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The Congress manifesto pledges ban on all casinos in Goa And Other Stories From 23rd January

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Children's showing Congress symbol where Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi commence his campaigning in poll-bound Maharashtra from Raigad , Mahad city on Wednesday. Express Photo by Narendra Vaskar. 08.10.2014. Mumbai. Raigad.

Economics

The Rising Risk Of Central Bank Instability: 

While the ECB and the Fed have adopted a stimulative stance, this article talks about why the forward looking guidance as a policy technique may not be as secure and smooth as market pricing suggests. Read more.

The Problem With Xi Jinping’s Davos Pitch: Although Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos was a jab to the growing sense of protectionism across the globe, there are several pain points that China needs to address before truly becoming a free trade advocate – state subsidies, oversupply, bad loans, capital controls, protectionism and political challenges. Read more.

In Defence Of Globalization: Jim O’Neill – honorary professor of economics at Manchester University and former commercial secretary to the UK treasury – shares his thoughts in favour of globalization in a deglobalizing world. Read more.

Compiled by Swara Dharmaraj

Public Policy

NITI Aayog’s New Action Plan For Growth

After deciding to do away with the Nehruvian era five-year plans, the government’s policy think tank NITI Aayog has almost completed the preparation of a three-year action plan. The focus of the plan is on employment generation through agriculture and manufacturing-led economic growth.

Government’s Push For Aadhaar Pay

The government is pushing to popularise Aadhaar Pay in a bid to expand digital payments among the poor and illiterate in rural areas of the country, which ensures financial transactions by just using fingerprint. Aadhaar Pay, which is merchant version of the already in use Aadhaar-enabled payment system, will become an alternative for all online and card transactions, which require password and PIN.

TPP To Be Withdrawn
President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Monday to withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, according to an official familiar with the plans. Trump’s trade-focused executive order, part of a series of actions planned for Monday, fulfil a campaign promise to rewrite America’s trade policy during his first days as president.

Congress manifesto pledges ban on all casinos in Goa  

The Congress party on Monday released it’s manifesto for the upcoming Goa assembly polls in which it has assured banning all the casinos in the coastal state including the floating vessels mounted with gambling dens. Responding to a question, Goa Congress chief Luizinho Faleiro ruled out that such an action would affect employment prospects in the state. “I don’t think that there are much Goans working at these casinos,” he said.

The many lessons from Swachh Bharat

This article assesses the progress made with the Swacch Bharat drive. Read More.

Compiled by Guntaas Uppal

Data Analytics

The Canadian Olympic Committee announced an eight-year partnership with SAS Canada, marking the COC’s first analytics partnership. This agreement also makes the COC the first national Olympic committee to form a long-term partnership with an analytics company, using data to give athletes and coaches an extra advantage in maximizing their performance outcomes.

The data generated will help coaches find the right resources to get the best results, identify the most promising athletes and pinpoint the key factors that will improve training programs. More here.

Walmart – the world’s biggest retailer with over 20,000 stores in 28 countries, is in the process of building the world’ biggest private cloud, to process 2.5 petabytes of data every hour.

To make sense of all of this information, and put it to work solving problems, the company has created what it calls its Data Café – a state-of-the-art analytics hub located within its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters where over 200 streams of internal and external data, including 40 petabytes of recent transactional data, can be modelled, manipulated and visualized. Teams from any part of the business are invited to bring their problems to the analytics experts and then see a solution appear before their eyes on the nerve centre’s touch screen “smart boards”.

This tool has cut down the amount of time it takes to solve complex business questions, which are reliant on multiple external and internal variables, from weeks to minutes. Explore this story.

There have been numerous examples over the last two decades of how Natural Language Processing, or NLP, is being used by companies to provide an intelligent voice to gadgets and searches. Think, for instance, how the world of search engines—from Yahoo, Microsoft and Google—have changed the Internet with text-based search algorithms driving and augmenting the World Wide Web. NLP, though, does much more than just that and text analytics. NLP exploration on our current digital planet includes voice searches on automobiles and then, of course, the dictation mechanics of the software world.

A LiveMint oped details the relationship and applications between NLP and social networks and machine learning. Check it out.

Compiled by Reshu Natani

 

 

 

We’re Having Open Day at MDAE!

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Hello everyone,

We’re having our first ever Open Day at the Meghnad Desai Academy and it offers to throw up some very interesting events for economics enthusiasts. So if you are an economics student, or aspire to be one, take a look at these invites below and register to visit us on the 25th of January at our campus in the World Trade Center, Mumbai.

You can click on this link to register -http://buff.ly/2jF6dTo

See you on the 25th!

Student Essay Describes Demonetization As ‘Creative Destruction’

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LIFE AFTER DEMONETIZATION (FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF COMMON INDIAN CITIZENS)

INTRODUCTION

India’s Prime Minister’s decision on ‘Demonetization’ is commensurate with the economic terminology of ‘creative destruction’, a term coined by one of the most influential economists of the 20th century – Joseph Schumpeter. Creative destruction refers to the process by which something new brings about the demise of whatever existed before it. The very essence of Economics is that for the advent of anything new the old must die. This very concept is aligned with that of the Demonetization system, wherein for use of new high denomination currency notes (2000 & 500), the old currency notes of high denomination (₹ 1000 & ₹ 500) have become rendered invalid.

Life after demonetization

Demonetization was implemented and enforced for uprooting black money, wiping out counterfeit currency, avoiding the deposit of excess cash in physical assets such as gold, combatting corruption and for promoting the extensive use of digital media for commercial transactions in the economy. But at the grass root level, this creative destruction has hampered the normal economic lives of common public in India.

Waiting in long queues outside ATMs and banks has become a stereotypical scenario even after a month of the implementation. Masses suffer from cash crunch since currency notes are either available in low quantities or unavailable. Throngs of people in society who are free and fair in terms of tax payment and currency holding aren’t being able to exercise any liberty and freedom over their own currency since the deposits and withdrawals of currency notes in respective banks has been restricted by the government. The common man seems to have less personal disposable income in terms of liquid cash to carry out transactions in their day to day lives.

Yet, the pros are inevitable in this move. The public are now conscious about their savings capacity, expenditure and thrift. People are becoming aware of the economic scenario and they tend to make suitable arrangements to adjust themselves to the changes in the economic environment. The concept of ‘Caveat Emptor’ – let the people beware has gained importance in the society through social media, print media and word of mouth. Individuals with access to digital media have stretched their transactional wings to the use of e-wallet, e-banking, credit and debit cards to the maximum for transfer of funds moving cashless and paperless.

CONCLUSION

The citizens tend to embrace any preposterous delusion than to accept any occasional bleak truth even if it is demonetization. Hence, demonetization becomes a blessing or a curse only with a radical change and a gradual move of perspective about the economy. Therefore, it’s a challenge before the government to make Wi-Fi and smart phones available and accessible to all citizens with simultaneous strengthening of the implementation mechanism in collaboration with the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) for an effective cum efficient channelization of legal currency notes to every nook and corner of the country.

‘When you are indecisive maintain the status quo’ – An advice to people.


Divya S is the runners-up and took away INR 2500 in the December edition of the Essay Writing Competition conducted by Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics. For more essay competition announcements, follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Read This Award-winning Essay On Demonetization

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Hurling The Hex by Koyesha Mukherjee

The debate on monetisation is vitiated by delusional hopes of the impact it might have on the black economy. Tall claims are being made about the ability of demonetisation to “flush out black money”, “crush the shadow economy”, or achieve “an all-out assault on the parallel economy”, to quote just a few expressions used by the government and its admirers. Thinking of it as a decisive strike on the black economy is a fallacy. The world’s largest democracy has literally become cashless ever since that fateful announcement to take away 86 per cent of the currency from the hands that toil for India. In his inimitable style, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly emphasised the need of “start-up India and stand-up India”. Today both are happening in good measure; people are starting up early morning in search of currency notes and they are also standing up in long queues.

Demonetisation has affected every aspect of our lives, from the way we buy groceries to how we plan our holidays. The time people waste in long queues, the liquidity crisis in the informal economy, the worker layoffs, and of course many tragic deaths. Some reports already suggest that economic activity in rural markets has slowed down. One of the reasons why demonetisation is causing so much havoc is that banks are out of their depths in the first place, especially in rural areas as banks are finding it difficult to keep up with wage payments, pensions and scholarships. The whammy could not have come at a worse time. Being the peak wedding season, those who do not want to scrimp on costs in the time of a cash crunch, wedding planners who have tied up with banks is an option. So while the cash crisis may have thrown many a family into a tizzy, affected vendors are also changing the way they do business to stay in the game.  As the country drives towards a cashless environment, the initial awe and confusion have given way to a flurry of concerns.  To incentivise the move towards a cashless economy, the government has come up with a rash of discounts and freebies on digital transactions.

Apart from all the individual suffering, our economy is being eviscerated. Farmers are unable to sell perishable produce, to buy grains for the new harvest or to pay labourers. Transporters are unable to transport goods across distances. Commerce has shut down in many places, with small businesses going bust. Eyes wide open, India has blindly opted a bumpy route all in the hope that the elusive black money holder will be ensnared. Indeed, it seems we are a country that is heading back to the future, as we race to become a cashless economy waiting patiently in serpentine queues collecting as doles rationed cash which is rightfully our own. This artifice is the cast of a horrific spell.

“Demonetisation in a booming economy is like shooting at the tyres of a racing car,”- Jean Drèze


Koyesha Mukherjee won first place and INR 5000 in the December edition of the Essay Writing Competition conducted by Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics. For more essay competition announcements, follow us on Facebook and Instagram

The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained

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Have you ever wondered the difference between the UK, Great Britain and England? Chances are that you may have accidentally called on the other. Check out this helpful video that explains the difference between the entities.

Future, Future Little Star, How I Wonder What You Are

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Star

In the world characterized by uncertainty, central banks with their magic-wand monetary policies have increased their clout. But what if even the central banks themselves cry foul and say there is not anymore bazooka left with them to move the economy?

Don’t worry; simply consult an astrologer who looks at stars to tell you what their movements can hold for the future of the economy? Sounds ridiculous? It may, upfront. But it’s not new either, if we look at the historical evolution of modern day astrology and economics.

To do this, let me invoke Bertrand Russell who portrayed the astrologer in a newspaper column in 1932. In his description, the astrologer is an aged sage with a long white beard, speaking in a slow and trance-like manner, and felt by the public to be possessed of mystical lore. More importantly, in his most glorious days, the astrologer stood to the King “in the same relation as the Governor of the Bank of England now stands to the Prime Minister“.

Economic forecasting, central banking and astrology share interesting commonalities. Astrology needs expertise in mathematics / astronomy for making connection between stars and so does economic forecasting by central banks which relies on mathematical models for connection between variables. No wonder, John Kenneth Galbraith, the most celebrated economist, once quipped that the “only function of economic forecasting is to make look astrology respectable“.

The role of astrology does not stop with the domain of economics. With its attractive forecasting capabilities, it even entered mainstream finance in the 20th century. And it is not without rhyme or reason. As James Pierpont Morgan famously stated, “Millionaires don’t use astrology, billionaires do”. And the list does not end here – a Chief Technical Analyst at HSBC and a treasurer of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development – all have voiced their views on the prevalence of astrology in financial forecasting.

Financial astrology, as the name suggests is a field in itself in the modern day. This has even caught the attention of researchers at Goldman Sachs who published a paper in 1999 focusing on the correlation between eclipses and the state of the financial markets.

Turning to stars may not be new or a last resort for central bankers when they run out of bazooka. It’s their favourite pastime even in the midst of the crisis time as well. In 2010, the schedule of the Jackson Hole Conference hosted by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and attended to by central bankers from more than 35 countries, included apart from papers presented by central bankers and economists, a stargazing session with a local astronomy club.

Back home in India, RBI Governor Dr Y V Reddy made a witting remark in his speech on a festive day of Ugadi in March 2007 that he is “not able to predict for the next year, the future of monetary policy in the open economies in general or opening economies like India” since he is “yet to hear “Panchang Sravanam (aka astrological prediction for the ensuing year)” for the Telugu New Year”.

So don’t worry the next time when a central banker says that they run out of bazooka, as long as you believe that stars are in your favor.

Written by Dr Srinivas Yanamandra

This post was originally published here. Reproduced with the permission of the author.

From Cash to Trash to Ash The Journey of a 500 / 1000 Rupee Note

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With an unexpected public announcement that is popularly dubbed as the “Surgical Strike” on the black money Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi unveiled a significant event in the Indian economic history. The announcement backed by the statutory changes and the recommendation of the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rendered all High Denomination Notes of the value Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 as invalid for legal tender.

People often refer to this as demonetisation and there are various economic analyses of the pros and cons of this process. Of particular interest to economists is the manner in which the RBI is finally going to handle the withdrawn notes from circulation. To take a back-of-envelope calculation, out of the Rs. 17 lakh crore worth of currency notes in circulation (at March 2016 as per RBI reports), 80% or Rs. 14 lakh crore (approx.) is in the HDNs. Now there is this element of black money that was hoarded in cash hitherto, a portion of which may not be turned up to the formal banking channel for exchange with new notes for possible taxation aspects. Assuming if the notes worth of Rs. 12 lakh crore have been tendered for exchange with new HDNs, two questions merit attention would be:

  1. What happens to the Rs. 2 lakh crore that is currently residing as liability of central bank (issued in the form of currency in circulation) but has not been tendered for exchange?
  2. What happens to the physical currency notes worth of Rs. 12 lakh crore that are tendered for exchange with RBI as they no longer represent currency note of value, but a mere physical paper?

The views of economists w.r.t. the first question (a) seem to be divergent. Since these are forming part of liabilities of RBI, and are (after the last date for exchange of old notes with new notes officially as per law) unclaimed notes, these can either be transferred to reserves or can be used to set off against the government bills against which these notes have been issued in the first place. The most plausible explanation seems to be that these liabilities need to be phased out in tandem with the tenancy of the government T-bills against which these are issued in first phase.

While the final action that is going to be taken by RBI can only be known in future, there seems to be some good precedence for the possible answer to the second question. Historically, the activity of exchanging the old notes with new notes is undertaken by RBI on a regular basis (remember the soiled notes concept?). Now these all notes are sorted by RBI manually once again to see if they are re-usable notes. After this, these notes are subject to the machine scrutiny named as Currency Verification Processing Systems (CVPS).

Each CVPS is capable of processing 50,000-60,000 notes per hour. It counts, examines the genuiness of notes, sorts notes into fit and unfit and destroys the unfit notes on-line. The shreds are on-line transported to a separate briquetting system where they are compressed into briquettes of small size. The system is also environment-friendly, as it does not create pollution that was created by burning of notes in the past. The briquettes can be used as residual fuel in industrial furnaces. They can even be used for land fillings or for making items for use at office and home and paperboard.

Even in the United States this briquetting technology is administered with utmost security standard so that the currency is crushed almost to the extent of a powdered form (so that there is no security information that can be gleaned from these pieces). The briquettes are then used in several major military installations that still use some coal-fired furnaces on their campuses. These installations can augment the coal by co-mingling it with wastepaper briquettes, meaning lower emissions and a little less pressure on how much coal gets used.

In Hungary, the government decided to use these briquettes to help the needy in the deadly cold snap. Hungarian central bank pulped wads of old notes into briquettes to help heat humanitarian organisations. Since these briquettes have a high calorific value, they require only a few bits of wood and the rooms are kept really warm.

The journey of a currency note thus begins its life as cash once the notes are issued into circulation by the country’s central bank, becomes a trash once they are stripped off its legal tender status by law and finally becomes ash when they are briquetted and finally destroyed. And mind you, in the end, it is not the “money” that is getting destroyed, it is just the “currency note” that is being destroyed, which by virtue of its legal status played an important role for a major part of our life – and subsequently lost its life legally.

Written by Dr Srinivas Yanamandra

Originally published on his blog. Reproduced with the consent of the author.

Why RBI didn’t cut the policy rate

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The six members of the monetary policy committee have surprised the financial markets by deciding to keep interest rates unchanged in the new monetary policy announced on Wednesday.

Inflation continues to retreat, so what could have made the Reserve Bank of India choose such caution? After all, data released by the Indian central bank soon after the policy was announced shows that the median inflation expectations of households in December have dropped sharply compared to their level reported during the previous quarterly survey.

The answer probably lies elsewhere.

The professional forecasters polled by the central bank have cut their inflation forecast for the third and fourth quarters of the current fiscal year by 0.4 percentage points and 0.2 percentage points respectively. This could be a result of the decline in demand because of the ongoing shortage of cash in the Indian economy.

The Indian central bank thus seems to be on course to meet its informal inflation target of 5% for January 2017, according to its glide path. The statement released by the MPC also says that the inflation target is 5% for the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year.

The going may get slightly difficult from there.

The formal inflation target that the RBI has to now meet over the medium term, starting from the next fiscal year is 4%, though with a band of 2% on either side. The professional forecasters are less sanguine about inflation after April 2017. They have actually increased their inflation forecast for the second quarter of fiscal 2018 by a sharp 0.4 percentage points.

The chart here compares the inflation target for a particular quarter with where the professional forecasters RBI tracks expect inflation to be. This may offer some clues why RBI chose to pause when just about everybody was goading it to cut.

The upshot: The gap between the forecasted inflation and the inflation target is expected to widen a lot in the coming quarters.

Why should inflation forecasts matter?

Even central banks that have inflation as their formal nominal anchor sometimes need what is called an intermediate target to plan their monetary policy actions.

In the minutes of the first monetary policy committee meeting in October, RBI executive director Michael Patra suggested in his published comments that the Indian central bank looks at inflation forecasts as an intermediate target: “In a framework in which inflation forecasts congeal all available information and serve as the intermediate target of monetary policy, two aspects are noteworthy: (a) the level of the inflation forecast for Q4 of 2016-17 is closer to the target than before; and (b) it has been moving down in relation to the second and third bi-monthly statement projections.”

RBI has its own inflation forecasts, but they currently do not go beyond the end of the current fiscal year. The inflation uptick expected by private sector economists in the next fiscal year could be a worry at a time when headline inflation has to be brought down by a full percentage point.

Does the widening gap between private sector inflation forecasts and the inflation target of the central bank explain the decision taken on Wednesday to pause rather than cut?

This article was originally published in Mint on 9th December. Reproduced with permission of the author.

Most Influential Books Under a 100 Pages

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influential books

For the impatient among you, it is understandable that you may not have the time or the patience to go through really long books. After all, we are all blessed with limited will power, and many times, even if we don’t will it, our will power tends to run out. So what can we do?

Well, not reading must never be an option. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. We’ve looked around on the internet and compiled a list of the most influential books that are less than a 100 pages in length. Here, check them out and pick up the ones whose description you liked best.

1 – Animal Farm 

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm by George Orwell

“All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.”
One night on an English farm, Major the boar recounts his vision of a utopia where his fellow creatures own the land along with the means of production and are no longer the slaves of humans.

Before long his dream comes true, and for a short while all animals really are equal. But the clever pigs educate themselves and soon learn how to extend their own power, inevitably at the expense of the rest of the community.

This well-loved tale is, of course, a satire on the Soviet Communist system that still remains a powerful warning despite the changes in world politics since “Animal Farm” was first published.

 

 

2 – The Little Prince

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 – The Old Man and the Sea

Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Set in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Havana, Hemingway’s magnificent fable is the tale of an old man, a young boy and a giant fish. This story of heroic endeavour won Hemingway the Nobel Prize for Literature. It stands as a unique and timeless vision of the beauty and grief of man’s challenge to the elements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 – Notes from the Underground

Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In 1864, just prior to the years in which he wrote his greatest novels — Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Possessed and The Brothers Karamazov — Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881) penned the darkly fascinating Notes from the Underground. Its nameless hero is a profoundly alienated individual in whose brooding self-analysis there is a search for the true and the good in a world of relative values and few absolutes. Moreover, the novel introduces themes — moral, religious, political and social — that dominated Dostoyevsky’s later works. Notes from the Underground, then, aside from its own compelling qualities, offers readers an ideal introduction to the creative imagination, profundity and uncanny psychological penetration of one of the most influential novelists of the nineteenth century. Constance Garnett’s authoritative translation is reprinted here, with a new introduction.

 

 

5 – The Death of Ivan Ilych

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

Hailed as one of the world’s supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his dying so much as a passing thought. But one day, death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise, he is brought face to face with his own mortality.

How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?

This short novel was an artistic culmination of a profound spiritual crisis in Tolstoy’s life, a nine-year period following the publication of Anna Karenina during which he wrote not a word of fiction.
A thoroughly absorbing and, at times, terrifying glimpse into the abyss of death, it is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation.

6 – On Dreams

On Dreams by Sigmund Freud
On Dreams by Sigmund Freud

Among the first of Sigmund Freud’s many contributions to psychology and psychoanalysis was The Interpretation of Dreams, published in 1900, and considered his greatest work — even by Freud himself. Aware, however, that it was a long and difficult book, he resolved to compile a more concise and accessible version of his ideas on the interpretation of dreams. That shorter work is reprinted here. Since its publication, generations of readers and students have turned to this volume for an authoritative and coherent account of Freud’s theory of dreams as distorted wish fulfilment.

After contrasting the scientific and popular views of dreams, Freud illustrates the ways in which dreams can be shown to have been influenced by the activities or thoughts of the preceding day. He considers the effect on dreams of such mental mechanisms as condensation, dramatizations, displacement, and regard for intelligibility. In addition, the author offers perceptive insights into repression, the three classes of dreams, and censorship within the dream.

Students and psychologists will welcome this inexpensive edition of an always-relevant work by the father of modern psychoanalysis. This volume will also appeal to anyone interested in dreams of the workings of the unconscious mind.

7 – Chess Story

Chess Story by Stefan Sweig
Chess Story by Stefan Sweig

Chess Story, also known as The Royal Game, is the Austrian master Stefan Zweig’s final achievement, completed in Brazilian exile and sent off to his American publisher only days before his suicide in 1942. It is the only story in which Zweig looks at Nazism, and he does so with characteristic emphasis on the psychological.

Travelers by ship from New York to Buenos Aires find that on board with them is the world champion of chess, an arrogant and unfriendly man. They come together to try their skills against him and are soundly defeated. Then a mysterious passenger steps forward to advise them and their fortunes change. How he came to possess his extraordinary grasp of the game of chess and at what cost lie at the heart of Zweig’s story.

This new translation of Chess Story brings out the work’s unusual mixture of high suspense and poignant reflection.

8 – Anthem

Anthem by Ayn Rand
Anthem by Ayn Rand

Rand was a Russian born American author who pioneered the philosophy of “objectivism.” Anthem is a futuristic science fiction novella. Man is in a dark age, because of earlier socialistic values. Technology is carefully planned and rarely allowed to advance. Individualism has almost ceased to exist. The theme of individualism versus collectivism runs throughout the novella.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 – The Waste Land and Other Poems

The Waste Land by TS Elliot
The Waste Land by TS Elliot

Few readers need any introduction to the work of the most influential poet of the twentieth century. In addition to the title poem, this selecion includes “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, “Gerontion”, “Ash Wednesday”, and other poems from Mr. Eliot’s early and middle work.

“In ten years’ time,” wrote Edmund Wilson in Axel0s Castle (1931), “Eliot has left upon English poetry a mark more unmistakable than that of any other poet writing in English.” In 1948 Mr. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize “for his work as trail-blazing pioneer of modern poetry”.

 

 

 

 

 

10 – The Doors of Perception

The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley

Sometimes a writer has to revisit the classics, and here we find that “gonzo journalism”—gutsy first-person accounts wherein the author is part of the story—didn’t originate with Hunter S. Thompson or Tom Wolfe. Aldous Huxley took some mescaline & wrote about it some 10 or 12 years earlier than those others. The book he came up with is part bemused essay & part mystical treatise—”suchness” is everywhere to be found while under the influence. This is a good example of essay writing, journal keeping & the value of controversy—always—in one’s work.