Two Sides of the Same Model

Yesterday’s post and today’s post are really talking about the same thing (or the same model, to be a little bit pedantic), but it’s a little bit like that story about the blind men and the elephant.

Which model? This one:

The Solow–Swan model or exogenous growth model is an economic model of long-run economic growth. It attempts to explain long-run economic growth by looking at capital accumulation, labor or population growth, and increases in productivity largely driven by technological progress.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solow%E2%80%93Swan_model

Ask yourself a simple question: which countries in the world today are likely to see reasonably rapid growth over the course of the next three decades or so?

As a person whose job it is to teach people introductory economics, I’m not as interested in your answer as much as I am in your framework for coming up with your answer. No matter whether you say India, or China or Nigeria or Indonesia or any other nation of your choice – why do you choose the set of answers that you do? What is your model for doing so?

And whatever model you come up with, and whatever specification of the model you deem most appropriate, it should have the following ingredients:

  1. People. No country can grow if its labor-force isn’t growing. Duh.
  2. Capital. More machines, more output. Also duh.
  3. Technological progress. It’s not just people and machines, but it is how efficiently you use them, and the quality of your ideas about how to use them. Not so duh, and often underrated.
  4. Quality of education. A close cousin of the third point, if you think about it. Definitely not duh, and a pet passion (and peeve!) of mine.
  5. Quality of institutions. See this video for an explanation. The very opposite of duh, and massively underrated almost always.

So: my pick for a country that is to grow rapidly over the course of the next three decades would have to tick most, if not all of these boxes. And yesterday’s post was about understanding the point that where India is concerned, her rate of growth is somewhat likely to be constrained by her inability to dispense quality education efficiently and at scale, and by the quality of her institutions. We also need to ramp up our capital stock (our infrastructure). Or put another way, if we try to maximize growth without getting these things right, it’s going to create more problems for us down the road.


A warm welcome to Shruti Rajagopalan, who launched her Substack yesterday. Her first post, and indeed her general focus on her entire blog, is about paying more attention to India. Bad puns that are actually good is an underappreciated art form, so a high five is in order for the name of the blog too! (Update: Mihir Mahajan very kindly pointed out that this is actually a song. I obviously hadn’t heard it before, and in case you haven’t either, here you go. Thanks, Mihir!)

Her post is about a lot of things about why (and how) one should pay more attention to India. But the first two sections of her essay are what I want to focus upon here:

  1. “India’s population will peak in 2065. Compare this with China, where the population will peak next year.”
  2. “Smartphone penetration in India since 2010”

If Gulzar Natarajan yesterday spoke about capital, the quality of education and the quality of institutions (2,4 and 5 from my list above), think of Shruti’s post as a discussion about people and technological progress (1 and 3 from my list above). And a great way to learn about the Solow Model is to first learn about it, and then think about India in the context of the Solow model. Which, of course, is what these two posts are trying to do.

Take, in other words, the model out of the diagrams and the math, and apply it to the world around you. And a great place to begin is here, in India!


Shruti’s post is worth reading (and worth using as a teching tool) because it also speaks about labor mobility (or the lack of it), and capital mobility also. And soft power too, if you want even more! So do give it a read, and bookmark her blog, or add it to your RSS reader.

P.S. The very last section of her blogpost speaks about how to get started on learning more about India. I’d add at least two points to her list, the first because it is a passion of mine. If you want to learn more about any country, learn more about its food. Which ingredients are used at what time of the year, and why? What are the popular dishes in different parts of that country, and why? What do food taboos and food habits have to do with the culture, the sociology and the religions of that country? It’s a great way to learn more about different countries, and especially true for India. If you haven’t seen the light yet, and are therefore not as besotted with food as I am, consider music instead.

Or dance, if you like. Or textiles. But pick an entry point that you like, and read/see/travel optimizing for that entry point. But most of all, haffun – that’s the whole point, after all.

And for anybody who’s struggling with the Solow Model, trust you me, you can have fun while slogging through it all. This post is the proof!

Steady As She Goes

Gulzar Natarajan has a typically excellent post (part of a two-part series) on India’s economic growth trajectory. And they key point in the post is a counter-intuitive one.

India cannot, and should not, grow too rapidly.

In Can India Grow, we had argued that India does not possess the capital foundations to sustain high rates of growth for long periods. It does not have the physical infrastructure, human resources, financial capital, and institutional capabilities to grow in the 7-9% ranges without engendering serious distortions and overheating. The last such episode of high growth in the 2003-11 period required nearly a decade for companies to deleverage and for banks to overcome their bad assets. While some commentators have since come forth with similar views citing aggregate demand etc, I think we were the earliest to put forth a clear case for lowering expectations and targeting a 5-6% economic growth rate.

https://gulzar05.blogspot.com/2022/11/indian-economy-thoughts-on-growth.html

Our household owns two cars, a Tata Zest and Tata Nano, and the best analogy I can come up with for 2003-2011 is that it was like racing the Nano along the expressway to Bombay at a 110 kilometers per hour. It might (perhaps) have made it to Bombay at those speeds, but the little blue car would then have needed a long time at the mechanic before being road-worthy again. India, similarly, did grow rapidly in that period, but as Gulzar Natarajan puts it, it did not have the “physical infrastructure, human resources, financial capital, and institutional capabilities to grow in the 7-9% ranges without engendering serious distortions and overheating.”

Or put another way, if we want India to grow rapidy in the next two decades or so (and who wouldn’t?), it is very much a question of whether we’re driving a Nano or a Zest over the course of the next two decades. Or, god willing, an even better car. But a Nano will simply not cut it, and in terms of our infrastructure, human resources, financial capital and institutional capablities, we’re more like Tata’s cheapest car than we are like the Tata’s most expensive car.

But our country needs those upgradations if we want to achieve (and sustain) those aspirational growth rates. And here’s another counter-intuitive bit: even a 6% growth rate would be a challenge when we are talking about sustaining it over the course of twenty long years. That’s not the pessimist in me talking, that’s empirics:

A 6% baseline growth for the next three decades would be extraordinary. Underlining this point, as Ruchir Sharma has written, there are only six countries which have grown at 5% for four decades – Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and China. As the data shows, India has become the seventh. But just two have done it for five decades in a row – South Korea and Taiwan. Given that China looks certain to fall short, India could become just the third. It could go one better and strive to become the only country to grow at 5% for seven decades in a row. This would be exceptional at a time when developed countries will struggle to grow at even 2%.

https://gulzar05.blogspot.com/2022/11/indian-economy-thoughts-on-growth.html

But for that to happen – for us to embark on this journey, we would do well to first take the Nano to the garage, and bring out the Zest instead. We could do with a bigger engine, better suspension, better safety features – why, better everything:

We should simultaneously use the growth to build the capital foundations – increase domestic savings, deepen financial inclusion, develop robust financial intermediation systems, expand physical infrastructure, prioritise human capacity development, and develop and strengthen state capabilities.

https://gulzar05.blogspot.com/2022/11/indian-economy-thoughts-on-growth.html

All of which is easier said than done, as many a “growth star” state of the 20th century will tell you. This stuff is hard, unglamorous, politically risky, and with payoffs that manifest themselves only in the long run. But also, this stuff is unavoidable. Here’s one way to think about it as a student of economics: studying macroeconomics without a deep study of development economics is dangerous.

For as a nation to our north and east is hell bent on showing us in recent times, attemptig rapid growth without getting the basics right isn’t a good idea:

A too rapid growth will invariably drive up signatures of overheating – high inflation, property bubbles and land valuations, spike in wages, environmental damage, clogged infrastructure like traffic congestions and water scarcity etc.

https://gulzar05.blogspot.com/2022/11/indian-economy-thoughts-on-growth.html

Institutions matter. Education matters. Physical infrastructure matters. State capacity matters.

And attempting to engineer rapid growth without getting all (not some, all) of these right is a bad idea.

P.S. If you are a student of the Indian economy, the first chart in this blogpost is worth deep contemplation and reflection. What is your best guess for what comes next, and why is your guess whatever it is? That’s be an excellent essay to assign at the end of a macro semester that focuses on the Indian economy.

Barcelona’s Superblocks

And if you’re curious about how it all turned out, considering this video is six years old

We’ve Been Expecting You, Mr. Iger. Or Have We?

A Tale of Two Sports

Sport 1:

The Associate nations won four out of 11 matches against the Test-playing sides in this tournament. These are the most they have won in any edition of the men’s T20 World Cup. There were also a few close games in the seven they lost; two matches were decided within a margin of less than 20 runs, and the other two with less than ten balls to spare. This was clearly an improvement on the previous editions.
The 2021 T20 World Cup had 15 matches where the Associate nations were matched-up against Full Members, and they ended up winning just two games – both during the first round. Among the 13 games won by the Full Members, six were by a margin of 45-plus runs and another five games by seven or more wickets or 25-plus balls to spare.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/t20-world-cup-2022-stats-struggle-for-boundaries-a-tournament-of-upsets-and-englands-pace-highs-1344880

Sport 2:

Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the World Cup has been the willingness of the so-called weaker teams to advance further up the pitch to win the ball in opposition territory.
A defining part of Saudi Arabia’s shock 2-1 win over Argentina was the remarkably high defensive line, which not only rattled the opposition but also caught them offside a total of 10 times – leading to three disallowed goals. Japan’s second-half turnaround against Germany was built around a similar high press. In one of the more under-the-radar results, Tunisia’s well-earned draw against Denmark came from the same risky approach.
Teams that chose to sit back and wait for counter-attacking opportunities alone – like Iran, Costa Rica, and Serbia – all faced big defeats.

https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/football/fifa-world-cup-learnings-from-the-first-round-of-matches-8288832/

  1. Small sample size, I know. But leave aside statistical rigor for the moment. Would it be right to assume that weaker teams are gradually getting better over time? Is this a hypothesis worth examining? Why has men’s tennis been telling us a very different story for the past two decades?
  2. The IE article talks about the specific tactics and strategies that have benefited the weaker teams in the football World Cup. What (if any) common strategies and tactics, have there been to the weaker teams that did well in the T20 World Cup?
  3. How might (and how should) the stronger teams adapt to these new strategies by the weaker teams when it comes to football? What about the stronger cricket teams?
  4. Playing the riskier strategy seems to be, counter-intuitively, the better (not necessarily safer!) thing to do, and you could argue that this is true for weaker nations in both sports. What does this say about the nature of both sports today? How much of this can be explained using game theory (what should be your rational strategy as the coach of a weaker team in a tournament such as this? What should be your rational strategy, given your best guess re: the previous question, as the coach of a stronger team in a tournament such as this?)
  5. Whatever our answers to these questions, how do they help us understand the world around us better today? Do they help us understand, say, geopolitical conflicts better? Corporate takeovers? If yes, how? If not, why not?

One of the random questions I recieved in class yesterday was about me asking five random questions to the students for a change instead. I had fun being on the other side for a change, and I’m going to enjoy pondering over these questions over the weekend.

Tell Yourself a Story

For years and years after 2008, I’ve regaled many a classroom with a story that began like this:

“Let’s say you’re all relatively poor folks in, say, Florida, and imagine that I’m your local bank.” The dramatis personae would then be expanded: another professor from that college would represent Wall Street banks, while the canteen owner would represent global investors. The academic coordinator would become the rating agencies. And so on and so forth.

But also, through this little tragedy whose charactes we were becoming familiar with, we would start to learn what these characters were up to in the years leading up to (and including) 2008. So along with the list of characters, we would also familiarize ourselves with what CDO’s were, and what swaps were, and what a tranche was, and what collateralization means – or more accurately, what some people thought it meant – and so on and so forth. And at the end of the class, we would have all been entertained, but we would also have learnt a high-level explanation of what led to the events of October 2008, and its aftermath.

It’s quite a story, and if you haven’t heard it before, I hope I get to tell it to you sometime.

But there’s two reasons I bring this up, and here’s the first. When you are learning something hard and intricate and difficult in economics (or other, related fields), try and entertain yourself by building a story around whatever it is that you’re learning. I taught myself Microeconomic Analysis (by Hal Varian) by building stories around each chapter. And if you’ve ever tried to read that book, you will know how difficult a task I had set for myself.

But in a way, that baptism by fire was entirely worth it, for while I have (thank god) forgotten much of that textbook, the truly worthwhile lesson was learning how to make anything more interesting. Turn the lesson into a story!

I have used this lesson to both understand and teach Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. I have used this lesson to teach people what optimum currency areas are all about. I explain to folks how the government might attempt to reduce the price of onions, and used that lesson to explain to people why controlling the price of the rupee vis-a-vis the dollar isn’t really possible. And so on and so forth – but all of these episodes have one underlying lesson: make the topic you’re studying more interesting by turning it into a story.

For the more abstruse parts of economic theory (some might be tempted to ask “as opposed to what?”), it is an invaluable skill.


And here’s the second:

Here’s my high-level explanation of the FTX crash.
Imagine that I own a house and I create a million coins representing the value of the house. I give half of the coins to my wife. I then sell one of my coins to my wife for $10. Now the house has a nominal value of $10 million dollars and my wife and I each have assets worth $5 million. Of course, no one is likely to buy my house for $10 million or lend me money based on my coin wealth but suppose I now get my friend Tyler to buy a coin for $15. Tyler says why would I want to buy your s!@# coin! To encourage Tyler to buy I give him a side-deal that is not very public. Say an extra 5% of our textbook royalties. Tyler buys the coin for $15. Now the coins have gone up in value by 50%. My wife and I each have $7.5 million. Other people may want to get in while they can—Tyler bought in! Are you in? I’m in!
Now if it’s not obvious, I am SBF in the analogy, and my wife is Alameda run by his sometimes girlfriend Caroline Ellison. Who is Tyler?—the seeming outsider who gets a kind of under-the-table deal to pump SBF’s coins? One possibility, is Sequoia a venture capitalist firm who invested in FTX, SBF’s house, while at the same time FTX invested in Sequoia. Weird right? Tyler in this example is also a bunch of firms that Alameda invested in but which were then required to keep their funds at FTX. Many other possibilities exist.

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2022/11/the-ftx-debacle-eli5.html

I don’t understand the economics of the crypto world, at all. I’ve read my fair share of stuff about it, but I still don’t know how it works. I certainly don’t know enough to be able to explain it to others, and that’s the whole point, no? So the idea that I could explain a scam in the crypto world is a whole other challenge.

But that’s why this post was so enjoyable – because I got to learn what the scam was about. More, I got to learn about it using my own favorite method of learning: by reading a “story”. And stories with “ouch!” sentences are even better!

Ok, final analogy. Suppose to help me run my house I invite over a bunch of friends and we do a lot of drugs and hook up together and suppose that none of us really knows anything about accounting or financial controls.

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2022/11/the-ftx-debacle-eli5.html

But the bottomline is this: learn the art of building up a story. There’s no better way to learn economics!

A Walk Down Abhimanashri Lane

Or Abhimanashree, whichever version you prefer.

But however you choose to spell it, join me, won’t you, as I saunter down this leafy little lane on a wintry Sunday morning?

Abhimanashri Lane is today a bit of a misnomer. But as a true-blue Puneri, I remember a time when it really and truly was a lane, and a very quiet one. Today, it forms the base of a very useful triangle, connecting Baner Road and Pashan Road, with the apex of the triangle being Pune University signal. Why this is a very useful triangle is a long story that will bring much angst to every Punekar reading this, so we will move on for the moment.

Accompanying us on this jaunt is my nine-year old daughter, whose ability to ask endless questions is matched only by her ability to ask questions about what we’re going to eat next. As a gourmand who pretends to teach economics for a living, I thoroughly approve of both of these qualities.

And so down Abhimanashri Lane we go, appreciating the quietness of the Sunday morning, pausing every now and then to meet a new canine friend, and breathing in the soft yet crisp wintry air that Pune still affords us in the absence of traffic.

Until we reach a nice little bakery on the left hand side, with a cute sitting-out area, and what looks from without to be a promising array of baked treats lying in wait inside. The daughter deploys the most beseeching look she can muster, but she needn’t have. I am chomping at the bit myself, so in we go to take a look. There’s croissants, there’s breads, there’s pastries and there’s coffee. Heaven, to be precise. Having suitably nourished ourselves, we resume our walk.


But then the economist in me starts to wonder.

We had gone there at around nine in the morning, and we were the only cutomers in the cafe. There was one delivery order that was picked up, but that apart, there was no one else who walked in. The food was very good without being truly outstanding, but that is not (at all) a knock against the place. In fact, if anything, I would have expected more customers.

So why, the economist in me wondered, was it empty?

  1. Abhimanashri is a truly lovely place to walk around in, but it is a low density neighborhood. Most people might wonder if I could have phrased that sentence better – wouldn’t it be the case that it is a lovely place to walk around in precisely because it is a low density neighborhood? Well, yes, but also no. Read on.
  2. It is not just a low density neighborhood, but it is also almost entirely residential. There’s a misal join towards the end of the lane, and a couple of shops and offices, and one upmarket salon. But it is safe to say that it is overwhemingly residential in terms of character.
  3. It is also a no-parking zone, for reasons that we refused to go into earlier, but now we must. Read this article to get a sense of why it is a no parking zone.
  4. So, low density neighborhood, not enough offices, plus a no parking zone along its entire length. Not enough folks in the vicinity, whether residents or otherwise, and the inability to park along its entire length. Nor, if memory serves me right, is there a bus-stop along the entire length of the lane.
  5. So walk-in customers are unlikely. Plus, the inconvenience of having to park a ways away and then walking down might disincentivize other customers.
  6. I’d much rather sit at home and order from there using Zomato or Swiggy or some such, rather than actually try and reach the place.
  7. And so while I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there and wouldn’t mind going there again, the inconvenience of it all makes it rather unlikely that I will.
  8. Which is why you should read up about mixed-use neighborhoods, and urban planning more generally. I have a couple of videos on the subject, or you might want to read more about it by searching on Google, or you might want to read this lovely thread on Twitter.
  9. But the next time you take a walk down one of your favorites streets in your favorite city, you might want to ask what makes that street your favorite, and what were the opportunity costs of that street being the way it is. Ask yourself in what ways that street could become better, and how your city might go about planning for it to be so. Get into the habit of doing this all the time, because why wouldn’t you want to think about how your city could be better.
  10. And then, suitably incentivized, learn more about urban planning, because it is a fascinating subject that every budding economist should know more about.
  11. Past EFE posts on urbanization, if you’re interested, are here.

Macro is *Hard*, Edition #293483343643

I began teaching a course on introductory macro this past Saturday at a college here in Pune. I often tell my students that my job in a macro course is to leave them more confused at the end than they were at the start. That always evokes laugther by way of response, but as anyone who has learnt (and especially taught!) macro will tell you, I’m quite serious.

Macroeconomics is hard, it is confusing and as the person responsible for teaching it, you’re always on your toes, because you’re never sure if you’ve understood it yourself!

And I really do mean that, it is not a rhetorical statement. My own PhD is in macroeconomics (business cycles, more specifically), but I’ll happily admit to still not being sure about what exactly causes business cycles, what (if anything) to do about them and when to stop doing whatever it is that we’ve chosen to do about them. And I suspect that most macroeconomists will tell you the same thing.

This humility stems from a very good reason: macro is hard.

It is hard for lots of reasons, and not to get too meta, but quite a few debates within the field are also about which of these reasons are most relevant, and whether the relevance changes over time – and if so, due to which reasons!

But if I were to try and write a simple post for people who have no formal trianing in macro about why macro is so hard, here would be my reasons:

  1. Macro is really about trying to figure out everything that goes on in an economy, and if you try to think about all the things that go on in an economy, you very quickly realize that figuring them out is even more challenging.
  2. Time and uncertainty!
    • Macroeconomic decisions take time. It takes time to decide to start a new factory. It takes time to figure out the financing. Land acquisitions, regulatory approvals, construction delays will all add weeks to the planned schedule, if not months, and sometimes years.
    • These expensive decisions are made at the start, but there is no guarantee that macroeconomic conditions will be the same at the finish of the project as they were at the start. You want a relatable example? How sure are you that macroeconomic conditions will be the same when you graduate from college – as they were when you enrolled in it?
  3. The way macroeconomic variables interact with each other isn’t known for sure. We think we know how inflation and unemployment are related to each other, but we can’t really say for sure. We think we know how exchange rates impact the domestic economy, but we can’t really say for sure.We’re still figuring out how monetary policy and fiscal policy should interact in theoretical models, let alone in reality. The impact of monetary policy in America today on India’s economy tomorrow? Don’t get me started. I can go on, and folks with greater expertise than me will prbably not stop for years.
  4. Life has a way of throwing up surprises that macroeconomic models never thought about. You could (and probably should) blame macroeconomists for not getting enough finance into their models prior to 2008, but who, pray, could have foreseen 2020 and 2021? How do you come up with models and policies on the fly in such a scenario? And then, just for fun, throw in a jammed Suez canal. Life, I tell you.
    We call these things exogenous shocks in macroeconomics, but the name hardly matters. Reality will always be more complex and more unexpected than any model you can come up with, and that’s just a fact.
  5. Counterfactuals are impossible to test. How do we know that Ben Bernanke did the “right” thing in 2008? We don’t! What if he had done x instead of y? There’s no way to test this, since we can’t turn the clock back to 2008, and ask Mr. Bernanke to, well, do x instead of y. This is both a problem and when it comes to critiquing models, a great convenience.
  6. Attitudes towards risk, and the propensity to copy what others are doing change according to your outlook towards the macroeconomic environment. You can call this animal spirits, but what you’re really saying is that you don’t quite know how to think about it, even less model it cohesively.
  7. Building a model – any model – requires simplification. When you build a model, it will by definition be an approximation. Unfortunately (and I wish this weren’t so), this very real limitation isn’t always front and centre within the field while developing models.
  8. What are you optimizing for when you build a model? Is it fidelity to reality or is it a beautiful model that may or may not have anything to do with reality? Again, I wish this weren’t so, but the answer isn’t always clear cut.
  9. Any field that uses the pool player analogy is a field that is, by definition, unsure about how the world works.
  10. No matter how much data we have access to, there will always be data points that we cannot capture, and we don’t quite know how these data points, and their unavailability, will impact our understanding of the economy.
  11. Social structures, psychological make-up, cultural parameters will all have an impact upon the decision making capabilities of individuals, but quite how this works (and that too across space and time) isn’t well known. For example, how would your grandfather have reacted to the prospect of not being employed upon graduation? What about your dad? What about you? What does this say about the nature of India’s changing economy, and what does it say about cultural norms and expectations? Is your answer likely to be different depending upon how much your family earns, where in the country you are located and your family size? Can we model this? (Hint: no.)

So sure, I’ll teach them about the variables, the models and the case studies.

But I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret, so long as you promise not to tell anybody: I’m just not sure if I really and truly understand what I’m teaching in macro.

On The Economics of the Space Industry

I knew very little about the space industry, let alone its economics, before reading the piece that I am going to speak about today. And that’s one reason I enjoyed reading this guest post in Not Boring so much, about the space economy.

The second reason I enjoyed reading this so much is because it is a rare combination of three things: it was in-depth, it was informal and it was informative. That takes skill, and reading it was therefore a pleasure.

I’d strongly urge you to take an hour ot two out of your week to read the whole thing at leisure. What follows are points that interest me, and that I have made notes of – but this is something I really do think you should do for yourself too.

Before we begin, I question that I have thought about after reading this article. What, I asked myself, is the chance that I will get to experience space tourism in my life? The question would have been hilarious in the 1990’s, when I was in school, and while it still seems fanciful right now, I’d go as high as even 10%. And for my daughter during her lifetime, I’d put the chances at above fifty percent. What a time to be alive.


  1. I’d memorized during my school quizzing days the name of the first dog to go into space (Laika). I learnt while reading this article that Sputnik-2 didn’t have any “Earth return capabilities”, and I felt very sad indeed.
  2. NASA had a predeccosr called NACA, and responding to the Russian advances in space in the late 1950’s necessitated the formation of a new organization. I found this to be very interesting.
  3. “Astronauts were living legends and international celebrities. They drove (or, more accurately, raced) Corvettes across town in Houston.” James May had a lovely segment on this in one of the episodes in The Grand Tour. The reverence in his voice as a he drove the very same Corvette that was once owned by Neil Armstrong (I think it was NA’s) was wonderful to behold.
  4. NASA’s budget in its heyday was 4% of all US federal government spend. It is now at 0.4%.
  5. COTS, or Commercial Orbits Transportation services, and the incentives offered by that program have resulted in Starliner’s $/kg in 2021 to be about the same as that of Mercury, in 1961!
  6. I learnt about flippening.
  7. The value in space exploration is mostly about driving benefits back to earth: GPS, transparency about what is happening back on earth, fighting climate change, and spillovers. Speaking of spillovers, here’s a useful list.
  8. Turns out you can see cow farts from space!
  9. The Russo-American conflict has not been good for space exploration, and the Chinese are doing some really advanced stuff. Speaking of which, I also learnt about hypersonic glide vehicles.
  10. The chart below this paragraph doesn’t show India’s budget separately. I wish this were not so.
  11. The economics of funding space startups is (surprise, surprise) very different. But that being said, read the section that comes next very carefully, and then take a look at this talk, and this book.
  12. The launch cost curve is encouraging, as is the satellite cost curve.
  13. Take a look at the market map below this paragraph to get a sense of the firms working in this (n.p.i) space.
  14. I had no clue space manufacturing was a thing!
  15. SpaceX will “not recognize international law” on Mars.

Again, I strongly encourage you to read the whole thing yourself, and take your own notes. If you are a student of finance, for example, the sections on funding, business models and risks deserve a deeper dive.

Introduction to Mimetic Theory