Saturday, August 23, 2008

Links of Interest

All you have to know about the Obamanomics

(this is so true and pragmatic)

So what we need to bring about is the end of the era of unresponsive and inefficient government and short-term thinking in government, so that the government is laying the groundwork, the framework, the foundation for the market to operate effectively and for every single individual to be able to be connected with that market and to succeed in that market. And it’s now a global marketplace.

Who is a Southasian?

The Maobaadi prime minister (Interview with Prachanda, the former rebel leader turned prime minister of Nepal)

Available options to Maoists-led government: Binding constraints to growth

Widening access to growth opportunities is possible when support policies are designed for facilitating the priority sectors. Hydropower, for example, is one of Nepal's top priority sectors to expand opportunities for growth. Even in a 1 MW construction site, fairly good employment opportunities can be created to displaced and landless populations. About 500 to 1000 people are normally needed per site in such a labor-intensive infrastructure projects. 

Opportunities can also be created in tourism sector.  It is the second largest sector after agriculture, which employs about 600,000 people with the estimation of generating US $205 million during 2007/08. Tourism can offer growth opportunity provided that serious efforts are made to increase its competitiveness in price index, human tourism, infrastructure, environment, technology, human resources, openness and social index. 

The other areas for widening the growth opportunities include data processing; software development and computer consultancy services; generation and transmission of electricity; manufacture of paper and paper products; manufacture of motorcycles and scooters and parts thereof; and establishment and management of educational and health institutions.   

Manmohan Singh's vision

Power and Roads for Africa: What the United States Can Do

Charles's fantasy farming won't feed Africa's poor (Paul Collier argues for genetic modification of crops to tackle global hunger; organic peasantry will not be enough)

...Organic peasant agriculture is a solution for the angst of affluence, but not hunger. Its apotheosis is the ban on GM crops.

...The GM ban has three adverse effects. It has retarded productivity in European agriculture; grain production could be increased by about 15% were the ban lifted. More subtly, because Europe is out of the market for GM technology, the pace of research has slowed. GM research takes a long time to come to fruition, and its core benefit - the permanent reduction of global food prices - cannot fully be captured through patents. European governments should be funding this research, but it is entirely reliant on the private sector. Private money for research depends on the prospect of sales, so the ban has not only blocked public research - it has reduced private research.

However, the worst consequence of the European ban is that it has terrified African governments - with the exception of South Africa - into banning genetic modification. They fear that growing modified crops would shut them out of European markets. Because Africa banned GM, there was no market for discoveries pertinent to the crops that Africa grows, and so no research. In turn, this has led to the critique that GM is irrelevant for Africa.

Africa cannot afford the GM ban. Its cities, fed by imports, need global prices to be low. Without cheap food the children of the urban poor will be malnourished. Africa's farmers, broadly self-sufficient, need higher productivity. Productivity per acre has stagnated, so rising production has depended on expanding the area under cultivation. But with population growth this option is running out.

Back to Dickinson College

After spending the summer (and Spring 2008 semester) in Washington, D.C. doing an internship at an NGO, I am back in Dickinson College. It is my last year and I expect the first semester of senior year to be quite hectic. I have taken two higher level math courses, one higher level economics course on monetary theory, and one on women studies (just to fulfill distribution requirements). Moreover, I will also do honors in economics, which I think would be the most interesting and challenging of all the academic stuff this semester. On top of this, I have to work as a TA for microeconomics class, as a peer tutor for micro and macro economics, and as a student supervisor in the library. Also, I will write Op-Eds regularly for The Kathmandu Post. Plus, I have to take GRE exam and apply for graduate school (PhD in development economics/international development). In short, it is gonna be a very, very busy semester.

Despite these many works to be done this semester, I will most probably not scale back my blogging frequency. Reading and writing blogs is one way to keep up with the stuff that is going on in my field of interest, i.e. development economics/international development. I expect a very, very challenging semester, which I am actually looking forward to! The only thing that makes me sad is that I won't be able to read as many books and research papers of my interest as I like during semester session because the course load itself is gonna be overwhelming.

Anyway, I am already getting settled down and want to stay right on top of the stuff that goes in my field of interest. I had a very good stay in Washington, D.C., met some of the coolest friends ever, and did some networking as well (this is apart from my the stuff I learnt from my regular internship and interaction with the people in the internship place). Summer stay at ISH was very enriching and fun.