ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘USA

What happened was unfortunate, But Why demonize US?

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india_us.jpgIt’s a matter of sadness that an Indian techie was shot dead in Kansas US, but what I have been seeing of late is a lesson in morality being taught to America by the whole world. Frankly I don’t understand why? First of all the countries which are teaching it, should look at their own minority rights history before pointing fingers.

What is not being highlighted in media is the outpouring of support across US for the techie and his family. Americans have donated whole heartedly for the families’ welfare fund. As I see, American people has been more than welcoming to the immigrants from this side of the world, more than any other country. And what we are doing after a few unfortunate incidents is to demonize them.

For our country where even today, dowry killing and honor killings are rampant, it’s quite rich to preach. Preach to a country which has always welcomed immigrants from all parts of the world.

I would suggest Indian immigrants in US, instead of sending money back to India and buying properties left right and center here, invest in the future of country of your work. Come together and create employments there. Don’t alienate the people there by secluding yourself. Embrace the culture and the society.

Most important of all, consider yourself one of them.

Written by arpitgarg

March 4, 2017 at 10:19 pm

Posted in General/Society

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The Era of Right Wing Populists

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trump_modi.jpgSometime back I called the current decade as the decade of right wing, across the globe. From Japan to India to US. But I would like to add a bit to my stance. It’s the era of right wing populists. Normally right wing politicians are known for fiscal control and anti-populism. The current crop of leaders from Abe to Modi to Trump are from right wing parties but the leaders themselves are populists. This mix of right wing and populism has lefts and liberals in a lurch.

What is to come in future is something to be seen, but I see some good at present. They are beyond the classical mold of right or left. Their parties are right but they themselves have no clear ideologies. They all like claps from the audience, hence populists. They shed the hardline approach of their parties and tread a middle path.

What this has done is broken the barriers. For long politicians in democracies has reaped benefits of a divided electorate. Liberals and Conservatives in US, Nationalists and Seculars in India. Political class likes to keep the people divided in these artificial silos. This fight helps them get elected over and ove. Due to this the Gandhi dynasty in India has prospered and so did Bush/Clinton dynasties in the West.

Modi and Trump, controversial figures in themselves have made people realize this division and how political class has benefitted from it. Don’t get me wrong, in destroying these old barriers, they have created their own. Hindus/Muslims in India to Black/Whites in US. We will have to wait and watch how it evolves.

Next question is, how does the right wing populism pan out. These leaders, since hard liners are able to take decisions which liberal/secular Govt. would never have taken. Currency ban in India to potential poll promises of Trump. In a sense right wing populists are able to take tough decisions. And it’s the decisiveness that people cherishes in them. In itself these leaders are tainted. But in toto they do what none dares.

As with other things, the effects of this right wing populist wave will be evident 10-15 years down the line. Maybe good, maybe bad. Currently we are in a transition era which comes once in a lifetime.

Written by arpitgarg

November 25, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Political

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Donald Trump: Why pollsters got it wrong

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poll_wrong.jpgPolling (just like risk calculation in businesses) is as much a mathematical calculation as it is an art. You need to have the sense that few have to get it right. In last 10 years or so, it has become more of mathematical model than anytime before. Just like the 2007-09 financial crisis which brought to fore risk calculation model errors, similarly the current election result has brought to notice the polling model errors.

Trump campaign used to attack polls as fake and political hit jobs regularly. For my analysis I want to assume the intentions behind polls were pure. So why did they get it so wrong, barring a couple of polls (which can be owed to chance). I believe the polls had severe model errors, which didn’t took into account a lot of factors.

Just like 2007-09 when polls failed to take into account correlation risk across geographies, the polls failed to take into account the anger among the electorate. Also Trump was a new phenomenon, who was not someone one would like to say one likes, but was bang on message and policies. That created shy voters who did not admit to pollsters they were voting for Trump.

Polls also failed to take into account the contempt the main stream media had for Trump. So much so that anyone saying he/she supported Trump was bashed not just on social media but by mainstream media pundits too for being a bigot. I remember one of the Kardashians had to roll back on her comment of voting for Trump after the backlash. Would she have voted for Clinton? I very much doubt so. When bashing of a candidate becomes an acceptable thing and anyone supporting him is touted as a bad person by responsible people in media, it becomes difficult for one to admit the support anymore.

The anger, the shyness gave rise to the errors in legacy polling methods.

What polls also failed to take into account was the contempt for the media. Gallup poll which has tracked trust in media for last 40 years or so, found the trust to be the lowest in 2016. Two-thirds don’t trust media. And that same distrusting media was out to get Trump in full force. Media distrust fueled Trump support.

All these factors have to be modeled into polling methodology in future. The change election with a flawed candidate with an appealing message, the anger in the populace, the creation of shy voters and the bias in the media were few of the factors that broke the polls this year.

Hope the pollsters learn from these errors and evolve for better.

Written by arpitgarg

November 9, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Posted in Media, Political

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Why US Elections make me sad: And no it’s not about Trump

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money_politics.jpegElections in world’s oldest democracy and the leader of the free world should have been about all that is good about Democracy. It should have been a showcase to world which can influence non-Democracies to become one. However I am afraid to say US elections make me sad. I’ll tell you why.

The debate should have been about the candidates, the policies, what they can do or not. However I see the media discourse about who is raising how much money. Money, which should have been abhorrent when associated with a candidate, is being considered a virtue. The liberal media is celebrating the candidate who gets more money out of the wealthy donors, the Oligarchs.

Consider the headline on CNN, “Clinton burying Trump: $42 million to $1.3 million”. It reeks of a feeling that a candidate with more money is more virtuous. And this makes me real sad. It feels the real purpose of democracy has gone lost. Each person, rich or poor, was to have equal say. However a donation by rich, which is then used to influence other voters, makes the voice skewed. Rich has more voice even in elections. I am sure if Trump had raised more money, the headlines would have been is his favor. It’s not just CNN, its all media. In fact it’s a general sense.

Whole concept of democracy has become a sham. In the world’s largest democracy, India, it is even a bigger sham. Billions of dollars of black money is spent during General elections. It’s akin to buying votes.

So much money in politics and its naked celebration by media makes me sick. Makes me wonder, where did it all go wrong?

Written by arpitgarg

July 16, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Hillary vs Obama

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hillary_obama.jpgNow that it is evident that Hillary and Trump will clash off this Nov to be the leader of the free world, the analysis have started. With #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary doing rounds and un-favorability ratings of both candidates huge, this is going to be an election beyond compare. Today I want to concentrate on Hillary. Let’s try and see how 2008 and 2016 are different for Democrats.

Just like 2016, 2008 too was an uprising against the status quo. Higher unemployment, never ending wars and crippled economy motivated voters to choose an outsider. While Obama was the disruptor, McCain represented the continuum.

Coming to the 2008 Democrat primaries, initially the super delegates were with the Hillary, just like this time. Obama channeled the young voters and forced the party to toe the line. Eventually his 4% margin in primaries forced super delegates to jump the ship.

This time round the youth is with Bernie. Hillary has benefitted with initial momentum and lack of early awareness about Bernie. As months have passed more and more people have come to know Bernie and things have changed for him. However Hillary has been supported by African Americans and Latinos big time. But the main problem is youth. They are not with Hillary.

This is what makes 2008 different from 2016. Last time young voters propelled Obama and party fell in line. This time party has propelled Hillary and it wants young voters to fall in line. I am not trying to take away anything from the lead Clinton has across other voter categories. It’s just that youth represent the future of any movement. Also youth are the ones which resulted in huge voter turnout in 2008. Going by Democrat primaries, there is a question mark over quantum of Democrat voter participation in Nov 2016.

While Trump is plagued with issues of his own making, Hillary is plagued with the magic of Bernie. How the General Election pans out is anybody’s guess. One thing is clear, Hillary is no Obama.

Written by arpitgarg

May 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Posted in Political

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Why media got Trump prediction wrong?

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trump_media.jpgSince Trump started topping polls and started winning primaries, media pundits are having a hard time explaining why they got predictions so wrong. It’s not an easy thing to introspect about ones failures. Most in media are passing through the same phase. They are blaming Trump voters, calling them angry, bigots and every name under the sun. Few have admitted they were wrong in their analysis. Still they are not ready to admit as to why they went wrong. Let me do it for them.

They were wrong as they were not impartial. They were wrong as they analyzed from studios. They were wrong as they were disconnected from public. They were wrong as their fat paychecks plugged their ears from the pain of the common man. They were wrong as they had a secure job, nice house and were paid for by those in power. They were wrong as the media houses they worked for and swore allegiance to, are owned by same elites who own politicians via campaign funds. More importantly they were wrong as they reported what they wanted to be true, not what was indeed true.

When polls started coming late last year, many in media knew that Trump had a solid chance. But they wrote otherwise. They wrote what they wished to be true. They wished Trump was not the nominee. Had they done unbiased analysis, they would have known the Truth, which was so evident.

Most of the Pundits are paid for by big business houses. Anything coming out of their mouths is thus tainted. They never say what they feel, they say what pays. Hence the disconnect.

Whether Trump will be a good nominee or a bad nominee, only time will tell. But to have said that he had no chance just coz they wanted him not to be a nominee, is where media went wrong. It’s time for biasness in media to go away or else people will force the exiting media to go away.

Written by arpitgarg

May 1, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Study in US: A new Reality

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I was talking to few of my friends who are pursuing Phd from US or have applied this year. The number of calls has become less with surprising number of rejects coming in. The situation seems grim.

Let me explain a bit. Every year Indian students apply for MS (Masters)/Phd in foreign universities (prominently US). Seats are offered to select students, often with scholarships. In case of IIT students, mostly, entire tuition fees is remitted. They are also paid stipend based on TA (Teaching Assistant) and RA (Research Assistant) work they do.

Due to the recession in recent times, universities have to cope up with reduced federal and private funding. They are no longer able to support large number of scholarship students. Coupled with the new protectionist approach of US, immigrant students feel no longer welcome, the way they were some time back.

Students need to submit a SOP (Statement Of Purpose) letter along with their admission form. They explain their education, expertise, research preference and the need for scholarship. I have seen a number of SOP’s and the end paragraph is full of blatant begs. “Coming from a poor country…I don’t have means to sustain the education fees…I am from an underdeveloped part of the world”, and more such lines.

For those who might consider me a skeptic, I want to stress that its not like a one way street. Universities also get to choose brilliant students who do research work ample times more than the money invested in. There is another side to it too. A bit harsh though.

The funda of scholarships was based on uplifting the poor. India was always perceived as full of talent. “The students don’t have money but they are brilliant, let’s help them and our research will prosper in return.” During last 25 years or so we have seen some path breaking work done by Indians in the US.

Past 5-10 years or so have seen an unparalleled growth in India. A new kind of generation has arrived which takes a new sense of pride in its country. No ruing the administration but striving towards change. This generation is Globally aware. Studying in US or going to London for a holiday is no longer the ultimate dream. The quantum of this generation is less but the impact is huge. This generation has IPL, the multi billion dollar cricket league, it stands up against racism in Australia, it voices against Ganesha on Chappals.

Here comes the catch. We no longer consider ourselves inferior. We have bred an arrogance on the likes of US, UK and Aus. Still we continue with the same set of SOP’s. How long can this work?

Lets see from the point of view of US citizens. They see Mumbai. They see Indians standing up for themselves. It is difficult for their Govt to explain spending money on students from such  a rapidly growing economy. There is also a lesser moral satisfaction to this philanthropic deed. Would be logical if they moved to poorer countries of Africa. Indians are also waking up to this new reality. I have seen a lot of people now applying for MS/Phd procuring bank loans.

Growth is restrained by this logical tool. The more you grow, the lesser is the growth rate, coz the competition is higher at the top, where the charity stops.

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