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End of recession?

Looks like we are stumbling out of the specter of recession. Ben Bernanke has announced it, Paul Krugman has admitted to a technical end of recession, whatever that means. Over here in India, we too felt the tremors, but the effects were milder in comparison with US and Europe. The US engineering firm I worked for retrenched close to 700 employees, the one I’m currently with has substantially scaled down its expansion plans. Garment and diamond exports declined with consequent job losses.

I really have no clue what I could have done if handed a pink slip. Burdened with home loan, house rent, vehicle loan and a high cost of living, it would have been a nightmare to make ends meet. And I’m not an exception, it is the same for the majority of middle class Indians. So it is with much relief and anticipation that I welcomed the news.

However, it is difficult to banish a tinge of skepticism. The underlying causes of the current crisis still linger. The much touted banking reforms in the US have not been implemented. Hedge funds are surging back infused with humongous bailouts. Indian share-market has turned bullish and speculation is on the rise. Finance gurus are on the prowl again, forking out advice based more on fancy and less on evidence. Real estate costs are on the rise. Looks like we are getting back on the intoxicating freeway, again.

Then there is the rising cost of coping with climate change. We still continue to indiscriminately pollute. It is the middle of September and the mercury is soaring here in Gurgaon. Drought has been declared in many Indian states. Going by today’s meteorological reports, the south west monsoon is all but over. Farming in the north western states and the Gangetic plain which supply food grains to most of India have been severely affected by the lack of rain fall. I guess, we can expect commodity prices to soar by the beginning of next year.

As it is, Gurgaon does not have electricity most of the time. The city survives on diesel generators. During summer months the air conditioners drain the grid causing frequent blackouts. Power thefts and transmission losses also add to the woe. I wonder what it would be like in 2020 summer. Besides, summers are becoming longer too.

Guess I have digressed a bit into climate change, but it is a matter of concern. We have been ostrich like for long, but we can no longer deny it. It is affecting our lives and soon it would be – adapt or perish.

So I have decided to welcome the beginning of the end of recession with less euphoria and more caution.

Categories: Musings
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