September 26, 2007


Appiah, Kwame Anthony, & Martin Bunzel, eds., Buying Freedom: The Ethics and Economics of Slave Redemption (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton U. Press, 2007) (From the ‘Introduction’: “This volume has its origins in an unsolicited telemarketing call. One of us (MB) was asked for money to (purportedly) free a slave in Sudan and was intrigued enough to solicit views from a variety of human rights and international relief organizations. Struck by the near unanimous condemnation of the practice, the editors began an extended conversation with others about just what (if only under idealized circumstances) would make such a practice morally wrong….” “The results of the conversations prompted by the original practical question are represented in what follows.” Id. at xiii. From Chapter Three, Arnab K. Basu and Nancy H. Chau, An Exploration of the Worst Forms of Child Labor: Is Redemption a Viable Option?‘: “According to recent International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates, 211 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are economically active, and of those, 186.3 million are child laborers. [‘According to ILO terminology, a child who worked for one hour or more the previous week is economically active. A child labourer is defined as a child between the ages of 5 and 11 who is economically active, or one aged 12-14 who does 14 or more hours of nonhazardous work pper week or 1 hour of haxardous work per week.’] In addition, 5.7 million children are in forced or bonded labor, 1.8 million in prostitution and 9.3 million in armed conflict.” Id. at 37. Of course, one might feel greater sorrow for the 18 year old college student described in Seth Schiesel’s NYT article today: “ Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, is the richest man on earth. [The student], a freshman at the University of Washington, said he would have 73 cents left in his bank account as of midnight. And that’s one reason Mr. Gates is likely to be the richest man on earth for quite a while. Both were at a Best Buy store in Bellevue, Wash., on Monday night as the third installment of Halo, Microsoft’s hit video game series, went on sale at 12:01 a.m. yesterday. Just before that moment, Mr. Gates was hand-shaking his way down the line of customers. Among them was [the student], 18, who said the 73 cents was all he would have left after buying the game.”).

Berg, Mary, The Diary of Mary Berg: Growing Up in the Warsaw Ghetto edited by S. L. Shneiderman, new edition prepared by Sausan Lee Pentlin (Oxford: Oneworld Book, 2007).

Grass, Gunter, Peeling the Onion: A Memoir translated from the German by Michael Henry Heim (New York: Harcourt, 2007).

Zamir, Tzachi, Ethics and the Beast: A Speciesist Argument for Animal Liberation (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton U. Press, 2007) (I had been sitting in on an ‘Animal Rights Symposium’ beginning conducted at the law school. I am not yet sure where I will come down on the multitude of issues relating to human treatment of nonhuman animals. However, simply thinking about and struggling with those issues has been most intellectually–and morally--enlightening. Tzachi Zamir’s thoughtful book/essay provides additional food for thought.).