Thursday, April 30, 2009

Trade, Labor and Growth

There's a nicely written article over at Real Clear Markets by John Tamny. He provides some valuable insight into protectionism, the real meaning of free trade, and the importance of capital movement for economic growth.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Development topics

Of all the topics covered this semester, which did you find the most interesting?

Which topic did you find the least interesting?

Was there a topic that you would have liked to discuss that we did not cover?

The Economic Crisis and the Millennium Development Goals

Also from the world bank: "The Economic Crisis and the Millennium Development Goals"

Which goal(s) do you think will be most affected?

The least?

Will any goals remain unaffected?

Backward slide in poverty gains

Bad news from the World Bank (part 1)... Millions are falling back into poverty due to the global economic downturn in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

... and part 2: Negative growth for Africa despite relatively sound conditions in the financial sector.

Why Eastern Europe/Central Asia taking the earliest hit, but Africa is projected to take the biggest hit?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Daily reading

The other day in class we discussed blogging and reading in general.

I addition to reading the local paper every morning (front to back, usually only skimming the fluff), two Caribbean daily papers, I also spend a bit of time on these sister sites:
These sites provide compilations of articles from other news sources, most of which are editorial in nature, so take each reading with that in mind. They do a good job of providing balanced coverage though, so you'll find issues discussed from all sides. It is critical that you understand both sides of any issue that you plan to study, so when you read, be sure to read from both sides.

As I mentioned the other day in class, I try to sense the degree to which a group of students has made up their mind about something, and do my best to provide the other viewpoint. For example, when teaching an EVS class, I'll often come off as seriously pro-market. Lots of environemental students show up already convinced that markets are inherently bad. Sounds silly right? But it is no sillier than business school students that show up 100% convinced that markets are inherently good.

You might not like it, but I want to take what you think you know and turn it on its head, even if only for a moment or two. Hopefully this approach forces you to think about how to study issues objectively and figure them out for yourself (my approach usually involves data), rather than relying on what someone else has told you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Interesting quick read

This one is from American Prospect ("The Argument over Inequality"), and provides an interesting complement to the longer article in the previous post.

History, economics and sociology all rolled into one.
That's why I love studying this stuff.

Fair warning: As with most writing in the popular press, you have to take this as one side of a really complex issue. There are some interesting facts, stats and anecdotes presented by the author, but it would be a stretch to call it an objective empirical analysis.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New York Magazine article

Gabriel Sherman of New York Mag presents an interesting perspective on Wall St, the elite and the financial crisis.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Jamaica seeks MDG extension

From the April 3rd edition of the Jamaica Observer: Jamaica says it wants an extension of the 2015 deadline for achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In short, because of the current economic crisis, they don't think they're going to reach the goals.

The reports of the July meeting should prove interesting. Something tells me there's not going to be much in the way of good news.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


World TB day was last week, March 24, 2009.

According to the Stop TB Partnership, tuberculosis caused the deaths of more than 450,000 persons with AIDS in 2007, two times more than previously estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS). Approximately 9 million people are affected by TB annually, with over 1.5 million dying from the disease each year.

Here is the WHO fact sheet on TB.

This week, health leaders are meeting in Beijing at a meeting organized by WHO, China’s health ministry and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The meeing is focused on drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Today, our local paper ran a version of this story, in which the WHO Director-General Margaret Chan calls for serious action against drug-resistant TB, noting that if left unaddressed, the situation will soon become explosive.

What's going on here? What are the economic reasons for this sudden resurgence in a disease for which we've had a proper cure for decades?