Thoughts from Atanu

by Thiyagarajan Maruthavanan (Rajan)

I have been an admirer and have been highly impressed by Atanu Dey‘s thoughts and ideas. Atanu is a development ecnomist and also works as VP(strategy) at Netcore. I had the chance to meet him in person on last weekend. He was in hyderabad to give seminar talks at IIIT’s festival felicity. He is I could say a transitive reason that I took up an interest in Economics. I got introduced to this subject when Rajesh Jain was talking about economics and he was referring to Atanu and his book suggestion (Developmental Economics by Debraj Rai)

Atanu had some very interesting and radical viewpoints that he presented to the audience, many of them are already present as blog posts. I don’t to concur with all his arguments but nonetheless much of his analysis is right on target. I must though say that the radicalness in it left many in the audience speechless. He spoke about the information age and also some thoughts on his work as a development economist. The salient points in his talk were

  • Information is a public good as it’s consumption is non-rival.
  • Information explosion has lead to a state of superfluos information and relevant information is decreasing.
  • There is a subtle but a fundamental difference between knowledge and information which being that knowledge is a private good and information a public good.
  • Two lessons in economics that should be included in every primary school and it is a pity that it is not included at all.
  • Don’t belong to any school of thought but rather have a few set of core beliefs and everything else stems from that me.
    • Markets work
    • Incentives matter
    • The reason for Indian economy to be so poor can be attributed primarily to Jawaharlal Nehru
    • If instead gandhian priniciples were followed we would have been much worser

    [ The above two arguments literally shook the audience ]

    • Poverty is a choice and we as a country chose to be poor. The most important thing to start with to solve the problems is to increase the literacy in the country. Devise incentives in a way that people get educated.
    • ICT based solutions/approach are not the right way to solve social problems, oppurtunity cost is way too high especially in developing countries.
    • Entreprenuer’s innovate , they create new value, if in your endeavour as an entreprenuer something new is not being created then start thinking of some other thing.