This is Jacob McCabe's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Jacob McCabe's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Jacob McCabe
Recent Activity
I found these articles particularly relevant to me because of the family I have that work and have worked in the refineries on the East side of Houston. My grandfather worked at a refinery for Occidental1 Petroleum for decades and the stories I heard of the health hazards over the time were astonishing. My father discussed days in which my grandfather would bring home mercury for the kids to play with in the kitchen. Stories like this tell me about the lack of understanding in terms of health effects, but that ignorance has continued to this day. The articles discuss the air pollution and health implications as a result, but one thing that comes to mind is the outcome of accidents in refineries. There was an explosion my senior year of high school in which one of the storage vaults burned for three days. There was black smog covering the sky from my house all the way to the outskirts of greater Houston. I remember being outside and thinking that just by breathing I was putting myself in harms way. That is a terrifying thought, and something that the residents of cancer alley must consider every day. The fact that this is still an issue is one of the reasons that environmental policy is so important. Even outside of climate change there are direct negative impacts on real people happening right now, and it is either ignorance or evil that allows it to continue.
Toggle Commented Mar 31, 2022 on Last Post for the Semester at Jolly Green General
I thought this article was interesting because it took a comprehensive approach to how energy policy affects different regions and socioeconomic households. The main takeaway I found interesting was the negative effects on middle-income families due to a lack of capital ownership and a position outside of social safety nets. This brings a certain fear that has been pushed by media outlets prophesying the "death of the middle class" and while that's something outside of environmental policy entirely, it plays a large role in social dynamics and therefore the proportionate effects of climate. As energy crises become more frequent and more exogenous shocks hit the market it is inevitable that the effects will fall back heavily on those who are outside of the need for a safety net but also without the means to ensure long-term stability.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2022 on Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I thought the article on particulate matter was interesting because I am using pm2.5 and pm10 as variables in my econometrics empirical project. We are investigating the correlation between monthly Covid-19 mortality and air pollutants in the United States. I had some idea that these air particles were extremely dangerous but this paper gave me a host of information on PM that will be useful in my project. The paper discussing the impact of air pollution on cognitive ability also gave some interesting information about the ways that the things we may not think about affect such important things. It plays into conversation we had last semester in development economics about poverty traps, where higher rates of negative externalities through activities in developing countries continue to suppress their growth. This is hard evidence that shows how unhealthy air quality can affect the production of human capital and in turn, the development prospects of a country.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2022 on Papers for Thursday at Jolly Green General
One of the interesting things I took away from Schrag's article was the emphasis on water for complicating outcome estimations. As discussed in class and in the article, we are truly living in a mass experiment because no one knows for sure exactly what will happen. We can run all the regressions in the world and perform countless studies, but the complexity of our natural systems from land to water create so many exogenous variables that all we can do is sit back and watch. Another image that really resonated with me was the image of the Gulf of Mexico before and after the Greenland ice sheet melts. This was a shocking image because I am fairly certain (based on readings and independent research I've done over the past few years) that the Arctic will be melting over the summers , opening up areas that we have never seen. Greenland is not the only ice that will melt and if that is the effect of only half of the ice sheet melting, how much worse will it get? The article mentions antarctic ice sheets and how this will increase sea level rise by over 50 meters, and absolutely wild concept considering this will be a global rise. The article discusses the impossibility of adaptation to this and I must agree. Coming from a "coastal" city (Houston is an hour away from the Gulf), I understand that it would be impossible to completely rebuild the infrastructure that could support 7 million people. Because of this, mitigation is the only viable strategy for maintaining our coasts.
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2022 on Papers for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I enjoyed this article and the chapter because they are directly related to the economics of fisheries class that I'm currently taking with Professor Kahn. Based on this article I found hope in the future of fisheries as most of their lack of sustainability is found in management issues. In terms of the divergence of fisheries, I found it interesting that coastal fisheries are on the decline while more industrial fisheries have a better ability to adapt to variations in a changing world, such as the effects on climate change. With that being said, I agree with what AJ said regarding the minimization of the extent to which climate change will affect fisheries. I see climate change as a major factor in everyday life as we get deeper and deeper in to the hole we have dug ourselves into. In terms of industrial fisheries in the developed world, I was pleased with the fact that they are well-managed and sustainable. I found this to be an important model for sustainable fisheries in developing nations. Similar to some of the discussions we had in development economics, the progress of technology allows developing nations to "leapfrog" some of the more unsustainable technologies of the past. With that being said, this action requires the support of developed nations that, as we know, are not always eager to buck up.
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2022 on Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
This paper builds upon patterns that I have noticed from our development economics class all the way to this one. The rapid globalization of the world economy has created a complex web of causes and effects, and the Amazon rainforest is one of the major victims of this development. With that being said, it is interesting to evaluate this chain of cause and effect, specifically with soybean production. Social values such as the wealth associated with meat consumption quite literally have world-changing effects, and the train of thought from pork to the amazon rainforest is likely nonexistent for consumers. A better understanding of the inputs for specific product would improve consumer education, but that is an idealistic concept that would be impossible to put in action due to the sheer complexity of the global economy.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2022 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I really enjoyed both of these papers as they took on a similar theme and provided great insight as to the economic value of natural resources in these tourism-dependent countries. I found it pretty interesting that most people were willing to pay a greater exit fee than they needed to, but I also thought that it made sense for the population of the samples taken. People who are already scuba diving in coral reefs or involved in some other related activity already have an appreciation for the places they enjoy these activities. In addition, the same article mentioned that most of the respondents were college educated and made a very comfortable amount of money (~$99k). With this being the case, an additional $10-20 being charged on a trip they have already spent (likely) thousands on would be a negligible cost. I think that the rise in price is a step in the right direction for prioritizing sustaining the systems that provide so much pleasure to people all around the world.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2022 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I was happy to see these two articles again this semester because I felt that they sent a powerful message in last year's development economics class. Solow's definition of sustainability provides a general idea of what it means to maintain the services and opportunities for coming generations while Quiggins explains how it can actually happen. The hardest thing to comprehend about Quiggins piece is how his solutions can be put into practice. In an environment where so many people are used to the comforts of the developed world it becomes hard to fully appreciate how dire the situation is. This gives me a pessimistic view of how willing people are to change their habits, and in turn how viable these solutions are. When human rights remain a political issue there is very little room for progress as the devil's advocate will fight tooth and nail just to be right. As both of these articles imply, sustainability is a human rights issue that continues to be twisted in the most ineffective way possible.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2022 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I found this article interesting because it attempted to tackle an issue that is holding back many developing countries. The introduction of microfinance is something that we, as people living in a developed country, see as an essential part of growing and maintaining a business. The distinguishing point that this article makes is that the needs and approaches of poor business owners vary greatly, and therefore so do the designs of microfinance that will work successfully. I was surprised at how low some of the take-up rates for these opportunities were, but then had to remind myself that many of the clients for these institutions had very little knowledge of financial processes and how they work. I noticed what seemed like an apprehension of trust from the customers, something that was affirmed in the microinsurance study where farmers were 10% more likely to purchase the insurance when someone from an organization they were familiar with was present. It is difficult to put yourself in the shoes of the people in developing countries as it is so far from the reality that we know that some would not even believe it. Because of this, we may have a warped understanding of how to best finance these communities and spur development. I appreciate the way that this paper recognizes some of these realities and provides empirical data on good ways to approach these businesses.
I had a similar challenge in reading this paper as many others - I do not have as much experience in global banking or the dynamics of that industry, but I was able to gain some important takeaways. One of the main points that I gathered was that the credit opportunities for developing nations are very much correlated with the rates in "money centers". I found this interesting, but also fairly intuitive as it makes sense that countries that are currently developing would be at the mercy of the holders of power. It also makes a lot of sense that low interest rates in the US would spark more investment abroad, as there is less incentive to save money when there are higher returns elsewhere (hello opportunity cost). When thinking about this, it really makes me consider the responsibility that these money centers may have in terms of promoting development on a global scale. The actions taken domestically have global implications, and sometimes that is something that policymakers do not consider enough.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2021 on ... at Jolly Green General
The article on the returns to investment in education just hammers home many of the points we made in class. For example, the fact that returns to education in low income countries are high than those of high income countries is something that is both intuitive and essential for development planning. What I found interesting is that even while more of the population gets educated and high skilled labor becomes more in-demand, the returns to education stay stable as a result of the increasing sophistication of the economy. From the base level education is a catalyst for development because it provides the human capital and critical thinking skills necessary to make big-picture decisions. As we read about this, I become more and more thankful for the opportunities we have as a result of being at an institution like Washington and Lee, where we are able to sharpen these skills and become assets to the economy's stock of human capital.
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2021 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
After reading this article and Amartya Sen's chapter about the agency and well-being of women, there is no doubt about the importance of women when it comes to not only societal, but economic progress (not that there was any doubt before). With that being said, I wanted to touch on Ella's point about having separate political races for women in order to increase their representation. While I agree that there may be an initial stigma in a view of the race as possibly "inferior", I believe that the effects it would have by forcing more engagement between political members of the opposite sex would provide unquantifiable returns. In addition, this allocation of representation could be seen as an initial condition as society progresses. Similar to the initial efforts to ignite progress in South Korea, this separation of elections could be eliminated once society has progressed enough to recognize the capabilities of female leaders.
Toggle Commented Oct 29, 2021 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
The World Bank's report on the gravity of 2 degree and 4 degree increase in global temperature just continues to hammer many of the points we have already come across. Overall, those most vulnerable to the effects of this change will be the poor and disadvantaged across the world. The effects in Latin America (specifically glacial erosion) have implications that affect every ecosystem, from the terrestrial areas of the mountains to the waterfront of the coasts. One of the things that I think is important to remember is that that is just the beginning. Call me cynical, but in a world that continues to burn fossil fuels as a main source of energy and continues to consume at higher rates, the catalyst of rich countries taking a true stand on finding a solution is when it hits home. This is already the case, as we have seen many of the effects laid out in the article here in the US (wildfires, extreme hurricanes, droughts, etc.). We know that many of our actions have already caused irreversible consequences. These events are most drastically affecting those who can do the least about it, and the only way to make politically-driven governments take a REAL stand on this is to make it a priority of the people. How much more eye-opening do we need to take the (feasible) steps to mitigate the inevitable and protect those most at risk?
Toggle Commented Oct 22, 2021 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
I thought this paper gave a very comprehensive outline of the institutional barriers that many of the lagging countries have dealt with, but I found the discussions of Import Substitution Industrialization even more interesting due to the topic being discussed in-depth in my Econ of Latin America class. Specifically, I found the examples of ISI working successfully interesting because it seems that the countries of Latin America just got it wrong. The example of the Asian Tigers using ISI to transition into export-oriented economies through policymaking showed me that the cases of the Latin American economies in the mid-20th century were consequences of institutions that could not efficiently utilize their resources and labor force. For example, South Korea shifted from import-substitution to export-oriented growth at the right time. In addition, they emphasized manufacturing for modern industries through both human and physical capital. In contrast, many of the Latin American countries continued subsidizing the manufacturing of goods that could be easily imported to satisfy the domestic market. In addition, they doubled down on protectionist policies that kept them from fully realizing the potential of the global markets. This consequence of timing has led to two very different oaths of growth that are an interesting case study to reflect on.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2021 on For Friday's Discussion at Jolly Green General
I found the fact that the high development theory began as a conceptual idea with no modeling or mathematical background a testament to the intuition of Hirschman and co. The way that the rigid structures of economics in the 70s brought forth important developments in how we approach economic analysis today suffocated the growth of abstract and creative thought, but it also set the foundation for applying those kinds of theories as the structures expanded for more variation in inputs and interpretations. While Hirschman may have been way ahead of his time, I believe that the high development theory played a role in forcing the invisible hand to apply more of this structure to the field, after which it could fit more abstract concepts within. While the early pioneers of this theory were ousted from the traditional schools of economic thought, I appreciated how Krugman recognized Hirschman not as the villain of the subject, but as the tragic hero who had to wait decades for his legacy and contribution to be fully accepted.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2021 on Krugman for Friday at Jolly Green General
After reading Sachs' explanation of the SDG's I felt a new wave of hope regarding the future of sustainability and global cooperation. And then I took another look at the date this was written. While the SDG's are absolutely a step in the right direction of promoting sustainability and a more developed world, there are so many things that would have to go perfectly and even more that could throw the entire plan in disarray. As we have seen in the years since 2012, the world has taken several turns that many did not see coming, including (but not limited to) the Covid-19 pandemic, the growth of nationalistic sentiment across the western world, and the continued desecration of our environment and natural resources. The sobering reality of the SDG's is that we have not designed a global system that is capable of supporting the trust and cooperation needed to take on these monumental tasks, not to mention the unwillingness of many developing nations to stymie their own growth at the behest of the richer, more developed nations. For example, Nigeria has experienced an average of a 2.56% growth rate since 2011 due to its oil wealth and leading position on the African continent. Through this, they are causing huge levels of pollution that is contributing to the crisis that is climate change. However, their standards of living for a large number of the population do not even come close to reaching what we know in the United States. While I agree that the best way for development is a holistic view of the economy, the well-being of the population, and a commitment to sustainability, Nigeria is experiencing their development on the back of oil. In their minds, who are we to tell them how to and how not to improve the living standards of their population? This is a problem seen around the world that still has not made significant ground. While the SDG's are an amazing example of how to reach a world that benefits all, the reality of the situation paints a much darker picture.
Jacob McCabe is now following The Typepad Team
Sep 16, 2021