So, since I’m terribly late getting this to you, let’s give you all a softball…
What was the most useful/interesting/surprising thing you learned in this class? Have your views on the causes of poverty in the Global South and the possibility of the Global North making a difference in combating that poverty changed? If so, how?
What does it mean to say that an aid project has “worked”? What sort of measures and data are required? Is it ever possible to answer “yes”?
Based on your readings for this Wednesday (as well as from throughout the term), it’s apparent that there are a large number of ways in which we might evaluate the success or failure of development policies or aid programs. For instance, we might ask about long term growth rates, adherence to conditions, or even about human development outcomes like those associated with the MDGs. We might also ask if the money spent on a particular project resulted in its completion (as opposed to ending up in the hands of corrupt officials), or even if the project in question was the most efficient use of resources relevant to a community’s needs. In your view, how should we evaluate whether or not aid “works?” What are the criteria we should be using to assess aid-driven projects and programs? And how often do the sorts of projects we’ve seen achieve success by these metrics?
In The End of Poverty, Jeffrey Sachs proposes a “big push” to end poverty in the worst-off of the LDCs, financed by foreign aid contributions from the developed world. How does Sachs proposes such a “Big Push” would work? And what potential pitfalls or challenges might it face? Should we be confident in the success of a “Big Push,” assuming it is properly financed and implemented?
So, imagine that you’re a young, up-and-coming development specialist, and you’re considering recommendations for a country in the Global South with respect to their use of foreign aid. Based on your readings for today and your general knowledge, what sort of aid is likely going to be available? Who will generally provide it, and why? Finally, what sort of aid do your recommend they accept, and why?
In Factory Girls, we see an ambiguous future for China’s economic and political development, as rising global influence and wealth meets structural inequality, authoritarianism, and the potential of environmental catastrophe. Given the material you have to work with (and drawing explicit references from the readings as appropriate), please respond to the following question(s):
Has China’s remarkable economic rise been “worth it” for most Chinese citizens? If yes, why? If not, who has benefited most, and why?
What is “going out,” for a young Chinese citizen from the rural areas? Why do young people (especially young women) choose to “go out?” What other sorts of opportunities are available for young people in rural China, and is “going out” the best one for most?
In East Asia generally, as in South Korea particularly, state-led development seems to have worked much better than in the countries of Latin America and Africa. What factors contributed to the success of state-led development in East Asia, and in Japan and/or South Korea in particular, and why was South Korea (at least, for a time) able to overcome many of the drawbacks of state-led development discussed in earlier readings and class meetings?
In Peter Griffiths’ mostly true memoir of his time as an economist in Sierra Leone, one of the biggest difficulties he faces is in getting both the Sierra Leonean government and the international financial institutions to actually recognize that there’s a problem. For your exercise, please describe and analyze the political, economic, and practical barriers faced by Griffiths in getting the government of Sierra Leone to abandon the World Bank’s plan to end the government’s role in rice importing.
In the readings for Monday, we begin to see the outlines of how neoliberally-minded reform projects and mandates actually played out in developed nations of the Global South. As our authors argue, there was often an appreciable gap between what neoliberal reformers promised and what they achieved. Your question, then, is why did IMF and World Bank-sanctioned (or imposed) reform projects rarely seem to work as they were supposed to?