Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Human Trafficking Article: Suzie Magazine

I saw this article in a friend's magazine. I think it a great success story, but more importantly, an encouraging and awakening message that has reached hundreds of girls! I'm so glad Suzie Magazine has taken the step to raising awareness for human trafficking in girls across the country!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Attn: Race and Diversity interns

I was at my friend's dorm at Harvard today, and the subject of the law school student's infamous email came up for discussion. It turned into a rather impassioned debate on race.

Here's an interesting read in The Crimson, particularly the comments:

The comments range from academic to personal to pretentious and nonsensical, but they're overall more readable and informed than most open-for-all forums.

The dynamics of the discussion seem to involve: biological basis for race vs. its cultural basis, political correctness vs. academic hypotheses, environmental factors vs. genetic factors in adult intelligence, etc.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

On Inequality - an Economic Perspective

I read Greg Mankiw's blog on a regular basis; as the author of my AP Economics textbook, Principle of Economics, he is the foundation of everything I know about that science. As the Institute for Social Justice, aiming to narrow the extant disparities in our century, the matter of wealth distribution lies at its core. I found a short commentary by Mankiw, which I think would be beneficial in analyzing the inequalities, not only as a personal, humanitarian, or religious matter, but as a function of modern financial system. Here is the link :

I find his points 4 and 5 to be the most fascinating - 4. the benefits of re-distribution through progressive taxation on consumption and 5. other policies should focus on economic efficiency, for they are poor instruments for such cause.

I thought it would be an interesting read for the Institute interns, and an equally interesting exercise to try and find exceptions to or qualifications for point #5.

Addressing the fair trade interns specifically -
Fair trade is a regulation of the laissez-faire capitalist system - does the supply-demand curve imply decreased efficiency and therefore an ineffective method of enrichment, as Mankiw suggests? Or, does it not affect the ideal equilibrium because it shortens the supply chain, addresses a specific consumer group, and/or reflects the true market value of the producers' work, etc? I personally decided on the latter, also because the simple supply-demand curve does not reflect the increase in efficiency due to the building of communal infrastructures, empowerment, and education.

So, that's my example of a qualification for Mankiw's point #5. Are there others? What are some of the article's implications about the free market and our current economic system?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Powers of a Leader

Last week in English class we had an in-class essay on whether or not extraordinary people should be bound to the same rules as everyone else or if they should be allowed more leeway. I answered that all people should be bound by the same rules that define society or else risk plunging society into chaos because once the line between right and wrong is allowed to be broken it loosed standard and becomes fuzzy. However, now I am thinking about it on terms of leaders. Leaders certainly qualify as extraordinary people. So the question becomes; is it justifiable for leaders to break the rules of society for the "greater good"?
If thousands could be saved is it okay for one to be sacrificed? When thinking about social justice, do we apply that to an overarching "greater good" or is social justice more about defending the rights of every human? Should we consider more individuals or society and humanity as a whole? The use of water-boarding for the "greater good" was largely responded to with outrage from civilians. However, if the torture of one could save a million others, is it not worth it to torture the one and save the million? These questions I pose lead to the idea that the ends justify the means.
My response to my questions would be that no matter the benefit of an evil act, wrong is still wrong. The easy solution is not always the best solution. The boundaries of society set by law must be held firm. In fighting for social justice, I would say our end goal is striving for the betterment of humanity as a whole but that end must be achieved in a just way. Justice is not without justice without justice. So in conclusion, regardless of a motive of striving for the greater good, leaders must follow the rules of society or justice will not be justice.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

slavery continued (again)

I'm really passionate about the slaves in the world today. I know that there have already been many posts on it, but I wanted to add some more. Here's one fact I found: The average price of a slave in 1809 was $40,000 but today is is only $90. Here is a story I found about one girl in Cambodia:
"Kunthy was trafficked in to prostitution in Cambodia at age 13. She was held captive in a dilapidated structure the locals called the “Anarchy Building,” where she was raped nightly and routinely beaten, drugged and threatened by the brothel keeper and pimp.
Kunthy was discovered through an IJM undercover investigation. After documenting proof of her imprisonment, IJM staff worked with local authorities to ensure her rescue, and pursued the prosecution of the brothel owner and pimp, who were sentenced to 15 and 10 years in prison respectively.
Today, Kunthy lives in an aftercare home, where she is healing from her abuse in a secure and loving environment. Her dream is to own an Internet café and design Web sites for businesses. Right now, she works at a part-time job with a local NGO, attends a computer training school and is thriving in the freedom and security of her transitional home."

It is so sad that girls as old as us have to deal with things like this.