Tag Archives: development

Hashimoto Exists For Our Sins

16 May

Here we go again – another herpes eruption of Japanese right-wing revisionism.

A Japanese local leader’s defense of the use of Chinese and Korean sex slaves to service Japanese soldiers during World War II as a “necessary” part of the war effort has drawn angry responses from Beijing and Seoul, aggravating tensions in the region that were already high after a series of earlier provocations.

“We are shocked and indignant at the Japanese politician’s remarks, as they flagrantly challenge historical justice and the conscious of mankind,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said a regular press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday. “How Japan treats its past will decide its future.”

Mr. Hong was responding to comments by Toru Hashimoto, the outspoken mayor of Osaka, who told reporters on Monday that the taking of sex slaves–euphemistically referred in Japan as “comfort women”–was justifiable.  “Anyone can understand that the system of comfort women was necessary to provide respite for a group of high-strung, rough and tumble crowd of men braving their lives under a storm of bullets,” Mr. Hashimoto said, adding that apart from moral considerations “back then it was a necessary system to maintain military discipline.”

South Korea’s foreign ministry also slammed Mr. Hashimoto on Tuesday.

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Laura Seay Really Wants To Help Real People

9 May

Laura Seay at Murchison Falls, UgandaLaura Seay doesn’t like TOMS Shoes.

And, Gwenn Mangine is skeptical about the economic value of the one-for-one movement.

Haiti doesn’t really have a shortage of shoes. There are PILES AND PILES AND PILES for sale (new and used) on practically every street and side street around here. I mean, sure, there’s a lot of poor people here. A lot of people run around barefoot. (Like me, for example, I am barefoot as I write this, as are 10 of my 12 children… but it’s not for lack of shoes.) And true, wearing shoes will help prevent some diseases and keep kids healthier. So, offering them for free… SEEMS like a good idea– like it couldn’t hurt and could only help. But then again– try googling “Miami rice.” Sometimes it’s more complex than that.

So then I wondered about the ethical responsibility of the person receiving the donated goods. I don’t have ANY idea what kind of arrangement is made between TOMS and the person receiving the shoes. There may be specific guidelines about the distribution of the shoes. In fact, I am sure there must be or it wouldn’t be printed that they weren’t for re-sale. But SHOULD there be limitations on how the shoes are used?

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The Social Animal With A Memory

26 Nov

For those Jared Diamond fans, Louis Putterman has a book for you.

Glenn and Louis discuss the causes of economic inequality among nations, based on Louis’s recent book, The Good, the Bad, and the Economy. Louis describes the different hypotheses explaining global inequality, contrasting them with his own focus on cultural attitudes propagated across generations within ethnic groups. Glenn wonders whether a history of conquest, colonization and enslavement and/or possible genetic differences between populations might explain some of Louis’s findings. Can the countries left behind ever catch up? Glenn suggests that modern communications technology is making cultural differences across nations less relevant. So is foreign aid a waste of money? And does democracy follow economic growth, or vice versa?

What I liked about this theory is, that it takes the notion, that human cognitive abilities and social interaction are related, seriously.

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