Raghuram Rajan: Not an economic hitman as much as a IMF sock puppet

The man with a permanent smirk a la George Bush has not held a real job before. He moved from an academic position at a Chicago business school to a research position at IMF. That’s it. And, yet articles about him talk about him excelling IN ALL THE JOBS HE HAD HELD BEFORE. In the ET, there was excessive artificial praise from captains of industry to people in academia praising his accomplishments and qualification for appointment as RBI governor.

What are his accomplishments? Nothing. On what basis is he being praised? Nothing. Why?

People like him are not necessarily economic hitmen. Economic hitmen need to have brains and are self-driven. This guy looks like nothing more than a talking head/sock puppet.

The artificial euphoria expressed after news of his appointment reminds me of the time when Vivek Kundra was appointed Barack Ubama as the Chief Information Officer of the United States. The reaction to his appointment were on similar lines.

Longtime PC Magazine columnist went out on a limb to unmask Kundra, who it turned out, has no past history. The only company whose IT infrastructure Kundra had managed to run was his own one-man operation. Somehow, SOME PEOPLE pulled him up and appointed him to high political positions. Dvorak writes:

I first suspected something was fishy about this fellow by listening to him on CSPAN where he simply did not sound like someone who studied computers or technology. His common referrals to Twitter and Google Docs as some sort of high-tech breakthroughs and a way to save money and empower the public stemmed from pure cornball pop culture and the blogosphere, not from computer science or Information technology.

During one of his testimonies before a Congressional committee he even talked about the future being something like the Star Trek holodeck. His clichés and commentary was that of a 18 year-old blogger who just got their first Macintosh.

And his sketchy background was disconcerting. It included a 1997 bust for stealing shirts from JC Penny’s and the later bust of his former staff by the FBI at the DC office during a bribery investigation.

But, to be honest about it, and despite the possible fraudulent bios and non-existent degrees, the kicker for me was that even if he was squeaky clean he has no business being the USA CIO controlling billions and billions of dollars in government contracts.

He hasn’t done anything to warrant this appointment. There are no great policy papers. There are no books. There is no invention. There is nothing but vague tech positions in city and state governments. How does this make him a “techno-whiz” as he was portrayed by the New York Times? It took him six years to get a simple undergrad degree in psychology! Was it just because he uses Facebook and likes Twitter?

So what have we got so far from this person? Well, for starters we are looking at the Recovery.gov website that will cost the taxpayers around $18 million. This news was released recently. What websites costs $18 million? And that’s with no warrantee.

Where was the mainstream media? Where was the right wing media? Is anyone doing due diligence on these important appointees holding the purse-strings to billions? Apparently not.

Look at this excerpt from the USA Today announcement for Aneesh Chopra:

“The response to Chopra is resoundingly positive. Craig Newmark (of Craig’s List) says Chopra is ‘really good for the country.’ Eric Schmidt said in a statement (via WSJ ), ‘Aneesh built one of the best technology platforms in government in the state of Virginia.’ John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins said (also via WSJ ), ‘Aneesh is an inspired appointment. His smarts and experience in technology, health care and investing will serve us well.’ Tim O’Reilly is ga-ga over the choice calling Chopra ‘a rock star’ and says, ‘We couldn’t do better.’”

Americans didn’t do any better. After his big revelation, Dvorak left his contact details on the blog post for speaking engagements. None came.

The script is the same with this Raghuram guy. After his studies, the wonder kid went to a Chicago business school and then moved to IMF. That’s it. The oft-quoted accomplishment is that he went short on the US markets when Alan Greenspan suggested the opposite direction. So what? Even I went short – see Lose The Dollar – I (2004) and Lose The Dollar – II (2005). So did Jim Rogers and Marc Faber. So did Max Keiser and plenty of others. Yet, they are saying HE HAD EXCELLED IN ALL THE JOBS HE HAD HELD SO FAR!

To understand how inept and inexperience he is, just look at the fact that he thought a press conference would be enough to save the rupee when it began its precipitous fall.


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