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February 29, 2008

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Thorstein Veblen

Perhaps, but the papers of Lin's that I've read are clueless...

Dominic

From the article: "The World Bank's new chief economist says he will push for the poverty-fighting institution to adopt a more pragmatic, trial-and-error approach"

This is the conventional understanding of China's development success. It basically says, try lots of things in small ways. If something fails, at least you've protected the down-side. If something works, try expanding it. If it keeps working, expand it more.

Its quite a good approach to a problem characterised by a high degree of uncertainty (for instance, economic development).

Incidently, many economists at the Australian National University are pretty happy about Lin since he has been an Adjunct Professor here and since we have a very strong China focus -- not that these are rational reasons to support a posting to CE@WB, but who ever said people are rational? ;)

He's a very sensible and non-ideological person. If he makes the World Bank more like himself, it will be good for the world.

The Sustainable Development Blogger

I red in a different way the article. Lin says right things but when it start to take position on trade issues we see that is still a mainstream economist that continue to be submissive to the comparative advantage slavery. This is my comment of what Lin says:

"I totally disagree with the last paragraph. I will resume my opinion that is supported by a reality check, and not by a useless econometric model that is far from the reality, in the following points:
1) To have advanced sectors is the key of development. Due to lack of incitation, these kinds of companies will not be created by entrepreneurs. State could give some incentives. Remember that without state interventions Internet never existed.
2) On the comparative advantage, remember that what Brits told to the US at the end of the 19th century: “Don’t raise your tariffs to build an industry it’s not your comparative advantage. Continue to produce agricultural commodities”. I think we all can agree that the US were right to not follow this advice. In the history, never a poor country, usually highly dependent on agriculture, achieved development by following what we can call its comparative advantage.
3) Of course some developing countries firms were not viable but If you look at the situation of many countries (like, for example, Mongolia) the economic/development situation was better with an uncompetitive industry protected by tariffs that after Structural Adjustment Programs that kill the national industry by lowering tariffs.
4) What is more, the only developing countries’ companies that are now competitive growth with state protections. There is many examples form Tata Motors to Embraer.
The problem with import substitution policies, that they did not work, was that they remain actives for a too long period and corruption was very usual. Nevertheless, some studies show that for long time economists exaggerated the problems and underestimated the achievements of this kind of policies.
It is very disappointing to hear that the World Bank continue to think as in the 80s.
I will answer in a more detailed way in the next days on my blog".

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Lin says right things but when it start to take position on trade issues we see that is still a mainstream economist that continue to be submissive to the comparative advantage slavery.

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