Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived
A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?
Update: seemingly not
Update: Oh yeah!
Friday, March 19, 2010
The rain falleth equally on rich and poor, but then there are these things called irrigation canals
Agronomics meets Economics, downtown, via Brad DeLong. Now there are all sorts of things that went on in Zimbabwean farming, and tragedy-of-the-commons issues played their part, I'm sure (although access to capital and credit in order to invest in irrigation and fertilizer almost certainly more so). I don't have much in the way of real opinions on the way forward for land policy in Zimbabwe - I wrote quite a bit on land policy during Project Africa and ended up concluding that it was a nightmare, and the best you could hope for was to try to achieve a distribution that didn't carry the seeds of a civil war.
But really, if someone's at the level of thinking that rainfall and soil quality were equal on neighbouring farms in Zimbabwe, then that's really quite naive about water politics. When you have a green farm next to a brown farm in a dry country, it's very unlikely that the difference simply reflects industry, investment and talent, and equally unlikely that the brown farm could be just as green if they only tried. In fact, it looks like this specifically isn't a tragedy of the commons - water rights were redistributed along with the land, clearly to the detriment of the commercial farms. Again, that probably wasn't the right thing to do, but this isn't a Just So Story about how private farmers "took care" of the land.
(note: the photos are as far as I can tell from 2005 and 2006, not 2000 and 2006. In other words, they don't necessarily span land reform. The green farm on the right also looks to me to be potentially the right colour to have been a sugar cane plantation, which are notorious water hogs.)
Update: Thanks very much to an anonymous commenter - there is something up with those google earth pictures, which has caused MR to take the pictures down. Careful out there now.
this item posted by the management 3/19/2010 09:19:00 AM