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Nepal shifts to the right

Living in this fascinating country had lead me to focus on their current election. The communist insurgency ended in 2008 but there really hasn’t been effective government in Nepal since that time. There are signs that the election held a few weeks ago may have ended this nightmare. A coalition between the pro-India Congress Party [...]

Nepalese elections & aftermath

Staying in Nepal I am witnessing first-hand the consequences of a Hobbesian breakdown in a national political consensus. To quickly recall history: A bloody Maoist led insurgency ended in Nepal in 2006 and in 2008 elections were held which the insurgents participated in. The resulting government was disfunctional and was unable to put together a [...]

How much should we give as foreign aid?

(Preliminary thoughts. Comments welcome).

I don’t know the exact answer to this but who could? We should give something on the basis of deontology (Kant’s ”helping a stranger” problem – the imperative is to give at least a “little” where “little” is defined as that amount that creates “low” costs to us). This sets a [...]

Toilets versus computers

In an earlier post I discussed Robert Gordon’s argument that the big technological innovations (for example the discovery of the flush toilet) had already occurred and that more recent innovations – such as the development of the computer and computer-networking via links with telephones were having at best only marginal impacts on productivity. There is [...]

Sovereign risk: Rio, bounced checks & a drug-crazed president

This story of extortion in the Third World had both grimly-amusing and horrifying aspects. Institutional failure and corruption as a major brake on economic development! A good theme for a movie but probably lacks believeability. (863)

Bhagwati on climate change negotiations

Jagdish Bhagwati argues in the Financial Times (subscription encouraged) that developed countries should be subject to a strict tort liability for damages done because of cumulative past greenhouse gas emissions. I disagree with most of his views but cite them (see below) given his pre-eminence as a trade theorist, development economist and trade policy analyst. [...]

Turning the page on the past

The Conference I attended this week in China had an opening address from Nobel Prize Laureate Amartya Sen. He is a remarkably edudite and interesting guy. He talked broadly about trade, the environment and urbanisation but I focused most of my attention on his remarks about the vexed issue of who is responsible for climate [...]

China & India will end up complying with US demands on greenhouse gas mitigation

The current environmental situation in countries such as China and India is poor – China’s citizens are getting richer but increasingly living in a rubbish dump. But, with respect to climate change and other environmental problems, China is altering its policy view towards being much more environmentally protective. I don’t think it has altered its [...]

Amartya Sen on food shortages

Amartya Sen argues that droughts such as that being experienced in Australia, high economic growth in some developing countries as well as the diversion of grains into biofuelds servicing the needs of the wealthy has created a surge in the demand for foods that has driven up food prices and endangered the world’s poor.

Its [...]

Middle class welfare as a strategy to help poor countries develop

I attended a seminar today given by Michael Carter on ‘Poverty Traps and Social Protection’ that is available in full online. Carter suggests that, because of poverty traps, ‘needs based’ targeting may lead to higher levels of long-term poverty than a modestly regressive targeting of those vulnerable to falling into poverty that is based on [...]

Emerging economies increasingly decoupled from the US?

I have been thinking about the RBS’s interest rate policies and their drive to deflate inflationary expectations in Australia when all the evidence suggests that the US economy is probably already experiencing recession as well as emerging inflation.

The catch is that the interest rate hikes that have occurred in Australia over the past few [...]

Affordable cars for 1.1 billion

1.1 million Indians potentially gain access to a $2500 car – ignoring those that might be exported. One can take, as I do, the elitist view that this is environmentally damaging in terms of its contribution to global warming – it is difficult to see it as a positive – and it will certainly [...]