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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

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