Oct
30

Can Trade Promote Development?

Joseph Stiglitz and Andrew Charlton wade through the debates and evidence in "Fair Trade for All: How Trade Can Promote Development" (2005). The book aims to "describe how trade policies can be designed in the future with a view to helping the developing countries" including that "liberalization needs to be managed carefully - the task is much more complex than the simple prescriptions of the Washington Consensus which blithely exhorts developing countries to liberalize their markets rapidly and indiscriminately" (p. 2). It has been over a decade since the book was published, and as a result some of the details have changed, but the general arguments are important ones. The book is easy to read for non-economists and is highly recommended. 

The book begins: "The rules which govern world trade affect the livelihoods of the whole planet, and influence the economic development of all nations... You might hope that the world's trading system went some way to redressing the global inequalities which slice our world into the rich, the poor, and the very poor. Yet the opposite is true. The world trading system has protected the interests of the rich countries, at the expense of the poor, and entrenched inequalities" (p. v). 

The authors provide plenty of examples to back up the strongly worded statement given at the outset. One example: "Farmers are subsidized and protected by the governments of the rich countries, where less than two percent of the workforce is employed in agriculture. This protection shuts out goods produced by farmers of developing countries, where agriculture supports the livelihoods of most of the world's poor people. Intellectual property rules protect the rights holders in the rich countries, but do little to transfer technology to the underdeveloped industries in the poor countries. We are in the bizarre position of giving the developing world some $100 billion in aid every year, but costing them three times as much in protectionist policies." (p. v; see also p. 7). 

Despite what might be assumed (based on the positionality of the authors), the authors do not advocate for free trade, in all places at all times. In fact, they argue against this. "To date, not one successful developing country have pursued a purely free market approach to development. In this context it is inappropriate for the world trading system to be implementing rules which circumscribe the ability of developing countries to use both trade and industry policies to promote industrialization" (p. 17). And, not just trade - liberalization will affect inequality, and thus other services are required (like safety nets) to ensure the redistribution of wealth do not simply re-create new forms of poverty.

One point I found interesting was a commentary on the idea of 'comparative advantage', and the limits (or limiting role it can play). "For example, the theory of comparative advantage told South Korea, as it emerged from the Korean War, that it should specialize in rice. But Korea believed that even if it were successful in increasing the productivity of its rice farmers, it would never become a middle- or high-income country if it followed that course. It had to change its comparative advantage, by acquiring technology and skills. It had to focus not on its comparative advantage today, but on its long run, its dynamic comparative advantage. And government intervention was required if it was to change its comparative advantage." (p. 30). Often the 'comparative advantage' discourse is deterministic, stories such this present comparative advantage not as a reflection of present resources and opportunities but also of a vision for different opportunities and creating pathways for that. 

The focus of the second half of the book is what fair trade could actually look like - in agriculture, intellectual property, labor mobility, non-tariff barriers, and a number of other areas. Interested readers should pick this book up.

  575 Hits
575 Hits
Oct
16

Funded MA: Education for Sustainable Development

Location: Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Start Date: September 2017

Salary: $12,000/year stipend (with possibility of further scholarship opportunities)


THE PROJECT

Sustainable Development cannot be achieved through one sector alone, yet education in particular is seen as a vehicle to move us towards this goal. While there is a plethora of literature that examines the role of formal education for sustainable development (ESD), to date there has been very little research that examines the potential role for non-formal and informal education. The Arts (i.e. visual arts, performance arts, and literature) may be one form of informal ESD that can have a significant influence on the development of cultural norms and therefore play a critical role in creating the cultural changes needed to achieve a sustainable future. However, preliminary investigations to date have found that there are very few scholarly works associated with the topic. This dearth of found materials may be a result of poor bibliographic indexing by scholarly databases, because the materials are located outside of conventional scholarly mediums (e.g. websites, playbills, exhibition catalogues, and other grey literature), or simply because there are few written materials on this subject. The purpose of this research is to identify scholars, artists and practitioners working in the area where the Arts, ESD and sustainability intersect in order to document their conceptualizations of the role the Arts could/should play in achieving a sustainable future; to thoroughly examining the extent to which both the scholarly and grey literature addresses sustainability and the Arts. Further, it has been recognized that scholars, social innovators and artists are often isolated from each other, because of limited opportunities for knowledge exchange and dialogue, and a lack of common methods for knowledge mobilization and translation. As such, this research aims to develop and encourage collaborative partnerships and intellectual exchange among artists and scholars engaged in the intersection of the Arts, ESD, and sustainability.

RESPONSIBILITIES

This position will help with Phase 1 of this research which aims to identify scholars, artists and practitioners working in areas where the Arts, ESD and sustainability intersect; better understand how those working in this area conceptualize the role the Arts could/should play in achieving a sustainable future. Responsibilities will include identifying potential participants for the study; conducting in-depth interviews with participants; data entry and management; contributing to data analyses; conducting background research and report writing; and other clerical organizational duties as required. It is expected that students will undertake this work as part of their Masters thesis at Dalhousie University (with the suggestion of enrolling in the Master of Environmental Studies program in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies).


Interested individuals are asked to submit their application including a cover letter, curriculum vitae and the names of two references, to Dr. Tarah Wright.

  663 Hits
663 Hits
Oct
11

Post-doc: Environmental Economics & Sustainable Development

Full-time, 24-month appointment jointly in the Department of Geography and the Institute for Great Lakes Research (IGLR). The initial appointment will be for two years; continuation of the appointment is subject to funding and contingent upon satisfactory performance review. The successful candidate will conduct research mainly at the CMU main campus in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The position includes some funding for travel and research.

Responsibilities:

  • To develop an independent research agenda focused on regional sustainable regional development of the Great Lakes region. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, the drivers of changes in mobility within the region, the economic and social impact of policies affecting the regional ecosystems, modelling the economic impact of blue growth initiatives.
  • To work on current research developed by Dr. Marcello Graziano, mainly on blue and green growth policies in the Great Lakes and other coastal regions across the North Atlantic.
  • To work on research developed by or in collaboration with members of IGLR and the Department of Geography.

Required Qualifications

  • An earned Ph.D. granted within the past six years.
  • Demonstrated expertise and experience in an area of Great Lakes Research. Examples include, but are not limited to: economic geography, regional studies, green and/or blue growth, resource economics.
  • Ability to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations.
  522 Hits
522 Hits
Subscribe to receive new blog posts via email