Bollywood Fixation of Indian Media

film-obsessed-indian-media

 

Platform and Purpose

Finished reading Subroto Bagchi’s “The Professional: Defining the New Standard of Excellence at Work“. Simple anecdotes bring out very powerful messages. Messages which all of us intuitively know as being right but somehow which don’t sink in. This is not a book review or a synopsis but just a diagrammatic representation of one of the summary chapters towards the end of the book. Basically, active workers have been clubbed into quadrants, each of which is defined by a unique combination of platform and purpose. “Platform” here refers to the silver spoons you get in life, the ‘leg up’ your education and social status provides you etc. “Purpose” refers to the methods you follow to act out your professional destiny on the platform given to you.

Something like that. So I depicted the sense I got through the chart below. I think I am in the blue quadrant as a “Pretentiously intellectual but pathetically ineffective” specimen!!!

I guess a good station in life is rare and many of us are in the high platform but low purpose realm. It appears from the book that the probability of moving over to the high purpose | high platform quadrant from the low purpose | high platform is higher than the probability of getting there from the high purpose | low platform quadrant. Ergo, the bases have to be high/low for the transition probabilities to be low/high and therefore both logically and emperically, it appears that the volume distribution of workers among each of these looks like the below. Very few people in the high purpose and high platform quadrant really.

The Next 100 Years

I had started reading “The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century” by George Friedman barely a couple of days before Osama bin Laden was assassinated and coincidentally was on the page where the author briefly talks about how the 9/11 strikes impacted USA. So, the interest in the book got sustained and finished it last week. It’s a rather boring topic (geopolitics) to me, but the fact that someone be audacious enough to predict what is going to happen to the world in the next 100 years coupled with my liking towards forecasting, Monte Carlo, etc. had prompted to pick up this book in the first place. But surprisingly, I was hooked. Now let me see what do I remember from it:

  1. Control of the oceans is key. The country that controls the waters controls the planet. That is the central premise that gets repeated again and again.
  2. The world population will grow and then hold steady for some time and then start declining as people age.
  3. The 21st century clearly belongs the US. No China or any other nation will upstage it – at least for the majority of the 21st century.
  4. Like humans, civilizations go through phases – a contradictory mix of juvenile brashness and fear – the US is described as a moody, teenaged adolescent; an accommodative maturity and a confused decline. USA is in the first stage of its life-cycle according to Friedman.
  5. The thing going for USA is its low population density and relative isolation from the world’s political hotspots.
  6. The preference for US is not to annihilate its enemies but to incapacitate them. Never allow any politically sensitive region to stabilize. US taxpayers will effectively fund this destabilization, thousands of miles away from their homes, via US aid money.
  7. There will be massive shortage of labour in the US. The country will ease its immigration policy and countries will compete against each other to attract skilled immigrants. President Obama is raising public awareness and debate in the US even as I type.
  8. BRIC! What BRIC? Though the author say as much, but the prognosis for the BRIC block is quite glum. Brazil is the best of the lot (more about it later). Russia tries to assert itself and reclaim its past glory but cannot match the dollars that start getting pumped into Poland. China cannot mend the tears in its society caused by the growing separation between its prosperous coast and penurious hinterland. And India? There is almost no mention of India at all!! 🙂
  9. Japan continues to grow and locks horns with the US over the control of the Pacific – at least the part which touches E. Asia.
  10. Turkey rediscovers its past glory and the modern version of the Ottoman Empire will rise and become a major superpower.
  11. The world’s reliance of oil will fade since it will become commercially and technologically feasible to capture solar energy in geo-synchronous orbits and microwave it down to the Earth.
  12. Japan will collude with Turkey and they have a World War III with the US. (Now it becomes a bit of a stretch really) Wars will be fought from guns placed in a geosynchronous orbit in space. Japan will use Turkey as a decoy and divert US’ attention there. Will fire projectiles from the “dark side of the moon” to US space bases along a path that’s non-collisional. US military observers will assume these are harmless meteors and space junk and ignore them till the point booster rockets and charges fire up on these Japanese projectiles to alter their course. End game: US will still win the war. It is here that India gets a brief mention as an US ally and the attacks that its western part will sustain from Turkish missiles!
  13. The soft immigration policy of the US I mentioned in point 7 above will reverse due to the waves of influx of the Mexicans. The Mexicans will take over their erstwhile territories that were annexed by the US. The US only knows to fight wars on foreign soil, it will have no solution to the threat that will rise from within. US Hispanic citizens will openly flaunt their Mexican citizenship and any sustained action on American soil will kill non-Mexicans too. The challenge from Mexico to US supremacy will be most perplexing and one for which the US will not have an answer for. This beautifully designed interactive chart shows how the center of density of US population is gradually moving in a south-westerly direction from the north-east. Towards Mexico.

Listing flashes of recollection from what you read is hardly a review and most certainly not a proxy for actually reading the book. Do read it, I am sure I have missed many points and certainly the tone and context that Friedman puts between the covers. This book will surely make you think.

My points –

  1. I’ve shown a map of the word showing the countries in which James Bond’s films have been shot and the countries which he visits in his films’ scripts – two separate data sets. James Bond is a good barometer of depicting the geopolitical footprint of the world and its roll-up to present times. But on the map, I’ve highlighted Turkey and Japan – visually at least they look so tiny! Oh yes, they have a strategic location advantage in terms of access to some heavily trafficked sea routes. But still…
  2. The internet and its impact on geopolitics is not mentioned.
  3. Lesson for Indian investors (who have a 3 – 5 year investing horizon): study the US. Understanding cross border flows of capital and patterns thereof can make money for you. At least for the next 100 years.
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