Author Archive

Stagflation in the U.S. economy

By Sanjay on May 29, 2011 | Category: Access to Credit,Business Education,Poverty in the US | Tags: , | No Comments

Stagflation is the situation where the cost of living is increasing with a high rate of inflation while at the same time there is a high level of unemployment in the economy leading to a low rate of growth. Usually in a situation where the level of unemployment is high as it is in the U.S. today, the level of demand for products would be low leading to a low level of inflation. This inverse relationship between the level of unemployment and the rate of inflation is called the Phillips curve in economics and credited to the New Zealand economist William Phillips. However in today’s context, with the continued rapid growth of emerging economies around the world the global demand for Gasoline and other commodities is higher than in the past with the result that it is leading to higher than expected  inflation.  

Inflation for the U.S. economy is measured by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. The indicators used to measure it consist of – the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which tracks the prices that consumers pay for their living expenses and the Producer Price Index (PPI) which measures the prices that producers of goods and services are able to charge consumers. The CPI is calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics using a basket of goods and services used by a typical family and consists of items such as – food and beverages, transportation, housing, clothing, medical expenses,  and education.

Ronald McKinnon who is a professor at Stanford university makes the argument that Stagflation in right around the corner for the U.S. economy. He does this in his recent Wall Street Journal article where be blames the near zero interest rate policy of the U.S. Federal Reserve for this situation. In his opinion this has resulted in the dollar falling against emerging market currencies and in order to remain competitive they have taken to purchasing dollars. This has  led to a rate of inflation of about 5% in these economies and a growth in the price of commodities of about 40%.

At the same time the easy money policy of the Fed whose goal is to make banks lend more money to businesses is not working. Most banks have taken a beating during the financial crisis and have become stricter in their lending practices. This means that they are not lending as freely as they were before the crisis especially to small and medium businesses (SME’s) which need the money the most. This creates a situation where small businesses which represent the chunk of the jobs that could be created are not able to start hiring leading to a continued high level of unemployment.

Introduction to Climate Change and solutions to mitigate it

By Sanjay on May 21, 2011 | Category: Business Models,climate change,Sustainable Development,triple bottom line | Tags: , | No Comments

Climate Change is a fact of life today and figuring out ways to mitigate it are paramount to the survival of our way of life. The concept of the triple bottom line talks about – Profit, People and Planet. In the context of Global Warming caused by Green House Gas emissions it is important to understand that the first priority needs to be the Planet. Only by ensuring that the Environment that we live in is secure can we ensure that we will have a home to live on that will continue to sustain us and our future generations. This video from PBS’s NOVA series on science talks introduces the concept of Climate Change and Global Warming and talks about the latest work being done to mitigate it.

The Politics of Food

By Sanjay on May 20, 2011 | Category: buy fresh buy local,community alliance with family farmers,ecological agriculture,farm to school,Healthy Food,Sustainable Development,triple bottom line | Tags: , , , | No Comments


Food is political since what you eat defines where you spend a large amount of your money. This is especially true for a large percentage of the population who are low income. Eating choices are a question of survival and we are in most cases unable to make these decisions based on the values of the people that grow the food or the manner in which the food is grown.

In this interview Alice Waters makes the key point that eating should not be just about food, but that it should be about subscribing to a set of values that come with that food. Fast food by its very nature comes with the values of fast, cheap and easy and creates the breeding ground for corporations to create anonymity around the origin of food and a screen around how this food is produced treating it essentially as a manufactured product.
The assumption made by corporate America is that to feed a large population of nine billion people around the world, we need to use chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. Waters notes that a large portion of these industrial farms are subsidized by the U.S. government, so this cheap food is not really cheap if we were to factor the true costs of it.
Another important cost that is not factored into the thought process of people when they make their food decisions is the preventive element of sustainable, healthy foods. Industrial food from corporate America has perpetuated a food culture that leads to epidemics related to obesity and diabetes besides a host of other modern diseases. People do not factor the economic cost of treatment over a period of a lifetime of these unhealthy practices. They also do not put a price on the loss in the quality of life.

The challenge for Business Education

By Sanjay on May 2, 2011 | Category: Business Education,CSU Monterey Bay,Higher Education,Salinas Valley | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

 This recent article from the Economist magazine says that Business Education in America is for the students who are not capable of getting into any other major. It notes that except for the top 50 schools in the U.S. undergraduate business studies are not challenging and do not promote the development of any skills or capabilities. This article is based on the recent study from the Chronicle of Higher Education which delves much deeper into this topic.

As a faculty at the School of Business at CSU Monterey Bay, I am surprised that the quality of education at business schools across the U.S. is considered to be below par. I am happy to note that we at CSU Monterey Bay are rigorous in our course work with an emphasis on the classroom as a living laboratory. We strive for a balanced education combining textbook learning with real world experience. We do this by incorporating extensive reading, writing and close interaction in team based projects with the business world.

Sustainable Bamboo Craftsman

By Sanjay on April 28, 2011 | Category: Bamboo,climate change | Tags: , , | No Comments

Dodon Dimyati is a Bamboo craftsman from Indonesia who is currently in the U.S. He will be working with Sustainable Bio to create awareness about the use of Bamboo in everyday life. We will be working together on projects involving use of Bamboo in construction, to make furniture and for interior design. Dodon was trained to work with Bamboo in central Java in Indonesia while working with Sahabat Bambu. Sahabat Bambu works on sustainable bamboo projects involving –  the treatment and preservation of Bamboo, sustainable construction using Bamboo, interior design using Bamboo  and  Bamboo education. The Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF) is another organization that has influenced Dodon’s work. The EBF was founded by by Linda Garland in Bali Indonesia and is a non-profit organization that is commited to promoting the use of bamboo in sustainable development and construction.

Ten Social Entrepreneurship Funding Models

By Sanjay on November 20, 2010 | Category: Access to Credit,Business Models,social enterprise,Social Entrepreneurship,Sustainable Construction | Tags: , , | No Comments

In the tough economic climate that we face today, non profits are finding it a challenge …more so than normal to raise funds for their activities. This article brings to the fore the idea that there is a paucity in the non-profit sector of a clear articulation of their long term funding strategies – how they propose to pay for their activities, the equivalent of a business model for a for profit business. The author William Landes Foster ( a partner at the Bridgespan group) uses the term funding model to describe the difference for a not for profit that has two essential stakeholders, the beneficiary and the funder.

Women Hold Up Half The Sky

By Sanjay on October 1, 2010 | Category: Social Entrepreneurship | Tags: , , | No Comments

Waterfall 2Women hold up the sky” is a Chinese proverb that has long been considered far fetched in both the developed and emerging worlds. Despite huge strides being made in the areas of  education, workplace participation, improvement in health, and political participation there is still a long way left to go. The key metric that will make a long term change is education. It has often been said that you educate a man you just educate a single person, but when you educate a woman, you educate a whole family. This article puts together some scenarios on the impact of women’s education in emerging markets over the next twenty years . An effective case is made that this would be the most critical factor for successful and sustainable development.

Sustainable Agriculture

By Sanjay on September 20, 2010 | Category: Bamboo,Healthy Food,Highlights,Neem,Salinas Valley,Social Entrepreneurship,Sustainable Construction,Sustainable Development,triple bottom line | Tags: , , | No Comments

Welcome to Sustainable Biotechnology. This is the website aimed at those of you who are looking for simple, sustainable alternatives to you everyday needs . At present our focus is on two aspects of this in our life- making everyday products using sustainable bamboo including furniture, interior design,  products around the house to the eventual use of bamboo in construction. Get in touch with us if you would like to learn how to build using bamboo or to get started with a bamboo plantation on land that you own. We provide educational training programs in the use of Bamboo to build a sustainable life which protects the environment while providing safe and secure jobs to more people.

 This site is also for you if you  like to grow sustainable fruits and vegetables, but are challenged to find sources of fertilizers that are good for the environment and also for your pocket book. Our premise is that using sustainable fertilizers is not only good for the environment, but also for the health and safety of the farm workers who work the land. At the same time, it provides a product that has higher quality and a better value proposition to the end customer.

We hope to remove the misconception that conventional farming is not sustainable. The use of our products will not only save the environment and provide safety for the farmers and the consumers but also save money for the farmers who can then pass on these savings to the end consumer. We hope that this will provide an impetus to the healthy food revolution in America and motivate more people to switch to healthy sustainable, naturally grown food which is also affordable.

Neem can replace synthetic Aqueous Potassium Silicate

By Sanjay on September 20, 2010 | Category: Neem | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Pina Mono cultureThis document consists of notes of a meeting of the National Organic program to approve the use of Aqueous Potassium Silicate, a chemical for use in Organic farming. This was done despite the availability of alternatives such as Neem based products. The existence of Neem based alternatives is mentioned in the document, but there is no discussion on why the program does not recommend the use of them. It begs the question – do farmers today have the education about Neem based products? and If they do, is it just a question of not having access to these products commercially?

Neem approved as organic botanical pesticide

By Sanjay on September 20, 2010 | Category: Highlights,Neem | Tags: , , | No Comments

The National Organic program made a crop production recommendation that Neem can be used as a botanical pesticide under section 2119(k)(4) of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA). In fact the way this happened was that there was a motion on 10/13/1994 to add Neem to the prohibited Natural list, which was defeated.

Purpose

Sustainable Biotechnology is your #1 online portal to organic fertilizers and sustainable agricultural practices.