Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kozelidir Person of The Year 2009

Attributed to the Mauritian Civil Society for making its voice increasingly heard.

Bet You Didn't Know You Understood Portuguese

Recyclagem needs no explanation. Papel and plastico neither. See, I told you! Lixo means garbage and misto obviously means something other than paper and plastic. Actually it means mixed. But you knew that from having ordered fritto misto in an Italian restaurant before.

What you will have a harder time understanding though is why we can't sort our garbage to make recycling easier instead of throwing stuff that we can use over and over again many times (like the overtherm egg packs that ensure safe travels from the hen to fridge). We should allow Brazil to inspire us where as many as 800,000 people sort garbage.

And what do you think lixo nuclear means?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Kind of Year 2009 Should Have Been (End)

July: You now know that texting is as bad as drunk driving. And that the great little country ain't dead yet. You should also doubt and discuss and start writing in our sexy language.

August: We should have been quite concerned about the ability of the economic reform to produce results. And paid a bit more attention to search results.

September: Ramgoolam should have shown he's a little bit more serious about MID and we should have adopted an economic constitution. We should not have forgotten how rich we are and why his airness is above the rest. And you should never cross a Nepalese bridge without our free guide.

October: We should have allowed miracles to immediately enter our lives and started to Samba.

November: Ramgoolam should have appointed new board members at the central bank and cancelled the tax on savings.

December: Maybe you should have been less surprised about couples breaking-up. Ramgoolam should have ended MEXA's blackmail and understood that the stimulus package did not save 5,000 jobs. Teachers should not have been inspired by MEXA.

Read the start of the review.

The Kind of Year 2009 Should Have Been

January: Berenger should have allowed Lutchmeenaraidoo to head the MMM. Oil prices should have come down by 25% to give our economy a breather. And our banks should have collapsed because there was a stimulus package ready to save them.

February: Board of MK should have been replaced with prudent persons while MP Dayal should have yelled for fact-finding committees over the STC and MK hedging scandals. Mansoor should have resigned from two more places and Hu should have been asked to stick around for good. Ramgoolam should have allowed his star candidate to run for office.

March: You should have ordered Mallaby's excellent book to get a good grasp on the World Bank. And you now have no excuses about not speaking up.

April: Our island should have sunk with all the terrible weather. No link was established between sporting the ancestor of havaianas and poverty-reduction. The Mauritian people should not have been kicked like that.

May: Island's international standing should not have been damaged. Government should have known better why firms die and get some hostage-negotiation training. Budget should have attracted a 1000 times more interest. We should have been spared those dead bones and external factors should have gotten their act together.

June: Work on fixing our balance of payments problems should have begun. Government should have improved the job dynamics in our economy. The King of Pop should have stayed a little longer.

Read the rest of the review.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

How Rating Agencies Struggled With Growth

Or is it greed? You should read the SEC's summary report below to find out for example about one analytical manager e-mailing to a colleague that rating agencies were creating an even bigger monster -- the CDO market. Let's hope we're wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters. ;o)."

Not too sure they managed to retire in time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why The Stimulus Package Didn't Save 4,700 Jobs

First of all Sithanen claims that the economy has created some 40,000 jobs since July 2005. That's roughly 8,000 jobs per year. If our economy is creating jobs this fast then we didn't need to save any because it would have created 4,700 jobs in 7 short months -- about 700 jobs every month.

Secondly, did these companies need to be saved? Does not paying your rent for several years although you operate in a booming industry related to the global financial meltdown?

Thirdly, didn't we hear a few greedy bosses wanting stimulus money but indecently saying at the same time that they didn't guarantee they could save any job. We've also heard worse than that.

So for all of this I am not buying into the argument that the stimulus package saved nearly 5,000 jobs. You shouldn't either.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How Long Will Your Marriage Last?

Not too long if there is contempt in your conversations. That's what psychologist John Gottman has found in his lab at the University of Washington through which more than 3,000 couples have transited. In fact he's able to predict 18 times out of 20 whether a couple will still be together 15 years later just by listening to 15 minutes of their interactions. Applying this kind of analysis fellow psychologist Nalini Ambady has identified four factors that will prompt a patient to sue her surgeon.

Even if you're not a married doctor you may still want to order Gladwell's bestseller Blink by clicking on the image below to find out about plenty of other interesting stuff like why you should trust your sweat glands when playing cards.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How To End MEXA's Blackmail

Create an employment insurance program like Canada's. That won't take too long to set up. After all we did come up with 4 jours a Paris when hell broke loose back in the 1970s. And this time around we're a much richer country.

The other thing we should do is to go back to our progressive taxation system: that's a wonderful antidote to greed and inequality. And corruption.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Vayid Finds de l'Estrac's Latest Book Biased

So he wrote in an article in Le Mauricien today. Essentially Mohamed Vayid said that de l'Estrac seems to be blowing that same old biased trumpet of Labour (1968-82) = Bad, MMM = Good. And he kind of found it awkward that the author has used I in a history book. He suspects that de l'Estrac might have gotten a little bit confused and has instead written an autobiography. The book, according to Vayid, doesn't show the detachment which is necessary for it to be taken seriously.

What do you think?

High VAT Rate Financing Inequality

Recall that the VAT rate was increased from 10% to 15% to finance the construction of quite a bit of public infrastructure. In contrast we didn't see anything on that scale since July 2005. Technically speaking then, government could have brought it back to 10%. If that had happened the debt-to-GDP ratio would have risen  to 57.72% as shown above. That's a little bit higher than where it was when Ramgoolam set off to Put People First.

Where did that 161.623 billion-rupee debt number come from? Simple. VAT receipts have amounted to about Rs17 billion per year over the last 4.5 years or if you prefer a total of Rs76.5 billion. One-third of that (5% is one-third of 15%) is Rs25.5 billion. Given that the last percentages of the VAT rate don't bring in as much as the first ones I chopped Rs5.5 billion off to get the round number of Rs20 billion. I then lumped it with the estimate from the Ministry of Finance.

Yeah, I guess you could call that reverse Robin Hood.

Russia's Emissions Down By 40% From 1990 Levels

Is that a triumph of eco-socliasm? Not really. The collapse is rather due to the economic problems that followed the break-up of the Soviet Union. In fact the emissions reached a maximum 60% decrease in 2003. And Russia is not alone. The other republics of the former Union also exhibit similar patterns as this interesting NYT graphic will show.

While you're at it I would recommend you scroll through the interesting timeline on climate change which begins with Fourier's early theory and ends with COP15.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top 10 Most Viewed Posts

1. Stuck in the Colonial Model

Cuttaree Displays Romantic View

Of both his leader and himself in an interview this afternoon. First his leader. Berenger is supposed to have been the one to pull the country out of a slump back in 1982. We've discussed about that myth before.

Jayen Cuttaree also confesses that we could have to wait another 50 years to find a third world candidate to the post of Director General of the WTO who campaigned as hard as he did.

Are you surprised to hear such a self-aggrandising statement from the deputy leader of an intellectually decrepit party like the MMM?

I'm not.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beyond The Smokescreen

Financial Analysis 101 teaches us to take turnover and net income figures of companies with a grain of salt. That's because these numbers are based on items that have been manipulated by management in the not-so-distant past. Hence the recommendation to at least cross check them with the company's cash flows to evaluate their quality. For example cash-trapped Infinity BPO shows a big turnover but hasn't been paying its rent for ages. Granted that hubris and bad management may also be at play here.

Similarly, Sithanen claims that his economic policies have worked as they've created 40,000 jobs. I think we need to cross validate this statement with the savings rate to get a clue about the kind of jobs that have been created. The idea is that if the economy is creating good jobs the savings rate should improve quite a bit -- people should have something to set aside once they've attended to their living expenses. At a minimum it should stay flat.

But as you may now know, the savings rate has plunged to a 30-year low of 12% or if you prefer to less than half its average level over the 15 years preceding the Sithanen screw-up. It looks like a lot of the jobs that have been created haven't pulled people out of subsistence.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Poll Recommends We Get New Board Members at the BOM

89% of the people thought we should get new board members at our Central Bank. I suspect they are all too aware that the Bank of Mauritius has two more sidewalks where impromptu press conferences can be held to usurp the prerogative of the Prime Minister.

28 people participated in the poll which closed only minutes ago. That's 2 more than the last one or 7.7% extra people if you can only think in terms of robust growth.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Burty David Dies at 63

While attending a function in his riding this afternoon. I met him for the first time in the early 1970s when he used to come down to our house in Beau-Bassin after my dad took him under his protective wing. He would drop by several times a week and sometimes several times a day in those days. I didn't see him that often after June 1982. But we did meet a few times after 1998. The last time I saw him was on July 23rd 2008 during an official ceremony honouring SKJ as pictured above. My heartfelt sympathy to his family.

The economist with a household name also passed away today. Indeed Samuelson is dead at 94. Read the NYT article.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

McDo passe au vert

La démarche initiée par McDonald's en Suède en 2000 et cette année à Chicago pour promouvoir une image associée au developpement durable se répand au Canada, au Brésil et en France. Le fond rouge - symbole d'une mondialisation sanguinaire aux yeux des alter-mondialistes - sera remplacé par le vert. McDonald's ne cherche pas à calmer ses plus ardents critiques, mais veut s’adapter et reconquérir constamment et fidéliser sa clientèle. Rien n'est laissé au hasard. Désormais, graduellement, menu, source d'énergie, déchet, emballage etc. afficheront des prétensions écologiques partout à travers le monde.

Ghana Sexier Than Mauritius

The East West Perception Index 2009 is out. It ranks how a particular country is viewed by others. Singapore tops the index. New Zealand, Ghana, Italy, India, the United Arab Emirates and Mauritius rank 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 17th and 45th (up 22 places from 2008) respectively.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Teachers Saying Syllabus Too Heavy

Those of the Government Teachers Union (GTU) to be more precise. They were in the streets today saying that they are against abolishing private tuition to standard IV pupils (9-year-olds) because they need the extra time to try to complete the curriculum. I agree with them. And that's easy to solve. We just need to rewrite the syllabus so that they can complete it within class hours (we also need to rewrite it to make it more interesting and so that our kids don't end up as bean-counters when they grow up).

But they are probably thinking more about the extra money they make out of private tuition which for some is more than what they make as government employees. Maybe they are underpaid. Maybe they aren't the only ones. But that's not too difficult to find out either.

By the way, it's not the only post we've written on this topic. What do you think would happen if you hit the CPE label?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gilbert Ahnee Quits

This has been one of the top stories unfolding over the last few hours. He will apparently be taking on a new job in January. Probably some of the most interesting pieces he has written as editor-in-chief were penned in the last few months when he finally started to doubt the toxic economic policies of Rama Sithanen.

We are also grateful to him for his good taste in allowing the readers of his quality paper as he liked to describe Le Mauricien to enjoy quite a few of our pieces in the Forum section.

We wish him all the best with his new challenges.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Soon Playing At A Theatre Near You

Inflation Targeting Turns 20

It started in New Zealand, the land of the kiwi -- the bird, not the fruit which is originally from South China -- back in 1989. That was to be followed by Chile a year later and by Canada in 1991.

The reason you want to target inflation is because it is the worst enemy of the poor. Besides there is no real trade-off between economic growth and inflation. And that's so easy to prove. For example the growth rate over the past 9.25 years has been 4.3% but the average inflation rate since July 2005 under Sithanen's toxic medicine has been about 54% higher than what it has been under Federation 2. Industrial relations also tend to improve when trade-unions see that you're serious about fighting poverty.

The UK's Treasury has also evaluated the benefits of inflation-targeting while you can read Canada's interesting experience with inflation control by clicking on the image below.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How To Make The Most of Kozelidir

If you've got a lot of time and an infinite amount of good taste you can scroll through the 300+ posts and enjoy them one by one (and tell your friends on facebook about it by clicking the relevant share button). Or month by month if you hit any of the month buttons on the right of your screen. That's not going to be the most popular option given the current size of the blog. Here are a few shortcuts.

Let's say you've enjoyed reading Samad's piece entitled Les inegalites meurtrieres and want to read posts along the same line. Piece of cake. Just hit the label entitled inequality at the bottom of the article and 4 other posts will pop-up for your immediate consumption including a 4m52s video of Thomas Piketty who's an expert on inequality and an opportunity to be different from Ramgoolam. Or maybe you're interested with posts on growth? Easy. Hit the growth label instead and you'll be on your way to read 17 more posts on that topic (more as we put labels in every post on Kozelidir). Of course, you can leave as many comments as you wish and you can do so in Kreol, English or in French and enrich the ongoing debates. Which you can also do by participating in the occasional poll that we hold.

Another quick way of looking for stuff that interests you would be to use the search boxes. I prefer the one that has search this blog on top (use it to find articles written by Richard Hokenson, Veer, Shy, Koztou and Mamoujee). The one in the top left corner gives different search results (I am not too sure I remember how they are really different -- drop me a line if you find out).

You can also join us on Facebook by hitting the FB Join Us box or follow us on Twitter. Some of our fans have added us to their Google reader and what not while others have even enjoyed purchasing the great books we've reviewed.

Finally if you want to have an overdose of Samad's writing you can visit Tchombo! and read about a A Femme Fatale Named Tina and the other posts in there. Likewise if you want to read some meatier stuff I've written, head to The Jag! where pieces like The Fallacy of The Triple External Shocks Argument awaits you.

Happy reading!

Governor Responds To Detractors With Humour

Click here if the audio file wouldn't start.

Les inégalités meurtrières

Le rapport de l'Organisation mondiale de la Santé est on ne peut plus édifiant au sujet des inégalités générées par des politiques de la "croissance à tout prix". Voici un aperçu:

"La croissance économique permet d’améliorer le revenu dans de nombreux pays, mais l’augmentation de la richesse nationale ne suffit pas à elle seule pour améliorer la santé dans un pays. Faute d’une répartition équitable des avantages, la croissance nationale peut même exacerber les inégalités. Les pays nordiques, par exemple, ont suivi des politiques qui encouragent l’égalité en matière d’avantages et de services, le plein emploi, la parité entre les sexes et de faibles niveaux d’exclusion sociale."

Le rapport ne se s'arrête toutefois pas au niveau du constat. Le mal-être qui gangrène notre société doit nous interpeller à méditer sur ses recommendations:
  • Améliorer les conditions de vie quotidienne, c'est-à-dire les circonstances dans lesquelles les individus naissent, grandissent, vivent, travaillent et vieillissent.
  • Lutter contre les inégalités dans la répartition du pouvoir, de l’argent et des ressources, c'est-à-dire les facteurs structurels dont dépendent les conditions de vie quotidienne aux niveaux mondial, national et local.
  • Mesurer et comprendre le problème des inégalités et évaluer l’efficacité de l’action menée.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ramgoolam Failed To Make Sea Change

Sithanen's New Model is Actually Old Crap

Here's how the Doctor's special medicine was supposed to work: cut tax rates sharply and you'll get growth rates that will be so robust that you won't need to reduce any government expenditure to balance your books -- Laffer, according to Krugman, incidentally promised that revenues would increase. For example Federation 2 produced average growth rates of 4.33% when taxes were about 25-30%. Now if you cut tax rates by about 50% by flattening the tax structure you obviously need much higher growth rates to compensate for the now-lower tax rates. Makes sense, right?

The snag is that with the tax rates flat at 15% Sithanen only managed to deliver average growth rates of 4.32%. That's the worst performance in 25 years in case you're wondering. Trouble is that's too little growth for a 15% tax rate (his growth rate is already lower than that of Federation 2). Which would explain why he came with special levies on bank profits for two straight years and a funny 2% contraption called CSR. And why he's been budgeting billions without actually spending them. He's also been borrowing like crazy specially in foreign currency while telling us at the same time that he's fought hard to prevent Mauritius from going into the ICU of the IMF.

When the supply-side crap was first tried in the US -- top tax rates fell from 36.5% in 1980 to 26.7% in 1989 -- robust growth never arrived causing the Federal debt to increase from a little less than $1 trillion to $4 trillion from 1981 to 1992. What it did produce was a lot of inequality and a lot of poverty. Doesn't that sound familiar?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How You Know You're A Liar

According to Sithanen that would be claiming that it is possible to reduce the VAT rate. Of course it is possible because when the VAT rate was increased from 10% to 15% we saw a lot of schools coming out of the ground and the Treasury building and Le Reduit were renovated. In contrast what did you see during the last 4.5 years in terms of new infrastructure despite that government bagged twice as much VAT on record oil prices from 2006 to 2007?

Another lie would be asserting that no country invests more than 50% of their reserves in gold. Which is what Sithanen repeated in an newspaper interview today adding that Vishnu's proposition is pure folly. Google disagrees and brings up the relevant wikipedia page. Here are the countries that are completely crazy according to the Minister who didn't know how to resign.

Haven't you had enough of his lies?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Government Debt 101

Debt-to-GDP ratio of the central government (that doesn't include parastatal debt) is down by about 8.5% since its 2005 level. That's roughly where it was in 2000. How could that have happened given that the economy grew by about the same speed throughout the last decade (4.33%)?

Simple. Headline GDP numbers are calculated in real rupees -- after taking inflation into account -- while debt-to-GDP numbers involve nominal amounts. The trick is to make sure that the denominator increases faster than the numerator. For example nominal GDP has increased annually by 10.59% on average between 2005 and 2009 while debt has increased by only 6.26%. The corresponding numbers for Federation 2 are respectively 9.03% and 13.24% which would explain why the ratio went up.

Why did government debt increase at a slower rate during the last 4.5 years? We've covered that already. How important has been to lower the ratio? The answer to this question is another question: how has your life changed in the last 4.5 years?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We Undermine Trust at our Own Risk and Peril

Partha Dasgupta, Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge, seems to be stating the obvious: trust-building is the foundation of everything positive we wish to achieve. But his paper is illuminating in the sense that it treads where standard economic theory fails to convey the key insights on why some countries outperform others.

For instance, he clearly demonstrates how productivity, competitiveness and socio-economic development are linked to trust among all stakeholders. That's a far cry from a TINAwallah's perspective. Of course, implementing the proper mechanism to curb breach of trust is a challenge.

It is also true that fuelling mutual cynicism is not a viable option. Whether at the micro level, like a household and a firm, or the national level where compliance to rule of law must be the most pervasive and strongest. The more so when sanction for leadership failure has become so elusive.

Kuma Bann GLD Depans Zot Lenerzi

Nek gueler gramatin tantot. Se impe seki Aline Wong ti dir ena pa tro lontan. Bizin dir kinn donn zot tu: stimilus pakeg, flat tax, rupi inn sort Rs20 an 1985 pu depass Rs60 en 2007 plis tu kalite lezot lavantaz. Ena ti envi pran kass dan stimilus pakeg zis oka ou zot gagn problem pli divan. Ek ena pe gagn kass depi dan sa pakeg la alors ki zot sekter pe grandi a tut vites.

Zot pa truv ase mem. Ki zot le pu zot chup chap inpe? Enn bol derive? Bizin aret gaspiye nu kass ar sa bann lasos la. Kreer enn lasirans somaz, bes prix internet ek kuran ek laisse bann nuvo entreprener emerze. Bann vre.

*GLD=Gurma laminn dipin

Monday, November 30, 2009

Street-Level Board Members And Weak Rupee: Any Links?

It's not a secret that Bheenick has held firm against completely outlandish requests from a few greedy and crazy exporters to brutally depreciate our rupee over the last couple of years. There are now some fresh new demands to let our currency head south.

And they come on the coattails of rather bizarre behaviour from a group of board members who seemed determined to undermine the Governor.

Is that a coincidence?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Should I Read The Budget?

In a few days it will be two weeks since the budget was read by the Minister of Finance. I still haven't chewed it. And I don't feel any urgency of going through it either. And many of the people I've talked to seem to have come to essentially the same conclusion: it's not going to make our lives better.

That doesn't mean you're not gonna hear from me. Far from that. I've got a lot of interesting posts coming your way. So stay tuned!

Lutchmeenaraidoo To Hire Best and Brightest

Irrespective of their political bent once they're in government. So he said in an interview yesterday. That's kind of refreshing to hear. And that's very different from what Navin Ramgoolam has been doing since July 2005: getting the worst from the MMM to play (or is it to not play?) important roles in the running of Mauritius.

No wonder our country has gotten itself into such a bad shape.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Free Optical Test

Just came across this amazing new site to check if your eyes are working. Not only is it a great site but it's also totally free!!!

Thought I would share this with you.

How Ramgoolam Can End the Conflict at The BOM

1. Ask Sithanen to step down as Minister of Finance on account of the worst economic performance for any government in 25 years and for bringing the savings rate to a 30-year low.

2. Randomly replace enough of the Board members who organised a press conference at street level yesterday so as to bring a little bit of sanity to the Board of the Central Bank.

3. Sack Bheenick and appoint an idiot who will depreciate our rupee sufficiently for people to take to the streets.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How To Find Out if You Are Biased

Here are a few pointers.
  1. You don't want to find out how Rs3 billion was lost at the STC.
  2. You don't want to know how the STC ended up paying the subsidies on rice and flour after these were initially cancelled.
  3. Only one or two sections of the Bank of Mauritius Act interest you. You never heard about article 5.2a although you are aware that people have become poor in our country.
  4. You find it normal for someone to say that his room for manoeuvre is small although a few days later he announces that he has Rs5.3 billion more than expected.

How You Know the UK is Serious About Fighting Poverty

Easy. You simply have to read one of the letters its Minister of Finance sends to the Governor of the Bank of England every year to reconfirm the inflation target of 2%. Click the image below for one of those.

Are Opinion Leaders Failing Us?

In a bid to contain mass deception, David Sirota, the author of “Hostile Takeover” and “The Uprising” warns:

"When hostility to intelligence and to the basic process of thinking itself emanates from the very professional thinkers who lead the nation’s intelligentsia, it’s a sign our country is becoming the ignorance-deifying idiocracy we should all fear."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why The Debt-to-GDP Ratio Has Fallen

For sure it didn't happen by reducing wastage levels. Nope. That we know from reading the damning government audit report year after year. Instead, the Finance Minister did it mostly by never spending many of the billions he had budgeted over the last 4.5 years in typical bean-counting tradition:

1. The Empowerment fund has spent only Rs800 million over a 3-year period instead of the 1-billion-rupees-a-year pledge. That's Rs2.2 billion 'saved'.

2. By making us pay Rs3 billion for an apparent hedging mess at the STC through much higher pump prices than would warrant prevailing oil market prices.

3. Announcing 6 Rs1-billion funds in the June 2008 budget (Food security fund, Human Resource, Knowledge and Arts fund, MID fund, etc) but spending only a small fraction of them.

4. Not spending enough of the last 4-5 capital budgets.

5. Repackaging paragraph 271 as an additional stimulus package and setting aside a few more billions which were never to be spent.

6. VAT of 15% was kept on oil prices throughout the period they went all the way to USD147 a barrel. For instance VAT receipts on oil prices doubled from Rs1.65 billion to Rs3.3 billion in 12 short months from 2006 to 2007.

7. Depreciating our currency.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rezistans ek Alternativ 2-0 Government of Mauritius

At last, some good news in the land of ti-lipie lor gro-lipie. The submission of Rezistans ek Alternativ that categorising candidates into four and rather arbitrary ethnic groups may not even have an elementary legal grounding has now been declared admissible by the UN's Human Rights Committee. That's after Justice Balancy ruled in favour of the political organisation some four years ago.

Although our Government has now six months to submit its position to the Committee and drag its feet a little longer, the right thing for our parliament to do would be to immediately chip that obsolete section off our constitution.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Poll Blames Minister For Brutal Drop in Savings

As a snapshot of the results shows, some 88% of the voters thought the Minister of Finance was mostly responsible for the large and alarming drop in the savings rate to a 30-year low of 12%. 3% placed the blame on the Governor's shoulders while 7% had none of them responsible.

True the sample is quite tiny at 26 votes. Still, that's only 4 less than Pluriconseil's 30. Besides Pravind Jugnauth lost his seat by a mere 38 votes in 2005.

My First Impression On the 2010 Budget

Just like last June I didn't listen to the budget speech live. I don't think I will until they have it subtitled in English. I haven't read it either. I've only scrolled down the document for about one minute last night. Which is why I had to turn down a few requests for opinion pieces since Wednesday.

But I've already seen the same truckloads of lies and misleading statements in there. It seems to be a copy paste of the same crap that we have been served for the past 4.5 years.

Mauritius, don't you think we deserve way better than this?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meet The Misery Index

It's already tough when you're facing high inflation. Now just imagine that you're without a job as well. It becomes hellish and it's the reason why Arthur Okun suggested back in the 70's that we add the two together to come up with his Misery Index. And why inflation targets have become so popular since 1989.

Computing it for Mauritius yields interesting insights. It hit a 10-year high of 20.5% at the end of 2007 and stayed almost put at 20% a year later. That's close to double the level when Ramgoolam lost power in 2000. Federation 2 had also a much lower average than the supply-side folly of Sithanen: 13.3% vs 19.4%. That is Sithanen's new model produced 46% more misery.

Making Sense of Sithanese

How serious is the Minister about eradicating poverty?
Simply check the cumulative rate of inflation -- the worst enemy of the poor -- as well as for the presence of explicit inflation targets. Federation 2 took 4.75 years to clobber the population with the high rate of cumulative inflation of 23.90%. Sithanen was in a hurry. He took only 2.89 years. And he has systematically violated article 5.2a of the Bank of Mauritius Act by not providing any inflation targets.

Minister's central objective was to set the stage for robust growth.
That didn't happen. His average will be around 4.3% by the time we go to vote next year. That will be the worst performance in decades. The numbers don't change that much if we exclude the last 12 months.

He's gonna brag that his reforms have brought in Rs34 billions of FDI.
Whilst it's true that we've received a lot more FDI, these big inflows have not benefited a majority of the population because they've been mismanaged. Just ask or look around. Better still, check the national savings rate. It's currently hovering at a 30-year low of 12%. Besides, did you know that the average growth rate of Sithanen his first time around (September 1991 to December 1995) was 1.0% higher at 5.3% although he got only Rs1 billion of FDI over 4.25 years?

Thanks to the Sithanen reforms, Mauritius is now the 17th best place to do business.
The Doing Business rankings measures red tape and nothing else. Even the World Bank doesn't trust it, so why should we? Furthermore, did you know that Mauritius clocked a 23rd spot in the 2005 rankings -- before the reforms had actually begun -- but 9 spots lower at 32nd in the year of the early harvest and six spots lower at 29th in the year of the bumper crop? And if we gained a few spots this year it's mostly because we've made firing workers easier and gamed the index by passing a rank-raising law. Expect wild swings in our rankings in the years ahead.

Sithanen Delivers Worst Growth in Decades

Although the delivery of robust growth was his main objective. Guess, it's one reason for voters in Belle-Rose/Quatre-Bornes not to send him to parliament again.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's Not Getting Better, Is It?

MK reports that one yield statistic has reached a record level. Is that an indication of better management already? Not really.

See, they lent out one of their planes recently -- for which they self-congratulated themselves -- so that they are offering less seats to and from the land of c'est un plaisir. That should lower the number of empty seats aboard each time one of their planes takes off, right?

Well, it also depends on how traffic is doing. Although traffic fell over the past little while, it hasn't fallen enough so as to depress yields as much as renting that plane has increased it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1.4% Decline in Savings Was Termed Bleak

In his Insider's View published back in August 2005 the Finance Minister lamented that our national savings rate had dropped from an average of 26.0% in the first Navin Ramgoolam government to 24.6% under Federation 2. He goes on to say (see paragraph 17):

CSO is forecasting a very low savings rate of 19.5 per cent for 2005. Here again, we must be utterly concerned. Firstly, because as a nation we are consuming at a faster rate than we are producing. Secondly, because the savings rate is below the investment rate. This will exert demand pressures on prices and will have an adverse impact on the current account of the balance of payments.

Fast forward 4.25 years and the savings rate is now at a 30-year low of 12%. I haven't heard him on that yet but I wouldn't be surprised he's so shattered that he can't find the right words to express his anguish. But I also wonder how all this happened. Any clues?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ramgoolam Gets His Own Blog

Actually it is supposed to be the official website of the Labour Party but you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It's Ramgoolam all over the place: son and father.

The section on the party's impressive achievements pretentiously attributes everything to SSR. There are absolutely no nuances. It's like attributing the development of the entire field of Mathematics to Newton. Gauss never existed. Or Einstein did everything in Physics. Richard who?

Navin's pic is in the header to the right of the party's logo and its payoff line au service du pays depuis 1936. I didn't know he'd been serving us for that long. No wonder he admitted years ago that he was going downhill.

Stimulus Package: The Timeline

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Ultimate Red-Tape Machine

That would be a fitting name for the Empowerment Foundation which had blazed some new trails last year by... changing its name from the Empowerment Fund. That's because after 3 years in operation it has spent only Rs800 million instead of the Rs3 billion pompously announced by you know who. That's barely more than a quarter of the budgeted amount in case you're wondering.

The unspent Rs2.2 billion has gone towards reducing the deficit and debt-to-GDP ratio as per standard bean-counting practice. For sure it hasn't meant lower wastage levels. Nope. The damning government auditor's report constantly reminds us that this is yet another area where Sithanen has miserably failed to deliver - he referred to it as the bloody report in 2005 and promised to wage war against the Rs5 billion that's wasted every year.

It would be also interesting to find out about the administrative costs of this foundation and compare them to traditional public service delivery.

How Were The Economic Seas in 1995?

That would be an interesting question to put to Rama Sithanen. Because that was one of the two years in which we sent a new government to parliament with the power to corrupt absolutely.

While the global economy was in a tailspin in 1982 conditions were incomparably better at the end of 1995. For instance Bill Clinton was getting ready to grab four more years at the White House in the following year.

But that didn't prevent Sithanen and friends from scoring less than 19% of the votes.

Savings Rate Collapses Brutally

It has hit a 30-year low of 12%. How did we drop from an average savings rate of 26.4% between 1990 and 2004 to such a low level? Who's to blame? Bheenick or Sithanen?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

IELS Saying Incinerator Doesn't Make Sense

In a piece recently published in the Forum pages of Le Mauricien Karim Jaufeerally, the President of the Institute for Environmental and Legal Studies, highlights the shortcomings of the project including:
  • serious health risks exist because Mauritius is not exactly a world-beater as far as the enforcement of environmental standards go
  • the incinerator will burn 3/4 of the 400,000 tons of waste we produce per year although 1/2 of the latter quantity is green waste
  • a penalty will be levied if less than 300,000 tons of waste is sent to the incinerator which kind of removes any incentives for us to produce less waste -- see I told you the MID project should probably be renamed MIP (Maurice Ile Palabres)
  • a purchase price of Rs5.71/Kwh for the electricity produced by the incinerator which would be more than 60% that of the IPP contracts -- an abusive price that Ramgoolam has promised to review for about two years now
  • a tipping fee of USD39 per ton of waste
What do you think of all this?

The Economic Weather Under Federation 2

Sithanen likes repeating something the Prime Minister said in parliament back in April: In 2005 there was no recession, the sea was calm, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. That statement is not quite true as we've demonstrated before.

Indeed in 2005 our textile industry contracted by 14.7% after shrinking by half that amount in 2004. One of the causes of this severe recession in that industry -- about 25,000 people lost their jobs over a 5-year period -- was the expiration of the 30-year old multi fiber agreement. And given the weight of that industry in our economy (8.1% in 2004) its performance in 2005 was negative enough to drag GDP growth by about 1.2%.

Contrast that with the effect of the global recession that started about a year ago. The fact that it didn't affect Mauritius as much as the textile recession shouldn't have surprised us. Our banks have been churning out record profits and unlike in the US our financial system was not on the brink of collapse.

So, what you have to take away from this is that something affecting one of our main industries can be more devastating to us than a global crisis hitting many rich countries.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

How Really Difficult Was the CPE Maths Paper?

Some are saying that it was at a difficulty level not seen in years. Others don't agree. To find out we should send the math papers of the last few years to psychometricians.

These professionals who are trained to sort out issues like the difficulty of tests could also shed some historical light on when the so-called CPE fever started rearing its ugly head if we submitted end-of-primary exam papers of the last 35 years or so to them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

US Has Plan For the Too-Big-To-Fail Darlings

According to the New York Times, the United States are about to give themselves more options to deal with the gigantic risks that such firms create for the economy at large. These include kicking management out, taking control of the firm and playing around with their capital structure so as to minimise the risk to the system as a whole (the so-called systemic risk).

A fair response, I guess, to the uproar of throwing good taxpayers' money after bad behaviour.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cachez-moi cette vérité que je ne saurais voir

Dans une interview, Nizaar Dowlut, un entrepreneur engagé dans la communication visuelle, met en évidence ce que la propagande, l'aveuglement partisan et la griserie dissimulent:

"Il n'existe pas d'encouragements pour aider les PME à se mettre en place à Maurice. Les banques ne prêtent qu'à ceux qui ont de l'argent, pas à des jeunes qui veulent lancer un petit business. Alors comment voulez-vous qu'un jeune se lance s'il n'a aucun moyen, s'il n'a aucune garantie à offrir à la banque en vue d'obtenir un prêt. Le système mauricien est tel que seuls les jeunes ayant des moyens peuvent se lancer dans le business."

Quid des discours officiels alors?

"Ce ne sont que des discours."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One Place World's Biggest Brand Shouldn't Be

At USD68.7 billion, Coca Cola is according to Interbrand the biggest brand in 2009. Nokia is at the 5th spot while Google is, at no 007, a whisker shy of McDonald's. BMW is ranked 15 while Toyota is no 8. Samsung is a bigger brand than Sony just like J.P. Morgan is more valuable than Goldman Sachs.

Surprised? Me too. I wasn't expecting to see that plastic bottle in one of our National Parks.

Rich Germans Petition to Reintroduce Wealth Tax

Call it romantic or whatever, but the initiative "Vermoegende für eine Vermoegensabgabe" (Wealthy people in favor of a wealth tax) led by Dieter Lehmkuhl, a retired doctor, is laudable. The group claims that "the path out of the crisis must be paved with massive investment in ecology, education and social justice. Our aim is to send a political signal to the public and to raise consciousness for this issue in the long run". Sounds pretty proactive and common-sensical to me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Big Apple Cuts Carbon Emissions By 3.5%

In 2008. You can click on the following image to download the very interesting and suitably titled report: Inventory of New York City Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Norway Tax Returns Go Public

In a move that should prove highly controversial to implement elsewhere, tax authorities in Norway have made public a tax list showing the annual income and overall wealth of almost every taxpayer. For Christine Ingebritsen, a professor at the University of Washington, it reflects a typical Scandinavian custom of egalitarianism.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How Much For A New Reservoir?

Since yesterday the CWA has started implementing water cuts on the back of the same old excuses. These cuts are a very good indicator of the average level of management of our country. See, our population was controlled ages back, we sit next to one of the rainiest spots on earth (Reunion Island) and we're a rich country so how difficult is it to make sure that water stoppages become history for all of us?

It definitely can't be as difficult as the water supply problems of Singapore which imports more than half of the stuff from Malaysia and yet it's one of the most competitive places in the world year after year. They've managed this one with NEWater (recycling waste water), desalination and increasing the water catchment area. That sounds like uber problem-solvers at work, doesn't it?

And how does going to ocean depths to run our air-con sound? Un plaisir, sans doute...

Chez Nous, Vous Etes Chez Vous

This is how our sister island is marketing herself these days. I saw the clip which seemed to come straight from Home. Unsurprisingly, I just found out that it had been produced by Yann-Arthus Bertrand. Nice. Nice. Nice. And, nobody had to explain anything to me.

The copy on YouTube is not that good. You're better off catching it in here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tiger Ready To Pounce, Again

Indeed Singapore's economy clocked a 14.9% growth in the third quarter after expanding at the impressive clip of 22.0% in the preceding one. Although that will be insufficient from preventing the economy from contracting between 2% and 2.5% in 2009 you can bet which Tiger will leap furthest once the world economy start picking up again.

The prognosis for the Tiger-wannabe is of course entirely different. The crisis we're in here has been created by the toxic policies of Sithanen and Mansoor. So that as long as they gonna be around we're not going to go anywhere.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

MSM Promises Second Miracle

If it finds itself in government again although we didn't see any between 2000 and 2005. Maybe we would have if we had not been stupid enough to kick Federation 2 out of office. Silly us!

Maybe not because they claim the first miracle started right in 1983. Wait a second. If Labour got hammered in June 1982 and MMM-PSM started fighting almost immediately till their break-up nine months later in March 1983 what exactly did they do for the miracle to begin as soon as Berenger was dumped?

And if miracle indeed there was, why did Obeegadoo have to build all these schools 17 years later and traffic was to become a ten-headed monster?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Une incursion en Sarkozie

"Désormais le monde des affaires sera au cœur du système politique français. Nous sommes face à un népotisme de nouveau riche." C'est ainsi que s'expriment deux sociologues, en l'occurence Monique Pinçon-Charlot et Michel Pinçon, dans le sillage de la cooptation avortée de Jean Sarkozy, "fils de", à la tête de l'Etablissement public d'aménagement de La Défense (EPAD).

Si, pour le constitutionnaliste Dominique Rousseau, "cet usage n’est pas symbolique de la Ve République, mais plutôt de la culture monarchiste française latente dans notre pratique politique et constitutionnelle depuis 1789", le sarkozysme, en revanche, incarne une nouveauté: il déballe son fonctionnement sans états d'âme.

Comme en témoigne d'ailleurs cette déclaration devant des lycéens quasiment au même moment: "ce qui compte en France pour réussir, ce n'est pas d'être bien né, c'est de travailler dur et d'avoir fait la preuve, par ses études, par son travail, de sa valeur".

Mais les citoyens auront quand même l'opportunité de sanctionner un tel mépris aux prochaines élections. "Aujourd'hui, je suis d'avis qu'ils ne sanctionneront pas", rétorque Monique Pinçon-Charlot. Ainsi voguent les "valeurs républicaines", la "démocratie" et patati et patata.

Cette schizophrénie qui marque aussi une "amnésie collective" n'est malheureusement pas une tare française uniquement. En effet, le népotisme s'est infiltré et s'est installé confortablement dans beaucoup de systèmes à travers le monde. Bien que, de toute évidence, le degré varie selon les pays. N'est-ce pas?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How To Tell That the Branding Exercise Has Failed

Easy. One of the persons closely associated with it had to explain it all in a full-length interview. If the job had been well done no explanation would have been necessary. When you see Nokia, Connecting People do you need an idiot's paragraph to understand what it means?

One of my buddies who is a graphic designer is of the opinion that c'est un plaisir has probably been inspired by BMW's Sheer Driving Pleasure. He may have a point here.

Now, if we Mauritians don't understand what the payoff line means who will?

Sorry, Home Away From Home is Taken Already

Ask the world and they will associate it with Starbucks and not Mauritius. There was even a book published about this some... 5 years ago. Which gives you an indication of how long it takes for news to travel to some quarters in Mauritius. And ask most of our fellow citizens and they will not associate living in Mauritius with un plaisir. A growing number will instead associate it with un enfer.

The branding exercise that has just ended seems to have been created with the same kind of rare intelligence that produced the stimulus package and the daylight savings time and about half that of the concept of Maurice Ile Durable.

Mauritius, I think we have a problem.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Self-confessed Smart CEO Explains Rip-off

As newly-minted Chairman of MK. Blame it on our non-stop flights he says. So I guess the prices for the 20-minute flights to Reunion island will go down to more reasonable levels once they stop over on Ile de la Passe for a couple of hours. Why didn't we think of this before?

How then does he explain that it costs Rs5,500 to fly from Mauritius to Rodrigues and back but Rs8,300 if you start in Rodrigues instead?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Branding Exercise Should Start Afresh

First of all because Mauritius, c'est un plaisir sounds pretty lame. We should have come up with something more telegraphic like Incredible India, Amazing Thailand or Connecting People like Nokia did. And the brand messaging could also have been in kreol.

I don't see how this is gonna resonate with us or foreigners. And as Samad mentioned, branding is like a wrapping. People will be fooled only once.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spoiled Brat Returns to Hindu House

Probably out of increasing desperation. And to run away, a little further, from the problems he was elected to solve back in 2005 and those he has created since then. Contrast that with Obama dealing with the burning issues head on.

So, given that Yes, Navin Can't it doesn't really matter when he calls us to the polls because nothing really positive will happen between now and then. And if you thought the way he lost power back in 2000 was really pathetic, you ain't seen everything yet.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dodoland:The Branding of

According to Simon Anholt, founder of the National Brands Index, "the best way for a country to generate a good image is not by conducting clever ad campaigns, but by implementing good policies. The most important thing is to tell the truth".

And what makes brand Italia so mamma mia? Simon Anholt argues that "in the end it's the Italian people who brand Italy, and they do it so damn well."

So if we take into account how the image of Mauritius and the self-confidence of its citizens ought to have benefited from the years of "miracle" and "reform", there should not be any justification for a branding campaign!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Drama in the Mara

But not the kind that gets played there every day. Nope. Eastern Africa is two rainy seasons short so that many animals are dying and livelihoods are under attack. Which would explain why the wildebeests pictured above safely travelled between the Mara River and the Serengeti several times a day without meeting any ton-heavy Nile crocodiles.

Crispation, quand tu nous tiens!

Dans un essai, La Peur du déclassement, Eric Maurin, Directeur d'études à l'Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) en France, tente d'expliquer le cercle vicieux qui fige toute tentative de changement. Il postule que "la société française a peur et cette anxiété induit des stratégies individuelles et des politiques publiques qui, en fin de compte, alimentent et entretiennent la peur."

Et ce blocage découle du fait que "depuis quarante ans, gouvernements, syndicats et entreprises ont fait le choix, collectif, de défendre d'abord ceux qui sont les plus protégés dans la société. Au détriment des plus fragiles. Comme le fossé entre les "insiders" et les "outsiders" n'a jamais été aussi profond, la peur de chuter n'a jamais été aussi forte dans les classes moyennes et supérieures."

Un tel climat favorise inévitablement un repli identitaire qui finalement renforce aussi l'affirmation ethnique.

N'est-ce pas Dodoland?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Avis: recherche intelligence pratique désespérément

Le citoyen avisé Raj Roy nous éclaire la voie à suivre pour fluidifier la circulation urbaine tout en évoquant la voie à éviter:

"Il nous faut adopter le concept de nouvelles gares en périphérie. À ce moment-là, des navettes qui effectuent des trajets entre différents points précis et la nouvelle gare pourraient effectivement grandement alléger l'artère principale.

Quant aux autres modes de transport en commun, cette initiative reste dans le domaine du wishful thinking car les soi-disant solutions proposées par les différents gouvernements sont toutes des inepties et ne reposent que sur des contrats juteux qui, outre de ne rien résoudre, nous endetteraient encore plus.
De même pour le Dream Bridge et le Bus Way qui à lui seul revient au coût inimaginable d'US $ 10,9 millions au kilomètre. De quoi rentrer dans le Guiness Book of Records...

Le débit de passagers d'un Bus Way ne pourra jamais rivaliser non plus avec un Mass Transit System, car le premier requiert beaucoup trop de surface au sol et se limite au nombre d'autobus/vans pouvant emprunter ces corridors de déplacement."

Don't Wait for Fat Cats and Tinawallahs to Agree

On a dissenting note on the financial system bailout and the too-big-to-fail smokescreen, Jean-Paul Fitoussi, Professor of economics, wrote:

"The free-market doctrine, which has become almost a religion, reinforced this belief: markets are efficient, and if they pay me so much (a potentially mind-boggling amount, as seen in recent cases), it is because my own efficiency warrants it. I also participate indirectly and abstractly in forging the common good, by creating value through my work, and I am rewarded for it."

Before concluding:

"The crisis reminds us what each person owes to others, highlighting an ethical truth that we were quick to forget: the rich benefit more than the poor from their coorperation with other members of society."


"But don’t hold your breath waiting for them to agree."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pour ou kontre?

Selon Jean-Pierre Jaffré, linguiste au Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) en France, "l'orthographe est là pour véhiculer du sens. Il faut accepter une variation orthographique, aussi longtemps que le sens n'est pas altéré." Néanmoins, il prône un "libéralisme orthographique raisonné".

Le défi est d'autant plus immense pour le français qui est "sans doute l’une des langues les plus compliquées au monde" et qui "n’a pratiquement connu aucune réforme profonde depuis qu’il s’écrit, c’est-à-dire le XVe siècle". Comme toujours, le réalisme finira par surmonter l'"exception française". Peu importe si c'est dans la douleur.

Par ailleurs, même si l'anglais s'est imposé comme la lingua franca du "village global", en grande partie peut-être grâce à sa plus grande latitude à se multiculturaliser, plusieurs chercheurs voudraient rendre son orthographe beaucoup plus phonétique. Un peu comme les Américains.

Alors, faut-il sacraliser l'orthographe d'une langue ou au contraire lui donner des ailes pour s'épanouir et dresser davantage de passerelles aux quatre coins du monde?

Monday, October 5, 2009

How Safe Are Burgers in Mauritius?

Here is a video you must watch absolutely and share with your loved ones: how one burger destroyed Stephanie Smith's livelihood.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CSO Chief Should Be Asked to Stay On

You may not be aware that our Central Statistical Office will be losing its boss this November. Indeed Harish Bundhoo will soon be reaching the milestone which decades ago would have made him an old person. That was then.

The snag now is that Mauritius needs Bundhoo more than Bundhoo needs Mauritius. Beyond being a great professional he has demonstrated a quality that has practically disappeared in Mauritius: independence. And he's shown that on more occasions than one.

The Prime Minister would therefore be well-advised to make sure that he stays on so that we don't lose the the little sanity that we still have.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How Ramgoolam is Making Mauritius Greener

Last year some 44.1% of our electricity was produced with coal. That's up from 26.8% in 2005 and more than seven times its 1998 level of 6.1%. In the meantime Ramgoolam has come up with his grand vision of Maurice Ile Durable. Turns out it's just another empty slogan or like we say in kreol: enn lot palab.

Sithanen Story Spurious

The number of unemployed people increased by 7,300 to a record 66,600 in 2007 the year he called an early harvest. While it's true that it fell by 6,400 in 2008 it is quite a stretch of the imagination to see a bumper crop in there. Indeed, 60,200 of our citizens didn't have a job at the end of 2008 which translates into the double-digit unemployment rate of 10.4%. Or if you prefer 3,700 more people were jobless than at the end of 2005.

One Great Myth

That Berenger turned our economy around starting June 1982. He is supposed to have done that in 9 short months by implementing IMF and World Bank policies. What exactly did he do and what results can we precisely trace back to those actions?

While we're at it I think that the MMM-PSM alliance would not have won all the seats if it had been possible to hold the 1982 general elections six months later given that the world economy was about to rebound.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

One Problem Civil Society Has to Solve Rapidly

How to send a few representatives to our National Assembly when we go to vote the next time so that the majority of citizens of this country have a genuine voice in there. Alternative voices were able to gather about 3,000 people in Beau-Bassin last May and this without the all-inclusive package available at the other political rallies. That's a very promising start.

It's unlikely to happen you say. Well, wouldn't this have looked something silly to say twelve months after 1935 and 1967?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why You Can Safely Ignore Sithanen's Growth Target

Of 5-6% in 2010. Well simply because it means almost nothing. He could get that just by depreciating our currency like he did in 2006. The other thing is that his growth numbers are not only going to be the worst in decades but most of the growth we've clocked since July 2005 has gone to a chosen few.

The good news is that we're soon going to get an opportunity to say loud and clear to Sithanen and Ramgoolam what we think of their totally mindless policies.

Why Ramgoolam Could Lose Power in 2010

One of the reasons is because the MMM and the MSM could go together and make the electoral life of the current PM difficult enough for him to be ousted or return with a paper thin majority.

Two others are obviously the huge poverty that Ramgoolam has created over the last 4 years and the rewriting of history that he has been indulging himself in. Indeed, some of the Nazi-style programs that the MBC has thrown our way didn't seem to have gone too well with a lot of people. So that he'll be perfectly right to regret bad policies and bad communication when the polls reveal their secrets.

Alternative Gurus

"Greed has been with human beings forever. We have a number of things in our species that you would call the dark side, and greed is one of them. If you don't put certain structures in place or restrictions on those parts of our being that come from that dark place, then it gets out of control. Capitalism does the opposite of that. It not only doesn't really put any structure or restriction on it. It encourages it, it rewards it."

The above excerpt may, or may not, prompt you to read (or listen to) Naomi "Shock Doctrine" Klein's interview with Michael Moore as he launches yet another polemical documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story.