Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Chris Blattman's juxtaposition

I still cannot get over Chris Blattman's comment in his links post:
"In the US, subsidies for people to move from poor neighborhoods to better ones had positive long term outcomes (PDF) but Barnhardt, Field, & Pande find in India, taking people away from their social support networks is very disruptive and many people refused or left the program (PDF)."
My experience in Souith India, in a different conext, is somewhat different from the conclusions of the above above paper whose field work was done in U.P. in North India. This concerned an agricultural institue near Hyderabad which trained rural poor students with rade 10 educations. They were trained free of cost in more modern methods of agriculture for an year and it was hoped that they would go back and implement the new methods. Instead all took city jobs in agri-business.
So, what gives. The only think I can think of is the family systems of Emmanuel Todd. He distinguishes the North and South Indian family systems as Exogamous Community Family and Assymetrical Community Family respectively. Part of the difference, outside Kerala which ios more matrilinear, comes from the marriae stem where the children of brother and sister can marry. Apparently, this gives women a bigger role in the society though not as much as in matrilinear societies. I would uess that Us would come under Absolute Nuclear Family like England. For Todd, two important causes of 'progress' (from what I could lean from 'The causes of progress') are literacy and status of women.
There have been criticisms that Todd is "grounded as it is in deterministic anthropological categories" as a recent review by Sarah Waters of 'Who is Charlie?'). In her review of 'The Causes of progress', Evelyn Rawski has similar criticism but goes on to say "The great value of Todd's book lies elsewhere: it forces scholars out of the increasingly narrow specializations in which we tend to spend our lives. We may disagree with Todd's interpretation and his facts, but we can learn a great deal from the structural comparisons he makes. If comparative studies are stimulated by books like this, we may eventually achieve a more satisfactory synthesis to explain the demographic, economic, and cultural changes that are central to the early modem and modem historical ages."
When there are such differences in different places coming from modern quantitative research, it may be useful to look at some of the factors that Emmanuel Todd has been pointing to.

Trade 1890 and 1860 B.C in one area

" The traders of Kanesh used financial tools that were remarkably similar to checks, bonds and joint-stock companies. They had something like venture-capital firms that created diversified portfolios of risky trades. And they even had structured financial products: People would buy outstanding debt, sell it to others and use it as collateral to finance new businesses. The 30 years for which we have records appear to have been a time of remarkable financial innovation." from The V.C.s of B.C.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Germany leading the way on immirants and refugees

Angela Merkel's humane stance on immigration is a lesson to us all:
"It is not Britain, the alleged “soft touch”, which is the favoured destination for what is emerging as one of the great movements of people in history, fleeing the mayhem of Syria, North Africa, Afghanistan, Eritrea or northern Nigeria aided and abetted by sinister, organised gangs of people traffickers. Instead, they prefer Germany. In the last 12 months alone, it has received some 300,000 asylum claims, 12 times more than Britain, on top of the immigration it receives within the EU under the freedom of movement rules it defends to the last. During 2015, the number of asylum seekers to Germany is set to rise to 800,000. Germany is becoming a country of immigration, the most popular destination for the global dispossessed......
Confronted by forces that would overwhelm British leaders, the woman the Greek left (and many on the British left who should know better) mistakenly accuse of being the leading advocate of conservative neoliberalism has stood up to be counted. Being the country to which so many want to migrate should be a source of pride, she says."
Germany did some thing huge for the Syrian refugeees-and for the future of Europe
"German Chancellor Angela Merkel did something really good this week: Her country will now allow Syrian refugees, who normally would be deported back to wherever they first entered the European Union, to stay and apply for asylum. Thousands of Syrians who would have otherwise faced uncertainty in Europe can now begin the process of rebuilding their lives in Germany.
Germany, with the stroke of a pen, has just given an awful lot of Syrian families the chance to start a new life. But this is even more important than that: In addition to being a blessing for these Syrians, it is also a gift to Europe. Migration has become a crisis so great for Europe that, earlier this month, Merkel called it an even bigger challenge for the EU than the Greek debt crisis. She is now leading by example, showing Europe what it must do to overcome that crisis."

Two on global value chains

Here Tim Taylor gives the background.
In May be this global slowdown is different Justin Fox " Building global supply chains became so fashionable for Western manufacturers that they built them even when it made sense to keep production closer to customers; now they're retrenching and revising their approach."

Monday, August 31, 2015

Two on Tata steel

Real Steel: Jamshedpur's little known war history by Anura Mallick and Priya Ganapathy
From opium to outsourcing by Andrew Leonard in 2007

Some long reads about development

From Brad DeLong Weakend reading: An interview with Josiah Ober, author of The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece:
"The new data allows us to test the robustness of contemporary theories of political and economic development. In the classical Greek world, political development was a primary driver of economic growth; democracy appears to be a cause rather than simply an effect of prosperity. The steep rise and long duration of the city-state ecology offers a challenge to neo-Hobbesian centralization theories of state formation, which hold that advanced economic and political development requires the consolidation of centralized state power. The comparatively low rate of ancient Greek income inequality, along with the high rate of economic growth, suggests that the negative correlation of sustained growth with extreme inequality, observed in some recent societies, is not a unique product of modernity. Finally, the history of the ancient Greek world can be read as a cautionary tale about the unanticipated consequences of growth and human capital investment: It reveals how innovative institutions and technologies, originally developed in the open-access, fair-rules context of democratic states, can be borrowed by ambitious autocrats and redeployed to further their own, non-democratic purposes."

From Chris Blattman :
"In the US, subsidies for people to move from poor neighborhoods to better ones had positive long term outcomes (PDF) but Barnhardt, Field, & Pande find in India, taking people away from their social support networks is very disruptive and many people refused or left the program (PDF)."

The first Moving to opportunity Abstract: Neighborhoods matter for the well-being of residents. Helping families with young children living in high-poverty housing projects to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods improves the later-life outcomes for the children and may reduce the intergenerational persistence of poverty.

The second Moving to opportunity or isolation? Network effects of a Randomized Housing Lottery in Urban India Abstract: A housing lottery in an Indian city provided winning slum dwellers the opportunity to move into improved housing on the citys periphery. Fourteen years later, relative to lottery losers, winners report improved housing farther from the city center, but no change in family income or human capital. Winners also report increased isolation from family and caste networks and lower access to informal insurance. We observe significant program exit: 34% of winners never moved into the subsidized housing and 32% eventually exited. Our results point to the importance of considering social networks when designing housing programs for the poor.

P.S I am not sure whether it works the same way in South India. May be the clue to the difference of U.P. from USA and South India may be in family systems, as Emmanuel Todd would say.

Oliver Sacks RIP

From NY Times with links to other articles.
Check also Oliver Sacks has left the building by Vaughan Bell

Sunday, August 30, 2015

What most people want

I guess is work to feed their children. A picture of a Syrian refugee

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Fearless Nadia (?)singing a romantic song 1943 (apparently sung by Rajkumari and Mansoor)
More about Fearless Nadia

From Ghar Sansar-1958

Never stop learning

Refugees are people too.

Refugees are human. That simple fact seems to have been forgotten
Some good news from Germany: German public: we can cope with more refugees
German mayor says he wants more migrants
""They had the flexibility and the legislation allowing admission of asylum seekers in their territory faster than standard resettlement procedures," said Bernard, commenting on the Alameens' fit with Germany. 
The European country was the first to allow certain Syrians registered in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt to move there without a protracted asylum application procedure.
About half of all those selected have successfully arrived in the Federal Republic of Germany, where they have a chance to integrate and build a new life.
Thomas Langwald from the German Office for Migration and Refugees explained the programme, which costs the state about $14m, specifically targets families that "cannot return to Syria" and would have difficulty settling in the country they first fled to. " from
And there are villages for sale in Spain

A refugee girl moves under barbed wire as she crosses from Serbia to Hungary [AP]

Thursday, August 27, 2015

David Levy in July 2014

Economist who predicted housing  bubble says another recession coming:

""When the U.S. sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold," may need to be flipped.Maybe the rest of the world will sneeze this time, and the U.S. will get sick.,,,,,

Now, Levy says the United States is likely to fall into a recession next year triggered by downturns in other countries, the first time in modern history."

S.Varalakshmi -Jikki duet from Krishna Prema 1961

Nagaraju Koppula memorial lecture