India Needs a Fox

Social networking is still considered to be a bane for crowd-sourced anti-establishment movements in some Islamic/Dictatorial countries, but in India however, the over-reaching power of the liberal media more than makes up for this.

When the rape of the 23-year-old student from Delhi occurred 10 days ago, the simmer had reached to a boil and young India took to the streets. Lots of other concerned parties soon rallied behind their cause, from anxious parents to worried brothers’ right up to the hop-on-the-bandwagon political parties.

All of them (barring the political outfits maybe) seemed to have a single agenda – “This Madness Must stop”!! So they marched en-mass to India gate and the story still continues …

Meanwhile leading channels across the nation condemned the rape in expected fashion, hosting feminists, ardent activists, former victims and even politico’s from across the wide spectrum. In the midst of this din, a few voices caught the angst of many, especially those of the sub inspectors in Delhi’s NCR.

Ladkiya ek seemit daire main, seemit kapdon main nahi niklengi… to apne aap khichaon ho jata hai. Wo khichaon bhi aggressive kar deta hai ki kar do bas (If girls don’t stay within their boundaries, if they don’t wear appropriate clothes, then naturally there is attraction. This attraction makes men aggressive, prompting them to just do it).”Sub-Inspector Arjun Singh, SHO Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida

Similar sentiments were echoed by many of his peers in the capital. Then just about a day ago came this bolt out of nowhere about the students in the rally: –

“Those who are coming in the name of students in the rallies, sundori, sundori mahila (beautiful women), highly dented and painted. Giving interviews in TV and showing off their children. I wonder whether they are students at all,” he said, adding, “what’s basically happening in Delhi is something like pink revolution, which has very little connection with ground realities”Abhijit Mukherjee (son of Pranab Mukherjee)

In a democracy when everyone deserves their right to be heard, these lone voices headed straight into the headwinds of national rage. Blogs along with their mile long comment-lists were found moments after these statement were made ridiculing these viewpoints for all they’re worth and on some occasions apologies had to be rushed to avoid embarrassment.

As ill-advised (or as some of us may even term – Sick) as these opinions may be, they do deserve a voice. However the present day climate deprives them of one. This is mainly because the present day media in India is almost entirely: Liberal. A majority of the news anchors are liberal, the guests invited to their shows are liberal and in almost all the episodes of Barkha Dutt’s signature “We The People”, the public are by large liberal. Any outsider with opposing views, sitting among them is spared no olive branch but given a sermon from the podium.

Most western countries, the US, Canada and even Britain have conservative news channels. America is famous for its Fox News Channel (Conservative). Bill O’ Reilly, the anchor of the famous ‘The O’Reilly Factor‘, Glenn Beck and not to mention Rush Limbaugh are some of the far right wingers who feature occasionally on the Channel.


At the height of the abortion debate in the US in 2012, conservatives were speaking both their heart and mind out on Fox Channel. Apart from men, there were mothers and single women who were also speaking out against the controversial topic of allowing abortions caused by rape.

A Conservative Channel actually plays a key role in politics. All one needs to do is to leave the bustling Tier 1 Cities in India and head out towards the Tier-2 Cities and the towns located in rural India and you would hear a different kind of rhetoric. The fear that we are loosing our identity and culture even as we westernize at market speed is their biggest concern. Despite the spread of Satellite TV across the countries, rural India still remains locked in their own traditional ways of thinking. For them, a women’s place is rightfully at home, as a home-maker, and anything beyond that is deemed unthinkable and punishable in the worst possible manner.

Then there is the conservative class in Middle India who is (for some strange reason) perennially in the closet. These are folks who have been exposed to varying tastes of different culture’s but still feel, (like many from rural India)  that the openness that our society today gives women has crossed the red line.

In the absence of a conservative news Channel, the liberal’s will keep driving prime time discussions and the conservatives would have to be content playing mild audience. Of course, their hope is that the pressure applied from different angles would eventually force a government cave-in and that may already be happening.

The problem with this approach is that although we may have a deterrent for rape, the root of the problem where the gangrene sets in is still left unattended to. The need for gender sensitization needs to be done right from the time children are in school. Boys need to be sensitized to the fact that in the world live in today, girls are equal partners and deserve as much of the pie on the table as they do. Traditional stereo-type views about women that have prevailed till date need to be rethought. The future of a grown woman should be her own prerogative and no one else’s and this by far is a sore point that most of the conservative milieu are still coming to terms with.

But for this change to happen, this ideological battlefield needs to be bridged. Posturing at the extreme ends helps no one and causes more pain. Here is where a conservative channel would help. A Conservative Channel could give these closet conservatives a chance to be heard. Only when they’re heard can we try to build a bridge between these 2 disparate worlds.

Being a liberal myself I realize how frustrating it is sometimes to find myself occasionally in the center of a crowd of right-wing conservatives in a heated discussion. But like it or not, their concerns, need to be heard as well, and the time has now come .. India Needs a Fox.


Of Games and Game Changers

2 very eminent individuals arrived on the scene at the cusp of the Anna Hazare breakthrough. While their virtues cannot surely be doubted, what was visible was their penchant for the platform that was till then occupied by Anna Hazare. At this defining moment arrived a man clad in white who could neither speak Oxford English nor dress for the camera crew. The very spectacle of a man leading the crusade against corruption who espouses a long forgotten Ideology (Gandhian) in a world obsessed with economic development would be enough to make anyone sit up and notice if not emulate.

In fact emulate is what the eager multitudes were seen to be doing, for many of them had sported those Gandhian Caps in a show of solidarity with the man himself. While Anna let out sound bytes in bits and pieces his team (also known as Team Anna) became his de-facto spokespersons to the media, the people and the government. Endless hours of heated debates on all channels would consume countless hours with Arvind Kejriwal, Prashanth Bhushan and sometimes even Kiran Bedi.

It goes without saying though that the trio did a tremendous job in putting forth their views to the media at large. Politicians across all parties, lawyers from the bar, civil activists and even independent observers were continuously clamoring the media to get a word in and there always seemed to be a shortage of face time for everyone. Then in the thick of the battle came the scion of the Congress party (the hopeful heir to the throne) “Let us make the Lokpal a Constitutional Body …  It is a game Changing Idea” .. “, he said. Shortly afterwards Rahul Gandhi addressed the Lok Sabha in no profound manner before disappearing into the background.

The first point about game changers is that they stay engaged in the entire game from the start to the finish. They do not make timely entries and exits from the scene on the guise of thinking. Rahul Gandhi had indeed gone a step ahead on the very notion of what he suggested but his ineptitude in following it up only led people to believe that he was more likely either queering the pitch or just wanting to be sounded off for the record.

Just a day before Anna’s fast ended, someone from Anna’s camp tried a rather unexpected gimmick:- The famous Kiran Bedi Ghoonghat Act at Ramlila Grounds. She would soon after be seen on Prime Time calling it a game changer. Well, Kiran Bedi had prevailed throughout the agitation and her presence to the movement could clearly not be downplayed. Her act did reverberate well with the millions of Indians who have been victims of a corrupt system at some point in their lives. It also did nonetheless evoke strong reactions from a section of the same class who thought that her lampooning was really uncalled for and degraded the seriousness of the movement.

Well the second and most important point to note about game-changers is that .. They rarely or in fact never, call themselves out!! The situation, whether it is a predicament, crisis or tragedy throws up opportunities for everyone. A few of them rise to the occassion and turn the game around, and are rightfully called game changers. If this episode has thrown up any game changer, that certainly has to be the Padma Bhushan winner from Ralegan Siddhi (look it up if you haven’t guessed it yet)

First posted on:

The World’s Most Elite Cartel

article on the latest edition of American Interest Magazine drew a wide smile on my face. Not only was this article fact based and supported by loads of statistical data but it also echoed a sentiment I had been expressing for quite some time now.

The article titled “The End of University As We Know It” highlighted the rise of online education and predicted the eventual demise of the brick and mortar institutions that dominate the education world today. 

During the last 7-8 years of my professional experience in the Information Technology field I have come across scores of colleagues who have epitomized higher education as the summit of professional excellence. Almost all of them seem to unanimously agree that an M.B.A. degree (for whatever reason unconnected whatsoever) is indeed the way ahead to a stable and secure future.

Its not surprising though that most Asian countries themselves place these management degrees on a pedestal and make it excruciatingly tough for students to gain entrance to these schools. This is then further compounded by a lofty fee structure levied upon the students for their courses. For this problem however, there is an easy solution. Banks are eternally ever-ready to dole out the finances needed for college education for worthy students. 

This according to the article perpetuates a bubble. In my opinion this is a vicious inflationary cycle that drives up not only the cost of college education but a whole host of other supporting systems as well. Strangely though, not all colleges / universities should be painted with the same brush.

Consider this, the Top 10 universities in the US/India have something that most of the other universities do not possess in the same measure. They have a well-connected and highly influential alumnus. Most of the top jobs in Multinational firms have at some time in the past – hired grads from these B-Schools. This alumnus then works to ensure continuity, just like any other cartel would do except that this one is elite. Subsequent recruits would almost certainly be hired from the same institutes that they hailed from, thanks to their alumni. This is not necessarily bad though, unless of course, the other universities of a lesser God are deprived their right at the table because of some preconceived notions about academic excellence.

In Asia, This whole race for the MBA degree has spawned a sub-industry of sweat shops that cater to everything from MBA counseling (not career counseling) to agencies that churn out your Statement of Purpose. Most of the MBA coaching centers in India (for example) have 80% of their aspirants from the Information technology Field.

Hold on, but is there anything really wrong with this? Why is it wrong for today’s youth to aspire for better jobs, better money and a better lifestyle? Of course it isn’t, the only concern is that this unnatural love-affair for an MBA has skewed the playing field in a way that makes it a ticking time-bomb.

Consider the following example: – 

Lets suppose, candidate A wishes to enroll for an MBA in a top notch university. He has to pay – $40,000 for the tuition fees.  The fees are stiff but he gets a bank loan for 80% of the course. His loan for $32,000 now needs to be paid out as soon as he finishes his course.

However for him to break even, he would have to get a job that pays him at least double or triple that amount (~ $125,000 p.a.), so he could look forward to clearing his debt of in less than a year. However MBA salary hikes have been flat since the 2008 crash and even $110,000.p.a. are hard to come by these days. Here’s the catch, US companies are known to reward their managers with hefty bonuses and this more than makes up.  

In India, MBA salaries have been shooting through the roof. If you’re from a premium Management Institute upon graduation, you would be earning at least 3-4 times what your peers are earning at your same level (graph attached) or sometimes even more.

So since the candidate will eventually recover his costs, the college would stick to this working model and keep increasing its tuition fee. College managements live with the surety that they will eventually be paid their dues by the banks. Students would never default on their loans since the market is headed in only one direction: it’s a win-win for all parties. In fact, a recent report by the GMAC council (who conduct the GMAT course) predict more jobs and higher pay for MBA’s in 2013 !!

This story reeks of familiarity with the sub-prime crisis, where everyone assumed that the market for housing never had a roof.  The assumption that that the thirst for higher education will never recede can almost be construed as arrogant. 

Here’s why the ceiling is not far off. The lackluster recovery has been spluttering on for about 3 years now and businesses have been bleeding ever since. Unemployment in the US is still hovering around the 7.8 mark and the despite the re-election of the incumbent, confidence hasn’t recovered. Discretionary spending from businesses would continue and this climate of uncertainty would soon see these astronomical salaries brought down to saner levels. 

The supposed engines of growth for the 21st century, India and China are both chugging along with a lot of noise. While the elephant desperately tries to re-start its growth engine, the dragon tries to conceal its real GDP numbers in its own smoke. With all these tell-tale signs one would feel that the ceiling on senior managers pay should have been breached by now. However, with the cartels still in charge of Big Business, there is little hope for this to happen.

Even till date, after being bailed out, Wall Street continues to pay hefty bonuses to its top level management oblivious of the fact that the bonuses are not from their own sweat and toil but from taxpayers’ hard earned money. In India and China however, the middle class spending boom has just taken off and so there is probably more head-room till we hit the ceiling.

Whichever way you look at it, traditional methods of teaching are now running breathlessly on their last lap. The problem is like most of the changes, this one would be highly disruptive in nature. Thousands of students across the world would be able to tap into centers of excellence and enrich their minds at a fraction of the present cost. The elitists would diminish, cartels diluted and the halo of exclusivity that we see around these big named universities, would be ancient history .. hopefully for the better. 

Article first published as The Worlds Most Elite Cartel on Technorati.

India / US: A Strikingly Similar Paralysis

Policy Paralysis wafts like an invisible veil of smoke into a room full of card players with cigarette stubs lying on their ashtrays, and goes almost unnoticed until someone begins to sneeze. The 2 largest democracies in the world have come from opposite ends of the growth curve, and now seem to be treading down the same road to nowhere for a whole host of reasons.

The US has been on a tepid recovery as far as the numbers go, although the number of jobless citizens out there still spells worry. Recent studies show that the US would grow at approximately 2% this year, which is leaps and bounds ahead of Europe, which at this stage is still stuck with its own economic malaise.

The 2nd largest democracy in the world however still has a looming 15 Trillion dollar debt problem which stands out on the world stage like a perennial eyesore, perennial because it would take a lot of courage and discipline to set right. The American Congress in the meantime, does not have the appetite for any more constructive decision-making unless they are compelled to.

The largest democracy, India on the other hand appears to have fallen from the grace it had only a few months ago. In February this year, to an attentive and burgeoning middle-class, over a televised budgetary address, the finance minister proudly projected an 8.5% GDP growth for this fiscal.

Little did he know then, that by Christmas, a whole host of factors which include supply side pressures along with external conditions both within and beyond his realm of control would mercilessly throw these figures out of the window.

It is easy to point of that the policy paralysis in the 2 largest democracies have different root causes. In the US, it has been the result of severe ideological differences. One party thinks that a Robin Hood Tax on the rich coupled with increased Government spending is the way out of a recession while the other thinks that Government is in fact the problem!

In India, it has been incoherent policies and intra-party fighting between ministries about the right way ahead clubbed with the odd multimillion rupee scandal that grabs the headlines every now and then.

Having reached this regrettable state of paralysis, there are 2 key points that must be noted. Firstly, Paralysis is a Government operating under Crisis.

Paralysis simply permits the inertia of inaction to prevail until a disaster unfolds. When forced into action, the path of political brinkmanship will first be embarked upon, until one of the 2 sides decides to blink. The other side would then claim a sort of victory regardless of the outcome. The US debt debacle and the most recent payroll tax hike are text-book illustrations of this phenomenon.

The second point to be observed is that the anaemia of paralysis also causes the government to start kicking a whole bunch of half-filled cans down the road. It’s almost as if a government that has been given the mandate to govern by the people has lots its credibility to rule. In India, key differences on policy matters by different ministries (as stated above) have caused the country millions in the form of Foreign Investment. Crucial projects in the pipeline (such as Posco and Vedanta) remain clogged in the pipeline for lack of political will.

So how does one take on so crippling a paralysis of this nature? The 2 known approaches are already being used.

Firstly, Big Business or Business Councils could weigh in some of their urgency on the government. In the US, the iconic conglomerate head, Donald Trump has decided to conduct a republican debate on the 27th of December with all the presidential candidates (only a few have agreed). He has been for the past few months trying to bring his own list of issues to the forefront (one of which has been taking China on head-on). In India last week, the FICCI (a leading Business Council) rapped the government’s knuckles hard for rolling back a critical reform it had already introduced on multi-brand retail that would have taken the country a step forward.

The other approach is clearly visible in makeshift tents in the cold winter outside Wall Street as self-interest groups decide that working within the system has till date brought no form of change whatsoever to their lives. Next week, post-Christmas, the Anna Hazare camp in India will enter its next phase of agitations against what it sees as the Government trying to frame anti-corruption legislation that is as fierce as a paper tiger.

When policy paralysis begins to hit the front pages of tabloids frequently and becomes the subject of dinner table discussion, one does needs to worry. The impasse does more harm in many cases than good and often yields unintended advantage to opposition parties at the ballot box.

The onus is thus on the incumbent administration to crank the engines of growth (no matter how rusty they may be) and get the economy chugging along once again. When this happens, the smoke from the engines would bring many a welcome sneeze.

First posted on technorati

The Last Man Standing

In the beginning, there was Mitt Romney, in the end .. it could still be Mitt Romney. In the interim however there will be many ballroom dances in this Republican Presidential 2012 Race.

The first two performers left the stage during their initial performances. Michelle Bachmann now seems like an also ran, while Rick Perry has pinned his hopes on the fact that he is well funded and that the public may somehow pay no heed at all to his on-stage blackouts at critical junctures.

Two factors really stand out in this Presidential Race when compared to the previous one. Firstly, the G.O.P (Government Opposition Party) seems unable to galvanize their base behind a single candidate. The Republican electorate it seems is still waiting for the best non-Mormon right wing candidate to arrive on the scene.

This probably explains why both Herman Cain and Rick Perry had a brief spell of success at the polls before they did themselves in; however with the  primaries around the corner, the right wingers have zeroed in on their most likely candidate. It is none other than the History Professor from Georgia, Newt Gingrich, the man responsible for the 1994 Republican return to the House of Representatives.

Surprisingly though, no sooner had he started to soar on the polls, than the right wing intelligentsia started to target him. To date though, his credentials and personality seem to have people in awe rather than utter confusion. It would take a few Primary results to confirm whether he is the real candidate or whether the G.O.P are still divided.

The second noteworthy factor in the Republican Race this time is that their core issues, such as Abortion and Gay Marriage, seem to have fallen out of the party radar for the moment. The economy is the key decider for this next election and that is where the battles will be fought.

The Republican contenders are quick to point out flaws with the incumbent in the White House but are unable to present any alternative ideas of their own. The boldest one that emerged till date has been Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan for the economy which got him a few notches closer to the top before the scandals got to him.

In the absence of any clear roadmap or plan from any of the candidates it is indeed not surprising that the electorate seems to have temporarily thrown their weight behind the most experienced candidate in the fray. Despite the hotchpotch of traits that Gingrich is, he still could prove to be the best choice for the right given the current circumstances. As a veteran insider to Washington, his insights may be invaluable to America at this juncture.

The primaries kick off after New Year and a lot of dust (from the red states) will be raised on the battleground states. With visibility close to zero, it could be months before one could predict with some accuracy, the last man standing.

First posted on

Occupy Wall-Street: In the Days of Oliver

“Please sir, I want some more ..”, the young boy Oliver held his bowl up with more than a slight quiver to the Master. Fear gripped not only him but also the entire congregation of students, of what the outcome would be. The outcome, as told by Charles Dickens was indeed favorable to Oliver Twist, but not in the short term. 

Back then as well, in the days of Oliver, there existed fat cats. These were men of high standing and stature who were well out of reach of the poor. Between then and now, nothing much has changed in terms of attitudes, except for the fact that the pie has tripled or even quadrupled in size and there are more people with knives and bowls at the table.

The leftists and socialists often blame the skewed system of capitalism for not providing equal opportunity to all, while capitalists in turn consider socialists to be a bunch of lazy bums wanting to live out of taxpayer’s money in the name of social security. The truth lies of course between the melted cheddar in the middle.

What began as just an ordinary run-of-the-mill march against high prices in Israel has now turned into a full throttle drive against capitalism across the highways of the world as the segment of the seemingly deprived join hands on facebook.

The demands of the Protesters in Wall Street are by now, common knowledge. Their prime concerns revolve around the bankers who were bailed out with TARP money and are still around earning hefty bonuses. Worse still, those who invested in their schemes have gone broke. 

A CNN Contributor even suggested that the protesters align themselves with shareholders and voice their concerns in Shareholder meetings. This of course assumes that the crowd on Wall Street believes that working within the system would yield the desired results.

The only other legal option is off the table. The protesters from all the major cities cannot consider any form of Class Action lawsuit, since on all counts it was the Incumbent Administration that showered 800 Billion of Dollars on the Banks, with absolutely no conditions attached.

To be fair though, Capitalism to a large degree is more appealing that her half cousin socialism and has to a large extent many feathers in its cap. Free markets after all encourage entrepreneurship and meritocracy, and it is indeed no surprise that Silicon Valley still attracts some of the best talent in the world.

In the days of plenty, the Oliver’s were too insignificant to be heard. The fat cats were munching their exotic seafood unseen on the rooftops while the middle class were taking home a fair chunk of the pie. Everyone was content and no one wanted to rock the boat. Surprisingly though, between 1979 and 2006, the lower class saw their incomes rise by 11%, the middle class by 21% and the uber-rich by a whopping 256%!!

Despite this gross imbalance, the general public as it seemed, had absolutely no objections. Then came the Lehman Brothers collapse which was soon followed up by the plight of “Income Stagnation” heaped upon an already over-debted middle class.

Sensing danger, the chieftains of capitalism meanwhile turned their anger towards the Obama Administration and began to blame him for the countries unending woes. “Obamacare has ripped the state exchequer off its future earnings and will put millions of Americans in debt !!” has been their rallying cry till date. 

The Middle class gradually hollowed themselves out and joined the ranks of the Oliver’s on the table with knives and spoons. Like an angry bunch of kids, they are fed up with the administration. They know that Big Government is not the solution because it ends up borrowing more than it has, but they don’t understand why an elite group of individuals should still take home bonuses when thousands are unemployed.  

Elsewhere the man who promised Change in Washington has abandoned the senate to its own devices and has limited himself to making targeted statements against Congress whenever he gets a chance. The Republicans have mastered the art of Brinkmanship and are determined to use any future exigency to extract the last drop of blood from an already divided Congress!!

Outside in the cold, as winter sets in, the obstinate protesters vehemently brave the cold and claim that they represent the 99%. As their numbers swell and the government continues to blink, the din will grow louder. The crisis continues on its downward spiral as capitalism’s moment of reckoning has finally arrived.

Article first published as Occupy Wal-Street: In the Days of Oliver on Technorati.

Donald Trump Goes to China

A couple of months ago one of America’s most successful billionaires, Donald Trump, nearly ran for President. The fact that he eventually didn’t, may have been caused on a multiplicity of factors upon which this fictional interview is based (and the assumption that Premier Wen Jiabao doesn’t need an Interpreter).

The date is March 2013; President Donald Trump (assuming he swept to victory in the 2012 elections) is in Beijing with his contingent to conduct high level talks with the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The banquet hall is well illuminated; the leaders of both nations are seated face-to-face across a lavishly spread dinner table to discuss strategic relations and a host of other contentious issues.

(Donald bangs on his glass with a spoon, to get everyone’s attention)

Donald: Mr.Wen, thank you for having me and my contingent over today. I am here today to take our strategic relationship to the next level.

Wen Jiabao: (Smiles and Nods).

Donald: Before that, Mister Wen, I think you and I need to do a little bit of plain talk!! Things are really not going as well as they should be Mr. Wen, and I am here to address that.

(Some whispering is seen among the Chinese contingent)

Wen Jiabao: What are your concerns President Trump?

Donald: The United States of America, Mr.Wen is not only the largest democracy in the world but also the world’s biggest economy. We need to be treated with a little respect!!

(More shuffling continues, and this time Premier Wen Jiabao has a puzzled look)

Wen Jiabao: Well, President Trump, I am truly sorry that you are not happy with the 21 Gun salute that our Military had given you nor the red carpet welcome that you have been given ..

Donald Trump: (Interjects) NO NO NO! Mr. Wen, This is about the larger picture, or should I say, the Global Imbalance that exists in the system. The fact is that you guys have been undervaluing your currency for the last generation or so, and so you now have a China with a huge surplus and an America with an even Larger Deficit. 

Wen Jiabao: Well of course President Trump, that’s common knowledge to anyone these days.

Donald Trump: (leans back with folded arms) So tell me then, how do we fix this?

Wen Jiabao: (leans forward, takes of his spectacles) You see Mister President, a very famous American Senator once said “IF IT AIN’T BROKE .. DON’T FIX IT!!”.

Donald Trump: This is precisely what I am talking about!! As the top two economies in the world, we should be setting an example of how economies do business together effectively.

Wen Jiabao: Hold on a second, President Trump. 

(Wen Jiabao hands out a copy of the Central Bank of China Report to Trump, who glances through it ..) 

Wen Jiabao: As you can see, President Trump we hold approximately $1 Trillion of your treasuries, which is almost close to half if not 40% of the total worth of treasuries issued. Moreover, as the world’s second largest economy we kept buying your bonds to support the dollar despite your slugfest in Congress last summer. 

Donald Trump:  Okay .. Okay

Wen Jiabao: Oh!! and here is something else for you to see. Look!! Our Forex reserves are presently at $3 Trillion dollars while your nation has a staggering debt of $14.5 Trillion. So with all due respect President Trump, we are certainly not equals!!  

Donald Trump (frowns): That’s why we need to address this, Mister Wen.

Wen Jiabao: That may be how you see it, but It’s working perfectly fine for China and for Asia as well. Our reserves are high and our workers are efficient. This is capitalism, for there to be winners, there have to be losers too. You of all people should know this.

Donald Trump: Let the renminbi appreciate by 5%. Relax your controls and give the US Premium Goods Export access to this market in China.

(Wen Jiabao leans backwards and consults with his team and then gets back to the table .. )

Wen Jiabao: If we agree to do this, what would you give China in return? 

Donald Trump: Well, what would you want?

Wen Jiabao: Access to American High Technology Defense and Warfare Equipment. The ability to …

Donald Trump (snaps): Mister Wen, let me warn you that I can drive a hard bargain. Let me put it this way; we feel that as a nation, China should give the US access to its growing market. Otherwise, my contingent and I would be compelled to make an official statement recognizing the “Dalai Lama” as the rightful leader of Tibet.

(Donald Trump now leans backwards, cross his hands and sports a broad grin on his face. The Chinese contingent is now nervously deliberating amongst themselves)

Wen Jiabao (leans forward): You are making this political.

Donald Trump (chuckling): Mister Wen, your government’s record for human rights rivals only North Korea and Burma!! Anyway, here is a list of things we would like. Firstly, the renmimbi should appreciate by around 8% over the next 6 months. Secondly, tariff free market access should be given to all US firms in accordance with WTO norms

(The Chinese Contingent is still deliberating now nervously and louder, finally Wen Jiabao restrains them)

Wen Jiabao: President Trump, If we were to allow the renminbi to appreciate, our exports would be less competitive in the global market, which is not in line with our present economic policy. I am sorry. Moreover, as far as your request for market access goes, I would request you raise your concerns through the proper channels (WTO). 

(Donald Trump’s face is boiling with anger – HE BANGS THE TABLE !!)

Donald Trump: This is unacceptable to the United States of America!! We will now have to take unilateral action against what we feel as a violation of human rights and a suppression of self-expression of democracy in Taiwan. In the interests of democracy, we may need to supply Taiwan with further weapons.

Wen Jiabao (smiling): Mister President, in that case, we would need to boost our military capability to handle any secessionary threats that may result from this weaponization of our renegade province. We may therefore decide to sell (or dump) a sizeable proportion of our holdings of US treasuries into the Open market in order to meet this objective. 

Donald Trump: Haaaah !! Gotcha there Wen. You cannot do that without burning your own fingers, we are all in the same boat here you see.

Wen Jiabao (gets up to leave): President Trump, I am sure that you are aware that we just need to dump more than a handful of these Dollar bonds into the market to do the job. The sentiment itself would be enough to sink the dollar. Dollar bond yields will sky-rocket and your government with its 14.5 Trillion debt will be will be forced to service them. Today, Europe borrows from us, Africa’s reserves are all tied up to us, to whom will you go to service your debt? 

(Donald Trump stares at Premier Wen)

Wen Jiabao (continues): So politics aside, Mister President .. as they used to say in your national media before the last election… “It’s still the economy stupid…” Now if you’ll excuse me. I have a meeting with the Venezuelan ambassador

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