An Economist from Berkeley

I have been following the blog of an Indian-born Economist from Berekeley who goes by the name of Atanu Dey :


Atanu Dey suffers from a rather severe form of attention deficit disorder. After his bachelors in mechanical engineering, he moved to computer science and received a master’s degree. Product marketing at HP in the Silicon Valley kept him occupied briefly for six years. Then he traveled in India, US, and Europe for five years before realising that he knew nothing about economics. So he studied economics at the University of California at Berkeley and received his PhD for his thesis on the Indian telecommunications sector.

His critique of the New Telecom Policy 1999 is worth a read, even though his thesis will only appeal to hardcore economists and is guaranteed to distress socialistic Indian policy makers. Playing hookey while at UC Berkeley, he slummed at a junior university called Stanford as a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow 2001-02. Rumor has it that there he actually developed a model which he calls "Rural Infrastructure and Services Commmons (RISC)" that promises to bring about the economic tranformation of rural India. Someone asked him to demonstrate that claim and so he is off in India trying to implement the RISC model, leaving behind a lot of very relieved people in California where he spent nearly two decades.

In his spare time (about 90% of his total time) he listens to classical music, practices Vipassana meditation, reads physics, gives lectures on Buddhism, maintains a sporadic blog, and occassionally makes sense. He plans to become a philosopher when he grows up. He would also like all to know that he is a published poet.


Naturally, when I read that he’s coming to India, I wrote to him telling him that I would love to meet him some time. As it turns out, last night I had the pleasure of having dinner with him!

It was a great experience. We discussed all kinds of things from life in the US and his RISC theory to Physics and Economics. It is such a pleasure to converse with someone who is well-read, well-informed, well-travelled, and just … interesting.

If you don’t know any one interesting, find someone. If you do, give him/her a call. Life’s too short to let such opportunities pass.