markets


I was going to respond to an anti Airbnb/Uber/Lyft rant by Morazov, but other things got in the way. Apparently, some guy has done the same thing against Tinder on Vanity Fair. Farhad: I’ve got to say, though: Tinder had a point about the Vanity Fair story. Not only did it adopt a tone of high moral panic about dating apps — it compared their effects to the melting of the polar ice caps and the “Sixth Extinction” — but as New York Magazine’s Jesse Singal pointed out, the article was even factually suspect. Sociological research suggests that millennials like yourself appear to have fewer sexual partners than previous generations.
I’ve been invited to moderate a three party discussion on live TV organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, on the government SLRC channel at 10 PM today. In preparing for the task, I read through the economic proposals contained in the General Election manifestos of the JVP, the UPFA and the UNP. Given our continuing engagement with the Sri Lanka agriculture sector which started almost 10 years ago, I thought I’d use the proposals on agriculture to illustrate the approaches of the three parties. I also thought it might be useful to see if any of our ideas had percolated into the political mainstream over the past decade. Given our focus has been on the high-value fruit and vegetable segment, I will focus on that.
One of the most important ways by which research influences policy is for the researcher to become a policy maker. In 2006-07 Harsha de Silva was leading LIRNEasia’s ag info research. As Deputy Minister for Planning and Economic Affairs, this is what he’s telling audiences now: Farmers are not poor because they don’t get the subsidy, farmers are poor because their agricultural markets are not working. There is no way in which officials can sit in the food department and solve the problems of the volatility of the prices in vegetables. It can never be done.
Our agri value chain work starts from the agriculture side and hopes to end up with solutions that include ICTs is some form. This is not that easy. This fascinating article about how venture capital is focusing on ICT applications gives some excellent ideas. His firm has invested in RelayRides and other start-ups that stretch the definition of clean tech investing. They include the Climate Corporation, for extreme weather insurance; Clean Power Finance, which runs an online marketplace for financing residential solar panels; and Transphorm, which makes tools that reduce power loss when electricity is converted in data centers or industrial motors.
We immersed ourselves in agriculture for 3-4 hours yesterday in conversation with visiting colleagues from the University of Alberta, working up a proposal on food security. When asked for a definition of food security, they responded in terms of shorter distances food was transported. I was reminded of the archetypal “bad” food value chain that got much play when there was fire in one of the Swiss road tunnels: potatoes grown in Poland, transported by truck (despite Europe’s vaunted and subsidized railways) to Italy for processing, and then hauled back as French Fries across those same tunnels back to Germany and Poland. It seems common sensical that food that puts on less miles would be better. So what are such value chains in Sri Lanka?
The demand-side data generated by the Teleuse @ BOP 3 study clearly shows the urban-rural gap among teleusing households (those who own some kind of mobile phone or have a fixed phone in the house) significantly narrowing. But respected colleagues are citing supply-side data to assert not only that the gap is not narrowing, but that it is significantly widening. This is contradictory not only with our demand-side results, but also with the claims made by the Indian Minister. We hope they will engage with us on clearing this fog. More perilous, however, is the inequality between rural and urban India.
Voice is becoming a commodity. Mobile operators have to think of new services that people will pay for. Here is one. It’s not porn. It’s intervention from a government agency to prevent teen pregnancies.