India’s failed 1966 devaluation

India's failed 1966 devaluation
5. General

India’s failed 1966 devaluation

Welcome to the fifth edition of ‘3-2-1 by Story Rules‘ – a newsletter recommending good examples of storytelling across:
• 3 tweets
• 2 articles, and
• 1 long-form content piece (podcast or book)

Each of these would be accompanied by my short summary/take and sometimes with an extract of a portion that I found insightful.

Let’s dive in.

🐦 3 Tweets of the week

(Context: These tweets are in response to Tomas Pueyo’s viral tweet thread which criticised a report that questioned the efficacy of masks).

I’m a fan of Tomas Pueyo’s work. But these criticisms (especially Paul’s thoughts above) highlight an important trade-off every storyteller should be aware of – between having complete fact-based accuracy vs. writing a compelling story. Crafting a narrative necessarily means you will need to leave out some portions. If, in the eyes of some readers, those edited portions were crucial, then you can get a fair amount of flak.

I just loved the copy on this old IBM ad.

The maps by this guy are insanely arresting to look at (watch it on the biggest screen you can and zoom in).

📄 2 Articles of the week

a. The Operating Manual for Your Nervous System by Jonny Miller

A friend of mine, Rahul Tawde once told me – physiology beats psychology. We think our minds control our bodies – but it’s often the reverse.

This article gives you two breathing techniques (which I’m guessing must be basic pranayama!) on how to calm an anxious or lethargic mind.

But what blew me away from the piece was this one fact:

There are important neurological reasons why. Our nervous system consists of 80% of afferent neurons, which move from the body to the brain – in contrast to roughly 20% of efferent neurons, which run in the opposite direction, from the brain to the body.​
As a result, so-called bottom-up interventions—or practices that leverage our physiology by consciously shifting our respiratory or visual systems—are 4x more effective at altering our blood chemistry and, therefore, shifting our state.

I’m guessing this is linked to the concept of power poses (see Amy Cuddy’s famous TED Talk which was not free of controversy). The scientific study referred in the article does share the finding about 80:20 afferent and efferent neurons… But I wanted to check – any neurologists/brain experts among the readers who can attest to this? :)​

b. Why is insurance legal? by Tim Hanson

Insurance is just the reverse of gambling argues Tim in this provocative piece. 🙂

Insurance is basically reverse gambling. In gambling, you pay small amounts of money to hopefully win big ones, but your expected value is negative because you probably won’t win anything. In insurance, you pay small amounts of money to hopefully avoid losing big ones, but your expected value is negative because you probably will pay more into the system than you will ever get out of it.

When it’s put that way, why did the government for so long prohibit gambling while requiring insurance? Part of the answer to that has to do with the difference between upside and downside, I get it, but both are scams in the sense that the house has a huge informational advantage over the customer in such a way that it makes the transaction inherently one-sided. If you’re buying insurance, in other words, you’re probably getting duped

If there was a better illustration of the theory of loss aversion, I haven’t seen it!

📖 1 long-form read of the week

a. Shortfall by Prakhar Misra

Fascinating story of India’s failed 1966 devaluation (featuring all key leaders of that period including Indira Gandhi, LB Shastri, TT Krishnamachari etc.) which laid the seeds of India’s clear turn towards the Soviets in the late 1960s.


A more enduring change took place in foreign relations. India moved away from US support, and closer to the Soviets. Tensions emerging around the Vietnam War did not help matters. The Soviets agreed to finance a lot of Indian planning, provide technical assistance and even help along India’s space programme. Indira Gandhi travelled to Moscow and, together with the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, issued a communique against “imperialist forces threatening peace.”​

That’s all from this week’s edition.

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

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