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Walker Tiller
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After reading this paper, Turn the Heat Down, I began searching online deeper into this topic to find current data of sea levels rising as well as solutions for the devastating impact that rising seas could have. I found that in the 20th century sea levels were rising 0.6 in per decade and are now up to 1.2 inches per decade in some areas. Although this is such a small amount (and the idea of chasing redfish through the streets with a fly rod on these high flood tides is exciting to me), the compounding effect of these small increases could have a devastating effect on cities that are only a couple feet above sea level. Being a realist the outcome seems inevitable that some cities will be at, or below sea level in only a couple hundred years in numerous areas. Especially considering the only "solutions" I found were to reduce the world populations' use of fossil fuel and emissions. As new alternatives are discovered and slowly adopted we are still barreling toward the outcome of rising seas. The outcome of rising seas will change many peoples lives and destroy many cities and homes, but the rationale form a long term view is that it has happened before, not at this rate, but change is inevitable and the coast line is always shifting. From my perspective in SC, the coastline used to be in Columbia which is now 115 miles from the coast and 300 feet above sea level. I am not arguing that rising sea levels are good or that this isn't an unbelievable fast change but that we as humans will be able to adapt.
I found this article on trade liberalization and poverty very interesting in the fact that opening up trade does not necessarily benefit the poor. As we have been studying development for the semester I would think that open markets is one of the largest variables as far as importance for changing poverty in a nation. However, I know realize that there must be several different characteristics to solve the issue of poverty which makes since as there has never been a fix all solution for poverty. Instead it takes numerous changes including education, growing industries, access to capital, government institutions, etc. to create a strong economy that limits the presesnce of poverty. And even then if a country changed all of these characteristics it would still not definitively end poverty. I guess my takeaway from this paper and the class so far is that development is a deeply complex issue and one that we have still not found the complete solution for as we still have numerous 3rd world countries in the 21st century.
Toggle Commented Dec 1, 2016 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
In the paper, "Interest Rates in the North and Capital Flows to the South:Is There a Missing Link?" there is an interesting discussion between the fact that interest rates raised in the US for example leads to tightening on capital lending to developing countries in emerging markets. This is an interesting paper to discuss especially in the recent development of the Fed finally deciding to raise rates by a little this year and the plan to continue raising rates soon. This in combination with the unknown's about President Elect Trump's policies for the future and the stock markets positive reactions to his election causes a lot of uncertainty about the future of capital available for the emerging markets. In the past raising interest rates would hurt the emerging markets in search of capital but this is all uncharted territory for the debt and equity markets and will be interesting to follow over the next four years. The markets immediate reaction was negative but followed the rest of the week with extremely positive growth. This could be exciting for the global market as investors become more confident and active in looking for different investments including emerging markets.
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2016 on Readings for this week at Jolly Green General
Reading the article The Economics of Being Poor was very interesting, as it showed the poor have very similar intentions to those that are more well-to-do. They seek to optimize what resources they have and what income they receive as well as provide for their children and seek to provide a better life for their kids than they had. This wasn't a surprising conclusion for me as it seems like that stems from basic human nature to strive for the best. However this made me think about why the poor remain poor if they strive to leave poverty. There is a cyclic nature to being poor that is very hard to escape without a windfall or help from an outside source. So I thought that one thing that must change to help the poor is the outside institutions (or lack there of) in many of these nations. The article mentioned the increasing numbers of skilled workers and professionals and I think this is a great way for individuals to begin providing a better life for their familes through skilled professions instead of (Or in addition to) farming. With a nation providing schools and classes to teach the skilled professions to poor families then it could be one of the many ways to slowly pull these individuals out of poverty.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2016 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Duflo's paper discusses the inequality of Women especially within developing countries and the potential solutions to bringing equal opportunities to all women across the world. One idea Duflo discusses that interested me within the paper, is how there is a large gap between time spent at home from the men and women in each family. In particular, "The difference ranges from 30 percent more time spent on housework by women than men in Cambodia to six times more in Guinea, and from 70 percent more time for child care in Sweden to ten times more in Iraq." These numbers are incredibly large and measures should be taken in all these areas to provide better equality for women in the opportunities available. However, this also raise a conflicting argument for me. It seems that it does not matter how many equal opportunities are provided, I doubt this difference of time providing child care would ever be an exact 50/50 split among husband and wife. It is hard to deny that in almost all cultures children have a special bond with there mother and this most likely comes from the human nature and each person's dependence on their mother after birth. Because of this it seems right that mothers would often have a larger percentage of time spent at home with the children. Another alternative that some career focused couples have taken is to hire a nanny for both parents to focus on the market opportunities outside the house equally but is not feasible for all families worldwide.
Toggle Commented Oct 19, 2016 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
After reading from Rodrik's paper's about strategies for growth of economies. I began to think about the section in Rodrik's paper discussing how "Sustaining growth is more difficult than igniting it, and requires more extensive institutional reform." I think it would be very interesting to discuss this idea and claim in association with China in recent years. I remember just a few years ago China caused a global dip in markets when they were not able to maintain unbelievable growth they had in the past of 8% for the first time. It caused a worldwide stir in the markets with investors questioning the future of all markets when China was only able to achieve 7% growth, not 8%. My first question is what institutions did China have recently in place to maintain such a high level of growth. Secondly, I wonder how this growth was expected by investors worldwide to continue at such a large rate. And lastly it would be interesting to understand what changes in institutions brought about the decrease in growth for the country, or did the momentum just run out?
Toggle Commented Oct 5, 2016 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
This paper brings to light the interesting debate of simplification. In all of the Econ classes I have taken we have always looked to simplify the issue into only a few variables, often making huge assumptions such as everything else remaining the same (ceteris paribus), or that there is a perfect market where labor and goods are always perfectly traded. And these simplifications are always encouraged and taught to better explain the issue. After reading the article and seeing the slump of over simplification in the history of development economics makes me question the assumptions we make to simplify the problems in all of our Econ classed. The simple models do help explain some economic ideas and support different theories, but are they applicable to the real world and should w be using them to defend policy change? By making assumptions in the models and leaving out variables to simplify them, we change everything and could come to solutions that couldn't be further from the truth.
One thought I kept returning to while reading the first two chapters of Development as Freedom is that within the human pursuit of wealth and the pursuit of development the underlying goal is longing for a certain level of control. This control could be within an individual's personal life or control as a citizen of a nation but the idea is the same, by achieving wealth and freedom through development it satisfies the human need to have control (or the illusion of control) over their own life. This idea that a individual's pursuit of control over their property, money, country(in a democratic sense) and family is a interesting one to say the least. As the citizen gains more control over their life, in theory they become happier and more free. It is the same idea that the American Dream is built on, even though many American citizens would disagree that the people still are in control of this nation. Which brings me to my next point, at what level within the endless pursuit of more wealth, and control does an individual pass into the group that limits others from controlling their own life? There are many examples of this within the political elites of individuals that have continued to pursue wealth and development that benefit their own needs while hurting people below them. Even within our own nation, it seems our Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle have passed a level of personal wealth and development that allowed them to control their own lives into an new bracket that could be considered an oligarchy of America, restricting citizens with laws and regulations that limit the citizens' development and ability to easily pursue wealth. Even if this is not 100% true in America, it is true in places like Russia with Putin and during Castro's Cuba. It seems that the underlying human desire to control their own lives through pursuit of wealth and development is very close if not the same human desire that leads individuals to control nations and limit the country and its people from reaching their potential.
While reading Baanerjee’s and Duflo’s paper on the economic lives of the poor one of the questions that I thought about was the optimal number of children each poor family should have for the best chance to escape poverty or give their children the best opportunity to escape poverty. This idea is complex because for some families it is a liability having numerous children, they add more mouths to feed for the parents, more bodies to clothe, and more education to provide. On the other hand for a family that is in poverty, having more children could be an asset to the family providing additional labor which would allow the family to potentially earn more income. There must be a point for each family where having an additional child does not provide enough service or benefit to cover the cost of that child until they reach an age that they can be producers in the family and not just consumers. This idea of measuring children as a marginal benefit vs marginal cost seems insensitive but could be vital for a family looking to escape poverty. From my experience it seems that wealthy families tend to have lower numbers of children than impoverished families and I don’t know if this difference is causal or just a correlation. One other thought in the Marginal Cost/Marginal Benefit analysis for children in poor families is if the sex of the child makes a difference in the cost benefit analysis of having an additional child? This question is not meant to be sexist, but in a family that earns its money from agriculture as many did in the article, it is mostly the boys/men that tend the fields and could be more profitable for the families. Also I realize the parents have no control over which sex the child will be, but it would be interesting to see depending on the families profession if the sex of child makes a difference on future ability to escape poverty.
Toggle Commented Sep 14, 2016 on ECON 280 Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Sep 14, 2016