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Problem Solving: Facilitating Int Development

YYW
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6/7/2013 11:42:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Your Assignment:

Let's suppose there is a nation with limited natural resources which is geographically isolated from legitimate major trading routes. It's ground is acrid and while there are a few minerals reserves (like uranium reserves, tin and helium) scattered throughout the landscape, there is not enough of them to justify cultivation. The soil is dry and there is limited average rainfall, but it is very windy year-round. The population is largely illiterate and public schools simply do not exist. There has been almost no infrastructure development since the monarchy of this government was overthrown in the 1970s, after which a series of military coups essentially erased any institutional memory of stabilized leadership for almost two generations.

The government is corrupt and has failed to provide even the most basic infrastructure -even though there are "elections" in which leaders emerge, government often fails to achieve even the most basic tasks. This problem is compounded by an ongoing struggle for power with certain fundamentalist religious groups who constantly vie for power with the established government. There is severe ethnic conflict. Poppy and marijuana has been your country's primary exports for almost 100 years. There is almost no foreign investment.

You are the newly elected president. Your country has no established rule of law, or governing body. Your military is weak and incompetent, and your people are very cautious about change because for the past two generations change has meant political instability and factional conflict that manifests in innocent people being killed. There is extreme religious intolerance, and the people are very conservative. Women have almost no rights and are almost never formally educated.

What do you do?
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,392
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6/7/2013 11:44:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
[btw. I gave something very similar to this to the freshman I taught two semesters ago... I wanted to know, however, what DDO would have to say]
Tsar of DDO
PrivateEye
Posts: 972
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6/7/2013 11:45:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/7/2013 11:42:58 PM, YYW wrote:
Your Assignment:

Let's suppose there is a nation with limited natural resources which is geographically isolated from legitimate major trading routes. It's ground is acrid and while there are a few minerals reserves (like uranium reserves, tin and helium) scattered throughout the landscape, there is not enough of them to justify cultivation. The soil is dry and there is limited average rainfall, but it is very windy year-round. The population is largely illiterate and public schools simply do not exist. There has been almost no infrastructure development since the monarchy of this government was overthrown in the 1970s, after which a series of military coups essentially erased any institutional memory of stabilized leadership for almost two generations.

The government is corrupt and has failed to provide even the most basic infrastructure -even though there are "elections" in which leaders emerge, government often fails to achieve even the most basic tasks. This problem is compounded by an ongoing struggle for power with certain fundamentalist religious groups who constantly vie for power with the established government. There is severe ethnic conflict. Poppy and marijuana has been your country's primary exports for almost 100 years. There is almost no foreign investment.

You are the newly elected president. Your country has no established rule of law, or governing body. Your military is weak and incompetent, and your people are very cautious about change because for the past two generations change has meant political instability and factional conflict that manifests in innocent people being killed. There is extreme religious intolerance, and the people are very conservative. Women have almost no rights and are almost never formally educated.

What do you do?

I feel as though this answer is far, far too obvious, but YOLOSWAGBLAZEIT420
YYW
Posts: 36,392
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6/7/2013 11:47:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/7/2013 11:45:43 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:42:58 PM, YYW wrote:
Your Assignment:

Let's suppose there is a nation with limited natural resources which is geographically isolated from legitimate major trading routes. It's ground is acrid and while there are a few minerals reserves (like uranium reserves, tin and helium) scattered throughout the landscape, there is not enough of them to justify cultivation. The soil is dry and there is limited average rainfall, but it is very windy year-round. The population is largely illiterate and public schools simply do not exist. There has been almost no infrastructure development since the monarchy of this government was overthrown in the 1970s, after which a series of military coups essentially erased any institutional memory of stabilized leadership for almost two generations.

The government is corrupt and has failed to provide even the most basic infrastructure -even though there are "elections" in which leaders emerge, government often fails to achieve even the most basic tasks. This problem is compounded by an ongoing struggle for power with certain fundamentalist religious groups who constantly vie for power with the established government. There is severe ethnic conflict. Poppy and marijuana has been your country's primary exports for almost 100 years. There is almost no foreign investment.

You are the newly elected president. Your country has no established rule of law, or governing body. Your military is weak and incompetent, and your people are very cautious about change because for the past two generations change has meant political instability and factional conflict that manifests in innocent people being killed. There is extreme religious intolerance, and the people are very conservative. Women have almost no rights and are almost never formally educated.

What do you do?

I feel as though this answer is far, far too obvious, but YOLOSWAGBLAZEIT420

If a student handed that in to me, I would fail them for the class and recommend that they drop out of university.
Tsar of DDO
Contra
Posts: 3,941
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6/7/2013 11:48:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Before I answer, I must ask -- are their any countries in a similar situation?

Also, are you like a professor or a teacher? And third, this is a fascinating topic, I must say.
"The solution [for Republicans] is to admit that Bush was a bad president, stop this racist homophobic stuff, stop trying to give most of the tax cuts to the rich, propose a real alternative to Obamacare that actually works, and propose smart free market solutions to our economic problems." - Distraff

"Americans are better off in a dynamic, free-enterprise-based economy that fosters economic growth, opportunity and upward mobility." - Paul Ryan
PrivateEye
Posts: 972
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6/7/2013 11:50:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
What's the name of that movie where they took the words "idiot" and "democracy" and made one word out of them for the title? I can't think of it
YYW
Posts: 36,392
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6/7/2013 11:53:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/7/2013 11:48:36 PM, Contra wrote:
Before I answer, I must ask -- are their any countries in a similar situation?

Similar situation? Yes. Afghanistan (minus the mineral reserves... I just threw that in there).
Tsar of DDO
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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6/7/2013 11:54:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Nationalize poppy/bud production.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
YYW
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6/7/2013 11:54:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/7/2013 11:54:02 PM, Noumena wrote:
Nationalize poppy/bud production.

Only to be sanctioned by first world nations for drug trafficking?
Tsar of DDO
PrivateEye
Posts: 972
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6/7/2013 11:56:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
You try to generate skilled works and develop your nation as India is. Bleak prospects.
YYW
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6/7/2013 11:59:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/7/2013 11:56:06 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
You try to generate skilled works and develop your nation as India is. Bleak prospects.

With no working infrastructure? Who will teach skills?
Tsar of DDO
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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6/8/2013 12:04:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/7/2013 11:54:51 PM, YYW wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:54:02 PM, Noumena wrote:
Nationalize poppy/bud production.

Only to be sanctioned by first world nations for drug trafficking?

Alrighty then.

Are we in Central America or the Middle East?
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
YYW
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6/8/2013 12:08:15 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 12:04:11 AM, Noumena wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:54:51 PM, YYW wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:54:02 PM, Noumena wrote:
Nationalize poppy/bud production.

Only to be sanctioned by first world nations for drug trafficking?

Alrighty then.

Are we in Central America or the Middle East?

You're landlocked, cut off from legitimate trade routes with little rainfall and acrid soil...

You're in the middle east.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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6/8/2013 12:09:03 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 12:08:15 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/8/2013 12:04:11 AM, Noumena wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:54:51 PM, YYW wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:54:02 PM, Noumena wrote:
Nationalize poppy/bud production.

Only to be sanctioned by first world nations for drug trafficking?

Alrighty then.

Are we in Central America or the Middle East?

You're landlocked, cut off from legitimate trade routes with little rainfall and acrid soil...

You're in the middle east.

I should have included the geographical info... sorry.
Tsar of DDO
Eitan_Zohar
Posts: 2,697
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6/8/2013 12:09:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Y'know, this could be a lot more constructive if you broke the situation down into solvable scenarios rather than thrusting us into playing warlord/imam/dictator/"president" in a generally sh*tty country and asking us what we would do. I don't even know how much control or influence I have in your little game.
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
PrivateEye
Posts: 972
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6/8/2013 12:10:09 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/7/2013 11:59:54 PM, YYW wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:56:06 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
You try to generate skilled works and develop your nation as India is. Bleak prospects.

With no working infrastructure? Who will teach skills?

The goal is productivity right off the bat whatever way you look at it. Who will teach people to teach skills and who will teach those people and so on you might ask, but it just has to come from somewhere. But foreign aid to answer your question. There's no real diplomacy here, just plain surviving.
YYW
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6/8/2013 12:12:38 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 12:09:06 AM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
Y'know, this could be a lot more constructive if you broke the situation down into solvable scenarios rather than thrusting us into playing warlord/imam/dictator/"president" in a generally sh*tty country and asking us what we would do. I don't even know how much control or influence I have in your little game.

No, it would have been a lot easier. This is supposed to be hard. Assume you have enough influence to do whatever you want to do...
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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6/8/2013 12:13:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 12:10:09 AM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:59:54 PM, YYW wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:56:06 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
You try to generate skilled works and develop your nation as India is. Bleak prospects.

With no working infrastructure? Who will teach skills?

The goal is productivity right off the bat whatever way you look at it. Who will teach people to teach skills and who will teach those people and so on you might ask, but it just has to come from somewhere. But foreign aid to answer your question. There's no real diplomacy here, just plain surviving.

So, what skills?
Tsar of DDO
PrivateEye
Posts: 972
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6/8/2013 12:17:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 12:13:20 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/8/2013 12:10:09 AM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:59:54 PM, YYW wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:56:06 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
You try to generate skilled works and develop your nation as India is. Bleak prospects.

With no working infrastructure? Who will teach skills?

The goal is productivity right off the bat whatever way you look at it. Who will teach people to teach skills and who will teach those people and so on you might ask, but it just has to come from somewhere. But foreign aid to answer your question. There's no real diplomacy here, just plain surviving.

So, what skills?

Well you'd start with your sweat shops and try to work your way up to computer engineering...
YYW
Posts: 36,392
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6/8/2013 12:18:57 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 12:17:00 AM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/8/2013 12:13:20 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/8/2013 12:10:09 AM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:59:54 PM, YYW wrote:
At 6/7/2013 11:56:06 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
You try to generate skilled works and develop your nation as India is. Bleak prospects.

With no working infrastructure? Who will teach skills?

The goal is productivity right off the bat whatever way you look at it. Who will teach people to teach skills and who will teach those people and so on you might ask, but it just has to come from somewhere. But foreign aid to answer your question. There's no real diplomacy here, just plain surviving.

So, what skills?

Well you'd start with your sweat shops and try to work your way up to computer engineering...

What kind of sweat shops? What do you produce? How do you get companies to locate their manufactories in your country? How do you keep those pesky human rights activists at the Hague off of your back?
Tsar of DDO
PrivateEye
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6/8/2013 12:19:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
And then maybe you could progress to casinos and legalized prostitution leading to a revolution in the Middle East and become a world superpower, but sweat shops would have to come first and it would be bad.
Eitan_Zohar
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6/8/2013 12:20:50 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 12:12:38 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/8/2013 12:09:06 AM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
Y'know, this could be a lot more constructive if you broke the situation down into solvable scenarios rather than thrusting us into playing warlord/imam/dictator/"president" in a generally sh*tty country and asking us what we would do. I don't even know how much control or influence I have in your little game.

No, it would have been a lot easier. This is supposed to be hard. Assume you have enough influence to do whatever you want to do...

OK, I'll just force everybody to stop enforcing religious law, respect each other no matter what ethnicity or tribe they belong to, create strict laws regarding tolerance for women and minorities, make everybody respect property rights, order corrupt politicians and businessmen to turn themselves in, force all corporations and businesses to abide by honorable trade practices and think of their communities, draft everybody into the army for a few years (as well as conquering a few more places to rule when it becomes developed enough), and create an anarcho-capitalist society devoid of corruption or wrongdoing while wielding absolute power with my private army.

You're going to have to clarify what you mean by "whatever I want." Am I in a place like Afghanistan? Then that doesn't make the slightest amount of sense. Hamid Karzai can't order everybody in his country to respect property rights, and neither can I.
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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6/8/2013 12:20:57 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Tax the poppy/marijuana production and invest it into education (such as cliche). Short-term, there is really nothing that you can do- assuming this country is situated in a world similar to ours. The lowest level countries have no say in international politics or trade whatsoever in the WTO and the UN, and they have nothing that they can trade with other countries. Therefore, the solution has to be long term capital development.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Eitan_Zohar
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6/8/2013 12:21:58 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Give. Me. Details. What is the ethnic and societal makeup of the country?
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
YYW
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6/8/2013 12:23:56 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 12:20:50 AM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 6/8/2013 12:12:38 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/8/2013 12:09:06 AM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
Y'know, this could be a lot more constructive if you broke the situation down into solvable scenarios rather than thrusting us into playing warlord/imam/dictator/"president" in a generally sh*tty country and asking us what we would do. I don't even know how much control or influence I have in your little game.

No, it would have been a lot easier. This is supposed to be hard. Assume you have enough influence to do whatever you want to do...

OK, I'll just force everybody to stop enforcing religious law, respect each other no matter what ethnicity or tribe they belong to, create strict laws regarding tolerance for women and minorities, make everybody respect property rights, order corrupt politicians and businessmen to turn themselves in, force all corporations and businesses to abide by honorable trade practices and think of their communities, draft everybody into the army for a few years (as well as conquering a few more places to rule when it becomes developed enough), and create an anarcho-capitalist society devoid of corruption or wrongdoing while wielding absolute power with my private army.

You're going to have to clarify what you mean by "whatever I want." Am I in a place like Afghanistan? Then that doesn't make the slightest amount of sense. Hamid Karzai can't order everybody in his country to respect property rights, and neither can I.

So, be reasonable then. Btw. uprooting religious law would probably result in your assassination.

Think about it this way:

What is the first thing you need to do? What is the most pressing problem? How might you solve that?

Prioritize, then come up with strategies to solve -and the religious problem is the pot boiling on the stove while the house is burning down, btw.
Tsar of DDO
Eitan_Zohar
Posts: 2,697
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6/8/2013 12:24:46 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Where is the nearest trade route? How could I make it more difficult to function (pirates, bombings, pollution, etc), and would that shift trade to my country? Is my country landlocked?
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
YYW
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6/8/2013 12:26:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 12:20:57 AM, Lordknukle wrote:
Tax the poppy/marijuana production and invest it into education (such as cliche).

How are you going to collect taxes? You're talking about taxing illicit crops, and you don't have an IRS or established tax system. Basically no infrastructure since the 1970's... remember that.

Short-term, there is really nothing that you can do- assuming this country is situated in a world similar to ours. The lowest level countries have no say in international politics or trade whatsoever in the WTO and the UN, and they have nothing that they can trade with other countries.

You're talking about international institutions.... you're on the right track. Think "world bank."

Therefore, the solution has to be long term capital development.

Obviously... but there are some things that need to happen before that.
Tsar of DDO
RoyLatham
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6/8/2013 12:28:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The top priority is to establish a constitution that guarantees individual rights, sets up a judiciary, sets up a system of property rights, and provides for a transition to democratic rule. That must then be implemented.

The hypothetical seems to me incomplete. It specifies a country that has no traditional social structure or significant traditions. It specifies a country with no resources whatsoever, which cannot be because the country is inhabited and surviving by some means. If there was truly nothing, everyone would have died the place would be uninhabited. In truth, there must be at least subsistence farming and fishing, very likely tribal and cultural traditions, and a native religion. The details of what might be done depend upon those important facts.

I don't like the idea of "smart people" directing the structure of society. The effort should be to set up a reasonable governing mechanism, and then let it work.

A relevant case is that of Native Americans living on reservations with tribal rule. The ground rule is that there are no property rights. That has guaranteed poverty.
YYW
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6/8/2013 12:29:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 12:24:46 AM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
Where is the nearest trade route? How could I make it more difficult to function (pirates, bombings, pollution, etc), and would that shift trade to my country? Is my country landlocked?

You're landlocked. Your neighbors are hostile, but that doesn't mean that they have to remain that way. There has been almost two generations of coups that have manifested in nearly constant civil war.

I might just do another thread about Afghanistan... but having an invented country is more fun right now.
Tsar of DDO