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Emily Rollo
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I think the significance of the economic value of biodiversity all over the world is commonly undermined. An individual must have adequate knowledge in order to understand that biodiversity serves a role in maintaining human development and welfare, which are important components of economic growth for countries. Most people, especially in developing countries, do not have this adequate knowledge, so they do not see the urgent need to sustain their country’s biodiversity. I think this part of the biodiversity conservation challenge is the most difficult to overcome. It is so challenging because the knowledge must be met with good, stable institutions. This approach made me think about the problems that Ecuador faces today. The country is home to some of the world’s most bio diverse environment. At the same time, it holds an abundance of natural resources. Mainly, its largest resource is crude oil. However, the extraction of that oil is ruining and contaminating the environment. As a result, the country’s growth rate is not very high. If compared to the growth of Latin American countries, theirs is much lower. This article enlightened me to the possibility of the root of the economic growth problem. They do not have many efficient institutions in place that work on conserving the biodiversity. They are only concerned with the gains they make from the extracted oil. Interestingly, they are actually not making any national gains because their country's biodiversity is suffering due to the lack of conservation knowledge and institutions. I think this problem is probably prevalent in other countries since the demand for oil is so high. But at the same time, the demand for biodiversity conservation is high.
Toggle Commented Mar 3, 2016 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I think one of the most of the interesting points in this paper is that divers have a willingness to pay to avoid crowded dive sites, yet less experienced divers enjoy and prefer these crowded sites. I understand why veteran, and usually more affluent, divers enjoy to dive in open spaces without the distraction of other divers. At the same time, I understand the comfort that beginner divers might feel if they dive with other people. The issue with this is how can economists measure the value of certain dive sites? Should the more experienced divers' preferences be valued more? Or should the safety and comfort of other divers be recognized more? I don’t think is a necessarily right or wrong answer to these questions. This means that the value of the dive sites may not ever be accurately defined. My next reaction to the paper is in line with what Maddi commented on earlier. I was surprised at the overwhelming amount of concern that divers had for sea turtles and their willingness to protect their habitat. It is encouraging that divers want to improve on the protection of the animals, but in order to receive all of the economic gains from this, the people of Barbados should be completely on board too. Students have also previously commented on this. I wonder if economic gains from environmental protection, especially for sea turtles, could be achieved sooner if the nation itself was in agreement with the protection proposals.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
I agree with Hardin’s idea that the problem with the rapidly growing population of the world cannot be solved technically. However, I am unsure if I agree with his idea that if we dismiss the fact that the world can only hold a finite human population, then humans will become increasingly miserable. One of his main points is that in order to relinquish the commons, we must address the issue of breeding. I had similar thoughts to previous comments about China’s one-child policy. Are the people of China really happier that they cannot reproduce more than once in their lifetime? According to some reports, it seems as though it has made them more miserable, something that Hardin believes people should be if they keep breeding and increasing the population. Their frustrations with this policy have led to more than just their unhappiness. It could be linked to economic hardships, which creates more anxiety in humans, something Hardin also points out to be “desirable.” With that being said, I agree to some level with Hardin on the issue of pollution. The human population is self-interested in every way, including the ways in which we dispose of wastes. If the costs of emptying wastes is cheaper than cleansing the wastes before disposing them, then the rational, self-interested human will choose the more harmful behavior. It’s a simple economic idea. Laws and encouragements can help alleviate the consequences of pollution. China is another example of this. After 30 years of sacrificing the environment for economic gains, their government has reinvented their environmental protection laws. Yes, I’m sure these new laws have helped the nation in great ways. But since an increasing population density leads to poor pollution strategies, according to Hardin, the fact that China has been trying to cut their population with the one child policy may also be helping. However, this policy brings misery to the people, while cutting pollution rates. To me, the problem of the exponentially growing population seems cyclical and there really is not one perfect solution.
Toggle Commented Jan 21, 2016 on ECON 255 for Friday at Jolly Green General
I think this paper does a very good job at explaining the flaws of previous studies on the interest rates of industrial countries and the capital flows to the developing countries. I thought it was interesting that the paper addressed the common misconception that when the US increases its interest rate, capital flows to developing countries decreases. Instead of neglecting the importance of the supply and demand responses, Eichengreen and Mody, addressed these concepts and explain the relationships between interest rates and capital flows. To me, the discussion on Latin America’s emerging markets was most interesting due to my academic interests in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. After reading this paper, I looked more into the floating-rate mechanism Mexico adapted after the Tequila crisis. During this time, Mexican markets seemed to hit rock bottom when the peso was devalued against the US dollar as a result of issuing short-term debt in dollars. Since this time, Mexico’s reserve currency stockpile has increased dramatically. Much of this improvement has to do with the introduction of the floating-rate idea in Latin America. This method seems to have curbed a lot of the shocks to the emerging markets. ( Even though the Mexican economy panicked during the early 1990s, it seems as if maybe it was “necessary” for the economy to hurt so much in order for it to realize the need for improvement and escape its debt. The Latin American countries are seeing greater returns in the long run after this implementation. I think that this is a common theme in many developing countries. However, other developing countries may not be able to understand that the long-term effects will be so beneficial, so they never take the initial steps to introduce new finance mechanisms.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2015 on ECON 280 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I would not call myself ignorant to the effects of global warming in the world today, but I was not aware of the significant and severe consequences that a seemingly small degree increase would cause to the world. A 4-degree warming to the earth does not seem like much, but this article does a very good job at highlighting the impacts it will have on the world, and especially to the developing countries. I do not think the average person would have knowledge that a 4-degree increase would affect a country’s agricultural and industrial production and their political and health stability. Poorer countries experience greater problems in these areas, which prevent them from economically developing, and there is not much they can do about it. I think this relates to an idea we discussed on Tuesday. More developed and wealthier countries are not as affected by the 4-degree warming increase. This leads me to think whether these countries should be helping the poorer countries alleviate the impacts global warming has on their development? In a more recent article from World Bank, Global warming will drive 100 million people into poverty, the idea that wealthier countries could help the poorer countries through this climate change is addressed. There are plans in the works to raise $100 billion each year through 2020 to distribute to the developing countries and fund multiple things for better development. These include, renewable energy, better air quality and improved public transportation” (World Bank, Global warming will drive 100 million people into poverty). I think if countries follow through with this idea, the world may not experience as devastating effects from a 4-degree warming increase.
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2015 on ECON 280 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
The discussion about achievement in population quality in Theodore Schultz’s Nobel Prize Lecture was the most interesting part to me. I think his approach to population quality as a scarce resource helps readers understand the economic importance of population quality. He then explains that when returns exceed the costs, population quality will increase. I think that this idea further validates our discussion on Tuesday. Furthermore, he addresses the importance of increasing human capital in a population. However, he explains that it is not just the additional units of human capital, but how valuable it really is. I immediately compared this idea to Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach. I think these ideas go hand in hand. Sen stresses the idea that it did not matter that the individual had opportunities, but what he did with those opportunities is what matters. Schultz’s idea plays off Sen’s approach. Schultz does not think that the presence of additional human capital is what will bring about better population quality. Instead, it is the additional human welfare that individuals gain from having more human capital. If human capital is entirely capitalized by an individual, there will be increases in productivity and entrepreneurial abilities for an economy.
Toggle Commented Nov 4, 2015 on econ 280 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
While reading Rodrik’s paper, I felt that his ideas on economic growth and development followed the progression of our discussion in class on Tuesday very well. He emphasizes the importance of the assumptions of each model in order for growth policies to be effective. However, at the same time, he explains the alternative idea that liberalization, deregulation and privatization of each developing country are key to growth. I found it very interesting that Rodrick addresses the implications of reality on economic growth and how it can account for the unexplained stumped growth in some countries. I feel that economists often purposefully neglect the phenomenon of reality. The components of reality complicate things, especially the economy. When economists are creating models, they usually want to simplify them, which often means that they do not include what is really happening in the world. This same idea can explain the problems with growth. Moreover, I am interested in discovering more about the stagnant growth in Latin America. Even though these countries follow appropriate policy framework for economic growth, they do not display positive growth rates. I think the growth problems in Latin America can be related to the real problems that they face in their societies. They may not support and coincide with growth policies, which consequently inhibits their economic growth and development.
This article does an incredible job at highlighting the characteristics of the poor. I enjoyed how the authors described the ways in which the poor lived, but they also hypothesized their lifestyle choices. To me, the most interesting point made in this article was the analysis of the poor’s consumption habits. Towards the end of the article, I read the question that had been circling in my own head throughout the entire reading. The authors ask, “why the poor don’t eat more?” The nutritional statistics of the poor previously reported are saddening. Among the rural and poor, they spend about a little more than half of their income on food. These left me feeling selfish at the dietary resources I have. However, my feelings were momentarily shifted when I read about the poor’s spending on cultural festivals and other sources of entertainment. I was puzzled by their consumption choices. I found it difficult to understand why they wouldn’t allocate some of the entertainment money on more food. One possible conclusion is that the poor want to exercise their freedom of choice as much as people of developed countries do so. Another plausible conclusion, in my opinion, is due to their lack of education. The 2 percent that the poor invest on education does not provide them with the knowledge they need to make successful decisions in their lives. They not only lack academic knowledge, but common knowledge about optimal and smart consumption and production habits. Maybe if they received more advanced education, they could better understand the benefits of larger food investments and smaller entertainment investments. Throughout the article, I kept drawing on my volunteer experience with underprivileged and impoverished kids in Camden, New Jersey. I worked at an after school care program with elementary and middle school children. One group of boys really stood out to me. During the winter months, they were still wearing the shorts they wore throughout the summer and fall. I could never understand how they did not have one pair of pants to keep them warm. If they had shorts for the summer, couldn’t they have pants for the winter? One day they were telling me about the large amount of money they were saving to spend on a game boy. My immediate thought was if they could save coins and dollars for a plastic piece of entertainment, where was their smaller sum of money for pants? They were more focused on the idea of this technology than being warm and healthy. I feel that this experience relates to the idea presented in the article. The poor are oddly fixated on luxury goods and are willing to sacrifice necessary items for them.
While reading this article, I found myself recalling what Professor Goldsmith repeats several times a class in my Econ 211 course. He jokes about the economists who were afraid to model what complicated situations would look like and how they always wanted to keep it easy and simple. Krugman stresses the same idea throughout this article. He makes it clear that the problems of economics and social science are due to the fact that we do not know “how to deal with complex systems.” I believe that this idea on the economic development struggle relates to a point made by Dr. Doty. He explains that women and men need to step outside their original, straightforward roles in order for the economy and the rest of society to flourish. The woman’s role becomes more complex. She no longer will be solely the caretaker, but instead she will be a source of power. There will not be such a clear distinction between men and women in the household. This new household model is no longer a simple system. It is something that society needs to adapt to, but traditional economists ignore this complexity, just as Krugman states. Overall, I think that the overlaying theme of all economic development aspects deal with the idea that our models are too simple. In order to advance, we must accept that by nature, systems are becoming complex and that it is for the better.
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Sep 16, 2015