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Mason Shuffler
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I also thought this was quite an interesting paper to conclude our term with, as it strung together quite a few of the major themes and topics we have covered this semester. I was particularly interested by Milovich's use of the concept of "multidimensional poverty", as it is important to realize that poverty is more than just a lack of income, but also can be accounted for by nutrition, education, and human capital. Having this concept in mind, it makes it easy to realize how different forms of poverty are all interconnected, and how they all play such a large role on one another. It is interesting to me to be able to think about how aid can improve certain forms of poverty, but not others. I think that the most traditional way that we (probably as Americans) think of poverty is by wealth, but this is certainly not the entire story and we end up taking things such as health and education for granted. Certainly investments in health and education will produce societies where there are larger incomes, and as we have repeatedly discussed throughout the term, this is where foreign aid would benefit the most.
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2020 on Last Post of the Year at Jolly Green General
This was definitely a tough paper to read compared to the previous papers we have reviewed in this class. However, it is quite interesting to consider how even though the global financial markets are incredibly complex, they are all interrelated and frequently have a push-pull effect on one another. Due to this interconnectedness, it is important to realize how the interest rates and bond yields of developed countries can have negative effects on the rates and yields of developing countries, and vice versa. I would be quite interested to know the current state of the global financial markets due to the coronavirus pandemic. I know that US rates are incredibly low. How does this affect the markets of developing nations? It is interesting to me how developed nations can have such a big impact on developing nations. It almost seems as though the two would be split into two separate market categories due to the vast differences between the two types of nations, but I suppose this goes to show how concentrated a large amount of power can be in some developing countries.
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
I had never heard of the concept of conditional cash transfers (CCTs) until reading this article. I think it is a brilliant idea in that families and individuals are rewarded for good merits such as consistently attending school and having a strong academic performance. I also think the idea of planning to alleviate current poverty while also having the effect of reducing poverty in the next generation is ingenious. It seems intuitive that, on average, the families who receive CCTs will perform significantly better in terms of earnings and educational attainment. With that being said, it is unfortunate that there are no long term studies yet simply because not enough data is available. It is remarkable how CCTs have only been aroudn since the 90s--it seems like such a concept would have been around for a longer time. One concern I have about CCTs is that we could see a essentially no effect from them if a poor household was hit by a catastrophe such as the breadwinner of a household losing his/her job, a natural disaster, etc. Such an effect could greatly diminish the effects of CCTs and ultimately cause for a large decrease in lifetime earnings for families / individuals that receive such grants.
Toggle Commented Oct 29, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
It is quite astonishing seeing the empirical results of investments in education. I have been able to experience this firsthand, as my hometown in Louisiana is notorious for having a very poor and underfunded public education system. What is even more surprising about our public school system is that there is very little concern amongst the general population about improving it. The schools struggle across the board--from quality in education to attractive facilities and solid teaching. It is remarkable how significant both the private and social benefits are in education and how this should serve as a signal to institutions that it is their obligation to invest. Moreover, as we discussed last week, the gender disparities that are associated with education are unsettling to see. Women tend to see greater returns in education, most likely because on average women have a smaller quantity of education than men to begin with. By investing in education, society will slowly but surely begin to see increases in human capital which will translate to improved quality of life. I also realize that it is quite difficult to quantify the social benefits of education, but wouldn't metrics such as life expectancy and income per capita be viable measurements?
Toggle Commented Oct 22, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
The idea that really stood out to me from Duflo's article is the idea that empowerment and development are not everything to achieve gender equality. Instead, nations need continuous public policy in order to move toward equal rights. This seems to make sense, as even in some of the most developed nations in the world (such as the US), there is still prevalence of gender discrimination in different areas such as the wage gap. This goes to show that development of nations is not everything in terms of achieving gender equality. Perhaps the most significant contributor to achieving economic and social equality between men and women is the importance of education. Having an educational system in which women have equal access to high quality education as men creates a society where women are able to contribute to the household, economy, etc. It is also interesting to me how when women gain higher amounts of human capital through education, men tend to be more willing to give up some rights to women. The main reason being, as Duflo states, that children get better educated as a result of the increase in human captial. I would argue that this is also attributable to the fact that women are able to contribute more to household income when they attain more human capital, and as a result the household is better off economically. In the end, it is evident that although development and empowerment are interrelated, it is overwhelmingly apparent that these two concepts are not everything in achieving gender equality. Gender equality ultimately comes down to policy that is both legislated and enforced by the government. Without enforcement, there is little hope for a more equal society.
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2020 on Duflo for Friday at Jolly Green General
In his article, Epplin tells the very interesting story of the history of public education in the US. I had no idea that part of the delay in establishing public agricultural universities was in part due to the fact that Southern slave owners did not want to give land and lose their way of life. It is remarkable how there are so many different aspects of history that are tied together in this regard. It is also quite interesting how an individual who has no formal education is more detrimental to society than beneficial, and therefore it is in society's best interest to fund public education so that the masses can become educated. I think that this article also supports the idea that education is one of the most crucial building blocks for a high performing and high functioning society. As we saw with the Miracle on the Han article, investment in education was one of the leading factors that completely transformed South Korea's economy. It is remarkable how these investments are not made, and even more remarkable how they are not made for the benefit of some and the expense of others. Investment in education should be a top priority, yet I feel as though it is seldom mentioned these days amongst our politicians. If Epplin's article and personal story of how his parents had no more than an 8th grade level education to him being a professor at an accredited university just one generation later is not a testament to that, then I do not know what is.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2020 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
I was intrigued by Quiggin's optimisim for the future and how he noted the tremendous progress that the world has made as an economic system--most notably in the realm of food supply. As the world's economy continues to develop and the global population continues to rise, the demand for food has increased significantly in the past 100 years. With the global population expected to increase by 2 billion or so over the next 3 decades, the demand for food will only continue to increase at a faster rate. With this in mind, it is worth noting that developed countries--for the most part--have been able to meet this increase in food demand but developing countries have been struggling to keep up with their rise in population. I think this all ties back to a common theme in this course, the concept that it is essential for the developed nations to assist the developing nations in all ways possible. Quiggins had an interesting quote in his article, where he stated, "if current First World living standards cannot safely be extended to the rest of the world, the future holds either environmental catastrophe or an indefinite continuation of the age-old struggle between rich and poor." This idea made me think of how many of the struggles of the world are tied directly back to the seemingly ever lasting battle between the rich and the poor, and how it is the rich / developed nation's obligation to assist those that are in need.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2020 on Readings for Friday at Jolly Green General
This article brought a couple of ideas we have discussed in class to life. For one, it is abundantly clear that the US and Japan were contributed significantly to the development of South Korea's economy and society. This supports the idea that a country's development cannot be done solely from within, even though the military-led government also contributed greatly to South Korea's development. To Julia's point, it is worth noting that part of the reason that South Korea grew so quickly was due to the booming nation of Japan and China when it began to develop in the 1980s. Developing countries in, say, Latin America and Africa struggle to develop in part because they do not have neighboring countries who are also succeeding. Having growing neighboring countries allows for two nations to synergize with one another and develop even further. Moreover, it is also interesting to note how South Korea developed under control of a military regime and not through a democracy. It makes it interesting to think about the different circumstances in which countries develop and how different political scenarios play a role in doing so. I was also quite fascinated how the military regime focused on developing an educated and disciplined labor force. By doing so while simultaneously developing other sectors of the economy, the regime was able to put the two together to synergize when the time was right. As such, this propelled South Korea into rapid economic growth.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2020 on Miracle on the Han for Friday at Jolly Green General
I found this article to be quite thought-provoking. For one, it is quite interesting to think about the idea that modernization breeds modernization. What Krugman means here is that if modernization can get started on a sufficiently large scale, then it will be self-sustaining. However, an economy can also get caught stuck in a position where it never truly gets going, and is instead left behind in the "traditional" world. This theory made me think of the first Industrial Revolution and how this era developed so rapidly due to technological innovations that took place in many parts of Europe and the United States. Playing off the concept of modernization breeding modernization, it is likely that the Industrial Revolution would not have developed so quickly if it wasn't for Europeans and Americans bouncing their ideas off one another in order to develop their products. I was also interested in the idea that models are maps rather than reality. This goes to show that models are merely a starting point in efforts to explain the way the world works. In reality, models are able to explain the way things happen conditional on all other things being equal--which is more than often not the case.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2020 on Krugman for Friday at Jolly Green General
Wang et al. explore several different factors that have contributed to the growing income disparities between fast-growing economies and development laggards. Such income disparity has grown significantly in the past five decades, as countries that have increased exportation of goods across the globe have tended to do significantly better than their counterparts. One thing that I found particularly intriguing about this paper is that the authors grouped countries of similar regions together to show their economic trends. This idea is evident in the Asian Tigers and Trapped Countries group, as the Asian Tigers represent fast-growing Asian countries and the Trapped Countries show African nations that have had stagnant economic growth. My thought is that wouldn't it be more interesting for the researchers to link together countries of similar economic patterns that are from different regions? For example, it would be fascinating to compare countries several Asian and, say, European countries to see their economic trends and to look at similarities / differences to see how those trends came about. There is little doubt that the same factors of government misallocation of resources, corruption, etc. also tend to have the same detrimental economic effects on countries in other regions of the world. Moreover, looking at countries in the same region may have similar economic trends due to other macro economic occurrences in other parts of the region. I studied this idea in Professor Blunch's Spring Term course, where we examined one case study in Western Africa where there was a supply chain disruption for a textile business in one country, and that negatively impacted the entire textile trade throughout the region. Although this is ultimately not what Wang et al. studied in their paper, it is certainly an interesting consideration.
Toggle Commented Sep 4, 2020 on Reading for next Friday at Jolly Green General
I found this article quite interesting as I personally did not know much about MDGs and SDGs. One thing that really stood out to me is how much progress has been made in the last several decades in terms of poverty reduction. The article cites that the poverty rate in many developing countries has been cut in half from 1990-2010. Especially with continued globalization, it really strikes me how much progress can be made when governments align their priorities with one another and come together to meet their goals. I can't imagine how much further progress will be made on MDGs and SDGs if the private sector were to also play a larger role in meeting such goals. I think one of the most important idea that the article mentions is that it is essential for high income countries to spread their advances in technology, healthcare, etc. to the lower income countries. If this does not take place, then there will be very little development in areas that need it the most and the economic disparity between low and high income countries will continue to increase. What is so interesting about the modern era is that the world is so interconnected due to social media and other developments in technology. This makes the possibility for collaboration significantly easier than it was in the past, and it has the potential to propel the world into a better off and more developed state.
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Aug 27, 2020