‘Community Schools’ Dismantled: Black school leaders and desegregation

When I was growing up, my maternal grandfather told many stories about his adolescence. Today, I know there will rarely be a morning when we find ourselves alone and mostly unoccupied that I will not hear about drag races, friends who have passed, and black school teachers. Though he grew up in a period of segregation, and has professed never really dealing with white people prior to desegregation attempts, his reminiscence of youth is a fond one where his aunts became school teachers, and his school teachers became impromptu real estate agents selling he and my grandmother the land on which they live today. The stories of his past that remain most vivid to me over the years are the ones involving the school teachers who encouraged him to “join the police force or go to college.” He never did either, but went on to be a white collar worker all the same. His teachers were his relatives, and community members, and they were effective leaders to which he proclaims owing a great deal of admiration and respect. Through his narratives it is clear a number of them cared for him. The reason these particular narratives are so vivid in my memory is because of the contrasting dark consideration given by academics to segregated schools in the South. His stories contrast starkly with the dilapidated turmoil we have come to associate with segregated communities, and the dysfunction we see in urban, segregated communities today. Continue reading

‘Race Talk’ in Christian Community Development

SEDAAG 2014

 

 

 

‘Race Talk’ in Christian Community Development

 

 

 

The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) is an organization that aims to restore under-resourced urban neighborhoods with an approach that is at once spiritual, emotional, physical, economic, and social. A key part of the CCDA’s strategy involves relatively privileged people moving into such neighborhoods so that residents can benefit from their resources of money, time, and social capital. With privilege, of course, comes whiteness – even though CCDA is reasonably diverse, many white evangelicals are participants. John Perkins, the evangelical African American founder of CCDA, fully intended for whites to be a part of these community-level programs and ‘intentional neighboring’ practices. In fact, racial reconciliation is one of CCDA’s original organizing principles, along with redistribution (of resources) and relocation (to struggling neighborhoods). This paper aims to contextualize this movement of white evangelicals that is actively trying to overcome racial separation and foster ‘just’ urban spaces within the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). To achieve this research objective, the paper first queries the historical and present relationship between white evangelicals and race issues in the United States. Secondly, the paper analyzes how key CCDA texts connect race to the practice of Christian community development.

 

‘Evangelical’ is a broad term that has no simple definition. However, the primary scholars of American evangelicalism who have informed this paper – Mark Noll, Christian Smith, Michael Emerson, and Peter Heltzel – have created rich descriptions of evangelical identity that are complementary. Noll notes that the term “refers to the heirs of . . . [eighteenth century] Anglo-American religious revivals, but it also designates a consistent pattern of convictions and attitudes” (Noll 2001, 13). Noll and Heltzel mention historian David Bebbington’s four criteria of evangelicalism, which include “conversionism . . . biblicism . . . activism . . . and crucicentrism” (Noll 2001, 13). Heltzel adds a fifth factor, “transdenominational populism,” arguing that “Considering evangelicalism in terms of transdenominational populism provides a way to expand analyses of evangelical churches and denominations and apply them to broader evangelical social movements that seek to effect political change” (Heltzel 2009, 7-8). Smith and Emerson employ a similar definition, but do not cite Bebbington. For the purposes of this paper, I define evangelicalism in the Bebbingtonian manner, and I also acknowledge Heltzel’s fifth criterion. In addition, I incorporate Smith and Emerson’s definitional inclusion of people who self-identify as evangelical. Even these definitions cannot properly account for the complexity within the evangelical subculture, such as the divergent political perspectives of white and Black evangelicals, or the historical events that separate Northern from Southern evangelicals in the United States. Some of these differences are discussed in considerable depth in the work of Heltzel (2009) as well as Smith and Emerson (2000), which I further review below.

 

This paper makes two key contributions based on its analysis of CCDA texts. First, I demonstrate that the two CCDA authors on whom I focus, John Perkins and Robert Lupton, engage the topic of race in markedly different ways. While Perkins thoroughly weaves race into his philosophy of Christian community development, Lupton’s texts on the subject are notable for their near absence of explicitly racialized language. In addition, Perkins is far more critical of economic structures and their limitations on low-income Black communities than is Lupton, who focuses on the practices of welfare and charitable giving as harmful to the same communities. What the two CCDA leaders have in common is their attention to what they consider unjust social practices, as well as the impact of these on the dignity of communities who bear the burden of poverty. Secondly, this paper’s analysis contributes nuance to discussions of evangelicalism and race, and particularly the work of Heltzel (2009), which I review in the paper’s conceptual section. I argue that Lupton’s perspective on race complicates Heltzel’s conceptualization of two separate streams of theology that have influenced present-day evangelical groups.

 

This paper’s conclusions are twofold. First, upon this initial analysis of two influential streams of CCDA literature, I conclude that Perkins and Lupton discuss the topic of race in markedly different ways. John Perkins’ writings offer a remarkably complex perspective on race in the context of his life experiences and Christian community development work. His work contains a substantial emphasis on social structure and history – on the structural injustices faced by people of color living in racially isolated inner city neighborhoods, and on the Civil Rights history that propelled the Christian community development movement into existence. At the same time, his work strongly emphasizes personal relationships (including one’s personal relationship with God) as a crucial part of practicing racial reconciliation. In contrast to Perkins’ fertile discussions of race, Lupton hardly ever talks about race explicitly, and does not directly address the principle of reconciliation. His books nonetheless have some themes in common with Perkins’ work. For Lupton, the primary injustices faced by inner-city communities (who are perhaps assumed to be of color, even though race is rarely mentioned) are systems that situate such communities as perpetual recipients of goods and services, always positioned diametrically opposite privileged, well-meaning ‘givers’. Lupton condemns traditional models of Christian charity and state social welfare funding alike, as he insists that economic empowerment will only come about through relationships of mutuality. Although he frames injustice very differently, Lupton also emphasizes its effects on the personal and relational dignity of poor people in the city. While Perkins and Lupton talk about race and injustice differently, they each focus on both systemic and personal aspects of racialized poverty.

 

Secondly, this analysis contributes to the intersections between evangelicalism and race that Heltzel (2009) discusses in particular. This paper’s reading of Perkins certainly reflects Smith and Emerson’s argument that Black evangelicals and racial reconciliation leaders like Perkins (who is discussed in the book) have at once systemic, personal, and relational perspectives on race in the United States. In addition, Lupton’s perspective still differs substantially from Smith and Emerson’s portrayal of white evangelicals in Divided by Faith. Smith and Emerson’s findings are still meaningful, though, since the writings of one person cannot discredit work based on data from hundreds of evangelicals. The analysis of Lupton nonetheless adds some nuance to Smith and Emerson’s portrayal of white evangelicalism.

 

This paper’s analysis most compellingly contributes to Heltzel’s work. As I discuss above, Heltzel is by no means purely optimistic about the future of evangelicalism and race relations. His critique focuses primarily on what he considers Carl Henry-influenced organizations such as Focus on the Family and the National Association of Evangelicals, though, and not on those inspired by the Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘stream’ of theology. He positions the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and Sojourners as hopeful beacons on evangelical racial landscapes. One of his central points is that these organizations fully acknowledge that racial inequality is a systemic and not only an individual issue. This paper’s analysis of Lupton somewhat complicates Heltzel’s claim. Lupton’s approach to Christian community development – more specifically, his critique of welfare – is actually quite compatible with (though also divergent from in critical ways) the colorblind, individualistic approach to race favored by Heltzel’s Henry-informed groups and by Smith and Emerson’s white evangelicals. Lupton’s standpoint demonstrates that cross-pollination exists between the two streams of theology that Heltzel argues have influenced evangelicals. The much smaller segment of evangelicals influenced by the King stream are perhaps not as separate from the Henry stream as Heltzel implies. Lupton’s account shows that as a leader within CCDA, he still carries the imprint of ways of thinking that predominate in the more clearly conservative Henry-influenced evangelical groups. His writing, which is neither strictly individualistic towards racial issues nor progressively critical of exploitative economic structures, demonstrates that largely evangelical movements like CCDA contain more diversity than Heltzel allows for in his analysis.

 

What do these analyses say about CCDA, and its increasing (though still quite marginal) popularity among white evangelicals, more generally? Both Perkins’ legacy and Lupton’s contributions encourage and legitimate the movement of white evangelicals into racially segregated urban areas. Instead of trying to re-create the kind of all-white inner city spaces that once existed in cities like Atlanta, though, these evangelicals come with altruistic visions of fostering interracial, cross-class neighborhood communities. This paper’s analysis of Lupton’s work suggests that these in-migrants may bring with them complex racial attitudes that fit neatly into neither Heltzel’s King stream nor his Henry stream of theology. At the same time, CCDA participants occupy an unusual space of theological practice, as CCDA remains quite marginal to mainstream evangelical culture and political thought. What historical and social processes motivate present-day evangelicals to join a peripheral yet burgeoning movement like CCDA? How do these participants engage in grounded CCDA practice? What kind of work do they do with marginalized communities, and how do they imagine this work as enacting justice? In grounded practice, are CCDA participants able to foster equitable relationships between themselves and community members, or are the privilege gaps between them simply too wide? These further questions, rather than clear answers, remain for future research.

 

 

 

(Re)evaluating the Economic and Social Impacts of HB-56 at the County Level: Unintended Consequences of Strict Immigration Laws

Introduction

Alabama HB 56, the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, was signed into law in June 2011. It was considered the strictest illegal immigration law in the United States, more aggressive than Arizona’s SB 1070. HB 56 was challenged in court by the Obama administration, civil rights organizations, and some religious groups. Much of the public debate surrounding the legislation was based on its economic effects.

 

A large portion of economic research on immigration policy addresses the issue of competition between native workers and immigrants, and how this competition manifests itself in wages and employment. The research on the impacts of immigration on non-immigrant wages is divergent. Some studies found little or no relationship between immigration and native wages (e.g., Card 1997). In other cases, a small negative effect was observed (Orrenius and Zavodny 2003). Another study found a slightly positive effect on natives’ self-employment earnings (Fairlie and Meyer 2003). Meanwhile, some recent research found that the effects on low-skilled native wages are negative and larger (e.g., Borjas 2003).

 

On the other hand, literature generally agrees that immigration has displaced some low-skilled non-immigrant workers (Ong and Valenzuela 1996; Card 1997). Cities with relatively high immigrant influx, such as Los Angeles and Miami, had a larger change in low-skilled native employment. Some criticisms point out that these studies focused on geographic areas where one would expect to find larger impacts and may not present an accurate picture of the nation as a whole (Smith and Edmonston 1997).

 

Research specifically addressing the undocumented population is less abundant, likely due to the difficulty in obtaining exact data on unauthorized immigrants. Some studies, however, have examined the size, characteristics, and distribution of the undocumented population.

 

Although undocumented immigrants do not constitute a substantial portion of the workforce overall, they hold a relatively higher proportion of low-wage and lower-skilled jobs. Capps and Fortuny (2007) estimated that undocumented workers comprise 5 percent of the total workforce, 9 percent of low-wage workers, and 23 percent of the lower-skilled workforce. (Low-wage workers are defined, in this case, as those earning less than twice the minimum wage, while lower-skilled workers hold less than a high school education.)

 

In addition, research agrees that foreign-born workers are more highly concentrated in certain job sectors. Capps and Fortuny (2007) noted that foreign-born workers were most concentrated in farming, fishing, and forestry (in which 47 percent of all workers were foreign-born), construction (27 percent), building and grounds maintenance (36 percent), manufacturing (23 percent), and food preparation and serving (24 percent). In all of these but food service, the percentage of foreign-born workers was higher among low wage earners than among workers in the industry as a whole. As of 2005, about 30 percent of immigrants were estimated to be unauthorized (Passel 2005).

 

More recently, Passel and Cohn (2011) estimated the undocumented population by state, region, country of birth, and arrival period. According to this study, 8 million unauthorized immigrants were in the labor force in 2010, compared with 8.4 million in 2007 and 5.5 million in 2000. For 2010, 5.2 percent of the labor force consisted of undocumented immigrants. This study primarily used data from the March Supplements to the Current Population Survey conducted by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Concerns about the supposed negative effects of illegal immigration have led some states to pass laws intended to discourage undocumented workers from settling. Perhaps the most widely discussed of these bills are Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56. Although intended to improve economic conditions, the legislation itself has costs, and the overall impact has not yet been widely studied. However, the research that has been done suggests that the costs will be significant and the benefits will be less dramatic than the bills’ authors had hoped.

 

Hotchkiss and Quispe-Agnoli (2012) sought to predict what documented workers might expect if legislation drove undocumented immigrants to leave the state. From their analysis, the authors concluded that there is no evidence that currently employed documented workers are displaced when businesses hire unauthorized workers. Undocumented workers are paid less, but the study attributed this to differences in productivity more than sensitivity to wages. Overall, this suggested, “less substitutability between documented and undocumented workers than apparently presumed.” As a result, the authors inferred, documented workers likely cannot expect to see an increase in employment opportunities or wages as a result of removing undocumented immigrants from the workforce.

 

In 2011, Addy wrote a preliminary macroeconomic assessment of HB 56. Not intended as a comprehensive study of the law’s economic impact, this paper’s main point was that HB 56 would reduce aggregate demand in the Alabama economy by driving some undocumented immigrants to leave the state. It relied on economic theory more than quantitative data. Because economies are demand-driven, Addy argued that any measure that reduces demand would not contribute to economic development. Because of this, the paper concluded that HB 56 would be costly to the Alabama economy.

 

In 2012, Addy published a cost-benefit analysis of HB 56, which attempted to quantify the costs of the legislation. The most useful information presented is the estimate of the cost due to reduced aggregate demand; where the 2011 assessment presented the argument, the 2012 analysis gave exact numbers. Using Passel and Cohn’s estimates for the number of undocumented workers in Alabama, Addy assumed that 40,000 to 80,000 workers left the state. He further assumed that the vacated jobs were primarily in agriculture, construction, accommodation, and food service sectors, and that the undocumented workers earned between $15,000 and $35,000 annually. (This is in accordance with previous data on which industries employ the most unauthorized workers.) The study concluded that reduced aggregate demand will cost the state $1.2–5.8 billion in earnings, $2.3–10.8 billion in GDP, $56.7–264.5 million in state income and sales tax, and $20.0–93.1 million in local sales tax collections.

 

Costs such as implementation and enforcement, litigation expenditures, and inconveniences for businesses and legal residents were discussed but not quantified. Likewise, potential benefits including savings on public services and healthcare, increased safety, and increased employment opportunities for legal workers were not quantified. However, Addy suggested that these benefits may not be realized and that they will be outweighed by the cost of reduced aggregate demand alone.

 

Although much of Alabama’s HB 56 and Arizona’s SB 1070 were ultimately blocked in court, key provisions of the laws still stand, and some of the elements that were negated could still be proposed on a national level. It is still relevant to investigate the impact of laws intended to encourage immigrants to “self-deport.”

 

To date there has been no research published on the impacts of a self-deportation policy at the county scale. This study seeks to employ localized approached to estimate the long term, county-level, social and economic impacts of such a law.

 

Methodology

 

The Pew Research Center estimated that there were approximately 120,000 undocumented residents in Alabama in 2010, adjusted by 10–15 percent for undercount. Meanwhile the American Community Survey estimated approximately 166,000 total foreign-born residents (2008-2012 ACS 5-Year Estimates). Thus, the number of unauthorized residents could be said to equal 75 percent of the estimated foreign-born population, with the understanding that the latter does not include all unauthorized residents.

 

Using the estimated foreign-born population for each county, we arrive at a working estimate for the number of unauthorized population. Based on established data on the job sectors in which unauthorized workers are concentrated (Capps and Fortuny 2007), we estimate the number of workers in Agriculture, Construction, and Food Services/Accomations, taking into account the relative prevalence of these sectors in each county. We then use average salary statistics for each industry to estimate the total payroll of the unauthorized workers who vacate their jobs. Clearly, this is money that is no longer being spent in the state economy, and is therefore counted as an economic loss (Addy 2011).

 

Because unauthorized immigrants clearly pay sales tax, the lost local tax revenue must also be considered. At this point, we refer to Addy’s methodology (2012). Spending on sales taxable items is assumed to constitute 42.4 percent of the total payroll, and local tax rate is assumed to be 5 percent. Thus, 5 percent of the taxable spending is considered to be the amount of tax money the workers contributed. This provides an estimate for tax revenue lost as a result of unauthorized workers leaving the state.

 

This information allows us to depict the county-level economic effects of HB 56 or similar legislation, in terms of both reduced aggregate demand and reduced sales tax revenue. By combining these results with factors such as the location quotients of each target sector, we can predict which counties would experience the most significant absolute effects. Generally speaking, we find these to be counties with higher populations due to the strong construction, accommodation and food service. Some agricultural counties are also high due to a dependence on an industry that employs many unauthorized immigrants using manual labor rather than machinery.

 

A 4000-year, high-resolution, Holocene climate record from a speleothem in northwest Namibia

    1. Introduction

 

 

A review of 49 proxy records for Southern Africa by Burrough and Thomas (2013) identifies a trend towards drier conditions in western Southern Africa during the Holocene but a tend towards wetter conditions in central/eastern Southern Africa. The boundary between the two regions passes through Namibia. Today, northern Namibia receives rainfall primarily from the Indian Ocean brought by the southeast trade winds, and there is a strong east-west rainfall gradient. The western part of northern Namibia is also affected by the Benguela cold current and occasionally receives moisture from the Atlantic Ocean. In the past, the relative influence of the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean on rainfall in Namibia could have been different, and paleoclimate records from the region are important to resolve this issue.

 

 

 

There are relatively few high-resolution paleoclimate records for northern Namibia. Chase et al. (2009, 2010) used δ15N of hyrax middens as an indicator of past hydrologic changes, and produced continuous records for the Spitzkoppe and Austerlitz regions of western Namibia, both suggesting progressive aridification over the past 5000 years. Multiproxy data from Stalagmite DP1, from Dante Cave in northeastern Namibia, suggested considerable variations in hydroclimate over the past 4600 years, with a pronounced “2-3 ka dry period” (Sletten et al. 2003). In this paper, we present a high-resolution stalagmite record from WowGdoom Cave in northwest Namibia covering the last 4000 years. The record is compared with the DP1 and hyrax midden records to identify differences between the records that might be indicative of the relative importance of the moisture sources over the past 4000 years.

 

 

 

    1. Methods

 

 

Stalagmite WG1 was collected in 2005 from the lowest chamber of WowGdoom Cave. It is 45 cm long and with a typical column shape. In the laboratory it was cut in half and one cut surface was polished and scanned using a flatbed scanner. The growth axis was established by drawing lines perpendicular to the centers of each visible layer.

 

 

 

Seven 2 x 3 inch thin sections were prepared to examine carbonate petrography, including crystal structure and layer-bounding surfaces (Railsback et al., 2013). Mineralogy was identified primarily by thin section observation based on the different petrographic characteristics of aragonite and calcite, but 10 samples were drilled from the thin section slabs for X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis, to confirm thin sections identifications.

 

 

 

Twenty samples were drilled for U-Th ICP-MS dating at the University of Minnesota.  In addition, 591 samples of 50-100 micrograms were drilled along the growth axis of the stalagmite at 0.2 to 3 mm intervals for stable isotope analysis. Sampling interval was determined by variations in layer thickness. Samples were analyzed at the University of Alabama Stable Isotope Laboratory. Stable isotope values for aragonite were made comparable to those from calcite by subtracting 1.68‰ from δ13C values and 0.8‰ for δ18O values to remove the mineralogical bias on the stable isotope record.

 

 

 

    1. Results

 

 

Petrographic features

 

Thin section observation and XRD results show that Stalagmite WG1 is dominated by calcite with thin layers of aragonite present at several locations. Five crystal structures were visible in areas of calcite: 1) dense, clear, elongated large crystals; 2) dense, clear, irregular crystals; 3) porous, clear crystals; 4) dense, narrow small crystals; 5) dense, cloudy structure without noticeable crystals.

 

 

 

Many of the layers in WG1 have smooth surfaces, representing continuous deposition. However, Type E surfaces were observed at several locations by the presence of erosional features such as valleys and remnants of layers. Type L surfaces are quite common, particularly in the central part of the stalagmite, most of them associated with dark, detrital layers. Type L surfaces are sometimes present directly above Type E surfaces, but in other areas are clustered together, such as around 200 mm depth.

 

 

 

Chronology and growth rate

 

Nineteen of the 20 samples that were dated were in correct stratigraphic order and were used to generate a chronology for the stalagmite; one sample appears much too old for its position and was not used. The age-distance relationship for the stalagmite suggests that growth was continuous over the last 4000 years, with growth rates varying from 0.05 to 0.28 mm/yr. Ages for isotope samples were estimated by assuming a constant growth rate between dated samples.

 

 

 

Stable isotopes

 

After correcting aragonite samples to a calcite standard, δ13C values for the 591 samples ranged from -9.8 to -3.0‰ and δ18O values from -10.5 to -4.0‰.  Estimated age intervals between the stable isotope samples ranged from 1 to 21 years, and averaged 7 years.

 

 

 

    1. Discussion

 

 

The δ13C and δ18O records from Stalagmite WG1 show generally similar trends over the last 4000 years, and similar short-term variations over the last 1000 years. Growth rates also show good correlation with the stable isotope records, with faster growth rates generally corresponding with lower isotope values. Variations in δ18O and δ13C values, and in growth rates, correlate well over the 4000 years: with only minor changes in the period 4 to 2.8 ka, frequent minor fluctuations from 2.8 to 1.5 ka, and less frequent but higher-magnitude changes in the last 1500 years. In addition, significant isotopic and growth rate changes are often identifiable in the stalagmite petrographic record. For example, stable isotope values are very low and growth rates are high from 580-745 BP and 2000-2150 BP. At these times calcite crystals are exceptionally large and clear. Factors controlling the carbon and oxygen isotope compositions of stalagmite carbonate have been discussed in detail by McDermott (2004), Fairchild et al. (2006), and Lachniet (2009). In general, δ13C of stalagmite reflects types and amount of vegetation on the ground, and δ18O reflects rainfall amount and evaporation of soil water. Higher δ18O and δ13C values are usually interpreted as indicating drier conditions.

 

 

 

The stable isotope, growth rate, and petrographic data from WG1 are together an excellent continuous, high-resolution proxy record of rainfall variations in northern Namibia over the past 4000 years: The period of 4000-2800 BP was wet and relatively stable. From 2800 to 1500 BP, climate fluctuated between wet and dry conditions at century scale, with wetter conditions at ca. 2700 BP, 2100 BP, and 1500 BP. Between 1500 and 900 BP the climate became significantly drier, and much wetter after ca. 400 BP. During the last 1000 years, there were two dry/wet cycles, the first dry period began ca. 1000 BP and ended abruptly at 750 BP. It was followed immediately by a brief but significant wet period that ended abruptly at 570 BP. The second dry period from 570-370 BP was the driest of the entire record, and was followed by a time of increasingly wet conditions. The climate appears to have been relatively dry at 1000-750 BP (AD 950-1200) coeval with the Medieval Climate Anomaly. However, the climate during the Little Ice Age (AD 1550-1850) was not particularly wet or dry but there is a slight trend over time to wetter conditions. The most-recent wet interval, at 90-180 BP (AD1770-1860, the end of the LIA), was not significantly wetter than previous wet periods.

 

 

 

The climate record for the last 1200 years from Stalagmite WG1 agrees well with the Dante Cave DP1 record, and the Spitzkoppe hyrax record:  all show drier conditions at 1000 BP and 500 BP, wetter conditions at 700 BP, and wetter conditions, or a trend towards wetter conditions, after 400 BP. However, in the period 1200-4000 BP the WG1 record differs from the Dante DP1 and Spitzkoppe hyrax records. There is no distinct “2-3 ka dry period” as in the DP1 record, or a period of increasing dryness from 4-1.8 ka as in the Austerlitz hyrax record. Instead, there are notable wet intervals at 2.7 and 2.1 ka. In fact, the ca. 2.1 ka wet interval is evidenced by the lowest δ18O values of the entire record. The DP1 and WG1 records also differ in that the former records a wetter climate after 1.8 ka, while the latter provides evidence of a trend towards drier conditions after 1.5 ka.

 

 

 

It is possible that this difference is due to a change in the primary moisture source bringing rainfall to northwest Namibia. Between 4 and 1.8 ka, northern Namibia received less moisture from the Indian Ocean, possibly due to weaker Southeast Trade Winds. At the same time, there was a stronger influence from the Atlantic Ocean in northwestern Namibia where WowGdoom Cave is located. After 1.8 ka, the Southeast Trades became stronger so that Indian Ocean moisture reached northwestern Namibia, with less moisture from the Atlantic Ocean reaching the areas. After 1.2 ka, the Indian Ocean may have been the primary source of moisture for all of northern Namibia as climate trends are similar in the records. Alkenone-derived SSTs for Core GeoB 1023-5 in the Southeast Atlantic near the Angola-Namibia border show that the average SST from 4-1.8 ka was 0.7 ⁰C warmer than during the last 1200 years, also suggesting the greater influence of Atlantic Ocean moisture from 4-1.8 ka.

 

A Climatology of Southern Appalachian Cold Air Damming

A Climatology of Southern Appalachian Cold Air Damming

Introduction

Topography is known to impact synoptic and mesoscale weather patterns throughout the world. One such effect, cold air damming (CAD), occurs when a shallow, surface-based layer of relatively cold air becomes entrenched against the windward side of a mountain range (Richwien 1980). The shallow dome of cold and stable air that becomes established during a CAD event is often identified by the characteristic “U”- or “wedge”- shaped inverted ridge that appears in the sea level pressure field and is typically only present below the 850 hPa pressure level (Baker 1970, Bell and Bosart 1988).

 

Though forecast accuracy and knowledge of CAD events have improved substantially over the past four decades, uncertainty remains. Bell and Bosart (1988) conducted a relatively long climatology of CAD events using a non-objective classification scheme, and Bailey et al. (2003) conducted a shorter 12-year climatology using objective and expanded classifications. However, a long-term climatology using the objective scheme has not been performed. Furthermore, while surface conditions (e.g., cloud cover, temperature, and sea level pressure) have been observed to be relatively homogeneous within the cold dome, previous literature largely ignores the varying degree of effects that CAD can have on conditions along its southernmost extent, namely the central Georgia and sometimes eastern Alabama region.  While cold domes have been observed to penetrate as far to the southwest as Birmingham, Alabama, weaker cold air domes may only extend into the northeast Georgia region. The extent to which the damming protrudes to the southwest can have significant impacts on sensible weather (and forecasts) in this southern region.

 

Data and Methodology

An updated objective climatology of CAD events throughout the CAD spectrum for a 30-year period was constructed using Bailey et al. (2003)’s objective CAD-identification algorithm. This algorithm relies on the Laplacians  of sea level pressure and potential temperature in the mountain-normal direction. Following Bailey et al. (2003), Laplacians were evaluated using Python scripting for three mountain-normal lines of surface observations and a single mountain parallel line that represents northeasterly flow. Each line contains surface observations from three stations within the damming region, with the center station representing the core of the damming region, and the stations on either side approximately perpendicular to the Appalachian Mountains. Line A consists of the following stations: Charleston, WV; Lynchburg, VA; and Norfolk, VA. Line B includes: Bristol, TN; Greensboro, NC; and Wilmington, NC. Knoxville, TN; Greenville-Spartanburg, SC; and Charleston, SC make up line C. Laplacians are calculated along these lines using

∇^2 x=((x_3-x_2)/d_(2-3)   – (x_2-x_1)/d_(1-2) )/(1/2 (d_(2-3)  + d_(1-2) ) )                        (1)

 

where x is either the sea level pressure (SLP) or the potential temperature (θ) and subscripts are stations from west to east along the mountain-normal line. In (1), d represents the distance between stations. Negative values of  are associated with a higher pressure at the center station, while positive values of  are associated with colder temperatures at the center station (Bailey et al. 2003).

 

Hourly surface observations for each station were obtained from the National Climatic Data Center’s CDO archive. To protect against false negatives, temperature, sea level pressure, and station pressure observations were interpolated for cases with missing reports of six or fewer consecutive hours. Station pressure was computed from the altimeter observation for times in which the station pressure archive was incomplete, a common problem with NCDC records. To avoid double counting events that weakened significantly only to re-strengthen under the influence of the same parent high, consecutive events separated by fewer than 18 hours were analyzed using reanalysis and surface data and combined into a single event as necessary.

 

Detected CAD events were stratified into six classifications as defined in Bailey et al. (2003) using a combination of surface observations and North American Regional Reanalysis data. Those classifications are defined as follows:

    1. Classical diabatically enhanced (CDEN) – At CAD onset, the parent high in the NCEP sea level pressure analysis must be centered north of 40°N between 100° and 65°W with a central pressure greater than or equal to 1030 mb. This ensures that the anticyclone is strong and favorably positioned. Precipitation is reported at the central stations in lines A, B, or C within 6-h of onset.

 

    1. Classical dry onset (CDRY) – The same criteria as for CDEN except that no precipitation is reported within 6-h of onset and diabatic processes play a negligible role.

 

    1. Hybrid (HYBR) – Precipitation is reported at one or more of the center stations within 6-h of onset. The parent high must exhibit a central pressure of less than 1030 mb and be centered between 100° and 65°W if north of 40°N at onset or between 100° and 70°W and the central pressure is not considered if the high is south of 40°N. This ensures that the parent high is either weak or is not optimally positioned for CAD, and that diabatic processes are capable of contributing to onset.

 

    1. Weak dry (WKDR) – The central sea level pressure in the parent high is less than 1030 mb, with the high centered between 100° and 65°W and north of 40°N, or south of 40°N and between 100° and 70°W at onset. No precipitation is reported within 6-h of onset. This is consistent with weak synoptic forcing and a lack of diabatic contribution.

 

    1. In situ (INST) – Precipitation must be reported within 6 h of onset. If the parent high is south of 40°N, then the parent high must be centered east of 70°W. If the parent high is north of 40°N, then the parent high must be east of 65°W. These criteria represent cases where the high is unable to provide significant synoptic support to damming but had passed the region previously, leaving in place dry air at low levels.

 

    1. Unclassifiable (UNKN) – All cases that do not fit one of the above categories.

 

 

To quantify variation in the spatial extent of CAD events, a climatology of cold dome spatial extent was also conducted for the 30 year period. This algorithm was initialized for periods previously classified as damming events and uses hourly wind observations from numerous stations across the Southeast to determine the presence or absence of a cold air dome. The algorithm assumes that northeasterly cold air advection is necessary for a station to be classified as within the cold dome.

 

Results and Conclusions

The CAD detection algorithm was run for the period 1 January 1981 to 31 December 2010. As with previous CAD studies, the average event frequency by month was analyzed to demonstrate the seasonal variation in CAD frequency. The results of this support previous studies in showing a more active cold season versus a less active warm season. December had the highest event frequency with 3.2 CAD events occurring per year. October and January followed closely with 2.9 and 2.6 events per year, respectively. June, July, and August had the lowest frequency of CAD events with 0.6, 0.6, and 0.8 events annually. Stratification of CAD events revealed that Weak/Dry events were the most common with an average of 7.2 per year, while In Situ events only occurred 1.4 times per year. Hybrid events were the second most common, followed by CDRY and CDEN events.

 

While overall month-to-month results are generally consistent with Bailey et al. (2003)’s 12 year climatology, there is a significant departure for the month of August. Bailey described August as having a frequency of just over 3 events per year, while this study finds an average of 0.8 events per year over the 30 year period. This difference is likely the result of the longer period, a slightly different sigma value computed within the algorithm, and this study’s decision to combine closely consecutive events dynamically forced by the same parent high.

 

Output from the CAD detection algorithm was also analyzed by CAD hours per year, CAD events per year, and average CAD hours by month. Analysis of the average CAD hours by month was consistent with the event frequency by month. Similar results between the two metrics indicate an approximately similar average length for CAD events across different months. Indeed, the average length of CAD events by month were clustered around 30 hours, with the exception of July. On average, events in July had a 19 hour duration. October had the highest average CAD hours at just over 87 per year, while the lowest month, July, saw only an average of 12 CAD hours per year. An analysis of CAD event frequency and hour frequency by year showed significant variation from year to year.

 

The spatial climatology of CAD events, run for the same 30 year period, demonstrates large variability in the spatial extent of the cold air dome from event to event. Ongoing research will quantify CAD frequency on a station-by-station basis. As the most comprehensive CAD climatology utilizing an objective detection algorithm and the first study to explore the spatial pattern and frequency of cold air damming events, these results provide a better understanding of CAD impacts across the Southeast.

 

 

A Critical Meta-Analysis of Community Water Management Outcomes in Peru: Identifying Causes of Scarcity and the Effects of Adaptation

The arid coast and semi-arid highlands of Peru are prone to annual fluctuations in water availability due to seasonal drought, the effects of teleconnections, variable winter melt rates, and rapidly declining glaciers. This natural variability will be exacerbated by a series of water intensive social and economic changes, including, for example, population growth, urbanization, new mining projects, and agricultural intensification (Eda & Chen, 2010). Associated diversion schemes and modification of natural fluvial systems point to the reality that anthropogenic water use within these regions of Peru has surpassed natural water availability. While communities in Peru have historically adapted their lifestyles to ecological constraints and highly fluctuating water availability, social and political changes associated with Peru’s modernization have placed further constraints on access, control, and use of water resources. The existing literature on community-level water management in Peru shows that there are significantly different outcomes between communities in the arid regions of Peru based on the realities and perceptions of local water availability. In order to produce a better understanding of what struggles related to water scarcity can be mitigated, this study was performed to produce a better understanding of how the combination of social and environmental variables at the community level affect water management outcomes as they relate to social equity, environmental wellness, and long-term sustainability.

 

Peru is unique in that despite strong national politics, there are varying mechanisms of water management, governance, and procurement in nearly all communities throughout the country. Factors influencing community-level water resource management schemes include, but are not limited to the relative location of a community to a water resource, community size and location, the level of government interest in the economic productivity of a community, the community’s view of water resources, endurance and practice of local knowledge, and level of autonomy from the central Peruvian government (Trawick, 2003). In order to further explore the climatic, ecological, and anthropogenic causal mechanisms which create the disparities in community-level water management outcomes, a meta-analysis of community-level water management studies within these regions was conducted. Separating mechanisms of naturally occurring water scarcity from mechanisms of anthropogenically induced water scarcity refines our understanding of how water scarcity is produced and why it can vary greatly between communities in similar climatic environments.

 

In order to perform the meta-analysis, a thorough search for relevant literature was conducted and narrowed based on a holistic set of inclusion criteria. To be included in the meta-analysis, published case studies were required to contain comprehensive data on the local geography and climate of a community, social and political interactions within the community, and local water management and governance strategies. Additionally, the studies were restricted to Peruvian community-level studies located in Köppen climate zones described to experience year round or seasonal aridity, confining the studies to classification zones BWh, BWk, BSh, CWb, and CFb. Case studies must also have included sufficient climatic, as well as social factors in order to highlight causal mechanisms pertaining to outcome. The goal of the meta-analysis was to foster a deeper level of understanding of why water security varies greatly at the community level within the arid regions of Peru. Three outcomes were explored including social equity to resource access, equity and inclusion in the decision making process, and ecological consequence.

 

Only six published case studies met all of the inclusion criteria from nearly 350 papers on community water management in the country, highlighting the lack of critical engagement with both social and climatic factors of water availability as it pertains to water security outcomes. The case studies include the communities of Huaynacotas, Corporaque, Cabanaconde, Chancay-Lambayaque, and Yarabamba. Although the number of case studies utilized in the analysis was considerably smaller than was initially anticipated, it allowed for a deeper and more thorough examination of community level variables pertaining to water security outcomes.

 

The critical meta-analysis reviewed the six case studies on the basis of four comparative factors: governance type, social equity to water access, equity and inclusion in decision-making, and the environmental outcome. As no homogenous water management system can meet the various needs of each community member, outcomes for the ‘social equity to water access’ and ‘equity and inclusion in the decision-making process’ variables were analyzed and categorized as either ‘more positive for the majority’, or ‘more negative for the majority’. Recognizing that all species create biogeomorphological change, the ‘environmental outcome’ classification was based on the extent of environmental modification, community awareness of environmental change, and the amount of community and governance effort to minimize environmental change related to water management practices. As such, the environmental outcomes were broadly determined to be ‘more consequential’ or ‘less consequential’.

 

The case studies were then divided into three distinct governance types. The first category pertains to ‘state-controlled’ governance, describing the Chancay-Lambayeque community, where water management and governance is controlled by the Peruvian state. The second category, ‘Autonomous/Andean’ governance, pertains to the Huaynacotas community, an Andean system operating entirely independent of state control. The final category, ‘hybrid’ governance, describes the Corporaque, Yarabamba, and the two case studies of Cabanaconde. These three groups are highland Andean communities which until recently were in a position of semi-autonomous self-governance. State funded water diversion projects were recently implemented near these (and many other) highly communities in order to divert highland water resources towards the coast. As such, these previously semi-autonomous highland communities, are forced to compromise their local water management, governance, and cultural practices towards the large-scale, fluvial modification systems implemented by the government.

 

The decision to create a category for distinct governance types within the case studies allowed for the comparison and analysis of differences between outcomes among the case studies. Among the results, it was noted that the environmental outcomes were more consequential for each of the four communities with hybridized governance, and were less consequential for the Autonomous Andean and state controlled communities. This finding demonstrated that within the case studies utilized, there was a strong correlation between the implementation of water diversion efforts on the deterioration of local ecologies. In light of this, it seems fair to call for increased scholarly and scientific investigation of both the environmental and social impacts of these systems on Peruvian ecology and subsequent social effects within newly hybridized communities including impacts on solidarity, self-reliance, and heritage. The outcomes for social equity to water access were found to be ‘more positive for the majority’ in four of the six case studies. The communities of Huaynacotas, Chancay-Lambayeque, and the two case studies representing Cabanaconde were found to have equitable access to water resources for the majority of community members, demonstrating that equitable water access can be acquired in any type of governance, though the variables involved in maintaining or procuring equitable access remained varied between the communities.

 

The outcomes for the final factor examined, ‘equity and inclusion in the decision-making process’. The results were equally stratified as three case studies had more positive outcomes for the majority of citizens, and three were found to have more negative outcomes for the majority of citizens. All but one of the case studies of the hybrid communities had more negative outcomes. It was determined that this result was largely related to the implementation of partial state governance in hybrid communities because the state prioritizes the economic benefits of water diversion schemes over local environmental and social concerns. As such, these communities suffer multiple consequences related to socio-ecological relationships. This finding demonstrates the ability for many Andean communities to self govern local resources and achieve more positive outcomes.

 

The results of the analysis suggest several important factors related to community management of water scarcity. First, critical meta-analysis can be a useful method to understand diverse resource management outcomes and the strengths of and gaps within existing literature on a subject. This study provides the first comprehensive analysis related to the effects of social and environmental variables on water management outcomes across multiple study sites in Peru. The analysis demonstrates the ability for local communities to self govern their own resources, calling attention to the negative effects of government-sponsored diversion schemes on community level water management outcomes. Additionally, this study exemplifies multiple ways in which social equity to water access and equity and inclusion in the decision making process can be achieved in multiple governance types. Finally, the analysis deepened the understanding of what factors contribute to water scarcity at the community level in order to foster critical engagement with these themes and also demonstrates how social factors can create water scarcity, providing an impetus for meaningful mitigation.

 

A Dying Star? The Rise and Fall of the Jamaica Coffee Industry’s Competitive Advantage

 

 

The Caribbean island of Jamaica was for many centuries, an agriculture-based economy. However, increased competition and the advent of the free-trade era in the latter half of the 20th century led to substantial economic diversification. One of the few large agricultural sectors to persist was the Jamaican coffee industry (JCI). Employing several thousand people, the industry remains one of the island’s largest sources of agricultural foreign exchange – earning US$17.9 million (over J$1.5 billion) in 2012 according to the Bank of Jamaica (2014), mainly through the export of Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee. Introduced to the island in 1728, Jamaican coffee initially established a reputation for being an exotic coffee enjoyed by the elite in Jamaica and the UK. An Arabica varietal cherished as a mild, smooth coffee with hints of chocolate, it commanded prices as high as US$50 per pound (Espresso & Coffee Guide 2011). However, the rise of several other specialty brands, notably those under Fair Trade, organic and a large number of ethically-conscious labels over the last 30 years and the increased popularity of blended coffees in primary consumer markets, have seen the value and sales of  JBM coffee stagnate. A series of droughts and hurricanes that ravaged many coffee producing areas between 2004 and 2012 combined with the global economic recession prompted by the US housing market collapse in 2008 have cast shadows on the viability of the industry.

 

 

 

 

 

This paper uses the Porter Five Forces Model (PFFM) to explore the factors that have led to the rise and development of the JCI as well as its current stagnation in terms of competitive advantage (CA). CA here is defined as the ability of a firm is able to create value for its buyers (in the form of) prices lower than its competitors for equivalent benefits or the provision of unique benefits that more than offset by a premium price (Porter 1985). The five forces used in the PFFM are:

 

 

 

 

 

    1. The bargaining power of suppliers: how strong are suppliers relative to the buyers of the good / service?

 

    1. The bargaining power of buyers: how strong are the buyers relative to the suppliers of the good / service?

 

    1. The threat of new entrants: what are the possible sources of new suppliers or buyers in the industry?

 

    1. The threat of substitute products or services: what other goods or services could viably provide similar or superior utility to consumers in the industry?

 

    1. Rivalry among existing competitors: how strong is the competition for market share among players that currently exist in the industry?

 

 

 

 

The island resumed smaller scale production in 1950, and over the next 10 years, the JCI gradually re-oriented production towards international markets in keeping with the country’s diversification of its economic base after World War II (Witter 2005). They exported primarily to their colonial masters, the United Kingdom (UK), where Jamaican coffee had a reputation of excellent quality. But even with reforms the JCI faced issues of high labor and production costs, mounting surpluses on the international market and low prices received (and thus reduced returns to growers) (CIB Annual Report, 1961). The 1990s saw production and marketing challenges becoming the central theme of the JCI. Several incidences of drought and recurring disease outbreaks, industry deregulation and devaluation of the Jamaican dollar significantly increased the costs of growing coffee across the island. By the early 2000s, local coffee farmers began to see a general stagnation in prices received due to the growing competition of other specialty coffees (such as Fair Trade and organic products). Production costs continued to increase and were joined by adverse weather conditions. A spate of hurricanes between 2004 and 2008 which destroyed thousands of trees across the island alongside disease outbreaks led to hundreds of coffee farmers leaving the industry, while hundreds more have found it more difficult to make a living from growing just coffee and sought to diversify their economic base to include other crops. The global recession in 2008 further softened demand for JBM coffee as consumers reduced purchases. Japanese companies, the traditionally dominant purchasers of Jamaican coffee, have shifted from advance purchases to just-in-time purchasing in order to manage the slowdown in sales and an increased acceptance of coffee blends in the premium coffee market has dampened the importance of single origin coffees produced by the JCI. Although the CIB has continued their exploration into other markets while aiming to maintain market share in Japan, farmers uncertain about the future have continued to exit this seemingly prestigious industry. This has resulted in production levels declining to levels not seen since the devastation of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

 

 

 

As the JCI reinvents itself to maintain its presence in the ever competitive specialty coffee market it can draw on its historical prestige as a platform to take advantage of current market trends. Opportunities include becoming more involved in value added products (such as roasted, packaged coffee), establishing the JBM brand in emerging markets, and bring the consumer closer to the symbolic qualities embedded in the coffee (including incorporating appropriate sustainability marks such as Rainforest Alliance).

 

 

 

In 1969, Jamaican stakeholders discovered that much of coffee exported to Britain was resold to Japan for significant profits as the Japanese took a strong liking to the island’s coffee, especially the higher quality JBM coffee. Jamaica therefore established direct market relations with Japan and began selling most of their coffee to them from 1970 onwards. Japan continues to be the primary market for JBM coffee to this day but was especially dominant up until the early 1980s, often purchasing the entire volume of coffee produced. This led to a scarce supply of JBM coffee for coffee connoisseurs the world over. This scarcity, combined with its unique flavor profile established JBM as one of the finest coffees in the world. The CA created by this differentiated product facilitated the continued expansion of the industry to meet demand. In an effort to rapidly increase its exports, the government of Jamaica embarked on a major expansion drive for the coffee industry. Two programs in the 1980s greatly increased production capacity, especially in the Blue Mountains. The emphasis on this high value agricultural good enabled the JCI to better negotiate many of the issues faced by the conventional global coffee market. These include changing governance structures, corporate concentration, oversupply, interchangeable commodity grade beans, and low farm gate prices (Bacon 2005, 497). In the 1990s the prevailing World Bank-IMF-driven political economic consensus (Weis 2000, 304) opened several markets for the JBM coffee brand as well as for several other counties which moved into the premium and specialty coffee niche market.

 

 

 

Coffee was introduced into Jamaica in 1728 from Haiti or Martinique by the then Governor, Sir Nicholas Lawes. Coffee spread rapidly with the use of slave labor, mostly in the mountainous areas of the parish of St. Andrew and, in 1737 Jamaica became a coffee exporting country when 83,400 lbs. valued at £6,300 was exported to Great Britain. Production gradually increased and during the period between 1799 and the abolition of slavery in 1838, Jamaica never exported less than 10,000,000 lbs. of coffee per year. A very large portion of the volume produced of this coffee was planted in the Jamaica Blue Mountains during that time period. Destructive cultivation practices and the abolition of slavery led to significant declines in production but demand remained strong from the colonial masters. Coffee exports continued to be a significant income generator for plantation owners especially as there was low competition from other British colonies. As coffee from Jamaica became better known, exports expanded to other countries. Unfortunately, by the 1940s the deterioration of agricultural lands and the lack of quality standards forced Canada – the main market at the time – to stop buying Jamaican coffee. This led to the temporary closure of all coffee exports from the island. In 1946, a comprehensive investigation of the industry and its practices led to the restructuring of the industry and the creation of the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica (CIB) to regulate the industry.

 

 

 

The island resumed smaller scale production in 1950, and over the next 10 years, the JCI gradually re-oriented production towards international markets in keeping with the country’s diversification of its economic base after World War II (Witter 2005). They exported primarily to their colonial masters, the United Kingdom (UK), where Jamaican coffee had a reputation of excellent quality. But even with reforms the JCI faced issues of high labor and production costs, mounting surpluses on the international market and low prices received (and thus reduced returns to growers) (CIB Annual Report, 1961). In 1969, Jamaican stakeholders discovered that much of coffee exported to Britain was resold to Japan for significant profits as the Japanese took a strong liking to the island’s coffee, especially the higher quality JBM coffee. Jamaica therefore established direct market relations with Japan and began selling most of their coffee to them from 1970 onwards. Japan continues to be the primary market for JBM coffee to this day but was especially dominant up until the early 1980s, often purchasing the entire volume of coffee produced. This led to a scarce supply of JBM coffee for coffee connoisseurs the world over. This scarcity, combined with its unique flavor profile established JBM as one of the finest coffees in the world. The CA created by this differentiated product facilitated the continued expansion of the industry to meet demand. In an effort to rapidly increase its exports, the government of Jamaica embarked on a major expansion drive for the coffee industry. Two programs in the 1980s greatly increased production capacity, especially in the Blue Mountains. The emphasis on this high value agricultural good enabled the JCI to better negotiate many of the issues faced by the conventional global coffee market. These include changing governance structures, corporate concentration, oversupply, interchangeable commodity grade beans, and low farm gate prices (Bacon 2005, 497). In the 1990s the prevailing World Bank-IMF-driven political economic consensus (Weis 2000, 304) opened several markets for the JBM coffee brand as well as for several other counties which moved into the premium and specialty coffee niche market.

 

 

 

 

 

The 1990s saw production and marketing challenges becoming the central theme of the JCI. Several incidences of drought and recurring disease outbreaks, industry deregulation and devaluation of the Jamaican dollar significantly increased the costs of growing coffee across the island. By the early 2000s, local coffee farmers began to see a general stagnation in prices received due to the growing competition of other specialty coffees (such as Fair Trade and organic products). Production costs continued to increase and were joined by adverse weather conditions. A spate of hurricanes between 2004 and 2008 which destroyed thousands of trees across the island alongside disease outbreaks led to hundreds of coffee farmers leaving the industry, while hundreds more have found it more difficult to make a living from growing just coffee and sought to diversify their economic base to include other crops. The global recession in 2008 further softened demand for JBM coffee as consumers reduced purchases. Japanese companies, the traditionally dominant purchasers of Jamaican coffee, have shifted from advance purchases to just-in-time purchasing in order to manage the slowdown in sales and an increased acceptance of coffee blends in the premium coffee market has dampened the importance of single origin coffees produced by the JCI. Although the CIB has continued their exploration into other markets while aiming to maintain market share in Japan, farmers uncertain about the future have continued to exit this seemingly prestigious industry. This has resulted in production levels declining to levels not seen since the devastation of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

 

 

 

 

 

As the JCI reinvents itself to maintain its presence in the ever competitive specialty coffee market it can draw on its historical prestige as a platform to take advantage of current market trends. Opportunities include becoming more involved in value added products (such as roasted, packaged coffee), establishing the JBM brand in emerging markets, and bring the consumer closer to the symbolic qualities embedded in the coffee (including incorporating appropriate sustainability marks such as Rainforest Alliance).

 

 

 

A Dying Star? The Rise and Fall of the Jamaica Coffee Industry’s Competitive Advantage

The Caribbean island of Jamaica was for many centuries, an agriculture-based economy. However, increased competition and the advent of the free-trade era in the latter half of the 20th century led to substantial economic diversification. One of the few large agricultural sectors to persist was the Jamaican coffee industry (JCI). Employing several thousand people, the industry remains one of the island’s largest sources of agricultural foreign exchange – earning US$17.9 million (over J$1.5 billion) in 2012 according to the Bank of Jamaica (2014), mainly through the export of Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee. Introduced to the island in 1728, Jamaican coffee initially established a reputation for being an exotic coffee enjoyed by the elite in Jamaica and the UK. An Arabica varietal cherished as a mild, smooth coffee with hints of chocolate, it commanded prices as high as US$50 per pound (Espresso & Coffee Guide 2011). However, the rise of several other specialty brands, notably those under Fair Trade, organic and a large number of ethically-conscious labels over the last 30 years and the increased popularity of blended coffees in primary consumer markets, have seen the value and sales of  JBM coffee stagnate. A series of droughts and hurricanes that ravaged many coffee producing areas between 2004 and 2012 combined with the global economic recession prompted by the US housing market collapse in 2008 have cast shadows on the viability of the industry.

 

 

This paper uses the Porter Five Forces Model (PFFM) to explore the factors that have led to the rise and development of the JCI as well as its current stagnation in terms of competitive advantage (CA). CA here is defined as the ability of a firm is able to create value for its buyers (in the form of) prices lower than its competitors for equivalent benefits or the provision of unique benefits that more than offset by a premium price (Porter 1985). The five forces used in the PFFM are:

    1. The bargaining power of suppliers: how strong are suppliers relative to the buyers of the good / service?

 

    1. The bargaining power of buyers: how strong are the buyers relative to the suppliers of the good / service?

 

    1. The threat of new entrants: what are the possible sources of new suppliers or buyers in the industry?

 

    1. The threat of substitute products or services: what other goods or services could viably provide similar or superior utility to consumers in the industry?

 

    1. Rivalry among existing competitors: how strong is the competition for market share among players that currently exist in the industry?

 

Coffee was introduced into Jamaica in 1728 from Haiti or Martinique by the then Governor, Sir Nicholas Lawes. Coffee spread rapidly with the use of slave labor, mostly in the mountainous areas of the parish of St. Andrew and, in 1737 Jamaica became a coffee exporting country when 83,400 lbs. valued at £6,300 was exported to Great Britain. Production gradually increased and during the period between 1799 and the abolition of slavery in 1838, Jamaica never exported less than 10,000,000 lbs. of coffee per year. A very large portion of the volume produced of this coffee was planted in the Jamaica Blue Mountains during that time period. Destructive cultivation practices and the abolition of slavery led to significant declines in production but demand remained strong from the colonial masters. Coffee exports continued to be a significant income generator for plantation owners especially as there was low competition from other British colonies. As coffee from Jamaica became better known, exports expanded to other countries. Unfortunately, by the 1940s the deterioration of agricultural lands and the lack of quality standards forced Canada – the main market at the time – to stop buying Jamaican coffee. This led to the temporary closure of all coffee exports from the island. In 1946, a comprehensive investigation of the industry and its practices led to the restructuring of the industry and the creation of the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica (CIB) to regulate the industry.

 

The island resumed smaller scale production in 1950, and over the next 10 years, the JCI gradually re-oriented production towards international markets in keeping with the country’s diversification of its economic base after World War II (Witter 2005). They exported primarily to their colonial masters, the United Kingdom (UK), where Jamaican coffee had a reputation of excellent quality. But even with reforms the JCI faced issues of high labor and production costs, mounting surpluses on the international market and low prices received (and thus reduced returns to growers) (CIB Annual Report, 1961). In 1969, Jamaican stakeholders discovered that much of coffee exported to Britain was resold to Japan for significant profits as the Japanese took a strong liking to the island’s coffee, especially the higher quality JBM coffee. Jamaica therefore established direct market relations with Japan and began selling most of their coffee to them from 1970 onwards. Japan continues to be the primary market for JBM coffee to this day but was especially dominant up until the early 1980s, often purchasing the entire volume of coffee produced. This led to a scarce supply of JBM coffee for coffee connoisseurs the world over. This scarcity, combined with its unique flavor profile established JBM as one of the finest coffees in the world. The CA created by this differentiated product facilitated the continued expansion of the industry to meet demand. In an effort to rapidly increase its exports, the government of Jamaica embarked on a major expansion drive for the coffee industry. Two programs in the 1980s greatly increased production capacity, especially in the Blue Mountains. The emphasis on this high value agricultural good enabled the JCI to better negotiate many of the issues faced by the conventional global coffee market. These include changing governance structures, corporate concentration, oversupply, interchangeable commodity grade beans, and low farm gate prices (Bacon 2005, 497). In the 1990s the prevailing World Bank-IMF-driven political economic consensus (Weis 2000, 304) opened several markets for the JBM coffee brand as well as for several other counties which moved into the premium and specialty coffee niche market.

 

 

The 1990s saw production and marketing challenges becoming the central theme of the JCI. Several incidences of drought and recurring disease outbreaks, industry deregulation and devaluation of the Jamaican dollar significantly increased the costs of growing coffee across the island. By the early 2000s, local coffee farmers began to see a general stagnation in prices received due to the growing competition of other specialty coffees (such as Fair Trade and organic products). Production costs continued to increase and were joined by adverse weather conditions. A spate of hurricanes between 2004 and 2008 which destroyed thousands of trees across the island alongside disease outbreaks led to hundreds of coffee farmers leaving the industry, while hundreds more have found it more difficult to make a living from growing just coffee and sought to diversify their economic base to include other crops. The global recession in 2008 further softened demand for JBM coffee as consumers reduced purchases. Japanese companies, the traditionally dominant purchasers of Jamaican coffee, have shifted from advance purchases to just-in-time purchasing in order to manage the slowdown in sales and an increased acceptance of coffee blends in the premium coffee market has dampened the importance of single origin coffees produced by the JCI. Although the CIB has continued their exploration into other markets while aiming to maintain market share in Japan, farmers uncertain about the future have continued to exit this seemingly prestigious industry. This has resulted in production levels declining to levels not seen since the devastation of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

 

 

As the JCI reinvents itself to maintain its presence in the ever competitive specialty coffee market it can draw on its historical prestige as a platform to take advantage of current market trends. Opportunities include becoming more involved in value added products (such as roasted, packaged coffee), establishing the JBM brand in emerging markets, and bring the consumer closer to the symbolic qualities embedded in the coffee (including incorporating appropriate sustainability marks such as Rainforest Alliance).