Friday 12 June 2009

Assorted updates

  • I'd previously noted the sad case of Janet Moses, drowned by her family in a ritual exorcism. The jury verdicts are now in: one uncle and four aunts found guilty of manslaughter; three others acquitted. All acquitted for the similar (but not fatal) treatment accorded to a 14 year old girl in the same incident. The TV news reports howls of outrage from the public galleries; the audience seems to have thought all should have been acquitted. We'll see what the Court deems appropriate for sentence.

  • Another update on ticket scalping, from Slate:
    But even economists who think that tickets are badly mispriced can have problems with ticket scalping. In his Offsetting Behavior blog, economist Eric Crampton discusses another theory of scalping in a post that's probably the only essay in which you'll see an economist turn to an analysis by Trent Reznor of the Nine Inch Nails. Crampton argues that one of the reasons that scalping persists might be because venue operators find shady ways to share in the profits at the expense of fans and performers. Crampton notes that Reznor gives one very good piece of evidence that there's something shady going on here: Ticket sellers could end scalping tomorrow by just printing names on the tickets.
    Surely other economists have turned to Reznor before. No?

  • I'd previously argued against two Canterbury philosophers in defense of sweatshops; here's a nice argument from a U San Diego philosopher in favour of sweatshops.
    This paper argues that a sweatshop worker's choice to accept the conditions of his or her employment is morally significant, both as an exercise of autonomy and as an expression of preference. This fact establishes a moral claim against interference in the conditions of sweatshop labor by third parties such as governments or consumer boycott groups. It should also lead us to doubt those who call for MNEs to voluntarily improve working conditions, at least when their arguments are based on the claim that workers have a moral right to such improvement. These conclusions are defended against three objections: 1) that sweatshop workers' consent to the conditions of their labor is not fully voluntary, 2) that sweatshops' offer of additional labor options is part of an overall package that actually harms workers, 3) that even if sweatshop labor benefits workers, it is nevertheless wrongfully exploitative.

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