China transition to a low-growth regime, South Asia uncertainties and Africa on the rise.
By Seher Mohsin
On the 6th of November the collaboration between The Random Walk Economics Society and the Department of Economics at LUMS brought Jean-Joseph Boillot to the university.
Jean-Joseph was received at the gate by the students of RWES and Dr. Husnain Fateh and was ushered up to the economics board room. There they were joined by Dr. Turab Hussain which started a short discussion where, Jean-Joseph claimed that all the theory he had learnt for a very long period of time had turned out to be useless (Dr. Fatehs face at the time of that comment was priceless- it was basically, “maybe you shouldn’t have told my students that one”). He felt that even though economists tried to explain everything away through economics, they really cannot, and a good understanding of history, sociology, anthropology, geography, etc, is needed to really understand how the world functions and this understanding is necessary if any form of development is to take place. Jean also felt as though the students had not been speaking much, so in order to make everyone a little less inhibited the RWES members and Jean-Joseph went on a tour of campus which meant everything from the new coffee room in the library to SDSB and the sports complex. It turned out that his first visit to Pakistan had been in 1988 and ever since then he had always stayed in Islamabad while visiting Pakistan- in fact, the main reason he was in Lahore was because his goddaughter was getting married. But instead of taking it easy and enjoying the city he had decided to come and talk at LUMS because he loved to share information and his hope for the future, even though he claimed that as an economist, one should neither be a pessimist nor an optimist.
He further talked about how development in China and India had been unpredictable- no one thought either would grow the way that they did- and how underdeveloped Africa was, in some ways beginning to improve. He termed India, “a strange beast” one that theoretically should not have improved given the rampant corruption and general chaos, but one that did take off. His personal opinion was that Latin American countries were not emerging economies despite being termed so, given that they had been termed emerging economies for a very long time and would probably stay that way. He spoke about the need to invest properly and the fact that large populations could help a great deal in many ways. He also talked about how the world was now more limited in terms of resources than it had been previously and how all countries needed to be more concerned about their impact on the environment. (For those of you in the politics of resources class, we can say that Dr. Boillot does not share Gregoris’s view on how resources are not, they become…is it very obvious that I just gave my midterm?)
The talk concluded with a few questions and some refreshments served in the economics board room. This really was an interesting talk and one that should not have been missed!