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Jean Turlington
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This report by the World Bank is very thorough. The economic and environmental effects that will most likely arise as a result of a global temperature rise seem significant, and because of this, efforts that help prevent it should be taken seriously. Each of the regions seemed to have slightly different effects and concerns related to the rise in temperature, but all had significant negative effects. Water plays a huge role in economic success and development and that is one of the things most effected by global climate change. Some areas are going to end up with too much rain, which can lead to more crop failure, landslides and devastation, but others will end up with very little rain or water from glacial melting, which would also cause serious problems with crop development and small things such as drinking water. Water is also involved in many industrial processes and if there is not enough water to do these processes that could also effect development. There is no denying the importance of water whether it is rainwater or sea levels. Sea level and the acidity of the sea have also become a huge concern. Sea level rises will affect the entire world’s coastline. It could truly be devastating to coastal cities and overall countries development. The acidity of the water could be another strain on our food supply as fish migrate or die due to changing temperatures. Another component that I thought was interesting was the idea that once temperatures start rising, they could be self-perpetuating. For example, some scientists believe that if the huge swaths of forest in Russia start to diminish not only will they not be able to convert carbon into oxygen, but they will also create carbon, and the land below them will release carbon, thus increasing levels even more. This could be a serious concern. It was surprising that Southern Africa, and South Eastern Asia were not mentioned in the executive summary because I am sure temperature rises would play a significant role in their development. Also, I wonder what these changes in temperature would do to North America, Europe, and Australia. These countries do not need to develop more but their industries could seriously be affected by temperature rises. America grows lots of corn and all other countries that grow corn will see a decrease in production, so America will probably as well. Also these countries ability to adapt to the changing climate will affect other developing countries. They will share their resources, or maybe have fewer resources to donate to the developing countries to help them develop. It is unclear, but also another concern.
This article helps to explain how interest rates and the state of global financial markets impact where people borrow and lend. The first part of the paper, which explains how interest rates in advanced industrial countries determine capital flows to emerging markets, makes intuitive sense. When safer, more reliable countries have higher interest rates on their bonds, people will be more likely to put their money in those markets. Lenders do not have to undergo as much risk for a relatively high reward. The more interesting, and harder to explain part, is how conditions in emerging markets and interest rates in emerging markets effect how lenders respond to giving money to these potentially more risky borrowers. Supply and demand are very important in explaining the effect of interest rates and the interest rate effect. Developing countries may not be as inclined to issue debt, if they do not believe there will be enough demand to serve their needs. Conversely, if there is huge demand, countries may want to issue more debt. Either way what is happening in other developing countries and in developed countries has an impact on how this debt will be received. There seem to be so many variable factors that affect whether a debt issuance by a country or a private group will be successful. I had not really thought about the global scale of this before and the interconnectedness of everyone. Countries need debt and many times cannot control when they need to issue it, and if other conditions are out there which make it a less than ideal time to issue bonds there might could be negative effects for the country. They might have to pay higher than they hoped for the debt or other things, which could take away from other things such as programs in place to fight poverty or programs to improve infrastructure. I do not think the United States or another large country would change their interest rates or policies to help the developing countries at the cost of their own, but maybe if they are more conscious of the impact they are making smaller things could result in changes that could help both countries. Everything is interconnected and people and governments should be aware of how their decisions effect others.
After reading this paper two particular thoughts stuck out in my mind. One was like Sam and Alexandra discussed, the relationship between environmental policy and development, and another was the importance of human capital investment. Policies and practices that hurt the environment may seem to be beneficial in the short run, but over time, they may not help the people or country implementing them and sometimes can even hurt people. If rain forests are diminished, natural resources are lost, and there are fewer trees to prevent mudslides and other natural occurrences on the simplest level. Not protecting the environment can have many other serious effects. Another interesting idea is sometimes developing countries have the idea that they should be able to have policies that do not help/maybe even hurt the environment now and then care about the environment later when they are developed. This is how developed countries functioned when they were developing. The argument I would posit is that polluting the environment in the past is what helped developed countries to grow so quickly, but this article shows that at least in some regards this is not the case. In fact it is the exact opposite, and practices and policies that help the environment may be better, especially in the long run. Alexandra makes reference to this when she mentions the malaria article from last week, if the environment is not protected there could be consequences and malaria growth. (This involves big assumptions, but the idea is the same). The second idea that really caught my attention was investments in human capital as they relate to agroforestry. It was almost expected that investments in human capital would increase investments in agroforestry. Here the investment in human capital helps to reduce uncertainty and farmers are more willing to take a potential risk on agroforestry. Investments in human capital have emerged as a theme in our discussion of development thus far. When we discussed conditional cash transfers and the program in Nicaragua the part of the program that really seemed to make a difference was the almost forced investments in human capital of the mothers. The moms were required to go to nutrition classes, which not only increased the human capital of the mothers, as they knew more about nutrition but also increased the human capital of their children because they invested in the children’s health in a potentially more productive way after gaining more knowledge. There are many ways to invest in human capital, but the investments we have studied seem to put people in the right direction of moving out of poverty and increasing overall development.
Toggle Commented Nov 4, 2014 on Econ 280 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Like the Callie and Sam I was interested on the first articles perspective on Malaria. The article also reminded of a Ted Talk I saw last year, by Bill Gates about "Mosquitos, Malaria, and Education." In this Ted Talk, Gates talks about similar things to the article, as well as addresses some new ideas. One particular component that interested me was a series of maps that Gates showed where over time malaria was eradicated from the rich countries, but poor countries still have malaria. He argues that because rich countries are not pestered with malaria they are not concerned about it really anymore. This is discussed a little bit in the article too, which argues that more resources should be spent on ending malaria. Right now bed nets are one of the most preventative measures of malaria, but Gates argues that more should be done. He argues that this disease will evolve, and malaria could increase in areas where it is prevalent. Instead of just preventing transmission of the disease, Gates argues the parasites that cause malaria in humans must be removed. Gates's perspective on malaria and its eradication are very interesting. In the talk, he does not address some of the effects of malaria that the paper does. It would be hard to address the effects in a short talk, but they should be considered as significant consequences of malaria. Human and physical capital can be greatly decreased. I was surprised by the statistic that primary school students miss 11% of school days during the year because of malaria. That is a significant decrease in the amount of schooling and knowledge that students can receive. Not only are children affected in their health but they are affected in their education and these are longterm affects. I think Gates is right in working to eradicate malaria, but he has a significant uphill battle to achieve this.
Toggle Commented Oct 29, 2014 on Econ 280 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Like the Callie and Sam I was interested on the first articles perspective on Malaria. The article also reminded of a Ted Talk I saw last year, by Bill Gates about "Mosquitos, Malaria, and Education." In this Ted Talk, Gates talks about similar things to the article, as well as addresses some new ideas. One particular component that interested me was a series of maps that Gates showed where over time malaria was eradicated from the rich countries, but poor countries still have malaria. He argues that because rich countries are not pestered with malaria they are not concerned about it really anymore.
Toggle Commented Oct 29, 2014 on Econ 280 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Child Labor is definitely a huge concern that should be addressed. As people mentioned before it is tough to see how child labor shown in that rational light. We generally think of child labor in the humanitarian sense, and that it is just "wrong." It can be more complicated than that though. Families have tough decisions to make when they decide whether to send their children to work or not, and we think that children should essentially always go to school rather than work, but when it comes to feeding the family or going to school, that becomes a harder decision. In the long run the investment in human capital is probably greater but in the short run there are consequences. I also thought it was an interesting point that if the children are not really becoming more productive as a result of schooling and could make a similar impact without the extra schooling, sometimes it is better to have that child enter the workforce and maybe save some of that money for future investments. It is a thought provoking idea. In my freshman year spring term class we did a study of corporate social responsibility in Denmark and also visited Copenhagen. A few of the companies that we studied took an interesting stance on child labor. They argued that they used child labor in a few select reasons. Those reasons were if families were going to be worse off without child labor or towns were going to be worse off without child labor, then they would allow or utilize child labor. I think they had specific instructions about how this child labor would be implemented and would make sure that the child was not overworked, but I think this is an interesting proposition. I tried to look online to see if these policies were still in practice and it looked like a few of them had been amended to say that they did not support any child labor. Maybe these companies looked at the long term effects as well as the short term and changed their decisions, but either way I think child labor that is detrimental to the development of children’s human capital should be prevented.
Toggle Commented Oct 22, 2014 on 280 Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I read this paper for my Econ of Social Issues class with Professor Goldsmith last semester, and the model that really stood out to me was the Fultz’s dishpan. This simple model of a dishpan, a turning table and some light for heat gave great insights into weather and ocean patterns. It was not meant to explain everything or take into account all of the details and variables associated with weather patterns, but it was a start and helped explain and identify some important weather patterns. Models can be great tools, and although they have limitations, I agree with Krugman’s argument that they should not be forgotten, even when they do not take into account all of the nuances of a particular situation. Several bloggers before also mentioned this idea. On the converse though I think it cannot be forgotten that models cannot explain everything. I wonder at times if Krugman puts too much emphasis on how explaining things and not using models is wrong. I think that a combination of models and explanations/metaphors is the most appropriate. Models are not going to be able to explain everything and that is when I think more metaphors and written explanations might work. It would not devalue models, but it could fill in some gaps that models might create. Either way it is not perfect, because we have not learned how to describe many situations yet through economics, but maybe a combination will facilitate less loss of information before new information is gained. Maybe a combination will make it so that when the "map of Africa" is created and filled in, there will not be any information lost when new mapping techniques are developed.
Rodrik emphasizes that there is no one specific policy or theory about development that describes how a country and its economy grows. Many of the things that he discusses remind me of the clinical concept of how to stimulate development that we mentioned in class. You must find out what works for that specific country or area and apply it to that area, not all policy will be effective worldwide. It is almost even like raising kids, although I have not done it, my mom always talks about how each of her three children needed different things to grow and develop. She did not treat us all the same when it came to growing up because we each faced different problems. If we had been treated the same when we faced different problems we may not have been as successful. Another interesting component of studying how countries develop is how Rodrik noted that many times larger periods of grown and development were associated with small or relatively mild policy changes or other types of changes. Table 9 describes over a page worth of instances where small “growth transitions” resulted in some sort of growth. Some amounts of growth were larger than others, but they were all period of growth as a result of a change. Maybe if we can identify what these changes might be in a country that encourages this growth we could spur something new. This goes back to the first idea though that development can be subject to the situation inside of a specific country. In other words different countries will probably have changes that spur growth but finding those could be key. I think lastly although there are many ways to increase growth and development the models and theories do a good job of describing the overarching ideas where more specific things can be applied to the individual countries, which I think also goes back to Sam’s point about working to improve development on a case by case basis.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2014 on ECON 280 Paper at Jolly Green General
These two articles were an interesting comparison of women, their behaviors, perceptions of women, and several other aspects. Both articles, but especially the article by Gitter and Barham emphasize the impact of what I think of as the maternal instinct. Generally speaking when given the opportunity women take advantage of added resources and spend more to help the health and education of their children. It is more obvious the way that women allocate more money to health and nutrition. One of the ways in which this was measured, which Duflo mentions, is by looking at the amount of money spent on milk and other food items in relation to alcohol, cigarettes, and similar products. There still seems to be a little bit of a stigma associated to women getting an education though. Mothers do want their daughters to get education up to a certain point, but after that they still want their daughters at home. I do not think though it just applies to more educated/powerful women though. Cultural norms are definitely still a huge part of the issue, which Austin also pointed out. It is an interesting dichotomy the ways that women care about their children, daughters and sons, but then have certain standards they still feel they need to follow. Along those lines I think this also speaks to the idea mentioned in Duflo’s piece about the number of missing women in the world. Both articles argue that women do really care about their daughters, which I think is true, but the number of parents who choose not to have daughters in countries all over the world, not just China is a little bit disheartening. Even developed countries can face this issue as Sam mentioned. Women seem to be oppressed overall, and sometimes women do it to each other, or mothers do it to daughters by not giving them education or proper healthcare/ nutrition. I think empowering women and economic development are both very important, but one should not come without the other. Even in the United States a highly developed country, women are sometimes oppressed and should instead be empowered. There is definitely room for growth all over the world.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2014 on ECON 280 paper #2 at Jolly Green General
The point made by Banerjee and Duflo that I found most interesting in this article is that as incomes decrease from just poor to extremely poor the relative proportion of people’s income spent on food and more calories does not go up. From my perspective as a not poor person it is hard to imagine this concept. I would “rationally” think that if I had less money I would spend more money on food to survive and stave off hunger, but this is not the case when actually studying the behaviors of the poor. There are so many factors that go into a person’s decision though it is hard to say what is rational and irrational when one hasn’t experienced similar conditions. What are the costs and benefits of spending money on a festival or celebration over spending money on food? There are lots of factors to be considered. On a similar note I think it is surprising that many people wished they saved more or spent their money more wisely. For example 44% of households wished they did not spend as much money on alcohol and tobacco as they did. It sounds like it is not as easy to save as one might think, or at least not as easy when you recognize the spending problems you have, especially with addictive products such as alcohol and tobacco. Just as we discussed in class we cannot say though what is rational in a decision unless we have experienced it.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2014 on 280 reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Sep 17, 2014