Political philosophy of football

Posted in sports by jrahman on June 17, 2014

Macroeconomists have an abysmal record when it comes to forecasting.  As Tim Harford documents, as late as September 2008 —when the Lehman Brothers collapsed —consensus among the economists at the Wall Street and City of London was that no major economy would fall into recession in 2009.  Not deterred by such abysmal failure, market economists have ventured into predicting the World Cup.  The overwhelming favourite is Brazil.

And economists of Goldman Sachs —which dominates the Wall Street the way Brazil dominates football —have actually published the analysis behind their prediction. According to their analysis, Brazil has a nearly 50% chance of winning. Of course, Brazil is also the favourite in the betting markets.  But as of kick off (that is, before the Croatian counter attack stunned the world), betting agencies such as Ladbrokes were implying only around 25% chance of a Brazil win.


Crazy summer, football and …

Posted in politics, Rights, society, sports by jrahman on June 9, 2010

One of the first Bengali Muslim chartered accountant, survivor of the swinging sixties London, print and TV media pioneer, and a colourful political life of many digbajis — starting out as a moderate critique of Zia, becoming a strident opponent of Ershad and the first Khaleda governments, before his current incarnation as a leading pro-BNP intellectual — Shafiq Rehman would make a great character for a movie or mini-series.  And if writing a script on his life is too difficult, his political ‘novel’ Jai Jai Din would make for a great script too.

Rehman’s protagonist is Moin — a divorced business executive having affairs with old flame Mila and her friend Lata.  Mila’s husband is Akram, part of the urban noveau riche.  Lata is married to an army officer close to Gen Zia.  The other major character is Moin’s American neighbour Carl.  Serialised in now defunct Shandhani during the fag end of Zia’s regime, Jai Jai Din is the best account of Bangladesh of that era.  Someone should make a movie of it, with full depiction of Moin and Lata consummating their passion while the Zia regime comes to a violent end.

When Rehman launched his political magazine of the same name in the mid-1980s, Moin and Mila returned in the weekly column Diner por din.  Every week, the lovebirds would have detailed telephone conversations about the news.  They would dissect what has happened, and predict what would transpire.  And the whole thing would be done as ‘fantasy’ — 1980s was a different era, government could shut down anyone for having a dissenting opinion, so opinions had to be presented as fantasies.  Indeed, Jai Jai Din itself was shut down twice, Rehman was exiled, and not allowed to attend his father’s funeral.

Anyway, I digress.  Let’s get back to Moin and Mila’s conversations.  I am thinking of one particular one they had in the summer of 1986.