How can felons be rehabilitated when prison labor is good for big business?

Until the use of prison labor is banned, many stakeholders will be incentivized to prevent felons from being rehabilitated.

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
  • The Thirteenth amendment prohibits slavery in the U.S. except as punishment for a crime.
  • A considerable number of public institutions, private companies, and individuals benefit from prison labor.
  • Is true prison reform possible when some many stand to gain from this legalized form of slavery?
Keep reading Show less

5 ways of valuing a human being

Ever wondered how much you're worth?

Photo credit: Bruce Dixon on Unsplash
  • Most of us like to think the value of a life is priceless, but numerous institutions have put a price on human beings in the past.
  • These estimates vary depending on the scope.
  • From just $90 to nearly $10 million, how much is a human being worth?
Keep reading Show less

Why, in India, female farmers are paying to become 'womb-less'

In one Indian farming district, many women are paying for expensive and medically unnecessary hysterectomies in order to be more productive at work.

Image source: IndiaPictures / Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • In the Beed District of the Indian state Maharashtra, a disturbing number of women are getting their wombs removed.
  • The majority of these women work as sugar-cane cutters, employed by and in debt to contractors.
  • In order to pay back their debt and avoid fines, many women opt to pay for a hysterectomy rather than miss work due to their periods.
Keep reading Show less

Joyless economies: Slavery, feudalism, and unregulated capitalism

Modern capitalism is a "very silly" way of organizing life, says Yanis Varoufakis.

  • Wealth inequality in modern capitalism creates a joyless economy for both the rich and the poor, says Yanis Varoufakis.
  • Wealth inequality in a time of economic abundance makes society less civilized. More evenly distributed resources allow humans to create the literature, art and intellectual works that make human life richer.
  • The universalized depression and stress caused by inequality is "incongruent with our fantastic advances at the technological level," says Varoufakis. "It's a very silly way of organizing life."
Keep reading Show less

Short-term thinking is politics’ most epic failure

Has the Republican Party forgotten its past?

  • The Republican Party was founded in 1854 in Wisconsin as the "party of reform". It was the first U.S. political party to be founded by women as well as by men, the first party to support suffrage, and the first party to support equal rights. It was the party of Abe Lincoln! So what changed?
  • In the 1970s, Ronald Regan made the mistake that ultimately dooms all political parties: He made a short-term decision for instant gratification. The party decides to focus on getting the more immediately profitable voter share of white men.
  • Jill Lepore isn't just picking on Republicans. This problem is large and widespread. "Both of them [Republicans and Democrats] are pretty willing to trade their constituencies out for short-term gain," says Lepore. Businesses and non-profits fall apart in the same way. The cost of short-term thinking has devastatingly long-term effects.
Keep reading Show less