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Does Aid Reduce Poverty? by Juliana Yael Milovich delves into a topic rich with over fifty years of previous literature. Ultimately, they conclude that more aid translates into an eventual decline in factors contributing to a nation’s MPI. Milovich identifies that there’s a, “1% increase in the average amount of aid received is associated with a 0.61% reduction in the MPI.” However, they also mention little movement in poverty in the form of income. Education, health, and living standards, all human capital investments, responded favorably with an influx of aid. Glancing at Figure 6, the audience is able to see what sectors aid was able to do the most statistically significant work. Drinking water access and number of years of schooling are the two stand out indicators. Just speculation on my end but perhaps the explanation behind aid causing movement in MPI and not income poverty lies on the Lorenz curve. Aid is helping to alleviate those suffering from the impact of extreme poverty conditions and flattening the nation’s bow closer to a linear plot. In general, this article did a good job on connecting concepts we began this term discussing ( SDGs, MPI, other alternative measures of poverty, etc., economic growth vs. development ) and involved how aid may be a key tool to global benefit.
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2020 on Last Post of the Year at Jolly Green General
Interest Rates in the North and Capital Flows to the South: Is There a Missing Link? By Barry Eichengreen and Ashoka Mody speculate the effects of interest rates and global credit lines and their effect on developing nations. The analysis of previous studies followed by new evidence and exploratory regression sections were not entirely clear to me. However, the paper had some clear takeaways. From my understanding, “the volume and composition of international lending, and not just the price of new issues, are affected by U.S. interest rates.(3)” As such an influential nation, the negative spillover effects of higher capital ratings have a significant ability to sway global trends. This is reiterated when Eichengreen and Mody mention, “countries with higher credit rating residuals (better credit ratings, other things equal) are more inclined to come to the market.(19)” The two authors then go into detailing specifics stating, “low interest rates in the industrial countries in encouraging the resurgence of capital flows to emerging markets.(7)” On the other side of things, nations with, “The tendency for poor credit risks to drop out of the market puts downward pressure on spreads, other things equal.(22)” On a final note, in discussion of,”which Asian countries had implemented structural reforms, boosted domestic saving and investment, and moved strongly in the direction of export-promoting policies,” I was strongly reminded of South Korea’s rise to development.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
“Do Conditional Cash Transfers Improve Economic Outcomes in the Next Generation? Evidence from Mexico" by Susan W. Parker and Tom Vogol draw from Esther Duflo’s research contributions that suggest school construction programs in poor and rural areas provide large long-run benefits and attempt to see if Progresa could do so in Mexico. Fortunately, aligning with previous discussions we have had investments in human capital especially education prior to the age of twelve do, indeed, have a tangible impact on economic productivity and Parker and Vogol even assert that CCTs have intergenerational effects on the nation’s productivity. The author’s were sure to include, “While education is likely to be an important mechanism, we do not attempt to distinguish it from other potential mechanisms, such as greater parental income during childhood.” acknowledging the multitude of potential confounding factors that prevent families from sending their kids to school in the first place. A final piece of the work that especially caught my eye was the magnitude of benefits of involving women in the process of CCT. First, Progresa was sure to let mothers become the direct recipients of this inflow. Table1 displays that at grades seven and above, the grants are higher for girls than boys to account for a historic disparity showing higher dropout rates among girls than among boys after primary school. Luckily this decision paid off immensely Parker and Vogol mention, “for women, childhood program exposure increases labor market participation 7-11 percentage points,” documenting the returns on investment in mobilizing a previously neglected demographic.
Toggle Commented Oct 30, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
“Returns to Investment in Education: A Decennial Review of the Global Literature” by George Psacharopoulos and Harry Antony Patrinos delve into the direct and indirect benefits of human capital investment. Overall, public and private spheres experienced highest reward when having an established primary education. In the final discussion, the authors suggested a global shift toward universal primary education. This policy suggestion was originally the second goal of the Millenium Development Goals and falls under the fourth SDG of ‘Quality Education’. It is for the global public’s best interest that all children, regardless of gender, receive basic schooling. Next, Psacharopoulos and Patrinos mention, “Those who are forced to remain in school because of their birth date and the school attendance law receive the same rate of return to education as those who voluntarily continue schooling,” this statement seems to discount the value and key role ‘freedom of choice’ has on productivity. Then, when reading the discussion of figure 5, “supply of educated labor increases, so does the demand for higher skills,” was an explanation for the slow rate of return in response to higher education. This is perhaps why it is harder to convince private households to make the personal investment and where key state intervention would catapult general interest in pursuing longer enrollment rates. Finally, Psacharopoulos and Patrinos were sure to include that, here is no substitute for a country specific study,” this is essential in any discussion of development economics so that we may avoid broad, overarching generalizations within very variant regions. The annexes to follow the citations prove such differences country-to-country.
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
Women’s Empowerment and Economic Development by Esther DuFlo emphasizes the relationship that the two factors both have a dual causality or bidirectional relationship. While empowerment catalyzes development, to reiterate as those above me have mentioned, economic development alone is not sufficient enough to elevate women to an ‘equal’ status alongside male counterparts. She addresses such issues later in the paper in mention, “It increases the ability—distinct from will—of households to withstand crises and the ability of governments to insure their poorest citizens against sickness and hunger” All to say, even a direct influx of attention to attend to development within a society will not guarantee equality. Policy action on both fronts must occur to enact true change. Duflo references Kofi Annan, who for example, has argued that “achieving gender equality is a “prerequisite” to achieving the other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” This is a logical progression considering that in order to truly activate agency, women must first be granted the ability to actualize their well-being. A compelling argument to persuade the hesitant to enhance and support women’s empowerment would be to include that just as extreme inequality is generally viewed as unfair so is gender inequality. Using John Rawls “veil of ignorance”, considering the disparities with healthcare access, childbirth and childcare, education, and other essential sectors, facing this kind of risk, no one would voluntarily choose womanhood. If the degree of equality had no effect on the quality of life most people would vote for nearly perfect equality among genders. Lastly, I found it interesting that, “If families expend fewer resources on girls, for example, if girls are given less to eat than boys, then the adults will cut their consumption of adult goods by a smaller amount when they have an extra girl than when they have an extra boy.” Ultimately, this fact and the entire article displays gender bias toward males and anti-female sentiments are based on misinformation and poor logic.
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2020 on Duflo for Friday at Jolly Green General
“Market Failures and Land Grant Universities” delivered by Francis M. Epplin reveals the efficiency problems with education and then documents the US government’s response using anecdotes.I came across the reference to, “...the eighteenth century founders of economics ... assumed that nine out of ten human beings were sentenced by God or nature to lives of grinding poverty and toil...’’ (282). To imagine professionals and academics poverty was considered a divine punishment instead of a consequence of a broken system appalled me. I was more than shocked by this, especially considering the founding fathers of our republic recognized the inequality and sought to provide equal access to education. Unfortunately, the initial definition of “all” was self-serving and limited to white, wealthy men. Education was keeping the ‘elite’ in their and the commoners in their own respective bubbles and inevitably widening a wealth gap early on. Of course, education and job opportunities and Upon further reading, it seems that while primary level education seems to be encouraged throughout, extension of taxpayer funded education to high school and beyond seemed to be a point of contention and in some variation is still a topic of debate. In the fight for publicly funded agricultural universities, there seemed to be two very distinct sides. One side of educated individuals, “did not envision an agricultural college for commoners.” (284). The other, agricultural adept folk that argued, “College would enable sons to avoid the practical work they should be doing on the farm.” (285). To hear, the rationale behind land grants due to their association with abolition served to further confuse me. Ultimately, the speech was an enjoyable read overall.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
Sustainability : An Economist’s Perspective by Robert Solow mentions that the title phrase, “has certainly become a buzzword. Since this paper was delivered in 1991, the term has become more divisive than ever. As some groups begin to associate the work with negative sentiments, this prevents coalition building and movement forward. In This World is Enough by John Quiggin mentions this lag in efforts toward stabilising the global climate and attributes it to “foot-dragging by major nations.” Most recently, the US, the second largest carbon contributor, failure to sign Paris Climate Accord hinders collective effort toward irreversible damage. Quiggin goes further to detail the, “rejection of climate science into a major front in the culture wars that dominate a tribalist approach to politics” This was most disheartening to especially coupled with the fact, “If we act decisively, there are no resource constraints to prevent a world population of 10 billion people from eating well and sustainably by 2050.” Solutions to the humanitarian crisis’ of world hunger and malnutrition among others are rooted in severe mis-distribution of wealth. So while capable of sustainable growth and consumption, powerful stakeholders prohibit us from doing so.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2020 on Readings for Friday at Jolly Green General
South Korea’s Economic Development, 1948–1996 by Michael Seth helped conceptualize just how rapid the nation’s economic growth grew to be. Seth writes, “In 1960, the country was still extremely poor.” In the past half-century, the state has risen to a globally competitive economy despite starting off with a militaristic governing body. Seth pinpoints the distinction of Japan and South Korea as successfully modernized and industrialized non-Western nations. Taking Japan as a model, South Korea was able to mimic their method to “success” more efficiently. Witnessing a country at once dependent of foreign aid for postwar reconstruction and public finances, restabilie and proceed to show-out on the large stage is impressive. Park’s economic development policies driven by economic nationalism sought to rid the nation of this dependency with urgency. Though South Korea possessed few natural resources, it supplemented a deficiency in one area with an extremely educated workforce expanding and enhancing their modern sector. In an attempt to encourage building human capital, they, “encouraged students to study abroad, although many of these did not return.” I was surprised to hear such a developed nation experience brain drain. Lastly, even after South Korea had joined the ranks of the OECD Seth mentions, “quality of life had not reached the levels of developed countries.” emphasizing the need for measures outside of income to determine a country’s well-being.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2020 on Miracle on the Han for Friday at Jolly Green General
While reading “The Rise and Fall of Development Economics” by Paul Krugman, the statement, “High development theory rested critically on the assumption of economies of scale, but nobody knew how to put these scale economies into formal models,” stood out to me as economic models rely heavily on assumptions. I am immediately reminded of our recent discussion of the Lewis two-sector model where, “Lewis assumed that the level of wages in the urban industrial sector was constant,” alongside using surplus labor (specifically mentioned later in this paper), and two other basic assumptions as the foundation of his development model. Krugman acknowledges the blindspots these accepted truths create, he insists models are still, “basically right.” The entirety of the paper focuses on the controversy that, “ any model of that system is therefore to some degree a falsification: it leaves out some (many) aspects of reality.” Difference between theory and application is a problem beyond the realm of economics: physics and meteorology were detailed as two strong examples. Krugman then emphasizes social science is no exception to this duality.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2020 on Krugman for Friday at Jolly Green General
Seamlessly transitioning from Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen, Institutional Barriers and World Income Disparities by Ping Wang, Tsz-Nga Wong, and Chong K. Yip emphasize the role of institutional factors and their contribution to either the catalyst or disincentive of nations’ economic growth. The article quantitatively proves total factor productivities alone cannot tell the whole story. It is TFP alongside institutional barriers that are responsible for nations that have found themselves labeled as laggards or trapped in poverty. As mentioned, countless times before, global income disparities, using GDP as the benchmark, have considerably widened. Wang et. al. point to Institutional factors more specifically referring to the quality of infrastructure, presence of high-tech industries, and strength of government, among others to have all been observed to affect long-term economic growth within a nation with as much influence as income. Looking at the “development laggard” country of Comoros, this section listed the region as burdened with political interruptions, fear of hunger, low education levels, and government deficits. Additionally, Côte d’Ivoire, another African trapped-behind economy, can blame, decreases in capital investment and dependency on raw commodities for its fall in economic growth. Knowing a more in-depth description of the conditions in the nation reveals context to the growing income disparity. Both these examples seem to provide sound support around Sen’s statement, “Unfreedom can arise either through inadequate processes… or through inadequate opportunities,” Côte d’Ivoire and Comoros were noted to be extremely corrupt and have eventually become reliant on foreign aid. With the institutional barrier of bad government practices these countries cannot efficiently encourage enrichment or enlargement of any sector.  
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2020 on Reading for next Friday at Jolly Green General
From Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals by Jeffery Sachs details the breadth of the MDGs, establishes its points of weakness, the effects of its shortfalls, and introduces why the SDGs are a better alternative for global progress that will last. Upon reading, the most interesting aspect of the article was its strong emphasis on preventing and directly addressing the environmental factors that contribute to heightening the severity of poverty. The “triple bottom line” is a term often used in Environmental Studies as it highlights that all efforts toward a sustainable environment involve and depend on economic and social frameworks to collaborate alongside them as well. Again, it is those three sectors working simultaneously in order to accomplish SDGs effectively. Sachs calls on the implementation of the triple bottom line into development strategies with utmost urgency. Even with impending doom and irreparable damage on the horizon the attitudes toward addressing environmental sustainability is not happening at the most ideal speed. Additionally, while I am familiar with the devastating effects of climate change for our Earth, I was surprised to read, along similar lines that, social outcomes could also be deeply destabilizing. For example, as sharp increases in food prices threaten to push hundreds of millions of people into chronic hunger. Paired with our reading of The Economic Lives of the Poor, it is now easier to see how those in both poverty and extreme poverty are the first and hardest hit as time progresses and issues continue to compound.
While the phrases “mutually agree to mutually coerce” and “ignorance, interests, and ideology” will both ring in my head for a long time beyond this class, an interesting takeaway from this Natural Resources Economics course would likely be as a couple people seem to already beat me to is that renewable energy is in fact a reasonable future. More importantly, there are ways to gauge total economic value and this can serve as economic incentive to efficiently lower global carbon emissions. Whether through direct use observations of travel costs, choice experiments, contingent valuations, or neuroscience studies, our Earth can most definitely be proven worthy of saving even when addressing entities whose prime focus is maximum profit. Also, endogeneity has been a key word this year across a range of my courses. In the lens of this course, it has been used in the context of rationalizing that economic development within the United States as well as “developing” nations must not depend on GHG emission. Wind, water, and solar are working well for nations in Northern Europe and Asia, and the US government should really help expedite the process by incentivizing behaviors that contribute toward long-term public benefits. Humans are not innately greedy but tend to exhibit selfish behaviors, while I am not the biggest advocate of individual efforts effecting big change, I will continue to strive to make actions with the least social damage such as actively avoiding red meat, limiting my consumption of single use plastics, composting even when it is not immediately convient, and most importantly, voting for municipal, state, and national politicians with platforms that address issues that can be more impactfully enacted by a legislator. I definitely do not think I named or could pinpoint only one thing, but this course introduced me to brilliant literature connecting science to numbers that matter in a public policy setting and for that I am grateful. Happy Earth Day, all!
Toggle Commented Apr 21, 2020 on ECON 255 Final Exam at Jolly Green General
Wallace ‘J’ Nichols does compelling work trying to understand and then convey the public benefit to a clean environment. While individuals can claim and confirm nature’s therapeutic abilities it is all anecdotal until it can be backed by neuroscientific evidence, then, this argument can be significantly strengthened. The work Nichols is doing can help to expand upon a region’s ecosystem services. In turn, this research can then be translated into a concrete economic valuation. Eventually, scientific support for conservation can quickly turn into economic support for conservation, These two fields build on one another and could not exist alone. mini spiel: When first deliberately deciding on environmental studies as an academic pursuit, there seemed to be fewer conversations about environmental optimism than I anticipated. All the talk about impending doom, evoked the rise of cortisol the article mentioned. I figured with enough “fear-mongering”, people are bound to be turned away from environmentalism, giving up as they have lost the battle before it's even started. Luckily, it is campaigns, discussions about breakthroughs, gratitude, and “movements'', like the Blue Marble Project, that spread positivity and inspire masses (and me) to keep moving forward.
AOC shocked the political sphere with her proposal of the Green New Deal. “Disrupting the Dirty Economy: A Progressive Case for a Carbon Dividend” by Mark Paul and Anders Fremstad described the legislation in question as follows, “If we are to truly take scientists seriously and tackle global warming, a comprehensive suite of legislation, such as a Green New Deal is in order. “ The Green New Deal is seemingly all encompassing addressing multiple equity issues at once, yet some groups feel that this deters the work from a clear main goal. With recent conversations we have had in our ‘class’ discussions the solution to sustainable growth includes addressing issues not only in energy production but also in equitable consumption. The GND prioritizes job security and economic prosperity within all America with a transition to renewables, in addition to providing equal opportunity to “frontline and vulnerable communities.” The most moving statistic in the Stanford opinion piece highlighted the immediate public benefit such a transition would invoke, “ Such a transition will eliminate 62,000 air pollution deaths per year in the U.S, saving taxpayers $600 billion a year. That being said, “providing all people of the United States with high-quality health care” as the GND suggests would be easier if we were not actively and increasingly polluting our air ways and suspending legislation that assists in regulation enforcement. The Federalist piece seems to be the media John Oliver mocks in his presentation. Polarizing a green future is counterintuitive. The only stable direction to take is to either a)make sustainability a bipartisan issue or b) present the facts to appeal to either side's priorities (the latter being a more labor-intensive process) we will not achieve the level of action we need. The entire point of environmentalism is to convince everyone involved that we all must take measures toward a common good.
Toggle Commented Apr 17, 2020 on ECON 255: The Green New Deal at Jolly Green General
Earlier this week I ‘attended’ a tele-conference titled “ Power Dialogue: Solve Climate in Georgia by 2030” (, toward minute 50 ) where four panelists discussed their regional involvement with sustainable initiatives. The final panelist was the state public service commissioner. His stance as a Republican official advocating for environmental policy seems to confuse some groups. However, as I see Margot begins to menition and “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends” emphasizes while encouraging sustainable practices of the commons should not be politically polarized, in order to successfully convince politicians you have to spin proposals to in a sense ‘speak their language’. As rational decision makers, if at least some private benefit is not highlighted there seems like there is a lot to lose. Eschols has made it his mission to push for electric vehicle tax credits by honing in on its “grid utilization, efficiency, ability to keep money in the state, and homegrown fuel,” since more ecological-centered conversations have failed in passing EV tax credits in the conservative-leaning state.
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2020 on The Case(es) for a Carbon Tax at Jolly Green General
I read "Can We Stop Global Warming?" By Nicholas Stern with the terms mitigation and adaptation in my mind. Last “class” session we attempted to make the distinction between the two terms and while reading the article I came across some clarity: while mitigation deals with preventative measures to lessen the blow, unfortunately the global community seems to have passed that threshold and is a period of rather slow adaptation to the new setting of a speedily warming Earth. In very simple terms Stern defines what happens if indifference and inaction are our attitudes toward climate climate change: temperature rise would become unbearable by 2035. Of weather-induced deaths, heat-related fatalities are highest on average. Before we even get to our next decade the slow warming will likely force many communities in already unbearably hot conditions to suffer. Stern states, “In fact, failing to act is anti-growth, since it risks the future of growth itself.” Renewable energy which the article refers to as ‘carbon-free technology’ is readily available. Advancement and innovation in these fields is ongoing and continually expanding. However, “...these markets can only be created at scale if an effective global response is realized.” Here is where the phrase “mutually agree to mutually coerce” comes to play, the global community as whole must work to reduce emissions. However, the problem that surfaces is the optics of developed nations who were responsible for, “ 79 percent of the cumulative energy emissions over the last 50 years,” beginning to police/ask developing nations to turn to alternative sources of success as they try to advance themselves. After benefiting from the initial ease of fossil fuels and ecologically degrading behavior, it is a hypocritical position of authority to govern the emissions of up and coming nations but perhaps potentially necessary, considering “ “All the players need to understand the implications for them, their growth, their mortality rates, and the survival of species and natural flora and fauna in their country.” Additionally, Stern hopes to determine whether government involvement is necessary and the best answer is: ‘it depends’. Overall, this article did a good job incorporating many of the concepts we have learned over the course of our study of Natural Resources and Environmental Economics.
“EPA to Ease Pollution Enforcement, Which Could Exacerbate Lung Illnesses” by Jean Chemnick exposes the positive feedback loop that the Trump administration encourages in their reactive policies to COVID-19. By being permissive and creating lenient air pollution enforcement, more of the population becomes vulnerable to infection and less likely to recover. As direct private costs decrease, the marginal social cost skyrockets especially during a public health crisis. In defense of weakening enforcement, it is said to be in place so any involved maintenance staff can practice social distancing as suggested by the CDC. Concern for the American public is seemingly the expressed concern of this new act. However, Chemnick brings attention to the nonenforcement policy’s lack of a concrete end date. As we have mentioned several times in class before, the petrochemical, power, and other intensive emitting industries are not far removed from government decisions. Chemnick’s piece looks to investigate the motives behind this government action and the unintended consequences that might unfold as a result. Gernot Wagner writes in a similar tone stating, “ decreased air pollution has immediate public health benefits, even if they are only temporary side effects of frozen economic activity.”1 Wagener also warns that there is not a perfect, silver bullet to reversing this crisis but there are ethical and moral principles to uphold and lead us in the right direction and there reasonable doubt with the current pieces put in place. 1
“The impact of exposure to air pollution on cognitive performance” by Xin Zhang, Xi Chen, and Xiaobo Zhang highlight the severity of air pollution’s effects on populations specifically the elderly. The attempt to conduct a longitudinal and spatial study was a valiant effort. I appreciate the fact that this article included the fact that older cohorts in addition to being especially physically vulnerable to air pollution exposure are simultaneously responsible for large amounts of money and how to best allocate their funds. Considering that if something as trivial as verbal and math survey questions collected results that changed what are referred to as “complex high-stake economic decisions” also are inclined to be responsive to threats of air quality. The CFPS seems to be similar to the American Community Survey conducted annually and said to be representative of one percent of the national population. The interpretation of the empirical data suggests that reducing particulate matter could essentially reverse the declining average scores on the verbal and math test scores. This contradicts my initial assumption that the effects of climate change are completely irreversible.
Toggle Commented Mar 13, 2020 on 3 short papers for Friday at Jolly Green General
“The Full Cost Accounting of Coal” by Epistein assigned ranges of monetary value to the coal production within the United States. Epsitein described each stage of the coal lifestyle as an overall burden to society. Acquisition in the form extraction is the first stage of the proposed lifecycle. Underground mining easily lends toward respiratory illness to miners, while mountaintop removal most directly ties habitat fragmentation and exacerbates natural disasters in already vulnerable environments. The power necessary to both transport, process, and combust the also would be considered in this category. I was surprised to learn the strong correlation between the location of coal combustion plants and cancer development risk. Next, Epstein helps to identify the market reaping the benefits through the use of coal-power, mostly to run the nation’s energy, more specifically the nation’s electricity grid. Finally the dissipation of energy is also an unfortunate part of this process. The portion of the reading that I found most intriguing was 'the mining and community health' section that emphasized the conclusion highlighted in the “A Troubling Look at the Human Toll of Mountaintop Removal Mining” interview we read before break. Even when socio-economic factors such as smoking habits and obesity are held constant there is still a noticeable difference in general community health in mining communities. The text-to-text connection helps drive home the sheer reality of the social cost of coal specifically in terms of severe public health concerns.
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2020 on Discussion Paper for Friday at Jolly Green General
Total economic value of an item is the combination of its price and any consumer surplus that results from its purchase. Initial problems when dealing with the environment is that there is not one set gauge on its economic value. Luckily, there are plenty of methods to discover cost of non-market entities. In order to gauge the worth of marine ecosystems in Belize, contingent valuation methods were conducted via hand-delivered surveys in high tourist traffic areas. Here, visitors were able to determine and select the price tag they placed on Belize’s marine conservation efforts. In my opinion, survey design and delivery was the most intriguing part of the process. I particularly appreciate that although it contained appropriately in-depth content the survey still remained brief overall. Additionally, the answers provided concrete answers that add to the overall paper’s narrative. Luckily, this paper supported some seemingly intuitive patterns, such as, “individuals who belong to environmental groups are more likely to respond in the affirmative” (5). On the other hand, it also quantified some abstract comparisons in my mind. For example, “WTP higher fees is just over $30.00” (5). The fact that these fees directly funnel back into conservation efforts is rather inspiring. Belize has a specific species of endangered coral that is thriving despite its ideal environment for coral bleaching and worsening conditions for coral populations worldwide; immediate attention to preservation of remaining breeds is vital. Earlier in the article, parallels of Belize were drawn to other ‘tropical’ environments. This suggests that the conclusions made of this nation could potentially be recreated in similar regions globally.
John Krutilla possibly opened up the avenue of economic valuation of ecological services with Conservation Reconsidered. He first establishes the framework of conservation’s motivation: longevity. In fact this is the main motivation of most sustainability initiatives in the present day. Today, sustainability refers to the ability to provide for the current and existing populations without infringing upon such availabilities for future generations. This seamlessly relates with the motivations of conservation economics which emphasizes optimal intertemporal utilization of fixed natural resource stocks. Krutilla suggests on way to develop long term worth of a natural resource is to open options of recreation. He specifically mentions, “Enjoyment of water recreational activities by the present will stimulate future demand…” (782). This statement highlights the pivotal influence of ecological education. Interacting with the land attaches it to a sentimental value that ultimately beyond any dollar value. Krutilia’s strategy relies on minimal yet proactive initiatives now for effective future policy. However, since its publication, there has, in my opinion, been minimal movement compared to the progress that needs to be done. Urgency and immediacy on conservation efforts must be conjured as the natural world is inelastic cannot be replicated, its irreplaceability necessitates protective policies so that we avoid reaching a point of no return. Quantitative significance of ecological services at the time of publication was unknown. Since the 1967, entire departments of natural resources have committed to the Identifying ecological services and economically evaluating nature’s potential.
In our second class session we discussed the fossil-fuels industry as a subsidized sector. The result is a high cost product disguised as low-priced coal-power. The air as common source to all humans should ideally be in a breathable condition. Notice, this does not necessitate no pollution. There is a best possible point where private and public interest align for optimal social welfare. The Problem of Social Cost begs the question who should be allowed to harm whom? While reading the extended example of the cattle-rancher and the farmer, I was introduced to a new concept. The cattle-rancher had the option to pay the farmer to avoid growing a certain amount of crop. As long as the farmer earned more than his potential losses, both stakeholders were able to benefit from this transaction. The value of the crop is the net gain left over from the cost of cultivation. In the legal procession determining liability, the court’s rulings could have swayed in either player’s favor. The rational legal path does not necessarily align with the rational economic outcome. To me, it seems there is no defined avenue of solution. The answer is always dependent on a variety of external factors.This perceived failure is largely due to confusion. Additionally, in the first half of the text, there is a highlight of many specific cases that provide examples where only two visible stakeholders were discussed adding to the impracticality of it all. Although I have not developed a counter, I do not necessarily agree with his argument. However, I resonate when Coase mentioned there is a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. Whether it is the lack of basic economic theory or failure to translate theory into reality, I look forward to seeing a transition where more economists have an overarching consensus on a topic.
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