Things we are reading today - 2nd January, 2023 - Planning, Space exploration, Plastic waste, Big Tech, FIIs pulling out and more

Planning: How, why and why not!

Realistic goal-setting generally produces the best results. What’s far less understood by scientists, however, are the potentially harmful effects of goal-setting.

Newspapers relay daily accounts of goal-setting run amok in industries and businesses up and down both Wall Street and Main Street, yet there has been surprisingly little research on how the long-trumpeted practice of setting goals may have contributed to the current economic crisis, and unethical behavior in general.

While you are exploring this topic you should also read what Morgan Housel has to say about setting financial goals, something I am sure many of us do.

The final frontier

We witnessed the first mission to the International Space Station funded entirely by space tourists. A new space-based internet service played a key role in the war in Ukraine. And there were historic launches of spacecraft and technology by NASA and its international partners that could one day be used to land humans on Mars.

For Planet Earth, This Might Be the Start of a New Age

A panel of experts has spent more than a decade deliberating on how, and whether, to mark a momentous new epoch in geologic time: our own.

“I was raised in a generation where we were taught that geology ended when people showed up,” said Dr. Oreskes, a historian of science at Harvard. The Anthropocene announces that “actually, the human impact is part of geology as a science,” she said. It demands we recognize that our influence on the planet is more than surface level.

Learning from Big Tech’s Mistakes

Big Tech set the standard for corporate success with a simple set of strategies: innovate rapidly and splash out to woo customers. Speed rather than perfection, and reach rather than profits proved key to establishing dominant positions that allowed them to fend off, squash or buy potential rivals.

Investors, desperate for growth and yield amid historically low interest rates, were all too happy to prioritise the promise of growth over short-term earnings. During the pandemic, the trend became extreme, as the shares of companies with big dreams and equally large losses soared to dizzying heights.

Those days are over. Inflation and rising central bank rates have changed the financial calculus. When investors can earn measurable returns from bank deposits and top-rated bonds, speculative investments that promise growth lose their edge.

Its now time to unlearn lessons of Big Tech.

FIIs pulling out

FIIs have sold Indian stocks worth $16.5 billion (1.2 lakh crore rupees) this year, translating to a daily average outflow of about $68 million, according to data from National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL). This rout was worse than the one during the 2008 global financial crisis, when FIIs pulled out roughly $12 billion from Indian stocks.

Still, the Indian benchmark indices—Nifty50 and Sensex—are ending the year up 3%, which has been possible only because of domestic institutional investors, who bought $32.9 billion worth of equities in 2022.

Where does American plastic waste go?

Sadly we still get to see the ugly facets of Pax Americana everyday. Sometimes it hits much closer home. The amount of plastic trash coming into India in waste paper now is almost double the 264,000 metric tons that was legally imported in 2019 to the country before it imposed the ban in August 2019.

Muzaffarnagar, a city about 80 miles north of New Delhi, is famous in India for two things: colonial-era freedom fighters who helped drive out the British and the production of jaggery, a cane sugar product boiled into goo at some 1,500 small sugar mills in the area. Less likely to feature in tourism guides is Muzaffarnagar’s new status as the final destination for tons of supposedly recycled American plastic.

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I need one week to read and comprehend all these. Thanks boss for helping me expand my knowledge.

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