On a typical Friday morning in the middle of the semester, Abigail Borron’s students aren’t in class. They’re out working in food pantries across north Georgia, helping to give a face to food insecurity.By interviewing food bank clients, telling their stories and documenting the work of northeast Georgia’s largest anti-hunger nonprofit, the students are learning more than how to use a camera or connect with strangers. They’re expanding their worldview, developing empathy and building a greater understanding of how the food system works in the U.S.They’re volunteering, but I’m also teaching them observation techniques and this idea of ethnography in communication,” said Borron, who has taught agricultural communication in UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences since 2015. “The goal is that they realize that it’s not just about telling the story; it’s about recognizing how to engage — in this case, with food pantry clients — for the purposes of constructing a story that the food pantry clients would say, ‘Yes, that captures my experiences.'”Borron built the course, Culture-Centered Communication and Engagement, in the agricultural leadership, education and communication department, as a way to help her students deconstruct biases and assumptions around hunger and food insecurity to help them become better communicators, better advocates and better journalists after graduation.By the end of the semester, students produce a series of personal narratives that will be used for fundraising by network food pantries served by the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia.Agricultural communication has long been a major for students who want to advocate for agriculture, but Borron has adopted an expanded view of what that advocacy means. The story of agriculture is a great entry point for talking about everything from food access, to nutrition,to environmental sustainability, she said.Students in agricultural communication still learn about the science and economics of large-scale agriculture so that they can explain these issues to the nonfarming public, but there’s an increased emphasis on how these issues impact life off the farm, in topics like nutrition, food security and public health.”Students oftentimes come into agriculture (communication) from an agricultural background,” Borron said. “When they do, they often see themselves as being an advocate for all of agriculture. And that’s one of the things that I want to help them to understand: Not every aspect of agriculture is perfect. I want them to be an advocate for something, but they need to figure out what that’s going to be.”Borron’s research always has focused on the intersection of marginalized audiences and effective community engagement. Drawing from areas of research in sociology, anthropology and communication, Borron extends to her students the benefit of learning about applied practices from all of those disciplines.In addition to learning technical storytelling skills through exercises in news writing, photography, web design and video production, she also works to expand students’ understanding of how the public interacts with the food system.”From science communication, to agricultural communication, to environmental communication — there are lots of opportunities to tell those stories through an agricultural lens that we don’t really capitalize on, and that’s why I do this type of work,” she said. Borron received her Ph.D. and master’s degree in youth development and agricultural education from Purdue University and her bachelor’s degree in English from Indiana University-Purdue University.
He’s allowing the government to run large budget deficits — some of the largest ever outside wartime or recession — in the hopes that this will somehow put growth on a higher trajectory.Irresponsible as that might sound, it actually makes some sense.In the long run, economic growth is a function of two variables: population and productivity.For decades, America had plenty of both. Birth rates were ample, and any additional labor could be attracted from elsewhere.From 1947 to 2007, workers’ output per hour grew at an average annual rate of 2.3 percent.So for the most part, American presidents could focus on improving rather than reviving growth.But since the last recession, the picture has changed. In advanced economies, central banks have the tools they need to fight it.Slow productivity growth, by contrast, has become a real concern, especially as countries seek the resources to take care of aging populations and still invest in their futures.Republicans and Democrats may disagree on the best way to create deficits, whether it be tax cuts and military spending or investments in infrastructure and education. But the balance of risks leans toward trying this experiment.Be it the Trump administration or the next, someone was eventually going to take the gamble.Conor Sen is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is a portfolio manager for New River Investments in Atlanta and has been a contributor to the Atlantic and Business Insider.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Editorial, OpinionPresident Donald Trump is conducting a risky experiment on the U.S. economy. So the whole game becomes a big bet that deficits — created by the government’s tax cuts and spending plans — will boost productivity growth. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested as much last week when he said that the Trump administration’s policies could lead to wage growth without inflation, and that people shouldn’t worry about the forthcoming deficits.Ironically enough, this policy was espoused by the Bernie Sanders campaign (as my colleague Noah Smith has noted).The idea is that by running the economy hot and making labor more expensive, the government can induce businesses to do more investment than they would in a normal economy.Ever since the financial crisis, a weak economy has discouraged businesses from investing, leading to weaker productivity growth — so why not try the opposite? It’s a theory that hasn’t been tested in recent decades, but an intriguing one.What are the potential risks and rewards? Sticking with the status quo promises more of the same underperformance — annual real GDP growth of about 2 percent. The deficit experiment has two possible outcomes.In the best case, the U.S. gets some form of productivity miracle. In the other, rising inflation forces the Fed to raise interest rates to cool off the economy, triggering a recession.Most policymakers, economists, and investors aren’t worried about a period of inflation like what the world experienced in the 1970s. Labor-force growth is slowing as baby boomers retire. For a variety of reasons, some understood and some not, productivity has decelerated as well.The Obama administration largely accepted the new reality: In a 2016 report, it projected inflation-adjusted gross-domestic-product growth of just 2.2 percent for the next decade, and offered fairly traditional ideas such as immigration reform, more cross-border trade, infrastructure spending and education investments.Trump has taken a very different approach, aiming for annual growth of 3 percent over the next decade.This certainly won’t come from population, particularly given his administration’s attitude toward immigration.That leaves productivity, which some of his policies don’t do much to encourage, either.Tariffs on imports such as steel and aluminum will serve largely to make output more expensive.Tax cuts might prompt companies to make more productivity-enhancing investments, but the effect will likely be modest given uncertainty about how long the cuts will remain in place.
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