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What's i've learned

Posted by phduffy on 2005-03-08 23:23:05
25 forum posts
In November I went to a talk, and the guy talked about how we usually
measure sucess by growth and GDP and stuff, and we know that that
isn't a good way of doing things, but it's what we've got. So he was
working on other ways to measure it, including a happiness measure.
It was a really interesting talk, and I thought about posting some of
the some stuff I learned here.

Then, about a month ago, I went to a talk from another guy from
Harvard about corporate governance. He was also interesting, and
talked about the psychology and people, and how economics reacts to
that, and told us about a study in the US where they had people
interviewing a 'random' dude, and shocking him if he got the question
wrong. They would increase the shocks to a maximum of 400 volts.
However, the dude was really just an actor, and would start screaming
and pleading with them to stop after a while. Over 60% of people
didn't stop though, because they thought they had a duty.

Also, 12 families in Canada have shares in over 40% of the
corporations in Canada (it might be 60% actually...). Anyways, I
also thought about posting that. But I didn't.

So, this weekend I was at a two day conference (in Waterloo) on economic Development and the World Bank. Which I found quite interesting. It was for Master's students from a bunch of Canadian universities, like WLU< UW, UWO, Queens, RMC, Mac... that's most of them.

The gist of it was stuff like why does the world bank do what it does, what works and what doens't in economic development, effects of trade on economic development.
They had some people from the World Bank there (including a guy from their offices in Zaire, and the head economist in researching economic development, which is a big deal) and a bunch of academics and some practioners. And some of the academics were critical of the Bank, so it wasn't a bank love fest or anything.

Actually, two of the three bank speakers were pretty critical of the bank and their past policies. And there were also the people attending the conference that have an unholy hatred for the world bank (including a guy who asked if the whole conference was a facade, and then later said that the reason that there aren't any alternatives to the world bank is because they silence oposition).

Anyways, waht did I learn? I don't know... it's hard to try to improve economic development. We watched an independent movie "Your friends at the bank" about the bank's relationship with Uganda with was pretty interesting. I would recommend it to people, if you can find it. You get to see the conflicts within the bank, between the bank and the IMF, within the Ugandan government, the difficult position Uganda is in as the bank pressures them to reduce military spending... lots of fun stuff.

Hm. I guess i"m not really saying what i've learned. There were lots of good speakers, and I think that if people can look at the World Bank from an opened minded point of view (which is hard) then you can learn alot, both good and bad. Just throwing money at countries doens't work. And it's hard for a Westerner to go in and tell that country what to do.
Also, there's a big difference between developing countries like India, Brazil, China, Nigeria and South Africa (big ones that have power) and ones like Malawi and Bangaladesh (small ones who don't).

Oh yeah, one of Jessie's posts reminded of this. Basically, there are already too many NGOs (non-governmental organizations) out there. And they suck at working together and not duplicating things. Basically, the last thing the world needs is another charity organization. You'd be better off joining an existing one and working with them to improve the way they work then starting another one.
  25 forum posts