Daily Archives: January 7, 2020

The Battle for India’s Founding Ideals

By Madhav Khosla – These events come after much of India has been engulfed in protests over a new citizenship law that treats Muslims differently to those from other religions. These protests, which have seen tens of thousands march across the nation, began in universities. The government’s reaction was swift and brutal. It encompassed both prohibitory measures, such as Internet shutdowns and the prevention of public assembly, as well as reactive measures, which included detention and violence. In Uttar Pradesh, a state which is home to more Indians than any other, the tales of police brutality would send a shiver down any spine.

Sunday’s attack underscores two crucial changes taking place in the world’s largest democracy. The first is to the country’s formal legal architecture. India’s founders, as I have suggested in a new book, India’s Founding Moment, imagined citizenship to be unmediated by community affiliation. For them, to belong to the modern world was to belong to representative framework where each person was treated on free and equal terms.

Measures like the new citizenship law challenge and undermine this founding vision. The law enables “any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan” to become an Indian citizen, thereby explicitly excluding Muslims.

India’s Constitution guarantees the right to equal treatment. This right applies to all persons and not only to citizens. To pass muster, a law has to make an intelligible distinction between those that it includes and those that it excludes. Moreover, this distinction has to bear a rational connection to the law’s objective.

In this case, the stated objective is addressing the religious persecution of the enumerated classes. But the law does not capture this objective as it is both over- and under-inclusive. It does not provide protection to groups such as the Ahmadiyya Muslims from Pakistan and it assumes that all those who enter India from the specified classes are persecuted. This presumption is revealed by the fact that the law has no provisions relating to religious persecution at all, thus eliminating any link between the distinctions drawn and the declared aim.

As India is thrown deeper and deeper into a cycle of extra-constitutional violence, we should fear that the state and citizens will struggle to manage the situation. In such scenarios, the disorder and horror often follows a logic of its own.

If India continues to unravel in this fashion, there will be unspeakable acts on either side, untold truths that are hidden in every quarter. Even the most terrifying moves will be justified, even the clearest forms of evidence will be challenged.

In a world where public institutions and social harmony have given way, we will live under a state that claims monopoly over the exercise of force but no longer quite enjoys it. The state will deploy and exploit its power in every possible way, but, as in the case of colonial rule, the idea of legitimate authority will cease to have meaning. more>

Updates from McKinsey

How Gulf companies can overcome the five biggest challenges to their digital transformation
By Dany Karam, Christian Kunz, Jigar Patel, and Joydeep Sengupta – By now, most companies in the Gulf region understand the necessity of going digital. After all, 82 percent of the region’s population already owns smartphones.

Yet despite this awareness, progress on digital transformations among companies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been limited, at best.

Some companies have tested the waters, while others have moved more aggressively but haven’t scaled their programs. Many companies, however, are still sitting on the sidelines wondering how to move from strategy to action.

Almost no GCC companies have reached the end goal where analytics drives everything they do, agile operations and a culture of failing fast are the norm, and a mature and flexible technology stack is available to continually evolve offerings.

Regardless of where a company stands now, Gulf executives need to act quickly to move their organizations to the next level. Based on our work with incumbents in the Middle East and across the globe, we have identified five of the most common challenges GCC companies face when trying to go digital, as well as strategies for overcoming them and dramatically increasing the chances of success.

It’s understandable that Gulf executives would be reluctant to hit the go button on digital transformations. These efforts are largely new to the region, require considerable capital expenditures, and can lead to very different ways of working. You can’t transform only a little. Leading financial-services companies, for example, spend more than 4 percent of their revenues on digital transformations (with some spending as much as 9 to 12 percent). And digital transformations can go on for at least five years, with a breakeven point that can be one to four years away. more>

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How Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will transform factory automation

By Al Presher – A key technology trend for automation and control in 2020 and beyond is the emergence of wireless communications including 5G, Wi-Fi 6, LoRaWAN and more. An obvious benefit for factory automation is the use of wireless communication for remote monitoring and remote operation of physical assets but an equally important benefit is an ability to replace cables, unreliable WiFi and the many industrial standards in use today.

One major step forward for wireless technologies in industrial communications is the recent certification of Wi-Fi 6. The announcement by the WiFi Alliance moves this technology ahead by enabling vendors to move toward the release of certified products, in advance of IEEE ratification process of IEEE 802.11ax expected to be completed in 2020.

Wireless vendors are anticipating that 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will be deployed together in smart manufacturing applications. They share technology that makes wireless solutions more deterministic, especially important for mission-critical IoT devices used in factory automation. The anticipated tiered release and extended timeline for 5G deployment is expected to result in Wi-Fi 6 rolling out more quickly than 5G. more>

Updates from Chicago Booth

Why central banks need to change their message
The US and European central banks thought they could manage their economies by bringing their secretive plans for interest-rate regulation into the light. But they didn’t account for an unreceptive public.
By Dee Gill – A lot of people don’t have a clue what central banks do, much less how the institutions’ ever-changing interest-rate targets ought to affect their household financial decisions. Recent studies, including several by Chicago Booth researchers, find Americans and Europeans oblivious to or indifferent to the targets’ implications.

This is a serious problem for policy makers. For a decade, monetary policy in many developed economies has relied heavily on forward guidance, a policy of broadcasting interest-rate targets that works only if the public knows and cares what its central bankers say.

“The effects of monetary policy on the economy today depend importantly not only on current policy actions, but also on the public’s expectation of how policy will evolve,” said Ben Bernanke, then chairman of the US Federal Reserve, in a speech to the National Economists Club in 2013. At critical times since 2008, forward guidance has been the Fed’s and the European Central Bank’s go-to tool for revitalizing their ailing economies and holding off widespread depression.

Forward guidance usually involves central banks announcing their plans for interest rates, which traditionally were guarded as state secrets. The openness is intended to spur investors, businesses, and households to make spending and savings decisions that will bolster the economy; typically, to spend more money during economic slowdowns and to save more when the economy is expanding.

Chicago Booth’s Michael Weber and his research colleagues, in several studies, tested the basic assumption that households will respond to forward guidance, and find it flawed. Most people, the researchers conclude, generally do not make spending and savings choices on the basis of inflation expectations. In personal financial decisions—for example, to pay or borrow money for a boat, refrigerator, or renovations, or to sock away funds for rainy days—words from central bankers hardly register. more>

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