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Will Fearey
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I found this paper pretty upsetting, now knowing that the US gives its aid based upon what it has in its own best interest as opposed to who needs it the most. The fact “that a country received roughly 14.6% more aid from the U.S. on average during the period 1946–1999 when rotating at least one additional year onto the council” just goes to show what these people in positions of power are really after. This observation reminds me of the climate crisis, in that the people who hold political positions that could actually make a difference tend to have alternative motives in their policy making. I think that due to the results of papers like this, the way the US allocates its aid going forward should be heavily monitored and judged internally to make sure that we are always doing what is right for the world, not just ourselves. However, it is important to note that the aid the US does release is benefiting the recipient countries. When I first read that there were studies that showed that poverty was not impacted, I was quite confused. Upon reading the paper further, however, I began to understand and appreciate the differences between poverty and the variables found within the MPI. I think that this provides an example as to why some economic data does not at first make real world sense, and why further (as well as long-term) investigation is so critical to understanding development economics.
Toggle Commented Dec 9, 2022 on Paper for Friday at Jolly Green General
I had never heard of CCT programs before reading this article, but upon reading it they sound like they are very beneficial to not just individuals, but entire countries. As we have discussed in past classes, one of the main things that countries can do to improve their economies is focus on providing more educational opportunities for women. With the noticeable improvement in the time girls spend in school, not only will their own economic conditions benefit, but their involvement and participation in the greater economy (and politics) will follow. I hope that programs like Progresa continue to support the lives of the poor, and that they are able to accurately target proper conditions to benefit children as early as they can. I wonder what the impact of such programs in impoverished areas of the United States would be? Would we see similar results, or would there be more similarities in the benefits observed by both men and women due to the United States’s better circumstance regarding female social status?
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2022 on Paper for Friday at Jolly Green General
I found this paper to be very similar to the land grant article that we read, in that investments in education provide society with larger benefits than nearly any other form of investment. I found it particularly interesting that this paper compared returns on educational investment to that of stocks and bonds, which I normally would never have put together in the same discussion. It really makes you think about how efficient the allocation of the world’s money is, especially when you add to the conversation the higher returns on women’s education and the other positive externalities that are not accounted for. This class overall has taught me a very important lesson in that education is a primary means to any developing country’s (and developed country’s) economic prosperity as well as the wellbeing for women. Going into the future, I am curious as to what the research will show in regards to countries’ adaptations to technology in their educational practices (thinking about the potential role that virtual reality may play for children who live far from their school house in particular).
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2022 on Paper for Friday at Jolly Green General
In reading this paper, I began to think of other instances when societies were hurt from discriminating against certain groups of people. For example, the United States, before the civil rights movement, was missing out on a huge portion of the intellectual population. While I do not know for certain, I feel as though it is safe to assume that once African Americans had more financial and social opportunities, society as a whole immediately benefited. America then had access to more minds and more ideas that could generate positive outcomes in a number of sectors. Similarly, the article mentions how society benefits as a whole when women are given greater access to education and general rights. As a result of more equality, societies are able to advance the fastest due to the influence of the smartest individuals, male or female, black or white. The article also made me think about humanity’s reluctance to adopt obviously beneficial societal practices. For example, the implementation of renewable energy sources greatly benefits the environment as well as the bank accounts of those who rely upon them in the long run. I understand that due to certain social norms it may be quite difficult for countries to tap into the potential that women have, but it is a painfully obvious avenue that nations could take that would improve the world in so many ways.
Toggle Commented Oct 20, 2022 on Paper for Friday at Jolly Green General
The two most intriguing sections of this article to me were the discussions surrounding the roles that education and lower birth rates played in South Korea’s economic development. In accordance with our past class discussions, South Korea offers yet another example of the importance that education plays in improving a country’s human capital. One thought that I had while contemplating this topic was what the world would look like with higher wages for teachers. I imagine taxes would have to increase, but the benefits that developing countries would reap as a result of a more driven and involved educator force are drastic. I also found it interesting that the article brought up lower birth rates from a contraceptive standpoint. I do not know why but whenever I imagined a country decreasing birth rates I immediately imagined policies similar to China’s child limit law. Giving the public increased access to birth controls, resulting in higher rates of education for women, seems like a no-brainer that less developed countries should invest more in. In addition, this theory supports the Solow model which illustrates just how decreased population growth can yield higher GDPs.
One element of this paper that I feel could be expanded upon is the future modes/drivers of development. Technology and institutional barriers will be at the forefront in determining economic potential for many years to come, but what technologies will that exactly look like? The paper discusses the role that semiconductors played in Taiwan's growth, but what will the next semiconductor be? A prediction that I have is renewable energy sources. I am very interested to see what growth disparities will look like in the future between countries that do and do not invest in renewables. Furthermore, I wonder if certain countries will begin to specialize in the production of materials used in green energy, such as wind turbine props and solar cells. Another idea that I had while reading this article was that the future may come to rely upon only a few countries for the world food supply. With such an emphasis on movement to modern sectors of growth, it may not be impossible that some countries could create food monopolies. Imagine a dystopian world where wealthy countries begin to build structures where there used to be farming land. With climate change, food could become scarce and a historically impoverished agricultural country might invest in farming technology that begins to generate serious economic growth simply due to the fact that they have available land. It may not be impossible that one day the world will rely upon a few countries to supply food for the entire globe, in theory increasing prices and their GDPs to high levels.
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2022 on Paper for Friday at Jolly Green General
I find the most intriguing portion of Krugman’s article to be the discussion about how simplified models can be a critical tool in helping us understand complex concepts. His examples of Fultz’s dish-pan and folk cloud wisdom made me realize that I have been studying many simplified models for my entire life. For example, in analyzing the various creeks and rivers that ran through my high school, I was not learning about one body of water, but many. Studying what animals and sediments exist in these habitats taught me not necessarily what is in others, but what there may be and what to expect in separate locations. A more relevant example is that of the supply and demand graphs that were taught both in my high school and college economics related courses. If it were not for these simplified models, my understanding of how the economy actually reacts to external forces would be far worse. While the graphs do not perfectly predict how markets perform, they help us tremendously in making predictions as to how they might. The idea that simple models, while they may not be able to show the full picture, can still have a practical use and give us information about basic concepts is integral to our understanding of how the world functions. In addition, the article discusses how some people do not like relying upon models for social sciences. My thought here is that since people rely upon economics for their daily finances, it is understandable why they do not want their livelihoods to rely upon approximations. However, I still believe that these models benefit us more than they hurt us in these areas of social sciences since they enable us to take action based upon educated predictions and past model examples.
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2022 on Paper for Friday at Jolly Green General
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One of the topics presented in Sachs’s article is the idea that in order for the SDGs to be successful, all countries should and need to do what is best for the wellbeing of the planet. While I agree with Sachs’s claim, I worry that it is one of the very reasons that the SDGs may not work. India, for example, has a very high population with 60% living under $3.10 per day. This is likely in part to the fact that India never really got the chance to industrialize over the past centuries like many wealthier western countries, the countries that created the global warming crisis to begin with. In order to generate jobs and more energy in the most efficient way possible, India built eight coal power plants between 2021-2022 and plans on building ten more between 2022-2023. Their argument is that since western countries were able to benefit so heavily from fossil fuels, that they should have the chance to do the same even if it worsens the climate crisis. Western countries created the problem, they should have to fix it, why should India stunt their economic growth because of it? I also find Sachs’s SDG 3 too optimistic, it sounds like a utopia. Unfortunately, I think (I hope I’m wrong) that there is just too much culturally ingrained discrimination in too many countries for governments to make the goals of SDG 3 achievable. Finally, I do fully agree with Sachs’s emphasis on the importance of primary education. I would add that early lessons on climate change and sustainability would greatly improve the world’s view on the importance of the SDGs.
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2022 on Welcome to ECON 280 at Jolly Green General
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