Noted Economist, Professor Kishore Kulkarni of Metropolitan State College of Denver
Professor Kishore Kulkarni has been living in Denver for the past 20 years, working in Metropolitan State College of Denver, with Adjunct Positions at the Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado-Boulder and at the Korbel School of International Studies of the University of Denver. He grew up in Pune, India, obtained his bachelor's degree (Economics, Statistics) and Master's (Economics) from University of Pune with the First Rank, and Ph. D. (Economics) from University of Pittsburgh, PA. He is an avid Tennis player and a world traveler. Prof. Kulkarni is seriously well versed in all things economic. He is the founding editor of the bi-annual "Indian Journal of Economics and Business". Dr. Kulkarni's special fields are Macroeconomics, Monetary Economics and International Economics. He has written 8 books and 90 journal articles. His unsaturated love, unlimited energy and enthusiasm for teaching make his classes exciting, entertaining and rewarding experience. DesiShades had an opportunity to meet him and chat with him in the wake of Obama's proposal to stimulus package.
DesiShades: Tell us something about yourself.
Prof.Kulkarni: I came to us in 1976. I was a serious student right from my childhood, but my work was fruitful in B.A. and M.A. exams.
DesiShades: What sparked your interest in economics and lead to your decision to become an economist?
Prof.Kulkarni: Oh, that is a good question. Actually, I started as a science student. I did not get admission to regular medical college, and from therefore I went to ayurvedic medicine, stayed there for one term, and realized it was not for me. After that for 6 months I was in a small job which really helped me to realize my hunger for more education. I switched to arts. My older brother who also has a Ph.D. in Economics persuaded me into economics.
DesiShades: What is your advice to a student who is just setting out to become an economist?
Prof.Kulkarni: Economics serves a very wide area. Economics Ph.D. graduates are the fourth highest paid. They have 100% employment even in this recessionary time period.
DesiShades: In all the institutions, you have taught the students rated you as the one of the best professors and have praised your teaching style. Can you explain you teaching style?
Prof.Kulkarni: I think I try my self in two forms of teaching. One is simplicity. I do not assume anything on the part of students. I write quite a bit on the board which makes the things simpler too - and second, my sense of humor, which comes from my old background. I was a kho-kho player when our team and I toured all over, and that is where I developed my social background.
DesiShades: What are your interests in sports?
Prof.Kulkarni: I have been an athlete right from my 9 yrs onwards, and by 15 yrs I picked kho -kho and after I coming to US I picked up tennis. My wife is an inspiration to me. My wife Jayashree, is also an athlete.
DesiShades: You are an international traveler and you teach in India and in USA. Can you explain the differences in the teaching methods?
Prof.Kulkarni: I think teaching in both the places is pretty much the same. Students are somewhat serious in USA because they pay a ton of fees to be in college. In India, I can see some recklessness in public universities. However, I see change all the time. Students in India sometimes are overly respectful. They call you “sir” all the time. However, in US they do not mind to go by your first name, which is not a sign of disrespect, but a sign of friendship.
DesiShades: Can you explain your Semester Sea Program and you experience in Oxford University.
Prof.Kulkarni: Semester at Sea is an interesting program that we did in Spring 1994. The program has a ship, in which 600 American students participate. I taught on the ship, where we went to 11 countries including Venezuela, Brazil, China, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and India. They invited all the family members. In 2005 I went to Oxford where I attended a round table conference for 10 days. My paper was well received and it was a wonderful experience to be in Oxford University.
DesiShades: You have been awarded the “Distinguished Service to the College and Community Award”. Can you share your experiences and thoughts about this award? You have received the "outstanding teaching award" by Golden Key International Honor Society in 2001. How did you feel about this?
Prof.Kulkarni: I am absolutely privileged by the fact that my hard work was recognized. I also feel that I am lucky and honored by these awards. They are obviously result of hard work, but it the work that I like to do and enjoy doing some more.
DesiShades: Coming to the present situation, can you tell us in short how the US government dealt with major economic downturns in the past and how is it going to be now?
Prof.Kulkarni: The way they are dealing with it now is a whole lot different. This week we are spending nearly $838 billion package over and above we have already spent 700 billion in last 3 months. That is about 1.5 trillion, in just two bills. In the whole year the federal government spends no more than 25 -28 hundred billion dollars. In just two months, this is a big boost to the economy. That is why I said, we are tackling the problems differently now. So much government interference is unprecedented. As Obama said, we are in unprecedented time in this economy. This is a different approach. The economic costs of these programs are pretty high however. Time has to decide. We will wait and see.
DesiShades: What are your suggestions to get the economy back the onto the wheels?
Prof.Kulkarni: The combination is much more worthwhile, productive and before the government comes into picture, we can easily reduce our taxes. By reducing the sales tax, consumers can go shop. As an alternative, the congress may pass the bill saying there is no tax for the income below 50,000. A combo of these two may be a better idea, but these are not politically viable ideas.
DesiShades: Can you explain us about the recent article in Wall Street Journal and the New York Times about the present economic situation in stimulating the economy. In a sense your contribution in disagreeing the need of spending more money.
Prof.Kulkarni: : I was recently interviewed by 600kcol.com on the Keith and Gail show which asked me the same question. In fact one can listen to that interview at www.kulkarnibooks.com. In my opinion, we do need some kind of government interference. But we also need to think that this is not an opportunity to increase the bureaucracy as the present government is trying to do.
DesiShades: You recently visited India for seminars. We would like to hear the developments about
Prof.Kulkarni: I was in India for 2 weeks. In 13 days, I spoke in eight different places such as Mumbai-IIT, Cochin, Pune, ICFAI Business school etc. People in India keep inviting me--- I do not know why--- may be they like to hear what I have to say. Next year, Indian journal of Economics and Business (www.ijeb.com) is organizing a seminar in New Delhi. All these visits bring in a lot of pleasure to me as I meet students from different institutions.
DesiShades: Tell us about your publications.
Prof.Kulkarni: I have published eight books. Three textbooks are published in India and are used extensively in Indian universities. Three are textbooks here in US. I am getting close to 90 journal articles many of which are referred to by people all over the world.
DesiShades: What is the contribution of your family in your success? Tell us about the family members.
Prof.Kulkarni: I am especially proud of all my family members. Both my daughters are outstanding gymnasts, they have been junior Olympians. Lina my older one, has finished her dental school and she is now in University of Tennessee doing her orthodontistry. In a couple of years, she will be an orthodontist. Aditi is in Seattle Pacific University, she got the university scholar award and full ride for all 4 years. She competes on University gymnastics team. She is the first athlete who got the university scholar award. My wife is also is a professor with 20 years of experience in Metro State College in accounting department--in a way, we are an odd couple, but our daughters are sane.
DesiShades: How do you see India coming up in all round development?
Prof.Kulkarni: aActually Indian software is going to no one destination, it is going to many countries of the world. Clearly with the world recession, it is going to affect the software industry and the employment in it. However, in my opinion, all these shortfalls are short term and economic growth will be restored soon. When public confidence in the system is restored, and when people carry out more investment activities, more productivity results, and the profitability increases. I feel confident that this situation will come back in US as well as in India. Now, in last 5 yrs, Indian economy has grown 8% annually, which is 40% growth in just five years. In fact this is the most remarkable growth in my life. As long as we do not have other episodes like Satyam Computers, we will have better economic situation. Private enterprises in India and US recognize that doing clean business is good for them as well as for the whole country, then we should see a better improvement.
DesiShades: Thank you Prof.Kulkarni, for giving us some time to chat.
Prof.Kulkarni: Thank you!