Archive for the 'Development Economics' Category

Mar 04 2013

A TED Talk overview of issues in economic development

Over the next three weeks I will be covering issues in Development Economics with my year 2 IB students. I have often used TED Talks to inspire our class discussions, and this year I decided to compile a “best of TED” playlist to guide us through the IB topics in development.

Day 1 – The Nature of Economic Growth and Development and Measuring Development:

Days 2 and 3 – The role of foreign aid

Days 4 and 5 – The Role of Domestic Factors:

  • Hans Rosling: Religions and babies | Video on TED.com – Hans Rosling had a question: Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others — and how does this affect global population growth? Speaking at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar, he graphs data over time and across religions. With his trademark humor and sharp insight, Hans reaches a surprising conclusion on world fertility rates.
  • Hans Rosling: The magic washing machine | Video on TED.com – What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? Hans Rosling makes the case for the washing machine. With newly designed graphics from Gapminder, Rosling shows us the magic that pops up when economic growth and electricity turn a boring wash day into an intellectual day of reading.
  • Ernest Madu on world-class health care | Video on TED.com – Dr. Ernest Madu runs the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica, where he proves that — with careful design, smart technical choices, and a true desire to serve — it’s possible to offer world-class healthcare in the developing world.
  • Andrew Mwenda takes a new look at Africa | Video on TED.com – In this provocative talk, journalist Andrew Mwenda asks us to reframe the “African question” — to look beyond the media’s stories of poverty, civil war and helplessness and see the opportunities for creating wealth and happiness throughout the continent.

Micro-finance

  • Jacqueline Novogratz on escaping poverty | Video on TED.com – Jacqueline Novogratz tells a moving story of an encounter in a Nairobi slum with Jane, a former prostitute, whose dreams of escaping poverty, of becoming a doctor and of getting married were fulfilled in an unexpected way.
  • Jessica Jackley: Poverty, money — and love | Video on TED.com – What do you think of people in poverty? Maybe what Jessica Jackley once did: “they” need “our” help, in the form of a few coins in a jar. The co-founder of Kiva.org talks about how her attitude changed — and how her work with microloans has brought new power to people who live on a few dollars a day.

Days 6 and 7 – The Role of International Trade:

Day 8 – The role of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Days 9 and 10 – Conclusions and Data Response Question practice

3 responses so far

Feb 06 2012

Dr. Irene Forichi on Agricultural Productivity and Economic Development in Southern Africa

On February 6 my IB year 2 Economics classes welcomed Dr. Irene Forichi, former Research Officer for Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Agriculture, and former Regional Emergency Agronomist for the Food and Agriculture Organization for Southern Africa. Dr. Forichi spoke with our classes about the role of agricultural productivity in contributing to human development and economic growth in Southern Africa.

For students or teachers who are interested, she delivered an excellent presentation about the agriculture-related obstacles to and strategies for economic development in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Her presentation can be viewed here, or the PowerPoint she presented can be viewed below.

One response so far

Jan 26 2012

Fair versus Free Trade as means to promote Economic Development

Fair trade schemes aim to get more of the money we spend on our stuff into the hands of the workers in less developed countries where they originate. Some examples of goods produces in fair trade cooperatives in poor countries include fruits, tea, coffee and cocoa. Some handicrafts and textiles are also available from Fair trade programs as well.

It is estimated that approximately 7.5 million producers in the developing world participate in fair trade programs, producing $5 billion worth of output.

According to the European Fair Trade Association, fair trade is

a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.

Fair Trade organisations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade”.

Fair trade as a strategy for economic development is controversial, as many argue that either fails at raising the incomes of the farmers it is supposed to serave or that it incentivizes farmers to remain in the low-productivity agricultural sector rather than seeking higher productivity jobs in manufacturing, thereby contributing to poverty in poor countries.

Below are two videos that proclaim the benefits of free trade. After watching the videos, discuss the benefits of fair trade with your class.

On the other side of the issue are several economic arguments against the use of fair trade as a strategy for economic development. First listen to this 19 minute discussion between EconTalk’s Russ Robert’s and Duke University’s Mike Munger over the role that Fair Trade coffee plays in promoting economic development.

Next, read the two articles below a

Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Fair Trade programs at promoting economic development.
  2. Outline the possible advantages of a country specializing in manufactured goods instead of primary products.
  3. What factors explain the growth in importance of multinational corporations over recent decades? Illustrate your answer where possible by making reference to your own or other countries. Do multinational corporations work in favor of or against the interests of Less Developed Countries?
  4. To what extent has the international trading system contributed to economic growth and development in less developed countries?
  5. Discuss the view that increased trade is more important than increased aid for less developed economies.

6 responses so far