Demonetisation will lead to DeModisation-

The Indian Property prices took a wobble after demonetisation and despite my admiration for PM Modi, what deeply upsets me is that he attacked the middle classes.

The whole idea of “cleaning up India” is that it needs to be a top down effort. Beyond chasing Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi there are oligarchs in India who cripple the country.

Their extravagant events, modes of living and seeking lack of “noblesse oblige” is more harmful to India than anything the small businessman gets up to. In fact these super-wealthy unchanging oligarch have formed an unholy trinity with Bollywood and the IPL.

Much as India is glamorising; this sort of froth and excess at the top, unchallenged by the BJP is in poor taste. Demonetisation instead was squarely aimed at the already struggling and suffering middle classes. Modi ain’t be forgiven for this and it may cost him the next election.

As an aside: Pakistani liberals want to have their Muslim majoritarianism but also bash India when possible.

This is an extraordinarily powerful tweet

I was taken aback when I read it by its vehemence (she didn’t mention low-caste groups in Pakistan). But the following tweet is super-disappointing:

15 thoughts on “Demonetisation will lead to DeModisation-”

  1. Zach, the Indian stock market has gone in only one direction since demonetisation. Plot the trend and you see the clear structural break after November 2016. Clearly, people with real stakes and knowledge of the Indian economy think the country is a safer bet post demonetisation.

    I am not sure why you are lamenting the stagnation of real estate prices. There is little merit to increasing GDP by asset price inflation, especially given the huge amount of unsold inventory and the experience of places like China.

    1. Yes it hit the middle classes but cleverly avoided the corporate classes. The bifurcation in the vote bank between Congress and BJP is very clear; the swing voters will break for Congress this time round as they have Ben betrayed by Modi..

      Just my thoughts ..

  2. “The Indian Property prices took a wobble after demonetisation and despite my admiration for PM Modi”.

    Not only the property prices; but manufacturing/agricultural output and sales. It was the demonetization that made me realize how much of Indian market sales is cash and short term debt-based, and, in turn, based on short term cash accumulation. The minute two currency notes were removed, a ripple effect from consumer purchases to industrial purchases was apparent, and for me, we had like three months of virtually zero sales in last quarter 2017. How does one maintain payroll, rent and debt payment in this situation?

    The idea of demonetisation has been argued a billion times in a billion fora, but the issue in my mind is that the FM did not realize the peculiar economic situation in India. Inflation in India is real, and the numbers are 11% in 2012, 9% in 2013, 6% in 2014 and 2016. This means that if you keep money as cash notes, you will lose 40-50% value in 4-5 years. Almost the entire indian enterprise involves turning cash over into equity and debt payment, and keeping assets in equity, real estate (and gold in certain cases). I do not know who keeps cash in significant quantities, because it is increasingly illiquid, except for bribes. Here I confess I am talking only normal businessmen and office goers, and not about real estate transactions and move making in Bombay.

    Re: impact on stock market, it is clear that such a short term strategy will not impact the long term stock market; even then, the stock market is not liquid in the western sense: most of the corporae owners maintain> 50% of the stock, and small parts of stocks of every company is traded freely. This is in turn affected by large FDI transactions, and this, in turn, causes the stock market to follow the world market, even if industrial growth rate is moderate.

    Some of the issues discussed above (demonet, excesses and the severe debt overhang) will play out in the elections next year, albeit, through the impacts on small trader, the farmer and workers. we saw a preview this year.

  3. I don’t know what is disappointing about saying ” both countries need to get their houses in order”. It seems like a factual statement to me.

    Nida Kirmani is a vociferous critic of the Pakistani establishment and one of the last people one can accuse of “Muslim majoritarianism”.

    1. Because Pakistani liberals want to have their cake and eat it!

      Liberalism is the freedom to say what you want when you want.

      Pakistani liberals feel an acute pain when Islam, the Prophet or the Holy Quran is insulted but are strangely ambivalent about Hazrat Asia.

      The indifference is maddeningly; they don’t feel the visceral shame and rage in what has been done to an innocent woman.

      Instead they point to India and its “crimes”; this is no longer acceptable. I’ve realised the only way to make Pakistanis (“liberals” or not) *feel* the pain is to insult their religion..

      This is the same attitude BritPaks have about the Paki pedophile scandal “oop north” they want to point out how the British establishment failed the victims (and the perps) rather than address the dehumanising/misogynistic aspects of Pakistani Muslim culture..

      Nida’s equivalence with Hindutva was in poor taste ..

      1. I don’t think it is in poor taste to point out that Indians should not be smug about the appalling treatment of minorities in Pakistan and that Hindutva also results in appalling treatment of minorities in India.

        Pakistani liberals must still operate within the constraints of the “Islamic Republic”. It is difficult enough to condemn regressive interpretations of Islam or man-made laws. Condemning the religion wholesale is not very smart and comes with significant risks to one’s own life and wellbeing.

        Good luck with changing Pakistani points of view by insulting Islam. Most people will just stop engaging with you. It is possible to have conversations on fraught topics, but only with mutual respect.

        1. When people don’t choose a hill to die on; they deserve no respect. Hazrat Asia is my hill..

          Admittedly I live in the West but if it means I have to take an antagonistic view towards Islam so be it..

          1. It is impossible to change anyone’s point of view by showing them disrespect.

            Taking an “antagonistic view” towards an entire religion also doesn’t seem very smart. How would you converse with someone who had an antagonistic view towards Hinduism? You seem to be ignoring the many different interpretations of Islam as practiced by individual people.

          2. Who said the world “needed” Pakistan? We are talking about your attitude to Islam, which goes far beyond just Pakistan.

            There is a lot to admire about India, but it remains a third world country with a lot of problems.

            Good luck conversing with people with this kind of an attitude.

  4. “I do not know who keeps cash in significant quantities, because it is increasingly illiquid, except for bribes.”

    This doesnt square with India’s high cash to GDP ratio pre demonetisation.

    1. That is related to poverty; M0, M1, M2 are known precisely.

      After demonetization, and post-dip, currency with public is known, and is 19 Lakh crores (19E+12).
      The GDP is approximately 187 Lakh crores. The ratio is high at about 10%, but not as bad as, say in 1991 when it was closer to 45%.

      However all it suggests is poverty. The population is 121 crores; cash availability per capita is 15,000. Since almost all transactions including rent, groceries, phone are all paid cash, this is not substantial.

      I was referring to business holding of cash.

  5. I feel Economic liberals( all 10 of them) etc are over emphasizing on the political fallout of demonisation. For Indians who have voted for the current govt and don’t want to , as well as people who haven’t voted for them anyways have found a convinent issue which they “think” is affecting the fortunes of the bjp.

    What’s effecting the fortunes is rural India not gung ho about the bjp anymore ( due to various reasons ). Nothing which a nationwide farm loan waiver ( like the 2008 one) can’t fix. What modi needs to do is to turn more populist and let the purse strings loose without worrying about the so called economic liberals and free marketers. Yes it will affect the CAD a bit. But all fair in love and War

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