Synthesis Essays

Per the course guidelines, please provide answers of 2000 words or less combined for each pair of questions, including in-text citations with page numbers to relevant in-class readings.  I strongly encourage you to work on each prompt as you go (using your prep exercises as a sort of sandbox for playing with ideas and arguments), rather than waiting until the day or two before it’s due.


Prompt(s) #1 (Due in class, hardcopy, Thursday, October 11): 

1) During the past several weeks, we have examined a number of explanations for why the Global North has “diverged” from the Global South in terms of economic growth and performance.  Given the arguments and evidence we have discussed, how can we best explain this divergence, and what are the mid- to long-term prospects for “convergence”?

2)  Why might political leaders choose to promote corruption, or policies that facilitate the use of public resources for private gain?  Please use examples from the relevant country case studies (including, but not limited to, Nigeria and Brazil).


Prompt(s) #2 (Due in class, hardcopy, Thursday, November 8): 

1)   What is the structural adjustment “prescription,” as identified by the international financial institutions?  Does this prescription “work,” in the sense of creating the conditions for stable economic growth and development?  Why, or why not?  Please provide relevant country-specific examples as appropriate.

2)   What’s the case in favor of state-led development, and why did this model ultimately fail to produce economic growth in most of the developing world?  Finally, what (if any) are the prospects for transferring the “alternative” East Asian and Chinese state development models to the rest of the Global South?  Please provide relevant country-specific examples as appropriate.