Professor Erik Reinert, Technology Governance and Development Strategies, Tallinn University of Technology
‘This tendency to Diminishing Returns was the cause of Abraham’s parting from Lot, and of most of the migrations of which history tells’ wrote the founder of neo-classical economics, Alfred Marshall, in the first edition of his textbook Principles of Economics(1890). In a footnote he refers to the Bible’s Genesis xiii : 6: ‘And the land was not able to bear them that they might dwell together; for their substance was great so they could not dwell together’. (Marshall 1890: 201).
Marshall’s observation also applies to today’s migration patterns: from countries where most activities are subject to constant or diminishing returns to countries whose key economic activities are subject to increasing returns to scale. Diminishing returns occur when one factor of production is limited by nature, which means that it occurs in agriculture, mining, and fisheries. Normally the best land, the best ore, and the richest fishing grounds are exploited first, and – after a point – the more a country specialises in these activities, the poorer it gets. OECD (2018) shows how this occurs in Chilean copper mining: every ton of copper is produced with a higher cost than the previous ton.
Rose Jaji (PhD), University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Researchers, whether their research sites fit into the classical home-field dichotomy or conflate home and the field, plan the field trip with the supposition that they will find research participants. What researchers may not have discussed on the numerous academic platforms available to them is the possibility of encountering a research-fatigued or research-weary community. Potential research participants may also have expectations of the research. But do researchers consider research from the perspective of research participants and what it means to tell one’s story and not see the relevance of the research to one’s life? Relevance of the research to research participants plays an important role in facilitating access (Coleman 1996). Some research participants may have participated in previous researches and may want to know why they should keep telling their stories. I address my experiences as I carried out research with farmers in an irrigation scheme in Zimbabwe and urban refugees in Kenya.
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