Saturday, October 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Consumer psychology and economic decisions

THE Nobel Prize for Economics awarded this year to Prof. Daniel Kahneman and Prof. Vernon Smith, both Americans, is recognition of the avant-garde approach to analysis of economic problems which is contrary to the zeitgeist of the current mainstream economic thinking.

It had happened before in 1998 too when the award was given to Prof. Amartya Sen. At that time the European and American economies were booming. The stock indices were heading steadily up north. The IMF and the WTO had switched their fans to full blast to send strong winds across the underdeveloped and developing countries to blow away their inhibitions to hype and hoopla of market-driven economies. At that time expanding markets spelled burgeoning profits and swelling cashflows with corporate behemoths and the Nobel Committee gave the award to an economist who had brought to bear his lifelong scholarship to the study of famines, poverty and inequality. It was a loud and clear message that economic growth and prosperity cannot go on at the cost of the wretched of the earth. The consequential social and political upheavals are highly contagious and cannot be quarantined into harmlessness.



After the 9/11 calamity in New York, the juggernaut of terrorism affected not only national security perceptions but also gave a sledge-hammer blow on the knee-caps of the American economy and it has been tottering perilously eversince. It also occasioned the revelations of corporate sleaze and skulduggery at an unbelievable scale. Eminent and powerful CEOs who swore by their sole responsibility to the shareholders were caught cheating them abominably. Even the hitherto infallible cardinal of American economy, Alan Greenspan, has so far failed to resurrect the economy back to healthy life.

Business has now become war and massive advertising its lethal weapon to psyche the consumers back into the markets with enticing scheme to make them buy things they do not need at prices they cannot afford. It is to educate the gullible investors and consumers about these tricky games and gimmicks that the duo of Kahneman and Smith undertook their path-breaking studies on the irrational and erratic consumer behaviour in face of financial bubbles being marketed to them as solid propositions. They have successfully carved a niche for psychology in the study of economic problems. The studies on the applied applications of their theorems which will be brought out by them and their fellow-travellers will be fully contemporaneous to the needs of the present times.

R.C. KHANNA, Amritsar

Economic slavery

THE article “Who is selling the country? North Block” by Bharat Jhunjhunwala (Oct 14) is an eye opener. It is shocking to know that we are heading towards economic slavery, which the wily USA with the support of the willing west is imposing on Third World countries. It has realised that it is not possible to directly rule other countries, so it is devising new techniques. Unfortunately, we are falling prey to it in the name of economic reforms.

A united national effort led by an honest and selfless leadership can definitely save the nation from this ogre of economic slavery.

Dr TIRATH GARG, Ferozepur



Harrowing bus travel

Travelling in a Punjab Roadways bus from Pathankot to Chandigarh on October 2 this year was a harrowing experience. I have never come across such a hazardous bus travel in my six decades of life. I wonder how a dilapidated bus with broken windowpanes and seats, ribs-jerking structure and a jammed front door had been put on a long distance route? The Punjab Transport Minister and senior officers concerned seem to be totally unconcerned about the hazards the travelling public face in such buses. Let the minister and senior officers in the transport department travel by such a bus and experience the hazards.

The drivers of this and another bus from Katra to Chandigarh said even loose bolts and screws are not tightened. “We are helpless. We are forced to drive such buses even though these may break down on the way.” Interestingly, the wires of the batteries placed under one of the front seats got disconnected on the way and the conductor somehow managed to reconnect these to resume journey.

I and my cousin were returning from Dalhousie that eventful day. The Punjab Roadways bus, that was to leave the hill station for Chandigarh at 7.30 in the morning did not turn up. There was no one to explain about the missing bus. The other direct bus of Haryana Roadways had left at 5.30 a.m. Finding no other alternative we decided to take the first available private bus, which took almost four hours to cover a distance of 60 km to Pathankot.

To our chagrin, we boarded the Chandigarh-bound Punjab Roadways bus (N0. PB12C9712) of the Pathankot depot only to experience the worst-ever bus travel. To add to the discomfort, this long route bus was stopped at every way side town to pick up or drop passengers even for small distances of 3 to 4 km. We thanked our stars on reaching Chandigarh with our bodies aching, after almost eight hours of travelling a distance of 310km. We have decided to preserve our tickets nos: 878461-64 and 565015-16 as mementos.

The other bus from Katra, which had followed us almost 30 minutes later from Pathankot, overtook us short of Hoshiarpur. Similarly a number of trucks and even tractor-trailers overtook us. The only silver lining of the travel was the courteous behaviour of the driver and the conductor.

After this bitter experience, I have decided never to travel by Punjab Roadways buses. The Punjab Transport Minister, his officers need to learn a lesson or two from Haryana Roadways and see for themselves how comfortable journey its buses provide to the travelling public.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |