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Mathematics and Government ! January 20, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in economics, humor, india, politics.

1. Some tips on how to pass the Class X Maths exam !! I know most of us here dont need it but just saw this and reminded myself that its been 10 years since I wrote ( and passed ) the Class X maths exam. Most amusing of these tips –

List some simple topics, which can ensure you marks as they contain mechanical or direct formula based question.

Do not leave any question unattended in the paper. Write at least the formula and the information hidden in question. This will give you some marks.

Dont expect this in grad school.

2. Sanjika, my colleague and I have regular discussions on myraid topics and several of them turn into a left-right debate. His experience of his country Sri Lanka motivates a different point of view with respect to how much government can do. I obviously see the government as a major force for distortion. Here is now an article from the Times that reviews a book on India and maybe the Author Edward Luce puts it best when he says :

Mr. Luce encounters a woman in Sunder Nagri, a New Delhi slum, whose quest for a ration card entitling her to subsidized wheat and other staples involved bribing an official to get an application form. The form was in English, which she could not read, so she had to pay a second official to fill it out. When she turned up to claim her wheat, it was moldy and crawling with insects. The store owner had evidently sold his good government wheat on the black market.

In the northern state of Bihar, Mr. Luce writes, more than 80 percent of subsidized government food is stolen. Most ration cards are obtained through bribery, by Indians who are not poor. It’s the same story in nearly every area of an economy touched by the groping tentacles of a government that “is never absent from your life, except when you actually need it.”



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