Thursday, November 16, 2017

How the Two O'Clock Rule Saves Lives

When attempting the roof of the world do so by 14h00. If you haven't forget about it and return to the safety of your tent. Otherwise your chances of surviving and being present at your own funeral fall by a lot. Because you'd be spending way too much time in the Death Zone where oxygen is really scarce. And be exposed to horrific climatic conditions in complete darkness. Failure to observe this rule in May 1996 led to eight deaths on the slopes of the 29,000-footer.

10 people lost their lives in a small perimeter in Port-Louis on 30/3. That was during the day. With most people in office buildings. What do you think would have happened if it was at night and there was a compact crowd of tens of thousands of people of all ages in the streets?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mauritius Discovers She Has An MP Called Tarolah

That was a few weeks ago. We also learned that he was a PPS. Mauritius found out about this obscure politician not because he made a game-changing contribution but because of what he did with his mobile. And while you would be hard-pressed to list half of the roughly seventy politicians that we sent to our National Assembly in 2014 it would not exactly be the first time. It would be an even bigger challenge to remember what they've contributed in making Mauritius better.

This is clearly a sign that our Parliament is way too big. And is costing us too much. It definitely highlights the absurdity of the suggestion that we need an extra 20 MPs to correct the lopsided outcomes that our excellent FPTP system produces on some occasions. It's silly for two reasons. One is that between 1977 and 2014 India has kept her number of MPs constant although the voting population there rose by half a billion. The other is that we can actually correct the imbalance by making our Parliament smaller. And that too without compromising the big advantages of the FPTP system or resorting to totally undemocratic devices like party lists and double candidacies.

Some History On Its Way

With the departure of Soodhun there's a possibility we might see Fazila Daureeawoo in the front bench of our Parliament. This would open the door for her to become the first female acting Prime Minister. All it will take is for the three ministers that are highest in the hierarchy to be out of the country. And it might happen when President Fakim -- who's been awfully quiet about recent threats to our national unity -- is in the Le Reduit. The odds of Ms. Daureeawoo making history are actually higher as PJ would have to dump Collendavelloo, a huge and growing electoral liability, soon. Very soon.

And if you noticed more history was made last 12 March when for the first time a Prime Minister of Mauritius who attended our flag-raising ceremony at historic Champ de Mars hadn't declared a community in a general elections. It would have been basic poetic justice for this honour to go to SSR the first time the Four Bands replaced the Union Jack. But that was not possible. This didn't distract the team he built from proving Meade wrong. A very tall order.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

30/3 and 3/5 Are Our 9/11s

11 people died on 30 March 2013 after 15 centimetres of rain fell on Port-Louis. That's 83% of the 2,996 people who died in the US on September 11, 2001 after adjusting for population. And 34 days later another 11 of our fellow Mauritians perished in a bus accident.

11 people dying in Mauritius is roughly equivalent to the 10,600 lives that were lost in India during the 2004 tsunami. So basically in 2013 we were hit by two deadly tsunamis within about a month.

We cannot forget what happened. Which is why we should refer to them as 30/3 and 3/5 so they stay in national conversations for as long as possible. Just like there is 26/11 for Mumbai and 7/7 for London.

Kinn Mars Pli Byen?

Flat tax TINAnen ek volontaria depi 2006 uswa taksasyon progresif ek benevola avan 2006?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Redesign of Coat of Arms Overdue

Seriously Mauritius. A dead and lazy bird on the left. An imported animal on the right. Both dressed in colonial tailcoats. A dead industry in the middle. A boat that we haven't used to go to work for at least a week. Hopefully it's not one of those boats that was involved in large-scale human trafficking. 3 palm trees. A key that will now be appropriate only when our independent country turns 52. And a star (mullet argent). Plus the 200-plus-year old reason why the British seized the island: Star and Key of the Indian Ocean. That was before the birth of the Wright brothers and Santos Dumont.

This beauty was apparently designed in 1906 by Johann Van Der Puf, the Mayor of Johannesburg. Might have been relevant then. But is definitely not now. We should organise a design competition. To get rid of this embarrassment.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Chetan Sashital Explains The Bases of Imitation

3 Reasons We Are Not a High-income Country

The first one is land use. If we removed all the sugar and replaced it with what we have elsewhere our GDP per capita at the end of 2015 would have increased by 48.5% to $13,575. And given us access to the high-income club.

The next reason is currency policy. If we had kept our currency fixed at its 1985 level of 15.58 rupees to the USD -- not a lot to ask from a Tiger as the majestic cats have been known to increase their exports while their currencies appreciate -- our GDP per capita would have been 2.25X larger. That is it would have climbed to $20,608.

The final reason is the devastating effect of the 15% flat tax. If we had clocked the average 8% growth rates promised since 2005 our output per capita would have shot up to $13,136 in 2015. Or about 44% higher. Which is by the way roughly how much the crazy land use has cost us. And gives us precious information to assess relatively recent policies.

Finally if we had no sugar cane, had been very reasonable with our currency and had clipped the robust 8% growth our GDP per capita would have been $43,971 or 4.81X bigger than where it was at Christmas time in 2015. This of course would have been 83% of the corresponding number for a famous South-East Asian Tiger.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Chuttoo Says Labour Laws Harm Mauritian Workers

Interesting debate where we learn that the hire-fire provision in our labour laws started in 2008. That's the period our very basic welfare state was being messed up by a toxic bean-counter. Mr. Chuttoo also refers to the practice of co-determination by Germany. Which is essentially about integrating workers' opinion in the decision-making process.

Why wouldn't you want your staff to help make the workplace better and where more competitive products/services are delivered? And align interests of all stakeholders? As the trade-union boss reminds us this makes it easier to freeze wages when it's needed as workers know they'll profit in any upside potential. Naturally this is easier in Deutschland where a strong mark has made Germany a very wealthy country and where policies are crafted in the interest of all Germans. Not of the weakest exporters. Not of the 1% only. And certainly not of foreigners.