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  • Michael DeLaGarza 7:28 pm on March 13, 2016 Permalink |  


    Reading through the article on whether or not the poor can be trusted listed a couple studies in which they absolutely could in other countries. I believe that sending help to them is about more than trusting poor people with money. I think sending money and aid is about helping them to stay alive. There is always a gamble involved in whether or not they will finish school or die early from a health problem because of events that can’t be accounted for. American poor is obviously different from most of the bottom billion poor, though there is still a struggle. I think that the difference is that in the other countries, they don’t expect help or aid, so they make the most of what they get, while here in America it is expected that someone will be taken care of if they are hungry or homeless. That makes it seem like there is almost no point in trying once you have hit a certain level of poor. In that sense I think that every country needs to independently study what works best for them because as I’ve said in a previous post, it all depends on who you are entrusting, and what you are entrusting them with.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 6:41 pm on March 13, 2016 Permalink |  

    Gapminder Tools 

    I took a look at the GDP/capita in $/year vs. life expectancy chart for the different countries of the world and I remembered one of the past readings mentioned Rwanda as being fairly bad off (third world so to speak). When I watched the chart, a couple things stuck out to me. The first thing I found interesting was that at some point before 1940 (give or take a few years) Rwanda’s life expectancy was 10 years. That’s absolutely insane. That’s not even long enough to hit puberty, which sounds to me like there’s no way for the society to survive. The second was that as the years progressed and the life expectancy bounced back, it wasn’t always tied to GDP/capita. The majority of the time it was (like 49/50 times) but there were a few instances where life expectancy went up even though GDP/Capita went down.

    • Eli Zumberg 8:56 pm on March 13, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      it’s mostly that a lot of children and infants died like the reason that we think of 30 as an old man in the middle ages. in actuality if you survived to a certain point (usually old enough to not get sent off to war), you generally live a while longer. but then again there is also the minorities who weren’t always treated like people culminating in he Rwandan genocide during the 1990’s. that among other factors could explain the problem.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 3:44 am on March 13, 2016 Permalink |  

    The Bottom Billion 

    I’ve not bought the bottom billion book listed, but it seems like an interesting read. I am enjoying the ted talk and google tech videos. I’ve always been a big fan of the Ted Talks. Thanks for putting those up.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 3:04 am on March 12, 2016 Permalink |  

    Unit 3- Development, Imperialism, and the Debt Bombs 

    As i read through this, it sounded like America and possibly other nations “stepped” on under developed nations in order to continue it’s growth. The article also stated that we and other developed nations became what we were because we were settled as opposed to being used for resources. It seems as though other nations that were also inhabited may have had similar opportunities to develop. The fact that we have gone to other countries and extracted their resources sounds like they had value in the natural resources of their lands, but possibly through bad decision making on part of the governments in their countries, have ended up on the worse end of the deal.

    • tatef 5:10 am on March 13, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Only recently (50ish years) did they get paid at all. Many of these countries were still colonies in my parent’s life time. Banana Republics were less than a 100 years ago. Im sure that there were plenty of bad decisions and outright corruption but outright exploitation is a huge part of it too. When your country is new, impoverished and generally desperate you get the best deal you can even if that deal is screwing you over and you know it.
      I swear im not trying to just respond to your posts, they are just interesting to discuss

      • Michael DeLaGarza 7:56 pm on March 13, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Hahaha no, its great. I like seeing the responses so feel free to comment away on any posts I make. Besides, you keep adding a little bit to the bigger picture for me, and i appreciate that.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 6:42 am on March 2, 2016 Permalink |  

    Unit 3 Culture, Markets, and Economic Systems 

    Before I put up a blog post that is probably filled with my own bias and speculation, I would like to point out that I am by no means an expert on all things worldly. I know at an entry level that the world works through supply and demand and that is what drives any given system. I look at what has happened during the historical part of the readings and try to piece together what the driving forces behind them were.

    That being said, there was a very interesting point during this reading that got me thinking. “Change, particularly political and institutional change, happens as a result of responses to immediate crises. Rarely is it the result of design or plan.” Often times throughout history, advancement on an evolutionary basis has been the direct result of situations that wiped out a certain species and left only those who were in the right place at the right time or who were unaffected by what was going on around them. There has always been an element of chaos to the way the world develops. It seems that our economy is as vulnerable as we as humans are. For example, as we discover new ways of extracting oil, the prices go down and the ability to pay for everyday living expenses becomes less cumbersome here is the U.S.. At some point, does the ability for an economic system to thrive become the direct result of its ability to allow for a balance of productive efficiency and living standards, or will it always be up to random chance, or both?

  • Michael DeLaGarza 5:06 am on March 2, 2016 Permalink |  

    Unit 3 The New Second World 

    Originally i thought that it was a little bit over the top for a group of 20 nations to decide how the entire world was going to be run (and the idea that so few had so much power was a bit scary as well) but it makes sense that those who have had the most success should lead. Maybe that’s too simplistic, but I don’t think that I would want someone from a country where education is scarce making big decisions without actually having been successful in their own endeavors.

    • tatef 4:10 am on March 5, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I wanted to comment on both your posts because you bring up some good points and, even better, some good questions. Who should lead? If someone has to then the ones who are successful seems to be a good place. But how did we get to that success? I took Jim’s US economic history class last semester (I recommend it highly) and it really highlighted how much luck, good and bad, created the US (80-90% of the original inhabitants dead through plague. France’s sudden need for cash giving us the lousiana purchase, Russias disinterest in land they held in California where Gold would later be discovered, WWII wasting our competitions infrastructure etc…) If Britain hadn’t had so much coal would they have ever led the industrial revolution? Turkey was one of the most powerful areas in all of world history until the end of WWI. Now, not so much. It seems like response to crisis and a huge amount of luck play into it. Many of the least developed countries are newer countries. Most of Africa and the middle east became independent 50 – 60 years ago. It’s much harder to establish something new than to add a bit to the work of generations.

      My problem with the 20 most wealthy countries leading things is that it seems it all caters to what works for them and its not about what works for the rest of the world. Even if this isn’t oligopoly its one sided. We see that this works for us so we think everyone should do it without acknowledging they arent us.

    • Michael DeLaGarza 7:40 pm on March 11, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      That’s very interesting and I appreciate the background facts. I haven’t had a lot of history courses so this helps paint a better picture for me. That being said i think you are absolutely right in that it would be much harder to tear it down and rebuild than to try quick inexpensive fixes. However I don’t know if it’s so much a matter of laziness or lack of trying. Sure there are always people who would rather do nothing than something; I’ve been there plenty in my life. It seems to come down to greediness. No one ever wants to admit that they are being greedy so they try to justify actions via righteous intentions and get away with a positive image. That being said the people with the power to change America completely are typically the people with a lot of money. I come from a lower middle to middle class family and I can say that when I see people who live in bad conditions, it reminds me of why I work to bring home a pay check and why I’m taking courses to better myself. I don’t want to live that life. I want a better life. Not every country can offer that kind of opportunity. It takes a certain kind of stability to allow people to live a life mostly free of terrorism and the stress of always needing to find your next meal.

      Which brings me to my next thought.

      There is always going to be, as you demonstrated, a bit of luck, or as i like to think of it, chaos in the world. For that reason we need a well intentioned power to fall back on for protection. America offers that. I see it as an insurance policy against others who would wish us harm. In Economics we begin our studies with the idea that resources are scarce. We continue to progress in thinking based off of this idea, so we know that it won’t be free to have protection because it costs resources of all kinds. So when it comes down to how the countries of the world are run, good intentions aren’t worth so much.

      So I also agree with you on the point that everyone is different and we should have different expectations of other countries. However, I think that if a group of people has developed something, they should work hard to protect it. At the end of the day, our american system isn’t meant to work for everyone. I can’t remember if I have said this in a previous post, but if everyone had a phd, who would want to be the cashier behind the counter of a McDonald’s? Also, that would make PhD’s worthless because they would be a dime a dozen. If this is a system that doesn’t even cater to every american, how well could it possibly work when extrapolated the the entire world? It won’t work.

      That being said, I don’t know what would work, but I know that people aren’t ready to give up what they have to create a system that would better sustain everyone in the world, and that is why it is one sided. Unfortunately the romantic idea of creating a one world united isn’t something I can see happening in the near future. People just aren’t ready for it.

      • tatef 4:54 am on March 13, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree with you on most of what you said especially in a response to Stephen, “There are just as many rich people I wouldn’t trust as there are poor people.” I think that works for countries too and that it will eventually lead to the same discontent and hostility worldwide that we see in our current election. I like the idea of the US as an insurance policy and cant think of another country to fill that role. But its like the UN security council: We’ve been in power since WWII so why would we share it? Even a single voice for developing countries on these “international” (they are international yet the word suggests something broader than the same big players over and over) boards could make a huge difference in day to day life for a billion people.
        Im not expecting that the gwhatever relinquish all power, just share it by including one or two of the countries who could someday become major trade partners.

    • Michael Ruben 6:01 pm on March 16, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      While I agree that world leaders should be educated and successful, especially when making global decisions that will affect the lives of billions, I have to ask, is this too much power for twenty people? If I did my math right, that’s 1: 350,000,000. That’s a lot of people for each of the G20 members to be responsible for, if we were to break it out. My concern is accountability, and if I can make a stretch, I agree with Michael D. here. In his post above, he talked about growing up in a lower middle- income family and is seeking a better life through education; he is holding himself accountable to a certain standard, but will these G20 members do the same? In other words, modesty.
      I’ve met people from very poor backgrounds and those raised with silver spoons, and I have to say, I’d rather be led by a former… too many silver-spoon leaders don’t have the background to empathize with the working class. One such example was an “heir to the throne,” executive I met, who was about as far up in the clouds as one gets: he liked to remind his exhausted employees that they worked so that he could make $750K a year. So when it comes to the G20 and world leadership, I want to hope that there is some modesty in these individuals. That the decisions they make aren’t necessarily to fill their pockets, but rather to better humanity.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 11:47 pm on February 11, 2016 Permalink |  

    First, Second, and Third World Countries 

    After reading through the first reading assignment I couldn’t help but get stuck on the idea that war is extremely beneficial for the winners.

    • jim luke 1:09 am on February 12, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Well Its’ certainly better to be the winner than the loser. However, I’ve often thought about the idea that “war is good for a capitalist economy”. I haven’t done a rigorous historical study, but it appears to me that in the last 200 years (roughly the capitalism era) that war is only a net plus if 4 conditions apply: 1. war is fought physically in somebody else’s country, 2. you win, 3. it’s over in 2 yrs, 3 yrs max, and 4. there’s a depressed economy (slack demand & high unemployment) when the war starts. Anything else is a net loss and definite opportunity cost to the country – and even worse for the loser.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 4:55 am on February 8, 2016 Permalink |  

    Maddison reading 

    The Maddison reading pointed out that the U.S. is being caught up to or has slowed down in terms of growth. This is intriguing to me because throughout the reading the author seemed to mostly focus on the historical facts that merely suggest that the right combination of scientific break throughs and ways of thinking lead to our Capitalist and dominant society. It is true that it took break throughs to get to where we are, and contrary to the article that suggests our best days may be behind us, i believe that we can still pull ahead of the rest of the world yet again. What I gathered was that America was started and had tons of news resources, which in part contributed to our economic growth, but mostly it was our ability to stay ahead technologically. The countries that developed better technology are the countries that have done the best in the world. That being said we have plenty of resources and capital to continue on the path we were once on.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 4:00 am on February 8, 2016 Permalink |  

    First, Second, and Third World Countries 

    After reading through the first reading assignment I couldn’t help but get stuck on the idea that while war is terrible and every side loses something, there seemed to be long lasting effects of the countries that prevailed. Historically, first world countries, those aligned with the US, UK, France, and other non-communist victors (as described in the reading assignment) were in part defined as well by being part of the rich and free world. This seemed to carry forward through the ages and, if I’m not mistaken, the majority of them have prospered on while leaving the second world countries in the dust and those who decided not to participate at all in the third world countries category (where they were before and have stayed). It seems to suggest that while losing a war is bad for your economy, not participating at all is the worst thing you can do.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:16 am on January 23, 2016 Permalink |  


    Hey everyone, sorry i got a late start here, but I have been very busy. My name is Mike and I’ve been re-attending college for a little over one semester now. I drive an hour and 20 minutes to campus for a couple of my other courses, so I’m really glad they had spots open for this course. I play video games in my free time, but mostly I work and go to school. If you have any questions about me feel free to ask away.

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