Mint ST : 2019-02-11
VIEWS : 18 : 14
14 VIEWS MONDAY, 11 FEBRUARY 2019 NEW DELHI OUR VIEW | PARALLAX VIEW SANDIPAN DEB T he proletariat is very unhappy. And it’s happening in Communist China. According to a report, “Factory workers across China are staging sit-ins demanding unpaid wages for ‘blood and sweat’. Taxi drivers are surrounding government offices to call for better treatment. Construction workers are threatening to jump from buildings if they don’t get paid.”
The Chinese economy has been slowing for some time now. Official figures put the gross domestic product growth rate at 6.6% for 2018, the lowest in a decade, but hardly anyone believes official Chinese economic figures. If the Chinese government itself is admitting to a low growth rate, the actual number must be far lower.
There could be no better proof of this than a directive sent to journalists in China in September last year, which named six economic topics to be “managed”. These were:
Worse-than-expected data that could show the economy is slowing;
Local government debt risks;
The impact of the trade war with the United States;
Signs of declining consumer confidence;
The risks of stagflation, or rising prices coupled with slowing economic growth; and
“Hot-button issues to show the diffi- New York Times survival and managing—if not preventing—a massive backlash T he conversation about robots replacing people in the workplace seems like it’s been on loop since the last century, but the difference this decade is in the pace of change—far faster than we’ve ever witnessed before with white-collar jobs, not factory work, on the line. The West experienced this in the early 2000s when IT jobs were offshored to India and other parts of Asia. In the last few years, thousands of jobs in the Indian IT sector have been lost to automation, pushing those laid off to form the country’s first union for IT employees. It’s in the services sector that new jobs are being created in India, but the pace of job creation is unlikely to ever match the speed with which digital transformation takes these away. It is not easy to comprehend this kind of pace because, as economist Richard Baldwin says, we think at “walking-distance speed”. In his book, people across classes made a push for economic justice, the backlash could be massive. Baldwin describes the meshing of a new form of globalization—where it is about services, not goods—with robotics as globotics, a combination disrupting lives of millions of skilled workers worldwide. It may not be possible to protect jobs as businesses are likely to choose more efficient and effective ways of working. However, governments and businesses must protect workers by creating and implementing policies for them. Conventional solutions of skilling programmes and herding people towards higher education are no longer enough. Solutions will need radical thinking and restructuring existing systems. An example is Denmark’s “flexicurity” policies that combine flexibility in hiring and firing with a safety net of social security and job-search assistance for workers. Another possible solution is universal basic income, an allowance generous enough to offset worries about basic survival yet motivate people to contribute in creative and meaningful ways to society. Businesses need to adapt to include teams of generalists who can direct and work with globots. There will still be jobs for humans: those requiring social intelligence, creativity, innovation, empathy, dealing with uncertainty, and managing many people, all of which AI (artificial intelligence) finds hard to replicate. “Digitech”, writes Baldwin, “is replacing people who work with their heads and rewarding those who work with their hearts.” Flexibility is essential: A lifetime in one career is no longer real. We face a future of two, maybe three career paths, adapting easily, using head and heart, and working with globots. Governments, business and individuals may not be able to choose the pace of disruption, but we can choose our response to it. l l l l l l The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work, Baldwin explains that our brains have evolved to understand straight-line growth, gradual increments that eventually got us where we are today. However, digitech growth and, by extension, disruption is a bit like vertical take-off—people know it’s coming but just don’t expect it to be so swift. It is when people are unprepared that anxiety, fear and anger set in to trigger violence, upheaval, and a backlash. The rise of nationalist governments is in part in response to this rapid transformation of the workplace and the feeling of security being eroded. Baldwin warns that the backlash could be destructive if radical transformation is too rapid and communities that feel overwhelmed push back. If blue- and white-collar workers unite to demand equality and job security, an example being the yellow vest protests in France where www.livemint.com New Delhi, Rs. 3.00 Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh*, Pune* Wednesday, February 4, 2009 Vol.3 No.30 24 PAGES + 4 PAGES MARKETS WATCH Trends over two decades Carbon is the basis of human life and iron of robot life. It becomes easy to speak of C/FE when you wish express a culture that combines the best of the two on an equal but parallel basis. VENTURE CAPITAL: >11 Private jets to sell less as India’s rich turn thrifty CORPORATE: >6 In a sole revival, recession gives cobblers new traction WSJ: EXCLUSIVE PARTNER >19 SENSEX 9,149.30 82.60 NIFTY 2,783.90 17.25 DOLLAR Rs48.82 Re0.10 EURO Rs62.21 Re0.20 GOLD Rs14,040 Rs45 OIL $44.48 $0.02 AE AE ae AE ae ae PLAYING SAFE ACCOUNTING PAIN What’s inside Chevron keeps options open on RPL stake Listed firms put up worst show in 3 years The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted the Securities and Exchange Board of India to question former Satyam chairman B. Ramalinga Raju and his brother B. Rama Raju in a move that will allow the markets regulator to scrutinize the nature of the Satyam fraud, besides its impact on the markets and the company’s shareholders. BY RAVI KRISHNAN & A SHWIN RAMARATHINAM Mint A analysis of results for the quarter ended 31 December showed that firms in the Bombay Stock Exchange’s 30-stock Sensex collectively posted a 6.53% year-on-year decline in net profit, their worst showing since the March 2006 quarter, when earnings fell by 0.9%. Profit at firms in the broader 50-stock Nifty on the National >P4 ························· LEADING THE NEWS MONEY MATTERS MUMBAI T he ongoing economic slowdown, coupled with the revelation of financial misdeeds at Satyam Computer Services Ltd, has resulted in the firms that constitute India’s two benchmark indices reporting their first ever decline in profit growth in 12 quarters. It’s time Andhra pollution the West stopped bothering about the impact of the crisis on China and started worrying about what it will do to its own societies, writes Manas Chakravarty. *** management with mutual funds increased for the third month as banks put surplus money in liquid, liquid-plus funds, with the inter-bank rate down to 4.2%. regulator asks SMS Pharmaceuticals to shut its Patancheru plant after protests by local activists. *** sector enterprises ministry will move a cabinet note for a salary increase for public sector executives after getting GOM recommendations, minister Sontosh Mohan Dev says. Firm has till June to decide on raising stale; better refining cycle at Jamnagar unit may prove a major factor FUELLING DOUBT >P5 >P6 THE NEWS The public Assets under Chevron Corp.'s capital spending programme for 2009 has no mention of any plan to buy an additional 24% stake in Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL). TURN TO PAGE 3® HIRING SLOWDOWN BY BHUMA SHRIVASTAVA B-schools scout for placement consultants >P4 >P4 [email protected] THE BACKGROUND ························· Chevron bought a 5% stake in RPL in 2006 before the company went for an IPO, with an option to raise its equity stake to 29% by mid-2009. Since then, refining margins have plunged. MUMBAI U S-based Chevron Corp.’s spending programme for 2009 has not factored in plans to exercise an option to raise its stake in Reliance Petroleum Ltd by 24 percentage points—an investment seen as crucial by many experts for the Mukesh Ambani-run company. RPL, an arm of India’s most valuable company Reliance Industries Ltd, recently commissioned the world’s sixth largest refinery in Jamnagar, Gujarat. If Chevron, the world’s fourth BY POORNIMA MOHANDAS have chosen to stay away from B-school campuses and several B-schools are looking to hire placement consultants to help their graduating batch find jobs. Few schools spoke to were ready to share details of consultants they had approached or signed THE IMPLICATION [email protected] It is unclear whether Chevron will raise its stake, stay put or exit totallyfromrpl.ithasaboutfive months to go before the option to increase its stake expires. Enhanced partnership with Chevron could give RPL access to the US company’s strong global distribution network. ···················· CORPORATE NEWS ECONOMY & POLITICS BANGALORE C ompanies struggling to cope with a slowdown typically turn to consultants to find a way out. So, it seems, do B-schools. In the backdrop of a slowing economy, many recruiters Policymakers are discussing extending the US Federal Reserve’s oversight to currently unregulated products such as derivatives to revamp the financial regulatory system. Mint The US >P17 Federal Aviation Administration is delaying permission to a code-share agreement between Jet Airways and United Air. TURN TO BACK PAGE TURN TO BACK PAGE ® ® VIEWS Recent research suggests that tighter financial sector regulation narrows the wage premium paid to financiers, says Niranjan Rajadhyaksha. >P7 Cold comfort at India’s job exchanges *** Motorola Inc. has posted a net loss of $3.58 billion on writedowns. It will suspend its quarterly dividend for a stronger balance sheet. >P22 >P17 INDICATOR mint SPECIAL Q3 CORPORATE RESULTS AGGREGATE NET SALES Rs7,09,019.79cr AS OF 3 FEBRUARY 2009 2,861 BY MAITREYEE HANDIQUE 12.83% [email protected] ························· AGGREGATE NET PROFIT Rs51,330.88cr NEW DELHI O n a recent morning, Ashwani Kumar and Pradeep Kumar, both 22, walked into an employment exchange in south Delhi to apply for what millions of Indians aspire for: a government job. Sons of government officers, the two grew up together, graduated from Delhi University, and in December, quit their jobs as typists in a private hospital preparing discharge forms for patients for Rs7,000 a month. “The hours were long. There has been no salary increase in two years and we did not get a day off without taking a pay cut,” Ashwani Kumar said. “Who says private jobs pay more? In the government, at least your life is set because you have a job for life.” These childhood friends are among at least 500,000 people 0 3,860 21.48% TOTAL COMPANIES 3,860 QUICK EDIT Cheap, good and useful F irst a car, then a lunar mission and now a laptop—is India on the verge of setting new benchmarks for low-cost engineering? It is undoubtedly a very tempting thought. We saw the prototype of the Tata Nano and the successful launch of Chandrayaan. And now, the government has unveiled a new $10 laptop that should give schoolchildren basic computing power and wireless connectivity. The price of the laptop is one-fifth of what futurist Nicolas Negroponte planned in his doomed One Laptop Per Child programme. Affordable technology is an unparalleled force for democratic change—and hence, such initiatives need to be welcomed. But there is no shortage of sceptics either. Negroponte himself says that even the display of such a laptop will cost more than $10. The government is still nowhere close to making these laptops anyway. The Nano, Chandrayaan and the $10 laptop are important first steps. But the real test will be to create new price points without subsidies funded by taxpayers. ISAAC ASIMOV TURN TO PAGE 2® ALSO SEE Mint is also available for Rs4.75 with Hindustan Times under a combo offer >Views: Secure jobs or lower salaries >P22 | MODERN TIMES I t is inevitable: Marie Kondo will come home. She struck mine early. One evening, many months before she became the Netflix sensation that she has become today, I came home to find piles of garments belonging to my wife. “You have so much stuff,” I blurted out.
On any other day such an unwise comment would lead to an attempt to reform me once again into a man who owned shirts of various colours and material, and shoes for various occasions. After all, it is true that when I was 24, I was sent away from a press event because I was poorly dressed. Yet, I have improved only enough to be admitted into rooms.
However, that evening, my wife meekly accepted that I was right: she had too many things, too many clothes, too many shoes, too many objects whose names I didn’t know. She had been reading Kondo. I like Kondo.
What Kondo says is that the past is a clutter; thank clutter, and throw most of it out
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