Natural resources have always been the moot point for many a conflict and have tempted Kings and kingdoms into conflicts and wars since ages. A quick journey across our history would be enough to realise that the mightiest regimes have made planned moves to conquer natural resources – be it precious minerals, radioactive elements, energy resources, drugs, water or even human power. Talking about modern history, countries like US, UK and other Western powers have invaded nations in search of human slaves to natural gas.

Amidst all this, the bad news is that the era of cheap natural resources is definitely far gone. Natural resources and illegal occupation are very closely linked together; yet the correlation is largely ignored. The one time champion and monopolist nation of natural resources today is finding it expensive to explore its own natural wealth and is rather depending on imports. As per the US Geological Survey, 2011, United States imports 93 per cent of its antimony and 100 per cent of its bauxite and indium, 50 per cent of its lithium, and astonishingly, 100 percent of its rare earth metals. In just two decades, the tables seem to have turned completely. Two decades ago, China was the largest oil exporter, and today it’s one of the largest importers. So much so that China’s consumption of essential metals has doubled in the last 10 years and is expected to double again in the next few years. Today, against all the odds, China has made its presence unshakeable in most of the Latin American and African nations. I have, in some of my previous editorials, written on how China is completely into Africa in all economic and non-economic sectors. And why not! Latin America and Africa are precisely the two continents, which still have enough natural resources to meet the global demands for years to come, and to make any country controlling these resources economically powerful for years to come. For instance, in 2007, China bought a 15,000 feet mountain in Peru for a whopping $3 billion. Mount Toromocho, which is spread across 138 km, has proved to be one of the most productive copper mines in the world and is reaping a profit that is almost 2000 per cent of the initial investment.

China is not leaving out promising opportunities even outside these two continents. China has recently signed a “laptops for pork” deal with Canada which will allow China to become a prominent player in the meat industry in no time. Simultaneously, China is exploring opportunities to make it big in the fertilizer industry. China, a few years ago, mobilised its state-owned enterprises to bid for PotashCorp (POT), the Canadian fertilizer giant which is the largest producer of potash and third largest producer of phosphate and nitrogen.

On a closer look, the entire resource-grab spree would reveal a couple of interesting and economically-intelligent strategies. China is tapping into the resources of those nations that are relatively weaker. In other words, they are entering nations that are politically weak and have poor governance (including India).

Moreover, these are precisely those nations where the West had never paid heed and had left them to their own fate. Various nations of Latin America, which were subjugated by the West through sanctions and regular invasions, and Africa where the West only went with an objective of plundering and looting, are the prime-interest areas of China. The dragon nation is offering countries in these geographies trade offers that are more than lucrative. Not only is China commercialising their dead industries but is also allowing them to develop support infrastructure. In any case, it’s a win-win situation for China from both the ends! Such deals give them free access to hinterlands and hidden resources and the support infrastructure removes the transportation bottlenecks too. Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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The People’s Republic of China may have initially missed out on industrial revolution that made the western nations what they are today and constrained China to an emerging economy in spite of its mercurial economic growth for the last three-and-a-half decades. But learning from the past, it is all set to become a front-runner in the virtual revolution, and is very ready to leverage maximum possible benefits out of it. In fact, it has gone a step further to set off cyber warfare with other countries in the congested and tightly competitive virtual world. And this time, it won’t settle for being a laggard, for it is heading fast towards its most cherished goal of becoming a global superpower!

Undoubtedly, the modern warfare is no more about the number of casualties or destruction of physical property. The new doctrines of war is all about attacking a nation economically and paralyzing it for years to come. An economically broken nation would not only destroy its human capital in the long run but would be politically fragile too. In order to showcase their supremacies, today, nations are not only stealing information that have high strategic value but also destroying trillions of data bytes in host servers, thus leaving victim nations at perils.

China has unleashed muscleflexing exercises through the cyber world and the focus is straight at its favourite enemy, the United States of America. In the real world though, despite being a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a full-fledged nuclear power, China knows it well that it is still not at par with the western armament technology, especially to that of US, UK, France and Russia. The desperation to bridge the gap forms the cornerstone to China’s cyber warfare rationale. Time and again, it has attacked various military and intelligence websites – what we call espionage – to gain access to data, technologies, blueprints, strategies and geo-strategic coordinates. To a large extent it is successful too, as there are increasing concerns in US and UK establishments regarding the price they might have to pay as a result of this on-going cyber war. However, the cyber battle is not just confined to military espionage. It includes intelligence, economic and social espionage too. Back in 2010, computers at diplomatic posts of around 103 countries were intruded by China’s cyber-spies. Phishing attempts were also made on the American power grid, and its financial records and air traffic control systems. Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles

SC slams AICTE's illicit control on MBA courses
MBA, MCA courses no longer under AICTE
2012 : DNA National B-School Survey 2012
Ranked 1st in International Exposure (ahead of all the IIMs)
Ranked 6th Overall

Zee Business Best B-School Survey 2012
Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri’s Session at IMA Indore
IIPM IN FINANCIAL TIMES, UK. FEATURE OF THE WEEK
IIPM strong hold on Placement : 10000 Students Placed in last 5 year
IIPM’s Management Consulting Arm-Planman Consulting
Professor Arindam Chaudhuri – A Man For The Society….
IIPM: Indian Institute of Planning and Management
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First it was Afghanistan, then Iraq, after that it was Libya and now Syria! The targets of US intervention in the civil war of the Middle East are never ending. The US supported (first clandestinely and then openly) the separatist movement in Syria and a civil war in full swing has been the result, a war that has brought with it violent confrontations between President Assad and his Islamist population. Sowing the seeds of instigation have been the hawks of American foreign policy like Fouad Ajami and many more (for the uninitiated, Fouad Ajami – advisor to the former United States Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, as well as close aide and associate of Paul Wolfowitz, former Deputy Secretary of Defence and lead architect of the Iraq war – had been a staunch supporter of the Iraq war)! And now, America is playing the same game in its war cry against Syria. If the Iraq war were to be a benchmark, then we clearly know that there is practically no repentance in the American establishment towards the destruction of Iraq, which was essentially carried out under a false pretext of Saddam Hussein allegedly possessing weapons of mass destruction – in fact the war was justified and defended in Washington, not even considering the fact whether Bush had the moral right to issue such a decree to attack another nation. In the same lines, America brought its one-time friend Libya literally to ruins by aiding the rebels against the government.

In politics, they say, history repeats itself! In July last year, by a 326-90 vote, the US senate passed a critical military spending bill, thereon allocating more than $600 billion for defence and military purposes. The bill specifically allocated money for training the US military for war with Iran. Furthermore, the bill included specific plans on mobilization of fighter aircraft, arms & ammunitions for war against Iran by all possible routes viz. sea and air.

Within a month after the military spending bill was passed, Obama ordered a new and highly incisive war strategy, which had its roots in this bill. Obama signed a secret order that empowered the US army to help Syrian rebels against the Assad government. This order will also allow CIA, in particular, to aid the rebels with all sorts of tools and techniques (including arms and resources) to fight Assad’s regime. To put it in better words, it would allow rebels to augment their revolt to a level of full-fledged war, of course with full support from America. US has now forced even its so-called fair weather allies – namely Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and many more – to help these rebels in all possible ways they can.
Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles

2012 : DNA National B-School Survey 2012
Ranked 1st in International Exposure (ahead of all the IIMs)
Ranked 6th Overall

Zee Business Best B-School Survey 2012
Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri’s Session at IMA Indore
IIPM IN FINANCIAL TIMES, UK. FEATURE OF THE WEEK
IIPM strong hold on Placement : 10000 Students Placed in last 5 year
IIPM’s Management Consulting Arm-Planman Consulting
Professor Arindam Chaudhuri – A Man For The Society….
IIPM: Indian Institute of Planning and Management
IIPM makes business education truly global
Management Guru Arindam Chaudhuri
Rajita Chaudhuri-The New Age Woman
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I had written this after the Virginia Tech shootout and I write again – capitalism is a great slave, but a pathetic master. This truth unfortunately gets lost in our chase for that elusive dream... especially in America, the land that has been marketed as the land of dreams – the Great American Dream. It’s the dream of being independent masters of our lives, the dream of making big bucks and the dream of being happy – even if that happiness is being bought by money, which all of them chase out there. No doubt, the US, on its part, has been fairly successful in creating material comfort aplenty. It has upped the living standard of its average citizen to an extent that it stands amongst the highest – even if that is a result of more than 200 years of unbridled growth and exploitation. Thus, the shop window of Americanism looks lucidly attractive; you’ve got all of them standing there – from Bill Gates to Michael Dell – in Tommy Hilfigers and Ralph Laurens! And that is what has made the rest of the world mindlessly chase Americanism, not necessarily happiness or an ideal form of society. All because the shop window looks very impressive and it has been marketed very well.

What goes unseen and almost unheard is that America also happens to be the land that is right amongst the top in terms of the number of divorces per thousand, the number of single-parent families per thousand, the number of old people in old-age homes, the number of rape cases per million, the number of suicides, homicides, and of course, the number of college/school shootouts... And why not! After all, in a society where ‘what you are’ is equal to ‘what you have’ plus ‘what you consume’, the only way to achieve more is to have and consume more (That’s why we call the US a consumerist society, and its culture, consumerism), and therefore, be constantly driven towards higher profits and materialism. Expectably, this materialism comes at a cost that the world is paying today. The interesting thing about material things is that they only give an illusion of happiness; and even such happiness always is momentary in nature. Ergo, at this juncture, after buying your new car or flat-screen TV, you feel you are the happiest person in the world; and just a few days later, these are the very possessions that cease to make you happy, because you are already thinking of a bigger car or a bigger TV. While you chase the bigger car to become larger than life in order to be happier, you sacrifice those that have the maximum power to make you happy – family, emotions and love. Prolonged abstinence in employing emotions finally destroys them; and you don’t even realise when you’ve become a dry-eyed moron (Yes! America also happens to be the land that has the maximum number of dry-eyed people). And then, while chasing never ending desires, one day you are left alone... probably divorced, without children, and in an old-age home (Even if not exactly that, the situation is often closer to what I have described, than not). And suddenly, you realise that there is emptiness all around... and you land up in a Deepak Chopra workshop to find out the ‘real meaning’ of life – or whatever he is capable of explaining. But by then, it’s really too late.  Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles

2012 : DNA National B-School Survey 2012
Ranked 1st in International Exposure (ahead of all the IIMs)
Ranked 6th Overall

Zee Business Best B-School Survey 2012
Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri’s Session at IMA Indore
IIPM IN FINANCIAL TIMES, UK. FEATURE OF THE WEEK
IIPM strong hold on Placement : 10000 Students Placed in last 5 year
IIPM’s Management Consulting Arm-Planman Consulting
Professor Arindam Chaudhuri – A Man For The Society….
IIPM: Indian Institute of Planning and Management
IIPM makes business education truly global
Management Guru Arindam Chaudhuri
Rajita Chaudhuri-The New Age Woman
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Five very important things happened in the month of May for India. They have actually made an impact on our destiny. I will write just in a while about what those events are and how they affected India.

Two words seem to have become very popular in popular media: governance and leadership. From America to Greece to Venezuela to India, the big journalists that I know and the media that I read and watch seem to complain that the world faces a crisis of governance and leadership. Even during my recent trip to America, I sensed a public cry about great leadership. I think almost all of us will agree that there is indeed a crisis. People across continents are angry and the media is doing a wonderful job of highlighting that anger. Frankly, I am more concerned about India.

In my last editorial, I wrote that the Indian media seems to have forgotten its purpose and mission as the fourth pillar of our democracy. In fact, I often call it a demonocracy! But perhaps, it is also time to remember leadership… of the type that has vision... of the type that can inspire a whole nation and society... And of the type that leaves behind a lasting legacy.

So let me start with my May events. In 1964, our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru passed away. He ruled India for 17 years as the Prime Minister. In recent times, I have read many articles and scholarly papers that say Nehru was actually bad for India. I have stopped getting angry at these illiterate comments. I know Nehru was a human being, and I don’t buy the propaganda sold by some that Nehru was as good as God. But I laugh at people who criticize him commenting that he was bad for India. Do you think this stupid cartoon controversy would have taken up so much time of our Parliament if he was the Prime Minister? There is simply no doubt about this and we all must respect that Nehru was so popular that he could have become the dictator of India and the voters would have probably voted for it. He had big differences with India’s first President Rajendra Prasad and yet the issue never became ugly. His son-in-law Feroze Gandhi argued against him in the Parliament and exposed India’s first scam where a Finance Minister had to resign. I am sure Nehru must have been angry. But let us all applaud his leadership. Nehru had a vision for India. In some things, he did fail, like with the humiliating military defeat against China in 1962. But he was a leader and he took it on the chin without blaming others.   Read More....

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First of all, congratulations to our Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Quraishi for yet again managing the elections with the least reports of rigging; congratulations also to Akhilesh for becoming an icon overnight for the Indian youth through sheer hard work. I shall write on him very soon! This time, I want to write on something that is spoken about every time that elections are held anywhere in India – the question of election time funding. Of course, it’s shameful the way black money dominates election funding in India. But then, if you thought American Presidential elections – the nomination fight for which is underway currently in the USA – are clean, then here are some facts which will make you think again!
Actually, throughout history, elections have never been democratic in the true sense with money power significantly dominating the outcome instead of ability, one way or the other. There has been rarely an election where power-variables have not played their role. Almost all elections around the world are manipulated to one extent or the other with money, power, rigging, hacking or even fixing. The upcoming American Presidential election is no exception either. Clearly a strange paradox – on one hand, the American election system is considered one of the most transparent electoral processes; on the other, this very election rarely has been fair to its masses.
 
Unlike in India, where election funding is mostly clandestine and is funded primarily with black money, the US electoral system has been legally endowed with formal procedures to direct cash flows into the system, especially for election campaigns. On hindsight, it might appear that therefore, the elections held in the US would be quite transparent and money would play a moderate role in deciding the final winner. Unfortunately, the fact is that irrespective of how transparent the election process might be, money power is quintessential for any political party or any Presidential candidate to perform well in the elections – that in itself undermines the true essence of democracy! Today, the underlined fact is that globally, it is money that makes one win the elections, (and this has been proved through various studies). Period!
 
US election laws allow Political Action Committees (PACs) – organizations that campaign in favour or against political candidates – to raise money for financing the election process. In the veil of being non governmental organisations, the so called PACs have been known to generally redirect money obtained for electioneering to specific political lobbying and political purposes. However, now a new kind of PAC – called the ‘Super PAC’ – has come into existence. These infamous Super PACs gained legal backing and dubious prominence after two court judgments in 2010; the first by the US Supreme Court and the second by Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Post these judgments, a Super PAC is allowed to be the recipient of an unlimited sum of money from individuals, corporations, or unions and further can keep their names anonymous – provided the Super PAC remains independent and away from the direct control of any political party/candidate it is supporting! As is quite evident, the latter part of the ‘direct control’ requirement can be quite easily fudged over, thus ensuring that the Super PAC model has given the perfect opportunity for political parties and candidates to sidestep the existing campaign finance rule, which enforces that no individual can give more than $2,500 to candidates during the nomination race and another $2,500 during the actual elections. Apparently, contributions to Super PACs can be unlimited (as they’re ostensibly ‘independent’ of the candidates). Even though officially the Super PACs seem to be independent bodies with no connections to respective candidates and political parties, it’s anybody’s guess that no sensible and wealthy American would leave out on an opportunity to gain the most out of this system. Also, needless to say, many of these Super PACs are in reality run by the candidates’ own acquaintances and former associates!     Read More....

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United States’ finely tuned images of ‘land of opportunity’, ‘land of the free’ and ‘home of the brave’ – all have in recent time received a major jolt with protestors pouring in from all over the country in thousands. It is probably the biggest protest since anti-Vietnam-war demonstrations in the 70s! Finally their police are finding it tough to control their own people. This time they are failing to smoke them out, because the enemy lies in every other house. I wrote about the coming end of capitalism – the way we know it – in 2008 itself as an aftermath of the latest recession that has hit the world due to its blind belief in free market profiteering and was surprised why (despite people around the world, from countries in the Middle East to a laid back country like India, showing a tendency to come out on the streets to press for their rights) people in the western world were delaying coming out in the streets to press for what was their right – the right to stable and dignified living. But finally the streets in the western world are slowly starting to look like streets of Egypt, with thousands out on the streets, protesting against the shameless profiteering of the Wall Street – the symbol of capitalism at its greediest best. It is a movement of the working class – which forms overwhelming majority of the American population – being deprived, ignored and cheated by the greedy corporations, which forms the top one per cent of the population. The growing protests that have spread its tentacles all across the nation indicate a serious problem in the financial districts of the American cities. The conservatism that has put unchecked and deep crony capitalism to almost heavenly pedestal is the root cause for such economic injustice, which has literally forced thousands to come out on the streets to protest. No wonder, the gradual transition of American capitalism to crony capitalism is a result of inherent shortcomings that the financial system and capitalism on the whole has been experiencing since decades.

For the last 30 years, the United States is suffering from erosion of jobs and corporate big shots renouncing the values and spirit that once made America as great as it is perceived today because of short term profits – a classic case of uncontrolled deregulation practised in this crony capitalist system. This system has made a class of minuscule super rich even richer, driven by the Wall Street, but has marginalised the vast majority who faced the albatross of dead end jobs, lay-offs, lack of future and other destruction of the very tenets of any functional democracy!

One of the reasons that led to this out-cry is irresponsible lending by the banks and very high consumer debt. It has eroded the purchasing power of the common man. Lack of consumer demand is halting new investments and preventing new job creation. Obama’s steps to steer the economy to safer ground – mortgage refinancing, healthcare overhaul, student’s loan minimisation programmes – have not seen any breakthrough so far. The reasons are Republican’s opposition and consequent blocking of government’s intervention in the economy.

The Gini coefficient (that measures the income divide in a country) of the US is at par with that of undeveloped countries of Africa like Uganda. In 2010, the top 20 per cent of all Americans owned 49.4 per cent of the nation’s income. The top one per cent of all Americans owned 40 per cent of the total wealth of the US and 24 per cent of all income – most importantly an increase by 31 per cent in the last four decades. Moreover, in these four decades the income of wealthy Americans have increased by 300 per cent while that of middle class has increased by merely 20 per cent and that of lower strata by merely five per cent – thus increasing the Gini coefficient from 39.7 in 1967 to 46.0 in 2005. A report by IMF titled ‘Leveraging Inequality’ published back in December 2010 concluded that ‘long periods of unequal incomes spur borrowing from the rich, increasing the risk of major economic crises’ in the way it did during the Great Depression of 1929 and the Great Recession of 2007. This income gap kept many poor Americans away from schools and proper medical facilities, eventually affecting their productivity and income per se. The executives at the Wall Street enjoyed hefty pay packages and impressive compensation while others had to struggle for a decent salary. Studies show that in 2004 the top 25 highest paid hedge fund managers on Wall Street collectively earned more than the combined income of all of the CEOs from the top 500 large-cap American companies. The employment rate still lingers around 9.1 per cent with 4.5 million people still unemployed, which is at a historically high!

More than 6,000 protestors gathered on October 15, 2011 at Times Square and around 100 were arrested after the protest went violent. The protests have just been gathering steam. Chicago police also arrested more than 150 protestors. Similar phenomena was seen in London too and the police had to debar people from entering Paternoster Square (London Stock Exchange). The protests have crossed the domestic borders and reached almost all the continents of the world. Recently protestors were found displaying their anger outside Reserve Bank of Australia. Similarly, protest rallies have graduated into violent riots in Rome and other European nations and more than 100 protestors were arrested. People also got violent in Japan, Hong Kong and Korea.      Read More....

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