Child Marriage and Economic Development

Child marriage has normally been seen as a human right issue. But a new study by the World Banks and the Center for Research on Women (CRW) suggest that child marriage is also an issue of economic development.  While child marriage does occur even in countries like the US, the greatest proportion occurs in poor countries. In Niger for example 77% of women between the ages of 18 to 22 were married before the age of 18. Sometimes the poorer the country, the more child marriage is likely to occur. Often there are laws banning child marriage, yet it still occurs.  Laws have been on the books in Bangladesh for example since a surprising 1929, but have been Continue reading

Going To Jail as a Civic Duty

I was struck by an op-ed in the L.A. Times by novelist Jesse Ball in which he suggests that serving on jury duty may not be enough to fulfill our civic duty. His idea is that every 10 years we would be called to serve time at a prison. Just like most prisoners today we would not know which prison or for how long. He says anywhere from 3 to 90 days. Our lives would be disrupted just as that of those being incarcerated. We would be subject to all the prison’s regulations and to the way guards treat inmates. In short for that indeterminate period of time we would be just as any other Continue reading

AI Investments by Government or by Others?

When problems don’t have a physical face, they are harder to see and easier to dismiss. Yet they can have deeper impact than many we can recognize. A powerful example is investment in research and development such as those in AI (artificial intelligence). It is something the government used to do, but is doing less and less and is slated to do even less in the Trump administration. It doesn’t mean that advances are not being made, they are. It means that much of the advances are made by the so called big five, sometimes called the Frightful Five—Amazon, Apple,  Facebook, Google and Microsoft. But Continue reading