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Maddie Geno
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I was really intrigued by Krugman's comparison of models in social sciences and models in physical sciences, and I'm not entirely sure if I agree with his criticism towards those who take issue with social science modeling. Krugman states, "When it comes to physical science, few people have problems with this idea. When we turn to social science, however, the whole issue of modeling begins to raise people's hackles." Perhaps many economists and other scientists object to extreme simplification in social modeling because of how irrational and complex human behavior truly is in comparison to weather patterns. With the extreme complexity and unpredictability that comes with human behavior, how could an economist simplify human decisions down to a single graph, model, or dishpan. We learned in Adam Smith’s “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” that people are truly irrational and often act in opposition to their own well-being for a multitude of reasons. With this irrational and unpredictable behavior, it seems unlikely that social science models could simplify human behavior down to its most basic form and still explain the patterns that occur in reality. I don’t mean to negate the success of many models in allowing us a better understanding of the way our world works; I just don’t think Krugman should be so quick to hail the success of models as they rarely if ever succeed in capturing the big picture.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
The evidence presented in Wang et al’s article helps to back up many of the claims Sen made about the importance of free markets and the role of institutions in providing a fair and level playing field. Almost all of the trapped and lagging countries cited in the paper lacked the strong government structure needed to make the leap from an agriculture dependent economy to an industrialized economy actively importing and exporting on the global market. Many of the lagging economies in Africa have failed to reach a certain level of development to their dependence on a few raw commodities. For example, Comoros is highly dependent on only three cash crops, Cote d’Ivoire on cocoa, and Kenya on coffee and tea. The lack of diversity within these economies creates a high level of risk and hinders these economies from competing with other developed countries. Those countries that have experienced a positive change in their growth made a transition towards free markets and export oriented strategies. One of the most striking examples of the success of this strategy was Chile, who was victim to high levels of inflation and large budget deficits, until they pursued free-market reform. Ultimately both Wang and Sen express the importance of free markets, as they open up the door to innovation and create a competitive environment. Furthermore, movement away from agricultural economies and towards free markets would help to give people the sense of individualism and autonomy that Sen claimed as integral to freedom.
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
While I find the MDGs and SDGs to be goals necessary to setting countries onto a path of sustainability, I find them to be extremely over-optimistic and unrealistic. America is one of the most developed and regulated countries in the world, yet we still battle with environmental and resource issues daily. We have yet to provide market answers to many of the pollution problems we face such as air and water pollution, mining, and species conservation. To ask developing countries, who struggle with extreme poverty rates, to take part in a global set of goals aimed at reducing our global footprint is asking a lot. Furthermore, many of these countries may not even have the strong and structured government in place needed to enforce any sort of move towards sustainability. If developing countries struggle to provide their citizens with basic needs, would they have the resources or the time to simultaneously make drastic changes to their methods of growth and production? America leapt to wealth during the industrialization period, and while poverty was by no means eliminated, the country achieved a new standard of living it had yet to experience. This period was not only marked by wealth, but by rampant pollution and depletion of environmental resources. While I fully support sustainable growth, I cant help but wonder if there's some sort of tradeoff between development and sustainability. It seems like many of the highly developed countries of today have reached this standard of development at the cost of the environment. Does enforcing sustainability prevent large scale development of struggling countries?
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2018 on ECON 280 at Jolly Green General
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Sep 13, 2018