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Andrew Harris
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I wonder if using the United States as a measuring stick might be a bit misleading. Many developing countries would see great benefits if they grew at even a fraction of the United States growth. Comparing a small African nation to the global hegemon of the last 50 years is a bit suspect. I understand that the growth is measured in terms of percentages and not absolute growth, but still think that the ideas of increasing returns to capital might make the comparison less valid. I found the U.S.’s involvement in Taiwan’s growth to be fairly interesting. I was shocked to see that Comoros has only been independent of France for less than 50 years. I think calling a country that was forced into an agricultural economy for a century a developmental laggard when it does not in half that time start creating growth is unfair. I was surprised to see how easily governments could disrupt their GDP growth with even seemingly unimportant policy changes. I wonder how much luck is involved in making or breaking these economies. Or is a successful economy marked by taking luck out of the equation? I think specifically of the African countries that export food products as a significant portion of their GDP. Their GDP growth gets halted or even becomes negative because of swings in world markets for their main export, but if that did not happen, I wonder what the butterfly effect might have been.
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2021 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
I am intrigued by the idea that models are meant to be so simple that they leave out many commonly held or seemingly obvious beliefs, but that eventually the models will become so studied and rigorous that they will come back to those same ideas. The author defends this point well with a few examples. While the model of the Big Push is almost too simple in that it only focuses on labor, it provides a convincing basis for the overall idea. It is impressive that the model that the author provides could be taught in a middle school classroom but was created by someone with a PhD. Expressing complex ideas so simply and so bare bones is difficult. I am curious if any progress has been made on modeling the complex ideas behind economies of scale. I would be more convinced by a model that can incorporate capital at the very least, but at the time of writing an accepted model was clearly not available to the author. I wonder if world leaders and others responsible for economic policy are only satisfied by models or are satisfied by the intuition behind the Big Push and other economic theory. I am basically wondering if models are only effective persuasion tools for economists and students and are therefore given too much weight in the field.
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2021 on Krugman for Friday at Jolly Green General
Thanks for the link to the progress report, Alli. I wonder if a piece of the inadequate funding is due to the United States, the world's largest economy, having a president for most of the SDGs existence that cast doubt on the human influence on climate change. Regardless, I think the SDGs are a realistic set of goals that would mark great progress if achieved by 2030. The intermediate goals should help give a more tangible idea of how governments and NGOs are doing; 15 years is a long time and numbers this big are difficult to quantify. I wonder what safeguards are in place in the current SDGs to ensure that rich countries are providing assistance to poorer ones that is useful and will not result in a reversal of progress. I worry specifically about respecting the autonomy and dignity of those receiving aid. I worry about cases like that in Haiti (I’m pretty sure) where the U.S. donated tons of solar panels after the earthquakes. This sounds like a great way to help rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure, but it crowded out businesses that were creating solar panels in Haiti. Instead of a booming solar panel industry in Haiti, there is nothing. Obviously, it is unrealistic for everyone to get it right all the time, but I wonder if anything is in place to help prevent similar occurrences.
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Sep 15, 2021