1. This is a long list of recommendations to reform the start-up eco-system in India. Two observations. One, the author seems to obsessed by reduction in taxes and provision of incentives. Almost all the proposals belong to either of these two categories. Two, the entire onus on creating start-ups is with the governments.
Reading articles like this, one almost gets the impression that start-ups are a new entrant into business landscape, start-ups are always about innovation, and economic growth is critically dependent on such innovative start-ups. This has almost become an entrenched narrative.
But in reality, all the three impressions are flawed. Business entry and exit are commonplace, and millions of new enterprises enter the market each year in India. The vast majority of them are not about any innovation, but plain simple trading, manufacturing, and services businesses, mostly self-employed or with a couple of employees. While these start-ups are critical for the long-term productivity trends in the economy, short- and medium-term economic growth is mostly about the plain vanilla economic activities.
2. Blackstone awaits an economic downturn in the winner takes all market,
The firm announced on Thursday that assets under management had reached a staggering $545bn, after taking in $150bn in the last 12 months. Firms like Blackstone do best when they can chase opportunities in an economic dislocation. In this respect, Blackstone may be eagerly awaiting a downturn... Blackstone’s fundraising haul once again reinforces the winner-take-all paradigm in alternative investments. It has raised money of late in private equity, credit, and real estate. The big pools of capital like sovereign wealth funds are putting more money in alternatives but working with fewer managers. One-stop-shops like Blackstone disproportionately benefit. In the past year, Blackstone took home $1.6bn in earnings from management fees before any incentive “carry” is accounted for. This year, Blackstone’s shares are up more than 50 per cent.
3. FT on why British civil service feels shaken by the politics surrounding Brexit. Brexiters feel that the civil service is putting up obstacles to an exit, and feel that it has become politicised. Surprising that a civil service often considered the touchstone for neutrality and has survived many such political cataclysms is becoming so embroiled in the Brexit politics.
4. Apollo Hospitals seeks foreign capital. As I have blogged earlier, this is in line with the trend of foreign capital entering India's tertiary care market with attendant undesirable commercialisation and profiteering in health care practices.
This intrigues me. In the landscape of economic activities, given the stage of India's economic development, tertiary health care has to be among the most promising of investment destinations. And Apollo is perhaps the leading healthcare brand in India. Why isn't Apollo able to attract Indian capital? Or do they want foreign capital for some reason? Or do the Indian investors realise that perhaps Apollo is not after all a good investment? Or does this convey the lack of depth of Indian capital available for investing in even areas like tertiary healthcare and a brand like Apollo? Or does this reflect corporate governance and management capabilities within Apollo itself?
5. Nice article on the turmoil facing the US Federal Reserve.
6. Fascinating chronicle of the lives of millennial generation working-class people from different parts of the world in Bloomberg by Vauhini Vara - seamstress, street vendor, abalone poacher, marijuana grower care giver, warehouse picker, computer reseller, electronics maker, social media influencer, and call centre manager.
Decent jobs are flowing to big cities, with millions of workers leaving their ancestral towns in anxious pursuit, often slipping past national borders to do so. The internet is exposing people not only to opportunities that were once out of reach, but also to the unsettling knowledge that other people have many more. And the stories confirm that to be working class is, by and large, an insecure state. Superiors view labor as replaceable. Speaking publicly about one’s job can invite reprisal from an employer—or a government.7. Global distribution of artificial intelligence talent shows India at third place, closely behind China.
8. Finally, ending with startups, Bloomberg compares the startup scenes in India and China. While China has 94 unicorns, India has just 19. The largest Chinese unicorns offers services with bitcoin, drones, and robots, whereas the four largest Indian unicorns are in consumer facing online payments, e-commerce, ride-hailing, and education.
It’s not surprising, then, that nine of India’s top 10 unicorns by value are in the online-consumer space, according to data compiled by CB Insights. The outlier is ReNew Power, an independent wind and solar-energyproducer. In China, three of the top 10 are online consumer companies, two are bricks-and-mortar businesses, and the rest are a mix of hardware and B2B.