The United States of America is renowned for the rights and freedoms that it endows upon its citizens. But what is not well recognized is the fact that such rights and privileges are seldom offered the citizens on a platter. Behind every progressive legislative achievement is a long and hard struggle, usually led by the masses. This was true of the abolition of slavery, the New Deal measures of 1930s, the civil rights movement of the 1960s and more. In recent decades, with the gradual acceptance of homosexuality as a normal sexual orientation, its members have made demands for legal recognition. While public perception of homosexuality has improved over the years, there are strong political and religious forces that are endeavoring to curtail this progress. As a result, despite nominal changes to the status of homosexuals, there is widespread discrimination and harassment of members of the community. In the year 2004 alone, “sexual orientation bias motivated 15.6 . . . Read More
Business corporations are instituted for the primary purpose of economic gain. Often, as the pressure to show impressive profits in each financial quarter increases, it is the workforce who are put under undue stress. Ranging from unreasonably high productivity standards, to sub-standard and hazardous work environments, workers face several potential risks to their mental and physical health. The paradox lies in the fact that an unhealthy and burnt-out workforce is less productive than that which is relaxed and contented. But despite this, work-related stress continues to be a nagging problem facing business leaders and workers alike. With the profit motive being paramount for business leaders, their policies and decisions should be regulated by law. The common law duty of care provisions were designed toward this end, namely to hold employers liable for psychiatric illnesses suffered by employees, and for especially those illnesses arising as a result of employees being made to . . . Read More
The reform of the upper house of the Parliament has been attempted since the establishment of parliamentary democracy in the UK. Some of these attempts have fetched positive results whereas the rest have at best been nominal and ineffective. The Parliament Act of 1911 is a cornerstone legislation in this context as the provisions within it had the potential to significantly alter the status quo with regard to the House of Lords. This essay will show how far reforms to the House of Lords have materialized and what areas have remained stagnant in the century since the Act. The first stirrings for Lords reforms started in 1909, when
“the Liberal government of Herbert Asquith was struggling and failing to get its financial reforms through the Lords. Given that these included a tax on land, it was hardly surprising that the landowning (and Conservative) Lords were proving resistant. At that date any Bill needed the support of both Houses before it could . . . Read More
Response to Glenn Loury’s “A Nation of Jailers” and Michelle Alexander’s “How the War on Drugs Gave Birth to a Permanent American Underclass”
The mainstream media’s presentation of social realities within the United States had always been contested by a minority of writers, who have endeavored to offer an alternative point of view. Glenn Loury and Michelle Alexander certainly belong to this latter category. Alexander’s article makes it clear that despite all the political rhetoric about America being a “colorblind” nation – a place which has eradicated racial prejudice and injustice – the evidence points otherwise. According to the author, the classic case of the so-called War on Drugs program, first initiated by President Ronald Reagan and continued by subsequent Presidents, is essentially a War on Poor Blacks. This proposition is backed up by statistics pertaining to the judiciary and prison system, which show that . . . Read More
Alexander Hamilton, alongside such luminaries as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison is rightly considered as a founding father of the United States of America. In the second half of the eighteenth century, when British colonies in America entered a period of fervent political change, intellectuals such as Hamilton played pivotal roles in guiding and influencing this process. This essay will argue that Alexander Hamilton had indeed played a pivotal role in the establishment of U.S. Treasury and his ideas continue to influence economic policy even today.
Although lesser studied when compared to other Founding Fathers, Hamilton’s contribution in shaping the new American republic is substantial. For example,
“The most practical nation builder of the Founding Fathers, Hamilton (1755-1804) fought tirelessly for ratification of the Constitution, played a pivotal role in creating a centralized and powerful . . . Read More
Crimes against public order often register the highest number of cases each year in the United States. Such crimes can vary widely in the extent of their criminality, but its perpetrators are all liable to legal prosecution. Public order crimes are also referred to by other terms, such as “consensual crime, victimless vice, crimes without victims, or victimless crime”. According to noted criminologist Siegel, crimes against public order are defined as “”crime which involves acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of people to function efficiently.” (Siegel, 2006) Although vague in its definition and its identification arbitrary to the legal professionals, it is nevertheless important to keep a check on such crimes. The rest of this essay will explore in detail some of the common crimes that fall under this category.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is one of the frequently occuring public order crimes in the country. Commonly . . . Read More
A good indication of how complicated the present tax system in the UK is, is learnt from the size of the most authoritative guide to the subject. Tolley’s Yellow Tax Handbook, which is being published every year since 1983 is getting bigger each subsequent year. To give an example, it totalled close to 6,000 pages in its 2001 edition and has nearly doubled this number in its most recent edition. This is a clear indication that the tax system in the country is becoming cumbersome and complicated with each passing year. Henceforth, there is a strong case to be made for simplifying the prevailing system.
One of the reasons why the system has remained complicated is the half-hearted measures undertaken by policy-makers in reforming/simplifying the system. While Chartered Accountants have thrived in this climate, their clients, including common people, have often ended up with confusion. Furthermore, the complexities inherent in the current tax system can be attributed to . . . Read More
When Barack Obama took over the reigns from George W. Bush, he was expected to make significant changes to the policy framework. But already into the second year of his Presidency, it is fair to say that Obama’s performance has fallen short of expectations. On the negative side, the ‘surge’ in military operations in Afghanistan and the impotence to bring stability to Iraq would remain his most obvious failures. This is particularly stark when seen in the backdrop of the Nobel Prize for Peace awarded to him early in his Presidency. On the positive side, the President and his party were instrumental in passing the Healthcare Reform Bill, although some would argue that it doesn’t redress fundamental flaws in the prevailing healthcare system. Obama could have added to his achievements as President by dismantling the PATRIOT Act promoted and signed by Bush in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001 attacks. But unfortunately, he has only strenthened its . . . Read More
The twentieth century has been a transformational period for human societies. As the process of industrialization advanced during this period, more people moved away from rural to urban settings. As a result major cities became overpopulated and towns expanded into cities. The meaning of ‘public space’ got expanded and redefined during this process. And when millions of people share limited geographical space, individual privacy becomes a problem. The problem is essentially twofold: firstly, it is challenging for government agencies to protect the privacy rights of its citizens and secondly, the city dwellers are faced with threats to their privacy by criminals and fraudsters. It is in this backdrop that we must study the issue of privacy in the United States today. As the most advanced nation in the world, the urban spaces in the United States are the nerve centers for global commerce and politics. A loss of privacy in the form of loss of confidential . . . Read More
The association between rape and war goes as far back as recorded history. Among all evil actions that human beings are known to commit, rape is only next to murder in terms of its barbarity and cruelty. It is also a sad fact that irrespective of widespread acknowledgement of the tendency of human beings to indulge in rape, no significant progress is made to prevent this social evil. Most instances of rape tend to coincide with war and its immediate aftermath. This has parallels in the animal kingdom when males of most species combat with each other to win access to females in heat. But the crucial distinction to be applied in this regard is that the animals are acting as per their nature. In the case of humans, they have a developed mental faculty that is capable of applying ethical principles to their actions. Hence there is no justification in mimicking animal behavior while at the same time undermining the faculty of reason and justice that is so uniquely human. While it is . . . Read More