POL 4178: The Political Economy of Development
Find course-related documents (Syllabus, Assignment Guidelines, etc.) on Blackboard. Current news stories related to our course below... (we will discuss these in class).
'The Political Economy of Development' in the NEWS:
Thursday, December 1st, 2016: The UN Population Fund's most recent state of the world population report brings together the key themes from our last two units - inequalities and gender. As this CBC News article notes, the report focuses on the potential and challenge of the large portion of the world's population that are youth, and even more specifically notes that by providing opportunities for girls at a young age (10) results in tremendous gains in the years ahead, both for that individual and the broader population. The UNPF's report webpage has a very cool interactive space - check it out!
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016: What do trade and investment agreements have to do with global access to health care? Well, a lot! Consider this recent article in The Guardian identifying how the UK trade policy could help tackle global health inequalities - certainly a fitting topic for this week's unit on global inequalities today.
Thursday, November 14th, 2016: "If you want to promote prosperity and reduce poverty then you have to empower women... When you invest in women you invest in the health of the economy as a whole." These are words spoken by Patricia Leidl, co-author of The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy, in this CBC news article from today. Good words to keep in mind as we delve into this week's theme - Gender and Development - imagining how the global economic system might differ if it adhered to some basic principles in feminist economics.
Tuesday, November 8th:
We’re doing things a little differently this week as we talk about development on the ground. Here are some links to online resources mentioned in the discussion workshop activity:
1. Ford’s article about working in the field of development: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2008/jan/19/workandcareers.graduates2
2. Abby Young-Powell’s (2016) article with tips for studying development in a master’s degree: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/oct/28/studying-development-seven-tips-for-your-masters
1. William Easterly’s (2002) critique of “The Problem of Bureaucracy in Foreign Aid”: https://wp.nyu.edu/dri/wp-content/uploads/sites/2459/2015/08/cartelofgoodintentions.pdf
1. The Guardian’s Humanitarian Aid Quiz (2016): https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/may/20/humanitarian-aid-quiz-are-you-good-in-a-crisis
|Credit: Robyn Beck (AFP Getty Images)
Tuesday, October 18th, 2016: OK, I realize we've been talking a lot about Haiti in class, but it seems appropriate; the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew raises so many issues and questions that we've been trying to confront in this course, such as whether (or under what conditions) official development assistance leads to dependency from recipient nations, and how local knowledges and solutions can be leveraged to build more robust development and resilient communities. As we talk about ODA and trade this week, and as we witness (in short news clips like this one) the complete devastation wrought by the hurricane on Haiti's agricultural areas, try to ask how a policy like "Aid for Trade" might (or might not) be used to help rebuild Haiti better than after the 2010 Earthquake.
|NYTimes map of buildings destroyed (red) by Hurricane Matthew in Jérémie, Haiti
Addendum (Oct 12th): Here's an article on CBC News which takes up the discussion we had in class last night about development in post-Earthquake and now post-Hurricane Haiti.
|Form p.3 of the World Bank's report Ending Extreme Poverty
Tuesday, September 27th, 2016: Okay, it's not the most recent news story, but nevertheless relates to this week's unit theme "Keynesianism and Development in the Postwar Years" and the broader theme of the course - in this Guardian article on US economist Walt Rostow's (author, most notably, of The Stages of Economic Growth) contribution to development theory, we are reminded about the "inherently political nature" of development. This was particularly evident in the Cold War, when 'East' and 'West' sought to win over the so-called "Third World" through various developmentalist narratives, but it is certainly still true today... to be continued in class today!
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016: Recently, the Guardian reported on ongoing civil discontent surrounding private water rights in Chile. Access to drinking water is a requirement for human life. Access to water for sanitation, irrigation, and manufacturing are also essential for a society's wellbeing and prosperity - it's development... but what is the best way to govern, regulate, and allocate this essential resource? Who gets to make such decisions about water? Who gets to own it (or should it even be a commodity in the first place)? Should there be a 'price' on water? If so, what's a fair price and what mechanisms will be in place to ensure the poor can access it? Who's accountable when it comes to water, to ensure it will be protected, cleaned up (when sullied), that it will be available to future generations? These questions about water governance are emblematic of the types of questions we ask in the political economy of development. And they are questions which will increasingly come to the fore in many nations contemplating the best way to govern essential resources like water, given challenges of resource depletion and despoliation, urbanization, and climate change.
Thursday, September 15th, 2016: According to David Pelling's article in the Financial Times today, Africa's economy is growing in "fits and starts". This relates to the "unevenness" we talked about in the class the other day. Pelling makes reference to a recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute which takes a critical look at the "African Lions" and the "African Revival". To be discussed further in class today!
Monday, September 12th, 2016: "Economics 101 is obsolete in many ways" - this is my favourite quote in this CBC News article today (the words are spoken by Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with CIBC World Markets). Tal and other economists are decrying the way the "old rules" of economic theory don't seem to play out neatly in practice. Economic stats and data paint a murky and confusing picture, which ultimately require additional contextualization, detailed analysis and a critical eye towards what the theoretical models predict. I couldn't think of a better selling point for the field of "political economy" than this!
Monday, September 5th, 2016: The G20 Summit wrapped up in Hangzhou, China today. The group made a commitment to deepening global trade (in particular free trade agreements) as a means of boosting global economic growth (see this CBC news article). But the Canadian Prime Minister's comments at the Summit seem to suggest that the ideals of free trade and global interdependence are no longer taken for granted as G20 priorities: As this other article notes, Trudeau felt the need to come out on the defensive, arguing against the sort of "protectionist forces seen in the United States and Europe" in recent months. What difference do globalist vs. protectionist politics make for global development efforts?
OTHER ARCHIVED COURSE PAGES:
- POL 3146 - Canadian Foreign Policy (Fall 2015 and Winter 2016)
- POL 4320 - Seminar in Canadian Politics (Winter 2015)
- GEOG 4200 - Seminar in People, Resources and Environment (Fall 2014)
- GEOG 2200 - Global Connections (Summer 2014)
- GEOG 2200 - Global Connections (Summer 2013)
- ENST 1001 - Envisioning Earth's Environments (2012/13)