Archive for September, 2009

Developmental Economics

Why Poverty Persists in India

Before doing any of the readings from Econ 441 at UBC, I would like to explore my personal beliefs regarding the subject. Poverty and how to deal with it is an oft spoke of topic. Everyone claims to be against it, yet no one puts words into action. One of the primary questions is, is it our duty as a developed nation to bring the developing world out of poverty? Yet I suppose that is more political in nature than economic. What is it that differentiates the economics of development from the politics?

I would hazard a guess that the economic issues are those surrounding efficiency. An economist might observe that as Iraq’s GDP increases, it’s median per capita GDP remains constant. The economist’s job is to observe this, to explain why this phenomenon occurs, and then to suggest policy alternatives on what the government can do to increase median per capita GDP.

So how do I expect the course to progress? For starters, I do not expect it to be mathematically intense. I foresee a great amount of reading and many conflicting viewpoints. If economics as a discipline has an arts branch and a science branch, I say without hesitation that this belongs in the arts category. I think it will be good to have a break from the modelling so prevalent through most other econ courses. An essay or two may not be so bad. The skill of forming an opinion is just as important as memorizing models and theories.