Posted by: kalmeida317 | November 5, 2011

China: Leveraging Human Capital

Over the years, China has been looked upon by the World as a mass producing, currency devaluing and communism accepting foreign entity that might become a global power in the distant future. However, if the global meltdown has thought us anything in the last two years, it is the fact that there has been a shift in the geopolitical spectrum. While the world waits for the pitfalls of a Socialist market economy to catch up with China, the Chinese are making transitions and steadily building an economic pedestal that could easily propel them to the ranks of world leaders.

China today out produces the U.S in steel, cement, electronics, clothing, chemical fertilizers etc. It owns approximately 40% of U.S debt and according to Nobel Prize Winner Robert Forgel (University of Chicago) the Chinese economy will be worth $123trillion by 2040, substantially larger than the U.S.

Now while all of these stats and figures are not precise representations of the future, China is a nation that is tangibly climbing the international ladder and that is a fact worthy of recognition. With all of the factories, infrastructure and industrial muscle that exists in China, what many analysts overlook is the value they are creating around Human capital, arguably their most precious resource.

Over the last decade the Chinese government has tripled its expenditure on education and is projected to produce more engineers than India and the U.S. While most U.S educational institutes are reeling with budget cuts and students financially struggling to keep up with academic inflation, the Chinese are making moves and adding to their intellectual capacity.

China has already established their desire to move out of low wage industries and concentrate on innovation based endeavors. Chinese companies already control almost half of the $45 billion wind turbine global market. According to a Reuters article (Benjamin Kang Lim and Simon Rabinovitch, Dec 2010) the Chinese government has approved a plan to invest $1.5 trillion in a strategic industries boost that seeks to quadriple output in 7 key industries over the next five years. The targeted sectors include alternative energy, biotechnology, new-generation information technology, high-end equipment manufacturing, advanced materials, alternative-fuel cars, energy-saving and environmentally friendly technologies.

So while the U.S and the rest of the world sits back and pontificates on how Chinese growth numbers are skewed and their sustainability is unlikely, China is entering the next phase of their progression cycle with unprecedented vigor and minimal concern about the cynics that doubt them.

-Karan Almeida

Posted by: kalmeida317 | March 16, 2011

What every Indian should Fight to Reform!

I had an intense debate with myself regarding whether or not I should make this post because I was concerned about projecting India in excessively bad light. In fact, I think that in its 64 years of independence and unison, India has managed to accomplish unprecedented goals. The last decade has been especially productive, as the economy has grown approx 7.5% a year, the GDP has reached $1.4 trillion, hourly wages for laborers has doubled, millions have risen from poverty and millions more are not dying of starvation. However, as high rises and corporate ideals establish themselves in the bigger cities, there are people that modern India appears to have left behind and their story is worth sharing. In states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan, the evidence of slave labor is overwhelming, as some activists and government officials estimate numbers of between 10-30 million.

A vast majority of these workers are victims at birth, paying a price for personal loans taken by their parents or other close relatives, loans that will lead them into a life of intense labor and hardship. These workers work from sunrise to sunset with food and water being their only compensation. Labor rights and liberty are just figments of their imagination as they find themselves embedded in a cruel cycle that inherently pegged them at the bottom of the countries status quo.

The reason this is a cycle is because it is hard to pay off debt when one does not get paid. Many of these workers are paying the debt of ancestors they have never met and in all probability their children will do the same. They work because they are forced, illiterate and stuck in a bubble that democracy has apparently disregarded. The fact that such labor is illegal does not seem to phase or affect their employers, who for years have enjoyed the benefits of free labor.

What gets lost is the fact that these are Indian citizens with equal rights and traditionally in cases like this I would direct bulk of the blame to the local governments and law enforcement authorities. However, in a country that has a police to person ratio of 0.95 per 1000 people, there is a significant lack of government man power. The onus therefore I feel falls on capable citizens who need to push for this to become a national agenda.

The Indian public has proven to fight for its beliefs before. The conservation of Tigers, women’s rights and environmentally friendly industries are good examples of citizens expressing their apprehension over dreadful situations. India is the largest democracy in the world and the very premise of a democracy is that everyone matters. These people are getting enslaved, beaten, grossly mistreated and humiliated. Let us all do what we can to aid the human rights initiative.

-Karan Almeida

Posted by: kalmeida317 | March 2, 2011

Muslim people are NORMAL

In the midst of the reformation taking place in the Arab world, I can’t help but feel that the true essence of Muslim people is being grossly misrepresented. The protests, for the most part, have been secular in nature and the message of liberty has spread relatively organically through the region. However, as liberalism tries it’s best to leap forward in the East, the Western world continues to assign leaders like Gadaffi and Mubarak  the tag of “Muslim radical leader” and the media persists with reports on the rise of an “Islamic awakening”.

Now, perhaps I am missing something, but what about Gadaffi is Islamic? The reactions of the Libyan people are a result of years of political and social injustices and not a consequence of the Arab masses having a religious epiphany. Islam is a representation of a person’s faith, spirituality and personal way of life (with emphasis on the word “personal”), it cannot be affiliated to every action a person takes.

My contention, as ridiculous as it sounds, is that we have forgotten that Muslim people in the Arab world are normal. With the inundation of negativity, we have forgotten that Muslims can be and predominantly are people who laugh, people who play sport, people who like music and most importantly they are people who appreciate the simple joys of life.

Libya has one of the highest literacy rates (roughly 82%) in North Africa and has hundreds of higher educational institutes. Egypt has a GDP of approx. 496 billion (PPP), generated by investments in tourism, agriculture and energy, making it one of the most diversified economies in the Arab world. In all of these regions there are successful doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and artists, but far too often their initial classification is “Muslim”.

Over the years, the humility of Muslim women has been described as oppressed, the simplicity of the population has been translated into lack of choice and their resistance to the west has been looked upon as backward.

The media cannot comprehend the fact that westernization does not equate to modernization. The challenge of the Arab world is to find a way to integrate modern development with their existing cultures. The solution to their political troubles does not revolve around adopting Western paradigms. What the Muslim people need is the world’s help not the prejudicial pity of those unwilling to accept their way of life.

-Karan Almeida

Posted by: kalmeida317 | February 9, 2011

Tri valley University: Examining the Root of the Problem

The recent fiasco in California got me thinking about the crux of the problem surrounding Indian students who seek foreign education, which in my opinion is an issue becoming increasingly prominent.

For years now foreign Universities primarily from the U.S, U.K, Australia and Canada have been allowed to enter educational seminars in India without any prior inquiries conducted on the credibility, quality and legitimacy of these institutions. The Educational Ministry in India plays virtually no part in these organizations actively seeking Indian students, who do not necessarily have the resources to investigate the value of joining such dubious academic entities.

Unfortunately in India, an unrealistic yet existent fairy tale appeal has been created around students spreading their wings and departing to foreign lands for a better and more fruitful education (at least that’s what they say). The decisions that these students make is therefore intrinsically clouded and that helps facilitate disasters like Tri valley.

With hundreds of thousands of Indian students traveling overseas to pursue an education the Indian Government needs to do a better job of scanning Universities who enter India with the aim of recruiting International students. Universities abroad clearly benefit from acquiring international students because in most cases they pay 2x the price. In 2007 International students brought in $13 billion to U.S universities and therefore some of these non credible academic institutions will continue to unethically promote themselves by waving requirements and advertising the potential of the much coveted “immigration into foreign lands”. The students in this case are the ones who could potentially lose the most.

Furthermore, much of the problem lies in the fact that there simply aren’t enough higher education institutions in India to satisfy the demand. Students are forced to look elsewhere for opportunities and consequently most students who have access to sufficient finances instinctively disregard India, with the focus being on getting out and not getting into a reputed establishment with good standing.

Education is arguably India’s most prevalent problem and yet according to UNESCO “India has one of the lowest public expenditure budgets on higher education per student in the world”. The education ministry, at the very least should do a more sincere and thorough job of increasing awareness and nudging aspiring students in the right direction. Education is directly linked to improving the population crisis, increasing the country’s GDP and enhancing the standard of living in the nation. Based on that, I think that it is more the worthwhile for everyone who can, to make more of an effort and revolutionize the current standard.

-Karan Almeida

Posted by: kalmeida317 | December 15, 2010

Political Agenda Setting

The recent debate regarding the extension of the Bush tax cuts got me thinking about an issue that very strongly influences politics, media bias and public perception. The issue I am referring to is the increasingly prominent concern about the misuse of Agenda Setting.

Agenda Setting as proposed by professors Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw is a theory that states that the media has the power to facilitate “salience transfer” (The evolution of Agenda Setting Research, 1993), which is the transfer of media agendas to public agendas. This essentially means that not only does the media distribute information, it also plays a huge role in shaping public priorities.

Before President Obama caved into agreeing to the tax cuts he was quoted saying that “tax cuts would lead to a $900 billion addition to the deficit”. On the other hand the Republicans were advocating trickledown economics and preaching that no taxes should be increased during a time of recession.

My question however is where is the information? Why have these issues become philosophical arguments that are forcing people to pick one agenda over the other? I have looked extensively to find a non-biased explanation of the taxation issue and it’s pertinence to the national budget deficit. I am extremely confident at this point that no such publicly available document exists.

With all the integration of communication mediums and the increase of exposure there is still a severe lack of factual data. Making decisions on taxes, financial resources and national expenditure requires economical analysis and mathematical data, not the regurgitation of irrelevant messaging.

The financial crisis was caused as a result of excess spending and the blatant disregard of fiscal prudence. Why then is this new proposed plan to boost the economy based on encouraging people to spend? Why do these Agendas not seem to be aligned with reality?

-Karan Almeida

Posted by: kalmeida317 | November 22, 2010

Bring on the Learning Revolution

“Conformity” is the theory being preached on a global scale in this era. Standardized thoughts, homogenous products and unprecedented regularity are the proposed ingredients of success, as educators teach us the value of precision, corporations drill in the virtues of profit maximization and the media reflects an agenda endorsed by the upper echelons of the status quo.

 In a 2008 interview with Business Week, A.G Lafley, CEO of Proctor and Gamble was quoted saying “Business schools tend to focus on inductive thinking (based on directly observable facts) and deductive thinking (logic and analysis, typically based on past evidence)”. Now while the value of tangible facts and historic teachings cannot be undermined there is no evidence to suggest that such methods are the superior in order to achieve success. My issue with the current paradigm is that it creates barriers, forces people to join batches and makes every effort to eliminate diversity in thought. The world spends more time stigmatizing mistakes than it does learning from mistakes and consequently there is a severe lack of originality.

 Human resourcefulness is being packaged, measured, weighed and then sold to the masses. Human ingenuity is becoming a limited commodity that is soon going to become endangered unless there is a mass revolution that establishes a change in the fundamentals of modern day education.

Posted by: kalmeida317 | September 17, 2010


My name is Karan Almeida and I am a 23 year old Masters student residing in Chicago, IL. I am a news enthusiast and while I enjoy reading and learning about various events occurring around the world, I also recognize the value of disseminating information and expressing opinions devoid of propaganda.

I like to stay up to date on global issues and concerns, as a result of which I have made a habit of reading and analyzing news publications from all over the globe. However, as far as mainstream news is concerned it is no secret that there are many newsworthy stories, details and opinions that do not get enough exposure.

The goal of this blog is to publicize some these news items and ignite meaningful discussions on the various global issues that are shaping our world.

People from all cultures and walks of life are welcome to make contributions. If you have a story to tell, an opinion to express or an event to publicize, please share it here. Your contributions are sincerely appreciated.


Karan Almeida