Before we get to the newsletter, here's a quick sidenote. We recently published a video titled "IPO investing for beginners" and if you ever wanted to analyse or invest in IPOs, this is the video you should watch. Link here.
With that out of the way, let us get to this week's Sunny Side Up edition shall we?
Imagine you board a relatively empty local bus. There are just a few occupied seats. You heave a sigh of relief. You can relax through your journey, read, appreciate nature or even listen to your favourite music or podcast.
But only until an annoying passenger watches reels or videos at full volume! Now, that can be quite off-putting.
Sometimes, the passenger might even rudely ask you to mind your own business if you request them to lower the volume or use earphones. And oftentimes, we tend to reluctantly put up with such co-passengers to avoid wasteful public scuffles.
Not anymore though…in Mumbai at least. Courtesy a new rule in Mumbai’s BEST buses.
A couple of days ago, BEST released a notification asking passengers to use headphones while watching videos or listening to audio on their devices. Not just that. You’re not even allowed to have loud phone conversations.
And not taking this new rule seriously can attract punishments under the Bombay Police Act. Now, this isn’t the first time such a rule has been in place in India. In 2021, Karnataka’s transport department also rolled out a similar directive which banned passengers travelling by KSRTC buses from listening to music on mobile phone speakers.
Despite being a great move, we’re not sure whether the message has gone out loud and clear to public peace disruptors.
So, tell us, are you happy about this new regulation? I mean, you have to be. Unless you’re the one watching videos on full blast in public places! 🤨
Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵
Je Chhau Timi by Swoopna Suman and Samir Shrestha
Thanks for this soothing Nepali music rec, Deepak Agrawal.
Are we ready to roll?
What caught our eye this week 👀
Surfactant manufacturers don’t seem very happy these days. Surfactants are active ingredients used in cleaning detergents.
And recently, the government’s been mulling over discouraging foreign raw materials to protect the local industry. But this good gesture is giving them nightmares.
What’s going on, you ask?
Well, saturated fatty alcohol or SFA is a kind of surfactant that commonly goes into making detergents. And most of it is imported because India doesn’t produce enough of it to cater to the large surfactant-absorbing industry which includes personal care products like soaps, skin cleansers, shampoos, stain removers and more.
And India’s needy surfactant industry is almost like a golden opportunity for other countries that produce low-cost SFAs and send them over. In other words, they just dump their cheap products in India.
In 2017, the government started looking into the alleged dumping of SFAs from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. These imports were actually leaving harmful residues that polluted local land and water. And because they had sufficient evidence to prove their speculations, the commerce ministry’s investigation arm thought of choking such hazardous imports with anti-dumping duties.
And folks in the surfactant industry never okayed this move because discouraging imports meant having to procure SFAs locally. But since there isn’t enough potential to meet all this demand, production costs will naturally rise. And eventually, trickle down into pricier detergents and shampoos for consumers.
Another trouble could be with importing something called SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) which is a byproduct of SFA. If duties are imposed only on SFAs and not on other surfactants like SLS, it will make the local surfactant industry uncompetitive. Because some detergent manufacturers might simply resort to importing cheaper SLS as a workaround, bypassing buying SFAs from Indian surfactant makers altogether. This could compel them to resort to cutting back on expenses triggering layoffs. That could threaten the jobs of nearly 9,000 people employed in the industry too.
And that’s more or less why folks in the domestic industry are urging the government not to make this backfiring move.
So, to tweak or not to tweak the tariff, that is the question.
The Broken Window Fallacy
Imagine that you’re playing a friendly indoor game of cricket with your siblings or friends across a long corridor at home. You need just 3 runs to win the innings and power up for a six. You scream with joy until you hear the ball crashing through an adjacent window.
At this point, you’re only going to think of the thrashing you’ll get when your folks come to know of what you’ve done. It’s obviously a needless repair expense.
But if this were to happen in 1850, then you’d have a way to convince your parents that your mistake has actually done more good than harm.
How’s that you ask?
Presenting to you, the broken window fallacy.
It’s a theoretical misconception that fixing damages can boost the economy through a multiplier effect. French economist Frédéric Bastiat’s essay called The Parable of the Broken Window simplifies this.
In his story, a boy carelessly breaks a window of a shop that belongs to his father. But instead of disciplining him, the local folks decide that he has actually helped the economy. Because repairing a window will add some income in the hands of the glazier (a chap who fixes glasses). He’ll in turn spend this extra income on buying something, creating a multiplier effect of sorts and ultimately boosting the economy.
But here’s the unseen part according to Bastiat. Often when we’re trying to console ourselves that such acts have pumped up the economy, we forget its opportunity cost (losing one benefit when we choose another).
For instance, the 6 francs that the shopkeeper spends on repairing the broken window could have actually been spent on buying some stock for this business. Selling that could have been a better way of creating value rather than just creating a false multiplier effect.
And that misconception is called the broken window fallacy.
Have you ever had such economic misconceptions? If you’re shaking your head, then think again. Didn’t our thoughts sway this way at least at some point in time during the peak days of the pandemic? You tell us.
Money tips 💰
The CPU hack to stop wasting money
Hey! Do you often find yourself spending on stuff that you don’t need?
Fret not. Here’s a fab idea to get you out of the money-wasting loop. It’s called the CPU rule. And that just means cost-per-use or understanding how much something actually costs you every time you use it.
Let’s break it down for you.
Imagine you saw a cool pair of sneakers at a store. And because you recently got a pay hike, you go for it without a second thought. But you can’t wear them every day because they just aren’t that kind of footwear. Maybe you could wear it for casual outings. And you do that just twice a month. Which means you’ll only wear them 24 times a year.
Now if the sneakers cost ₹8,400, that’ll mean that every time you wear them you’ve spent about ₹350. But what if you had bought a more comfortable daily wear kind of footwear that you could pretty much wear all the time?
It would obviously cost you less. But just for the sake of comparison, even if it cost the same as that fancy pair of sneakers, you’d still have worn them at least 4 times a week. Meaning, 208 times a year. How much would the cost per use be then?
Just about 40 bucks!
How does that make you feel?
If it blew your mind away, then try using this analysis every time you’re lured into buying things that may not actually be financially beneficial. It could go a long in helping you cut down on your money-wasting vice.
Readers Recommend 🗒️
Khuda Buksh by Muhammad Obaidur Rahim
This week we have quite an unusual book recommendation from our reader Sneha. It’s about Khuda Buksh, the man who changed everyone’s opinions about life insurance in the 1950s and made it a profitable industry in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
In the eyes of the author, life insurance was considered a death warrant in those days and people believed that one would die early if they ever chose to buy a life insurance policy. The leading man of the book made it his life mission to make people understand the benefits of life insurance and invest in it so that their families don’t suffer.
We think it’s a fab book recommendation, especially since Ditto loves making insurance simpler for everyone. So thanks Sneha! We hope this helps our readers understand how important insurance is, through a historical perspective.
Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩
It’s time to announce the winner of our previous Weekly Quiz. And the winner is… 🥁
Prerana Ghosh! Congratulations. We’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch.
And for the rest of you, here’s your next chance to grab the winner’s crown. Click on this 👉🏽 link, answer all the questions correctly and tune in next week to check if you got lucky.
Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org).
We’ll see you next Sunday!