Knotty problem

MANASI PHADKE | Updated on January 24, 2018


Why economists are terrified of #YogaDay!

Sigh! This International Yoga Day is really getting to the economists. Even as the world celebrates the uplifting art and science of the body and the mind, economists will be seen frozen in a corner, with numb bodies and dumb minds. Why, you may ask. Why, you may wonder.

It’s simple. Our hopes stand crushed. We were told that yoga is the most generic solution to any problem, personal or interpersonal. But we have been conned. And we are now sore as hell. Because it looks like yoga does offer solutions to all types of issues, so long as they are not of the economic type. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (BaMo) says that the singular act of getting the tree posture (Tadasana) right gave him that “simple sense of satisfaction” of having set the world right. Just try getting that GDP series into the tree posture!

So, imagine, how Baba Ramdev would react on seeing the GDP growth series. OMG! That would be like seeing a seriously distressed patient, with pathetic levels of energy.

“Anulom Vilom!” the commanding voice will bark and while all 5,000 participants at the Nehru Stadium will demonstrate the sharp intake of the breath, the GDP series will give out a huge sigh and continue on its way out of the stadium, looking more depressed than usual.

Send in the WPI. A heck of a lot of negativity all over. The Ramdev solution? Immediate pranayam to get the positive vibes back into the series. The entire RBI is now breathless doing pranayam for the past six months, but WPI hai ke maanta nahin. Perhaps the right thing is to get the Arabs into pranayam mode so that they’ll not swamp the markets with crude.

And just look at the exchange rate series. Like a temperamental artist, it goes all over. It’s so volatile, surely yoga can help us calm down this hyper energetic model? “ Padmasana!” says the Master. The Lotus will help to stabilise the exchange rate. Really, now. Ahm, that’s too politically correct, isn’t it? No, let the exchange rates dance their zumba.

Baba will have to really think when he sees the interest rate, though. Firstly, there’s a schizophrenia issue. Sometimes, the series is a repo, at times it can convert itself into lending rates, and sometimes it dons an international personality like the Libor.

Shavasana!” The posture of the dead body. The classic remedy to calm down mental issues. But surely we can’t afford a lifeless interest rate, can we? They have been in a dead state in Japan for nearly 15 years now and still the gloom persists.

Further, this is a series that is not in great form physically either; it’s seen too many surgeries for its own good. It is sometimes raised to a great height and pegged to a target and then slashed. Hmm, post-surgical yoga. Tricky, this one.

But no problem. We have a solution, says the Master. “ Ardha Titaliasana!” The butterfly posture. But that is a recipe for chaos theory. Fluttering of a butterfly in Indian banks causing a storm in businesses, you see. Thanks, but no thanks!

Bring in those tricky blighters. The fiscal deficit and public debt. The sweetmeats you consume every day and the total added up weight of the body. The diagnosis is immediate. Obesity. “ Shirshasana!” The headstand. And view everything upside down, eh? And then you’ll say that economists are freaks and need yoga to calm down.

The author is a Pune-based economist

Published on June 21, 2015

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