was to capitalism.

In fact, Hernando De Soto , the well-known Peruvian economist who studied about how excessive regulations and lack of property rights are keeping people poor in the developing countries had written about this as early as November 2011. In his article titled The free market secret of the Arab revolutions he had written:

According to research by colleagues of mine, at least 35 businessmen followed his desperate example and set themselves on fire (13 more in Tunisia, 17 in Algeria, four in Egypt, three in Morocco and so on).

People identified with his dire situation: like 50 per cent of all working Arabs, he was an entrepreneur, albeit on the margins of the law, who died trying to gain the right to hold property and do business without being hassled by corrupt authorities.


If the region’s new leaders want to make a difference, they have to appreciate the underclass of such aspirant capitalists, a supranational movement that spans Arab cleavages, different languages, political environments and cultures. That will be the driving force in the months ahead.

Hence, without economic freedom, democracies are very likely to fail. As seen from Nepal's own history, if democracy results in exclusion of majority of people from economic prosperity and an extractive government, it won't last long. If we want the Santa called "Democracy" to deliver us the gifts of peace and prosperity, we should make sure that his bag contains "Economic Freedom" among other things.

What's your view on this? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Jul 4, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग १२ (अव्यवस्थित आवास)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस १२औं भागमा जुजुमानको घर खोज्दै हिदेकी महिला सँग भेट हुन्छ । ति महिलासँग भेट हुनु भन्दा केहि समय मात्र पहिले जुजुमानले ३ वटा खाली घर देखेका थिए । ति घरहरु घर क, घर ख र घर ग भनेर बिभाजन गरिएका थिए ।

 तेत्रो खाली घर हुँदाहुँदै ति महिला किन घर खोज्दै हिडेकी रहिछन त ? अनि ती घर हरु के का आधारमा र किन बिभाजन गरिएका रहेछन ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।
पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।




पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला। 

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)- Episode 12

यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)

Jul 2, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग ११ (शक्ती को बेचबिखन)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस११औं भागमा जुजुमानको एक लालिता भन्ने एक जना महिला सँग भेट्घाट हुन्छ । ति महिला अत्ती छिटो बोल्छिन । जुजुमानले एक सासमा त्यती धेरै कुरा बोल्ने मान्छे अहिले सम्म भेटेका थिएनन । लालिता एक राजनितिज्ञ हुन र उनि जुजुमान बाट केहि सहयोग चाहन्छिन ।

उनी के कस्तो सहयोग चाहन्छिन त हाम्रो जुजुमान बाट ? अनि जुजुमानको सहयोग को गुण कसरी तिर्ने योजना छ त उनको ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।


पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला ।

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)- Episode 11

यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)

Jul 1, 2013

Penchant for legislation

Nepal’s list of socio-economic problems is never ending. All three actors — government, civil society and the private sector — have a crucial role to play in solving these problems. How do they intend to solve these problems? The usual answer is through vision and planning. In reality, however, Nepal’s favourite way of solving or at least responding to such problems is through making new legislation.

Numerous examples can be found in recent legislative activity. Educational institutions are spending ‘excessive’ amounts of money on advertising? Put a ceiling on educational institutions´ advertisement spending. Nepal is not receiving foreign direct investment in so-called priority sectors? Enforce a price floor on foreign direct investment in all sectors. Nepali workers are not making enough money? Raise the minimum wage level. There is a high unemployment rate? Add ‘right to employment’ to the Constitution. People smoke in public places? Ban public smoking. Online news portals are proliferating and some are publishing misleading news? Regulate them. Some private educational institutions are charging high fees? Put a price ceiling on the fees. The price of commodities get hiked during festive seasons? Price ceiling, of course. And the list continues.

In Nepal’s context, legislation is dangerous not only because the government uses it as an easily digestible yet not well researched response to troublesome public issues, but also because legislation has become an ally for crooked private sector entrepreneurs and organisations. Many, if not all of Nepal’s business houses rely on favorable legislation to survive and grow. The proposal to put a USD 200,000 price floor on foreign direct investment is one such example. Such a provision will help only large business houses and large scale entrepreneurs who can swallow that sort of money. Such a price floor will eliminate smaller competitors in growing businesses from the market, perpetuating big business dominance. Similarly, by closing registration to new private schools in the name of preventing unhealthy competition (unhealthy for whom, by the way?), which was tacitly endorsed by the existing private educational institutions and their associations, is a barrier to entry for new players.

The negative results are numerous. If new players provide better education, other educational institutions in the market will have to increase their quality of education as well, therefore increasing the overall quality of education in Nepal. Without allowing new players to enter, innovation cannot occur, and the market will not change. Additionally, with barriers to entry, existing educational institutions can not only stagnate, yet they can charge a premium price. A final example is the case of ‘excessive’ price hikes during festive seasons, where the government passed maximum retail price legislation, accepting the easy way out instead of solving the core issues that underlie such problems, such as infrastructure gaps and supply side constraints.

Our penchant for legislation is not only at odds with the so-called commitment to a free-market economy but it also frequently exacerbates the problems we are already facing. Without any doubt, price hikes during festive seasons will continue in the coming years, the price of private education will surge higher, and Nepal’s meagre performance in attracting foreign investment will continue to be a pillar for cronyism and market degradation. It will only be few months before labour unions demand another rise in the minimum wage. It is leading to a state where government presence is everywhere but effective nowhere. The exact opposite is required, a limited government that is effective and efficient.

It is time that our policymakers as well as public intellectuals decide whether legislating is the really the way to solve problems in a society, especially the economic problems. These officials need to ask if the legislation has actually been accomplishing anything, or if it is just a red herring distracting from the government’s incompetency. If legislation can really defy the universal principles of economics, why stop at current legislation? If minimum wage laws can ensure economic prosperity of the workers without the need for an increase in their productivity why not set the wage levels as high as Rs. 30,000 a month? If through legislation itself we can ensure more and better foreign direct investment, rather than by creating an investor friendly environment, why not raise the ceiling to half a million dollars? Why not outlaw unemployment so that we can have universal employment? If fixing a maximum retail price solves the problem of excessive price hikes during festival season, why not fix prices for every product indefinitely? Why not ban educational institutions from advertising at all so that no money is wasted on ‘frivolous’ activities like advertising and ‘unhealthy’ competition is eliminated.

Half-baked interventions in the economy neither ensure a good-functioning market nor ensure government control over the economy. Instead, citizens of Nepal will end up with what we have now, a market economy in theory with government present everywhere but effective nowhere. Such an approach will undermine the credibility of government itself. It will lead to a situation where government has numerous laws but no one takes them seriously as the chances of them being implemented are slim. And as suggested by Nobel Laureate Economist, Douglass North, legislating to counter problems ignores and undermines the role of social norms and values upheld by the society. As evidence of prosperity in developing nations throughout the world suggests, the government is better off ensuring the freedom of the markets.

(Published in The Himalayan Times-Perspectives of 30 June, 2013)