De-Lurking on the Net

November 9, 2016

Sledge Hammer strike by India’s PM Modi on black economy and terrorism funding

Today, Mr Modi went bold. Perhaps not of his own volition but on behest of what all the economic advisors he could muster in last few months, advised him. He struck the  big denomination Indian currency notes void(Rs 500, Rs 1000). Some say these large notes amount to 86% of economy. Indians have guessed that economy is as much in black as it has been in legal/legitimate or white economy. So, given that both 86% is a guess and dividing line between black and white as at 50% of guess, then Mr Modi is writing off 43% of GDP in one hit. No matter what % is hit, the impact will be to usher the huge deflation in its black economy. It comes on the heel of his visit to Japan, a country staying in deflation since its hay days of 1993, before which it had seen any boom. Perhaps, it is just a coincidence.

pm-modi-ends-rs-500-rs-1000-currency-notes-read-his-full-address-here

His intentions can not be construed as wrong as he wanted to hit the most, two sets of people – 1) terrorists 2) Black economy peddlers who have refused to come out in open in spite of the amnesty to convert their black money into white(The scheme was not failed but could hardly be called a successful scheme).

So, what happens now – he introduces two type of notes – Rs 500 and Rs 2000 . These are not Plastic polymer notes as recently got introduced in number of countries (Australia, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Vietnam, Maldives etc) but it has new security features. Some say , Rs 2000 note has NGC technology . Details of the NGC has not emerged from Govt sources but social media rumors are fueling this. The NGC introduced in Philippines did not have any nano GPS chip as people are talking of Rs 2000 will have one. Without introducing a fool proof arrangement of  temper prevention or making it tough for some people or countries to stay in printing duplicate currency  and sending it to India, this whole exercise achieves nothing but brings pain to India. You merely burn your own notes.

There are terrorists using Hawala market, an arrangement where someone who wishes to send money into India does not go to banks or use legitimate companies. They use individuals who disburse Indian rupees from their black money in India to the recipient and get paid in return in foreign currency in a foreign country abroad. Such transactions were major source for black marketers to convert their money into white, money launderers to launder money, terrorists to get funded for new terrorist acts, drug pushers, smugglers etc . The cinema(Bollywood) largely depended on black money for funding. The Real estate particularly in north India had a big share of black money in it. All the political parties virtually live on black money. There is a domestic currency based trade between Iran and India. India’s currency is also used and particularly popular in Gulf  countries and in a country like Zimbabwe who are in the process of re-introducing their own currency again after a hiatus of several years. So, will all these people or even diaspora spread around the world will have all their money in bank or would be in position to change these notes in time?

So, immediate impact would be less housing activity, less Bollywood Cinema films, less terrorism (at least for now), less smuggling(all the smugglers money is never fully invested in metals like gold or other commodities but also remains in hard currency), less drug trafficking. There will be less activity in air travel and luxury living. There will be suffering for both poor and rich people. Poor people hardly have bank accounts, so will be impacted  a great deal. There are remote , rural areas where there can never, ever be a bank.  Even if such people have notes with honest earning or sent by their relations or kids, they will never know how to go inside a bank and convert it. There will be people not been able to pay to private hospitals. Govt hospitals rarely exist  for most in the country. There will be people who hide the money and unable to return in time to the places where they hid it to convert it or have anyone to access their money to convert it. Virtually all sectors in India have humongous corruption from ISRO scientists to judges, from North to South, West to East India. So, what happens when people suddenly have less financial muscle. Well it means, that their economic activity goes down including expenses on exorbitant weddings. So, hoteliers, caterers, etc all will have impact. It is like dropping a bomb on your own economy or helping your enemies who may all want your GDP to come down to a very low level or to see  your purchasing capacity substantially reduced.

The notes  can be converted in next 50 days . But beyond a threshold  of converting Rs 4000 in cash of new notes, conversion is allowed only by the bank accounts. If someone does not have their own bank account, then they have to use some one else’s bank account by giving them consent to receive his/her money into their accounts. Later on,  such people can withdraw their money in new notes from the account for which they consented. So, this particular activity will make the menace of already accumulated black money  in the economy to reduce substantially and it will become trackable until it stays in bank. It may stay long term in bank accounts but chances of its  staying in bank accounts long term are remote as people are used to cash transactions.  This declaration by Mr Modi, therefore, will not make the economy to become overnight controlled by banks. The networks of black economy generation, terrorists funding or drug peddling mules, duplicate currency circulators, smugglers, betting, bribe givers, bribe takers  are not going to disappear overnight. They are part of the system just like political parties or corrupt judges.  So, a new black economy will start growing as soon as one ends. Yes, there will be  people who will suffer massively and a few may even commit suicides or may even die of heart attacks when they find themselves  ruined totally. Incremental changes like Jan Aadhar Yojana etc would have achieved Mr Modi’s dream of having a economy fully running via banks etc. in few years.

Misery awaits India in short term and this will have impact on  the growth of the world economy too. Perhaps, it will teach a lesson to the other leaders to be patient.

June 19, 2015

Greece Induced Euro Meltdown reaching to its climax

Filed under: Currencies,Europe,Finance,World — Geekay @ 1:18 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The turmoil in Greece due to its inability of committing to austerity pledges as proposed by Brussels & IMF etc. makes one imagine of the day when this turmoil will end. It makes one compare the situation of the country with a company who becomes bankrupt. US companies, who owes others and unable to service their debts, gets protection under chapter 11 keeping its lenders etc from dissolving the company and meanwhile some more funds are arranged by the company from some others source to carry on running. Ford and Gen Motors came out stronger after this situation when it got rescue funds from US govt itself. Not every company is salvageable. So, willy-nilly one cannot fund any amount of loans to such a sinking company. Chapter 7 deals with protection to creditors when a company‘s assets are sold and given to creditors first before returning the rest to owner of company. Important issue is to identify in the sinking company if the salvage plan is any good. It usually rests on selling the currently produced items with the better design and better competitive price or sales with some incentives. Now, in the case of Greece, clearly Greek people want to pay the same pensions or other benefits as before. So the costs for the govt will stay the same and current account deficit will stay just the same. How can the solution lie in sticking to austerity without building some additional revenue generating capacity in Greece. So, if the Greece not only gets funds to service its loans but also additional money to build such a capacity then there may be a ray of hope. The productivity cost in Greece should now be comparable to the best in Europe. The ideas could be to produce new items in Export promotion Tax Free Zone areas. The richer countries should not only commit to buy from such zones but also help in setting it up in the first place. It means the richer countries basically shifting their own industries to Greece.

So, to rescue the EU currency project, not only other member countries have to commit to extend new loans to service the debts of Greece but also shift some of their industrial base out of their own country to Greece.  One cannot see that happening.  The Europe’s centre is pretty weak. The member countries have no desire to help those sinking members unrestrained. The centre has no ability to impose its own taxes and build reserves. Currently EU raises money from member countries’ VAT receipts(0.3%), its gross national income (usually around 0.7%) and export duties it collects on non-EU  products imported. So, if EU parliament cannot decide tomorrow to levy a new tax to build emergency rescue funds for countries in trouble and the individual country‘s largesse does not exist. So, why should Greece not be left to drift away. Of course, it will mean once untethered from Europe, it will seek saviours from where ever the cash pockets can be found in the world.  It could be in China, Russia, Gulf Countries etc.

It gives a lesson to those blocks or groups (like ASEAN, NAFTA, MERCOSUR, SAARC, BRICKS etc) who want to follow EU trading block example to build tighter integrated block. Any block should never attempt the currency union without building a strong centre. No matter how effective the intra trade within the block may be. For a currency union to succeed depends on giving up power from the member countries to raise the tax for the whole group. Merely imposing an austerity formula cannot keep the currency union safe. But if an austerity formula is devised, then countries should be allowed to join and leave at will. A mechanism should be built to entangle and disentangle. Perhaps, writing off debt to creditors after a forced ejection may mean losing the capacity to raise any money at all unless a saviour country outside EU can be found.

A picture of Greece debt (in billion Euros)

GreeceDebt

A wilderness for years like Argentina  following its second default in 2014 in last 14 years awaits Greece, if it doesn’t agree to those willing to bail it out on their terms. On the other hand, will EU risk Greece to move into the arms of unsavoury company of countries? An example of Zimbabwe could be followed where it has now adapted the stable global currencies in place of its own currency. After leaving Euro project, Greece will be free to default on its debt. It can still use Euro and does not have to stick to austerity plans imposed by IMF, Brussels. It can stabilise and build its reserves, economy gradually. Of course, being outside the EU project means it  will probably not able to trade with EU any more but perhaps EU may allow some trade on some conditions.

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