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Claire McCutcheon
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Duflo makes some very valuable comments about the roll of female empowerment and gender equality in development economics. Although this article is written by a Westerner, it is important to consider what people are doing domestically, within their own struggling countries to bring about economic changes for women. While in India, I had the opportunity to meet with the founder of the Azad foundation, a training and employment program located in poor urban areas in India. The foundation seeks out resource poor women in urban areas and offers them potential employment through a personal chauffer training program. India battles social inequity at two angles, not only is the gender divide immense, the stratification of the caste system poses another challenge to economic success for women, particularly those of lower caste. The Azad Foundation’s approach is unique in that it seeks to break down a gender barrier and put women in a male-dominated field like commercial driving, while simultaneously granting them living wages and agency. I believe that approaches like this, that uniquely push the envelope on social barriers and provide economic opportunity for women, provide great hope for female economic development. India is home to creative social innovators, programs like this exist in other male-dominated industries like computer programming and call-centers. While policy is important, and can bring about necessary changes in structure, mindsets have to shift too, of not only men, but women too. Economic opportunity for women that simultaneously changes ideas of gender roles are true steps toward gender equality that would be useful all over the world.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
The casual tone of this piece and colloquial language helped shed light on some of the more complex ideas of economic modeling. Like other commenters, one of my biggest resistances against economics is the reliance on assumptions, but Krugman makes a good argument for the importance of boiling down the complexity that is human behavior to a manageable state, and using it to gain insight. It is quite funny that people will fight economic modeling, but welcome it in physical science, even I am guilty of such (call me a diet economics major). Economic modeling is a necessary evil if we want ourselves to any understanding at all. This article brought to mind our conversation last week about modern sector versus traditional sector enlargement/enrichment. While we discussed the tactfulness of traditional sector enrichment in countries who have a largely agricultural economy, and then transitioning into modern sector (China example), Krugman emphasizes the importance of the size of the modern sector market. In order for modernization to be self-sustaining it has to be adopted at a large scale, or an economy can be “caught in a trap.”Rodan spoke to the danger of industry isolation, something I feel plays a large role in the struggle to development. West Virginia, for example, spent decades as a coal dependent state, and is now struggling to support its residents in a post-coal reality. Diversification outside natural resources is the current focus for West Virginian politicians, with nods to marijuana and tourism. While one might not see West Virginia as a traditional “developing economy”, I would argue it is a perfect example of the danger of industry isolation.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
Overwhelmingly, this article stresses the power of a free market strategy and export-based economy in economic development. While this article seems less concerned with uplifting individuals from poverty, consider it juxtaposed to the Sustainable Development Goals. While this piece is geared toward the upliftment of an economy and the SDGs hold focus on the upliftment of people, I would argue that these things are endogenous. After our discussion about the SDGs last week and its faults; particularly its lofty goals and seemingly unrealistic achievements, I was left wondering what could put these goals into action. Through substantive research and palpable achievements, this article clearly shows the potential and promise of export-led policy, business infrastructure, tech advancements, and pro-market institutions (276). The countries that met success with these initiatives vary greatly in culture, geography, and political climate- which makes it tempting to consider its applicability on a larger scale, with countries like Uganda and the Philippines, which is what this paper argues. Perhaps the intersection of policies such as these and the SDGs could bring about true economic development, and therefore provide the keys for the seventeen Global Goals. On the other hand, I will also say that this article might overstate the power of the six development-enhancing factors they list. As I previously stated, these countries represent very different corners of the globe, and it seems unfair to summarize success in six bullet points. That being said, their evidence is compelling and makes economic development feel more attainable.
Toggle Commented Sep 20, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
The Sustainable Development Goals are a constructive response to the short comings and successes of the Millennium Development Goals. Hopefully, implementing a new set of goals will help maintain the momentum achieved by the MDGs, while correcting for its issues. Jeffrey Sachs does well to point out the flaws of the MDGs, especially by making note of the lack of milestone measurement. Even still, I imagine many of the SDGs will struggle to be measured empirically. While these goals hold a great deal of optimism, they rely heavily upon good faith. The “triple bottom line approach,” is inspiring and sounds stable- but perhaps also contradictory. Economic development does not inherently bode well for social inclusion, nor environmental sustainability. This especially applies to countries in which wealth is particularly unevenly distributed. For example, the desire to correct for loss of biodiversity; often when there is economic growth, the housing market does well. When the housing market does well, timber is cut to build more houses. In this case, economic development has a negative impact on biodiversity and environmental preservation. In developing, resource poor nations it is difficult enough to provide quality infrastructure, let alone operating with environmental concerns. Additionally, the wide range of countries, from economic leaders to developing nations, makes the goals greatly varied in their potential for success. When it comes to measuring such successes, they will need to be compared across great economic and social divides.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2018 on ECON 280 at Jolly Green General
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Sep 13, 2018