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Chase Douglas
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I thought it was very interesting that this paper seemed to explain that poverty and inequality were reduced significantly in China when the authorities granted the people more choice and options. For example allowing rural farmers to access more markets led to great inequality reduction and then liberalizing economic policy on the coast also lead to more income in China. It seems as if Africa should be taking away this central message that choice and the ability for its people to have options must be a main focus for successful development. However, as the paper clearly explains, the scenarios in China and the African continent are very different. Instead of easing regulations on what people can actually do Africa needs to focus on creating the institutions that allow for choice and options. The paper states that African nations need to focus on creating and stengthening stronger poverty alleviating institutions. I would assume rurally these would be organizations that built the needed infrastructure and 'support systems' for adopting new technologies. I thought the concept of not choosing urban development over the rural sector was another interesting aspect of African development. Often developing these sectors doesn't give more option (job wise) for poor uneducated people in the rural sector and can even hurt them if they have to bear the tax burden of this development. While developing the urban sector is a must, it is also important to ensure that those in rural areas have the necessary institutions to utilize these new opportunities
Toggle Commented Dec 5, 2013 on China and Africa (Econ 280) at Jolly Green General
I also agree with Lizzie that impoverishment, education, and location are all intertwined factors. As an environmental studies major I found this article very interesting, especially in regards to the fact that it revolves around how the poor manage their natural resources. I think that a premium should be put on guiding the developing world to develop in a sustainable fashion, so as to conserve the resources that have helped them develop and will continue to in the future. As seen here in this article, I think that concept of the poverty trap also pertains to how the natural world is treated. These poor farmers cannot risk implementing more sustainable practices in their farmer methods, but at the same time are undermining the resource base and ecological services they are absolutely dependent on. Again it seems that the poor are acting irrational, but they are simply acting out fear of the unknown and their in ability to cope with that unknown. I completely agree that some sort of education system needs to provided to these peoples, and should probably be subsidized by the government. In the future the only thing worse than an impoverished community with limited resources would be one with none because they were all eroded away by poor management
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2013 on ECON 280 Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
In this class we have learned that one aspect of poverty is the loss of the ability to have choice in your actions. This loss of choice often leads the poor to make seemingly irrational decisions. One such ill advised phenomenon that occurs is child labor. As other classmates have mentioned earlier, a major reason child labor is so prevalent in impoverished societies is due to the fact that there is such a need for the income generated from this labor during the present that parents really have no choice as to whether or not they can choose if a child works or goes to school. As others have said this necessity to reap immediate gains while sacrificing investment in a child's future (his or her education) is something that leads to a poverty trap in which being born poor ultimately leads you to remain poor because of a lack of opportunity. What I found extremely interesting about this paper is the solutions given by the Udry to help educate children and break this poverty trap. The schooling subsidy programs in Mexico and Nicaragua seem to be directly aimed at breaking the vicious poverty trap Udry illustrates earlier in the paper. What I would be interested in learning about more would be such subsidies for primary education. I assume what Udry describes primarily pertains to primary education as seen in Nicaragua's subsidy system which is given to students between 7 and 13 years old. I wonder if some sort of achievement based scholarship could then be offered to kids in this program that could allow access to higher levels of education. It seems reasonable to think that with such opportunities available parents would be even more willing to enter their kids into the initial subsidy programs. This would also give students something to work towards, and a reason to really make use of the opportunity given to them.
Toggle Commented Nov 7, 2013 on Corel Office Document at Jolly Green General
As others wrote, the biggest take away from the article is that micro-finance does not alleviate poverty, but I also believe that beyond financial improvement micro-finance serves important social roles. I think that it gives the poor hope and the want/ability to be more future oriented. Studies showed that after micro-finance the poor were observed spending less of indulgent, temporary items like alchohol, cigarettes, and snacks and instead investing in their businesses to help them in the future. If microfinance is not the end all answer, I think it is definitely the first step in the right direction for development. I could a system in the future where people start with micro-finance and slowly build capital and thus collateral to use in a gradually increasing loan system that could allow powerful entrepreneurs emerge and have a large, positive effects on local economies
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2013 on Microfinance (econ 280) at Jolly Green General
I found this article very interesting, and as I read the article a particular class discussion continually popped in my head. It was the discussion in regards to why poor families tend to be so large, and ultimately are so large because children in a sense are assets for poor families. To me this idea correlated strongly with many of the anecdotes found in the article. Examples include witch burnings during times of food shortages (elderly women seemingly contribute the least to food production, but require resources, so they are no longer 'assets') or girls in Indian caste systems being educated in English because that was socially acceptable as opposed to boys. Thinking further on this assets idea one thing that surprised me was that even in countries that were developed there was still this 'implicit bias' about the role of women in society. This only gets worse in less developed countries, and the whole section on gender preferences for leaders was interesting yet very discouraging. I think that point the author makes about how women internalize this bias negatively affects there outlook on life and identity is something that needs to be changed to achieve equality and to encourage women to continue to demand for this equality Looking for a solution I wonder if another point raised in our most recent class clearly applies to this situation. A classmate inquired about why length of education is the only constraint measured in the 'education' part of development and not quality of education. In this scenario I wonder if this argument could provide useful insights to this scenario. Studies on what is taught and how it is taught in regards to gender and gender roles should be assessed and whether or not policy implementing guidelines for gender education could be a helpful parameter in increasing the status and equality of women in society.
I was impressed with how Krugman presented his argument in this article. Krugman was very balanced in presenting the side of modelling and metaphorical theory development with regards to high development. I really enjoyed the conclusion of this paper and ultimately agree with his main point, that each method of theory develop has its benefits, and are useful when used in conjunction. However, I believe that Krugman is right to personally favor models regardless of their narrow scope and apparent short comings. Models ultimately give concrete, unchanging results that can (or least should) be repeated. In my mind if a model is correctly constructed, it is hard to argue the concrete results it provides on its specific scope. On the other hand persuasive metaphors represent an argument at a given point in time. The author of these arguments is writing what he believes is correct at a given point in time, and for all intents a purposes he is. But things are ever changing, and what is believed to be right can soon become proven wrong. In the end I believe this was the case with the high development theory
The amount of spending not on food particularly jumped out at me in this article. Especially the level of spending on pleasure, such as community oriented events and entertainment and the fact that these purchases were rarely regretted, even though it meant damaging some serious aspects of one's life, such as health. I really liked Shelby's point of about happiness economics. While it is imperative that these nations develop as quickly and as best they can, I think it is very important to develop happiness just as much as wealth. 12% of people in Udaipur reported symptoms of unhappiness and 2/3 of Americans report being unhappy (URL at bottom), yet we are rich beyond belief as compared to those in Udaipur. This article really got me thinking about how development should be defined and how it is implicated. I agree strongly with Shelby again that development must be holistic in that it covers all aspects of the human condition, not just dollars and cents. (
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2013 on Economic Lives of the Poor at Jolly Green General
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Sep 11, 2013