Export/import restrictions – Will they really help to reduce food insecurity in Bolivia?

Mieke Dale HarrisOn the 16 October 2008 former President Clinton announced at a United Nations’ conference “we all blew it, even me.” This statement was acknowledging the major role that the west played in causing the 2006-2008 global food crisis, largely by their treatment of crops “like color TVs” rather than realizing their worth as a vital commodity for the world’s poor and thus differentiating them from material export/import goods.

Perhaps what is most surprising about this massive misjudgment of agricultural policies  is that it was heavily promoted by a number of the institutions that we tend, or at least hope, to think are working for poverty eradication and not against it. Read More »

Does Biological Preservation Prevail Over Cultural Sustainability? The Struggle of the Maya Center Community in a Modernizing World

With the highest concentration of jaguars in the world and an incredibly rich tropical biodiversity, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize is an invaluable area not only for its scientific potential, but also due to the economic advantages of eco-tourism. Unfortunately, the installment of the wildlife sanctuary 25 years ago also meant that the inhabitants of Maya Center—a small Mopan Mayan village with a population of some 300 people located in the Stann Creek District in southern Belize—was subsequently prohibited from entering an area historically sacred to their culture. Does this mean that the new economic and scientific “necessities” prevail over the livelihoods and traditions of populations already living in the area?

In the early 1980’s, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the International Division of the New York Zoological Society began studying jaguar populations in the Cockscomb Basin after citrus farmers and hunting magazines reported sightings of jaguars in the area. Soon after the initial reports, scientific inquiries into the population of jaguars within the area resulted in the highest concentration ever recorded with estimates as high as 11 animals per 100 km². With eastern Belize dominated largely by a few wealthy citrus farmers, the establishment of a reserve was seen as a vital step to impeding and preserving the land from the increasing deforestation spawned by the citrus industry. More commonly known today as the Jaguar Reserve, the original 3,600 acres set aside in 1987 has expanded to encompass over 128,000 acres. Read More »

Can economics protect the environment?

When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money,” Native American saying

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” Brundtland Report

It is undeniable that our current way of life is unsustainable; If every country consumed resources and created waste at the same per person rate as the United States, we would need three to five planets to survive. Part of the problem lies in the fact that economics—the major discipline advising global and national policy—has failed to include the environment in its calculations. To rectify this problem, different methods have been proposed, so as to make predictions and come up with better ways of managing the planet’s resources without compromising the future.

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Irrationality and Heuristics: What can international development learn from behavioural economics?

In a perfectly rational world, Ted the taxi driver works long hours on days with many customers and goes home early on bad days to save money on driving. On the other side of the world, Mexican farming couple Carlos and Verónica send their children to the new school built in the next town, because they know that education will lead to a job that will make up for the time not spent on the farm. Ted, Carlos and Verónica demonstrate what is a central tenet of classical economic theory : the belief in homo economicus, the rational economic man—a being that makes fully calculated decisions in a rational manner to achieve the best possible outcome for himself. Read More »

Book Roast: The Cartoon Introduction to Economics

“What’s the difference between a recession and a depression,” asks a member of the public. “A recession is when you lose your job; a depression is when I lose mine,” replies an economist.

This is just one of numerous little jokettes that colour the pages of The Cartoon Introduction to Economics—a brilliant must-have for any student or teacher of economics or, indeed, anyone else interested in getting to know or simply recapping on the basics of a field that is currently positioned at the center of local, national and global decision-making. Read More »

Guest Roast: From Crisis to Resilience: Rethinking Macroeconomic Vulnerability

By Anuradha Seth

The frequency of global financial and economic crises has increased over the past decade and a half, and they appear to have become a systemic feature of the international economy. The risk of economic growth and human development achievements being undermined by such volatile international developments is fostering an overall re-think about the inner nature of crises, the growing vulnerability of developing countries and their capacity to be resilient in the face of these shocks. Read More »

Highlights from the 3rd Bolivian Conference on Development Economics (BCDE 2011)

The Third Bolivian Conference on Development Economics was held at the Catholic University of Bolivia in La Paz last month with approximately 170 participants and 50 presenters, including keynote speakers Santiago Levy from IADB and James Robinson from Harvard.

The principalorganizers were the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD), the Society of Bolivian Economists (SEBOL), the Catholic University of Bolivia (UCB) and the Bolivian Academy of Economic Sciences (BCDE), receiving financial support from Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), the Danish Embassy in La Paz, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Sociedad Boliviana de Cemento (SOBOCE), Fundación Estás Vivo, Banco Sol, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Instituto de Investigaciones Socioeconómicas (IISEC), Banco Nacional de Bolivia and Boliviana de Aviación (BOA).

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Does it hurt your pocket?

CG_MachicadoAfter the hyperinflation of year 1985, Bolivia started a new economic cycle characterized by an economic stability but with a slow growth. This cycle has not ended yet although important transformations took place, in particular in year 2003 where a profound social and political crisis ended with the upcoming of the actual president and the implementation of a new economic vision based on the State intervention in the economic activity.

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Story of Black Cat and White Cat

Dr. Hwa Soo Park

By Dr. Wha Soo Park  

I would like to thank KOICA and INESAD for the opportunity to write this essay. I came to Bolivia last December, as a World Friend Advisor, and it is a pleasure to introduce my thoughts and experiences from my stay in Bolivia.

The former great Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, told us a very meaningful story about basic ideology to build the national development plan and strategy. He said, ‘whether black or white, the best cat is the one that catches more rats.  Which one is the best cat?  I put this question to participants in a meeting of the Ministry of Planning and Development in Bolivia (MPD).  Why did I introduce this story about the black cat and white cat?

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Development from within

INESAD’s new book “Development from within” is a compilation of the Monday Morning Development Newsletters written by Lykke E. Andersen over the last 5 years. The foreword is written by Juan Antonio Morales, and the reactions of four pre-viewers are copied below.

The book will be presented later this month in La Paz. Readers in the rest of the world can request a copy by sending an e-mail to the address given below.

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