G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Moral High Ground, Infosys and Gold-In-Sacks

John Gapper:“a lot of people used to think that Goldman Sachs ran the US economy. Now we know it does”.

And what is good for US economy is good for Infosys, darling of Indian media and middle-class. They wanted its chairman, Narayana Murthy, to become the president of the republic.

Infosys chairman always takes moral high ground in public with utterances like:

"Infosys will never touch a tainted company like Satyam...", "Infosys will never do anything unethical..." etc.

It's always definitive, and never: "But real life is messy and real people are complicated" or,
as Lucy Kellaway put it, "There is only one way of capturing the truth of this world, and that is satire. The truest business programme yet made is not The Apprentice. It is The Office."

Infosys’s corporate office has conference rooms named after famous scientists like Albert Einstein and Ramanujam but not after Seneca and Kabir.

Seneca would have gently informed to the occupants of conference room: "What is man? A vessel that the slightest shaking, the slightest toss will break. A body weak and fragile." And Kabir would have reminded that the idea of modern secular India is anchored in the solid foundation laid by the Bhakti Saints.

Reportedly one of Infosys's client is Goldman Sachs.

I wonder what Mr. Murthy thinks of having Goldman Sachs as a client after reading what Paul Krugman said on August 3 2009:

"...some institutions, including Goldman Sachs, have been using superfast computers to get the jump on other investors, buying or selling stocks a tiny fraction of a second before anyone else can react. Profits from high-frequency trading are one reason Goldman is earning record profits and likely to pay record bonuses...

...But suppose we grant that both Goldman and Mr. Hall are very good at what they do, and might have earned huge profits even without all that aid. Even so, what they do is bad for America...

...It’s hard to imagine a better illustration than high-frequency trading. The stock market is supposed to allocate capital to its most productive uses, for example by helping companies with good ideas raise money. But it’s hard to see how traders who place their orders one-thirtieth of a second faster than anyone else do anything to improve that social function...

...For example, high-frequency trading probably degrades the stock market’s function, because it’s a kind of tax on investors who lack access to those superfast computers — which means that the money Goldman spends on those computers has a negative effect on national wealth...

...Neither the administration, nor our political system in general, is ready to face up to the fact that we’ve become a society in which the big bucks go to bad actors, a society that lavishly rewards those who make us poorer."

If Goldman Sachs indeed is guilty as charged, I wonder how Infosys can escape a part of the blame.

Artist: Stuart Carlson, July 16 2009