Private Equities and Toys ‘R’ Us

How do popular stores like Toys ‘R’ Us end up filing for bankruptcy?  The behind the scene story opens a window on the role of private equity funds in our society. “Thirty-three percent of retail job losses from 2016 through 2017 resulted from private-equity backed store closures…,” according to a report by Inflection Capital Management, an equity fund consulting firm. Due to competition from e-commerce Continue reading “Private Equities and Toys ‘R’ Us”

Hunger on College Campuses

Being in school is hard. For those who have access to life’s necessities, even for those who can include some of its pleasures, it can nevertheless be the best time of their lives, but for the rest for whatever reason, it is challenge upon challenge. According to a new survey 36% of students on college campuses do not have enough to eat. The survey finds that one of the reasons for food insecurity is that jobs are not as easy to find.  There is much competition for the low paying jobs students typically get. Other reasons are “ballooning college costs”, inadequate aid packages, growing enrollment Continue reading “Hunger on College Campuses”

War and Suffering

The war in Yemen has just entered its fourth year. The war in Syria is 7 years old, the war in Sudan 5, the war in Afghanistan 15. War and suffering go together. For example, in Yemen which has already been called a humanitarian crisis :

  • in March 2017 an outbreak of cholera spread to a million people by the end of the year
  • an estimate of 2 million children are out of school
  • 2 million people, nearly 3 in every 4 people are dependent on humanitarian aid to survive
  • besides cholera there has been dengue fever malaria and diphtheria, while the fear and possibility of those diseases returning is real
  • the destruction of hospitals and infrastructure make rendering aid more difficult

Continue reading “War and Suffering”

The Landmines Problem

For some of us, the problem with land mines is an old one, and the fact that it continues is and should be a blot on our conscience.  The casualties are increasing, for 2016, the last year for which there are statistics, there were 8,605 casualties, a number which includes 2089 deaths.  These numbers represent about 25% more than the casualties the year before and are more than double the number for 2014.  Much of the damage is done by cluster landmines. As their name indicates, they are Continue reading “The Landmines Problem”