Category: Essentials of Economics: 8e Ch 14

Large areas of land in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are lying uncultivated due to export barriers and tariffs. Given the recent rapid rise in food prices, this fallow land (estimated to be around 23 million hectares) could help to reduce upward pressure on food prices.

Bread basket that is left to grow weeds Times Online (12/3/08)


1. Identify three different forms of protectionism.
2. Explain why the land identified in the article has remained uncultivated.
3. Discuss the arguments for and against these countries reducing tariffs on food.

At the turn of the century, the UN Development Programme identified a series of seven Millennium Development Goals ( The article linked to below from the Guardian, considers the progress that has been made towards these goals. Urgent progress is required if the goals are to be met by the target date of 2015.

Poverty, hunger and disease: so much done yet so much left to do Guardian (10/12/07)


1. What are the seven Millennium Development Goals.
2. Discuss the action that is required if the goals are to be met by the target date of 2015.
3. Analyse the extent to which an increase in overseas aid will help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Research has indicated that communications technology can be a significant driver of GDP growth. In Africa it is possible that mobile phones and networks can provide opportunities for economic development and members of the GSM Association are proposing to invest £25bn in sub-Saharan Africa in the next five years.


1. Explain how improved communication technology can help create a higher level of economic growth.
2. Assess the extent to which more extensive mobile networks will help to alleviate poverty.
3. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of foreign direct investment in mobile technology for sub-Saharan Africa.

Rapidly rising food prices have led to instability in many countries and have fuelled inflation in less developed economies where food spending is a greater proportion of overall consumer spending. A number of factors have contributed to this rapid rise in prices, but one important contributory factor is the move towards growing crops that can be used as bio-fuels in the developing world and this shift in production is having a knock-on effect in world food markets.

Big food companies accused of risking climate catastrophe Guardian (8/11/07)
An agricultural crime against humanity (6/11/07)
Global food crisis looms as climate change and fuel shortages bite Guardian (3/11/07)


1. Identify the main factors that have led to rising world food prices.
2. Assess the extent to which the move towards bio-fuels has contributed to the rise in world food prices.
3. Explain how the impact of rising food prices differs in the developed and developing world.
4. Discuss policies that governments could adopt to ameliorate the impact of rising food prices on the level of economic growth.

The article linked to below from the Guardian by Larry Elliott argues that there are significant global imbalances in the world economy and that the IMF has to an extent ignored these imbalances. He argues that the sub-prime mortgage crisis, exchange rate movements and the rapid rise in oil prices are creating significant problems for the world economy.


1. Explain the main global imbalances identified by Larry Elliott in the article.
2. Analyse the likely impact of these imbalances on the global level of economic growth.
3. Explain the statement in the article: “Like many other countries in the region, the lesson China learned from the Asian financial crisis of 1997 was that it needed to build up a war chest of foreign exchange reserves that could be deployed in the event of a speculative attack.”