Harlem revisited in books

Harlem is on my mind again these days as I am about half-way into Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle. A heist on the iconic Hotel Theresa is at the heart of it. Almost exactly ten years ago to the day, I put up a post on this blog recounting some of the building’s history. One aspect I wrote about–the Cuban delegation’s visit to New York in 1960–is beautifully laid out in Simon Hall’s Ten Days in Harlem, which I recommend to everyone. It’s amazing how such an important event in world history played out in this very building up the road from where we lived for a year between 2013-14. Continue reading

Getting back to work – debt in South Asia

My post on debt restructuring from earlier this year has kept me thinking. I sit in a line of work that deals with these issues every day, from an IFI and banking sector point of view. Lots has happened since February, and I have regularly written professional updates on the situations in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which face(d) variable degrees of balance of payment crises.

Alas, my day-to-day does not allow for a deeper soul-searching and analysis of the underlying forces and trends that also matter in this debate. Given that I studied under people very critical of IFIs (and calling myself a heterodox economist if pushed for a self-characterization), I feel obliged to look a little deeper, academically speaking, into the political economy of these crises. Continue reading

Daytime endeavors

My daytime job sees me analyze economies and financial institutions in the Asia Pacific region for the Asian Development Bank. In trying to keep things separate and focus on my academic persona here, I have usually not written much about this on the blog.

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I rarely write on anything else than Tokyo on this blog anymore. But I have previously used this blog to reflect on some more personal financey topics, especially in this fiery treatise arguing against our real estate obsession which got a good deal of clicks.

Other posts in this category included those on impact investing and the state of economics education, among others. Anyway, this just to refresh my mind and gather some courage to stray from the all-too-familiar Tokyo and Yangon posts this blog has seen over the last few years.

FIRE (short for “financial independence, retire early”): First off, I am not among the initiated, and do approach the movement with some skepticism. I hope that such transparency upfront creates some goodwill among the believers. Continue reading

Tokyo inequalities – background

What follows is the first post in a series on manifestations of inequality in postwar Tokyo. In these, I plan to cover living conditions and income inequalities across the different wards, at different points in time. Before going into the data that I collected over the past couple of days (and continue to collect), however, a few general words on inequality in Japan.


Income inequality trends, as per Iyoda Mitsuhiko (1991)

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Global Inequality

Phew. I have successfully “disengaged” from reading the news and logging on to Facebook for what feels like an eternity. Am I denying reality? No, but I want to turn down the volume for the time being, and news has a way of reaching you despite not checking three times a day. All this leaves more space for books, including Branko Milanovic’s “Global Inequality”.

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