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EconDebates Online

EconDebates Online keeps you informed on today's most crucial economics policy debates. Each EconDebate, created by John Kane (SUNY-Oswego), provides a primer on the issues and links to background information and current, in-depth commentaries from experts around the world. Review the brief introductions and, for EconDebates of interest, select the full debate.

Developing and Transitional Economies



Do slave redemption programs reduce the problem of slavery?

Full Debate 

In the U.S. and other industrialized countries, slavery is generally viewed as a part of the distant past. Slavery, however, still exists in some parts of the world. In recent years, substantial attention has been focused on the existence of slavery in Sudan. As world attention focused on the problem of slavery in Sudan, several religious and human rights groups attempted to deal with this issue by buying the freedom of these slaves. Several concerns have been raised, however, about the unintended consequences associated with these slave redemption programs. A simple demand and supply model of the market for slaves can effectively illustrate these concerns.

Does dollarization benefit developing countries?

Full Debate 

Technological advances allow society to produce more output from the existing mix of resources. These advances may take the form of less costly methods of producing existing output or may result in the production of new (or substantially improved) commodities (such as DVD players, HDTV, anti-lock braking systems, and similar innovations). Society clearly gains from the production of either more output or more highly valued output. But, how do these technological advances affect employment?

Does foreign direct investment hinder or help economic development?

Full Debate 

One of the requirements for economic development in a low-income economy is an increase in the nation's stock of capital. A developing nation may increase the amount of capital in the domestic economy by encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI). (Foreign direct investment occurs when foreign firms either locate production plants in the domestic economy or acquire a substantial ownership position in a domestic firm.)

Is more spending on infrastructure the key to economic growth?

Full Debate 

U.S. Presidential elections are often won and lost on the basis of the state of the economy in the period leading up to the election. When people are asked to list the economic problems about which they are most concerned, unemployment and inflation generally top the list. Economic growth is rarely mentioned as one of the most pressing concerns. The importance of economic growth is often overlooked. While the effects of growth may be small in any one year, the cumulative effect of compound growth becomes rather dramatic over time.

What are the pros and cons of IMF involvement with global economies?

Full Debate 

A new international monetary system was adopted as a result of the Bretton Woods conference of 1944. Under this new monetary system, the value of the U.S. dollar was fixed in terms of gold and all other currencies were assigned exchange values in terms of either gold or the U.S. dollar. The U.S. agreed to maintain the value of the dollar at $35 per ounce of gold; other countries agreed to maintain the exchange value of their currencies within one percent of the target exchange rates. Under this system, countries could alter their exchange rates only with the consent of the other IMF members.

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