What I learned in global econ this semester

It’s final exam week, which means class are wrapping up for the Spring semester.  As a final extra credit assignment, I asked the students to write about the three things they learned in our Politics of the Global Economy class this semester.  Some of these things surprised me (since I don’t remember teaching them some of the things they mention!) but it’s fun to see what stands out to them, and the things they feel more aware about.

Here’s the first post by a student, summarizing a few things he got out of the class.

I have learned a lot of things in the Politics of the Global Economy class, but in this paper I would like to focus on talking about 3 main things, which include how much the U.S government spends on foreign aid, how globalization has changed the world and what The World Trade Organization (WTO) is.

  1. What percentage of the federal budget do you think goes to foreign aid?

Based on poll done by the University of Maryland, the participants’ average estimate to the federal funding for foreign aid was 21 %.  Also, the average response for how much would be “appropriate” was 10 percent.  According to another poll done by U.S Leadership Coalition, 61% of the participants thought the U.S government spends too much money on foreign aid.  However, their thoughts on the topic were completely wrong.  Actually, the foreign aid in federal spending has been decreasing since 1965, and the federal funding in 2010 made up only 1 % of the budget.  Comparing with other developed countries, do you think the amount is high or low?  As for the report on PBS Newshour blog, the U.S government’s amount in 2009 was the second highest among the main developed countries after Canada.  In conclusion, the actual amount of foreign aid in the federal funding tends to be seen as too much by incredibly many people, but in fact the amount is only 1 % of the federal budget.  Also, the amount is the second highest among the main developed countries.

In reality, only about 1% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid.
In reality, only about 1% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid.
  1. How has globalization changed the world?

The definition of globalization is “the process through which an increasingly free flow of ideas, people, goods, services, and capital leads to the integration of economies and societies”.  Also, globalization is said that it is inevitable tendency and makes the world homogenized at high level.  According to Hans Rosling’s lecture, about 200 years ago, there were no countries which were remarkably developed and had an average lifespan of over 40 years.  In other word, the world was uniformity at pretty low level in 1810.  However, as globalization spreads among the countries in the world, it has not only raised the standard of living all over the world, but also caused huge global inequality between the rich and the poor.  Actually, the gap between first world countries and third world countries has been widening for the last 200 years, and globalization widens not only the global inequality, but also the income gap among a nation.  For instance, according to NPR in 2013, the U.S president Obama is concerned about widening income gap in the U.S.  He mentioned globalization stripped away a lot of middle-income people’s jobs instead of giving a lot of money to the richest 1 percent.

  1. What is The World Trade Organization (WTO)?

According to council on foreign relations, the WTO has brought 159 member nations, responsible for 97 percent of world trade, under its fold over the past eighteen years, and helped reduce tariffs on goods and services and boost global economic output.  Concretely, the WTO oversees the rules of international trade, polices free trade agreements and settles trade disputes between governments and organizing trade negotiations.  Also, the WTO is headed by Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, and its daily operations are overseen by a General Council, elected at biennial conferences of member-state representatives.  Because the WTO promotes free trade, particularly nations that rely heavily upon trade are the most likely to benefit.




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