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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pope Francis Goes on the Offensive against Church Conservatives: A Question of Christian Credibility

Credibility is absolutely essential to viable leadership, whether in religion, politics, or business. A leader who undercuts one of his or her promises effectively expunges it of any worth and is essentially a “lame-duck” leader thereafter unless he or she puts difficult effort into becoming worthy of being trusted again. It does not take long for followers to get the message if one of them who relied on the promise is punished for doing so. Chairman Mao is infamous for having made such a promise in the Hundred Flowers movement. Unfortunately, he killed many Chinese who relied on Mao’s word. A similar dynamic, though much less extreme, occurred just after a synod in 2014 called by Pope Francis, who in this respect can be likened to Mao. Fortunately for the Catholic pope, his own religion offers him a way out.
The full essay is at "Pope Francis Goes on the Offensive"

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reforming U.S. Corporate Taxation: On the Virtue of Simplification

As the Republican Party assumed control of the U.S. Senate, and thus of Congress itself, since they would continue in the majority in the U.S. House, Republican Congressional  leaders and President Obama all emphasized policy areas where common ground could be found. Suddenly, the day after the midterm election of 2014, talk of bipartisanship was in the air. In this essay, I discuss the domain of corporate taxation in order to suggest that the common ground can be deeper than typically thought.

The full essay is at "Reforming U.S. Corporate Taxation"

Monday, November 3, 2014

An Ebola Vaccine: A Lesson for Obamacare

With the Ebola virus confined to impoverished states in Africa until 2014, drug companies had little financial incentive to develop a vaccine. “A profit-driven industry does not invest in products for markets that cannot pay,” Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, said in late 2014.[1] At the time, at least 13,567 people were known to have contracted the virus in the outbreak, with nearly 5,000 people dead. It cannot be said that the profit-motive in a market economy is efficient in this case.

The full essay is at “Ebola Vaccine

1. Rick Gladstone, “Ebola Cure Delayed by Drug Industry’s Drive for Profit, W.H.O. Leader Says,The New York Times, November 3, 2014.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Exclusivism Eclipses Veritas at Yale

Michael Simons, head of the cardiology department of the School of Medicine, made unwelcome sexual advances in writing to Annarita Di Lorenzo,  a researcher 18 years younger at the school in 2010. Simons wrote that he wanted to kiss the woman’s lips, and every part of her “body in every continent and city of the world.”[1] Referring to Frank Giordano, the woman’s boyfriend at the time and subsequently husband, Simon wrote that the woman was choosing the wrong man.  Simons would keep Giordano from important meetings and assignments. The relationship between the two men became so difficult that Jack Elias, the chairman of medicine, took over the direct supervision of Giordano to protect the untenured instructor from Simon.

Nevertheless, Yale’s provost, dismissed a university committee’s recommendation that Simons be permanently removed from his position in favor of an 18-month suspension. Faculty members claimed that Simons’ success in snagging $5 million annually from the U.S. Government in grants in 2012 and 2013 had been a factor, as well as the fact that the provost had been chair of the economics department, where Simons’ wife was a faculty member. The monetary element would not be lost on virtually any academic administrator at any university, but the “old boys club” sticky web of connections at the elitist Yale could mean that “outsiders” suffer considerable abuse there; the Provost’s dismissiveness of the university committee’s recommendation is but one indication of how distorted the moral compasses can be among the most powerful in the “club.” 

The complete essay is at "Exclusivism at Yale"

1. Tamar Lewin, “Handling of Sexual Harassment Case Poses Larger Questions at Yale,” The New York Times, November 1, 2014.