In the past couple of weeks, a sizable part of the Columbia student body has erupted in anger -- this time over the public art that adorns our campus. After the administration began to install Henry Moore’s “Reclining Figure 1969-70” in front of Butler Library, in the dead center of the “postcard” view of campus, many students responded by writing harsh op-eds in the Spectator and over 1,200 students signed a petition against the statue. These students were upset that the statue was announced only through an obscure school blog, even though the statue is widely seen as a major addition to the main campus lawn, and that the statue is just plain ugly, or at least in harsh contrast to the neoclassical buildings of the surrounding vista. In turn, the student reaction garnered the attention of many major newspapers and national media outlets, from the New York Times to the BBC, and snowballed into a major issue on campus and beyond. Several commentators expressed astonishment for the
Sharia law prohibits the imposition of interest on monetary loans. Charging interest is usually considered to be riba, or “usury”. The opposition to interest comes from an understanding of money only as a means of exchange and not as a commodity in itself. As Pakistani Islamic scholar Muhammad Taqi Usmani explains, “Since money has no intrinsic value...the exchange of a unit of money for another unit of the same denomination cannot be effected except as par value.” This prohibition is at odds with common financial practices, as much of the global financial system is built on interest-bearing loans. Sharia also prohibits any investments in other activities or commodities prohibited by sharia, like alcohol, gambling or pornography. Islamic Finance, or more accurately “sharia compliant finance,” offers financial products and services in accordance with such restrictions. Of course, not all Muslim people are devout enough to necessarily use these services, some preferring conventional
What should be done about expensive colleges? In the midst of the 2016 election, Senator Marco Rubio has quietly endorsed an interesting alternative to the debt-free college funding proposals of Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders: income-based repayment loans. Also known as a pay-as-you-earn scheme, this program allows recent college graduates to pay for their college loans with a fixed share of their income rather than a fixed amount of money. Although they seem simple at first glance, IBR loans are actually a complex economic interaction completely dependent on expectations, trust and optimism. Year after year, the rising price of a college education continues to put a high burden on the finances of American families and young people. Measured in current dollars, the average price of tuition in a public college has risen from $500 dollars in 1971 to $9139 dollars in 2015. This increase has occurred simultaneously with a shift in the American economy away from
Everyone should get paid. Yes, even people who don’t work and even those who don’t want to work. Such is the principle behind Universal Basic Income (UBI), an idea that seems to contradict most of the Western World’s conceptions of labor, merit and effort. Yet, the leftist party “Podemos” in Spain and a growing majority in the European left would disagree. Could Universal Income be the answer for a recession and austerity stricken Europe? The ethos behind universal basic income is not new. Growing attention to poverty and wealth inequalities in high income countries has prompted debates around minimum wage in the US and welfare mechanism in Europe. UBI’s innovation lies in the fact that it erases the government’s restriction on welfare recipients, effectively eliminating one of the most contested requirements of unemployment welfare: that beneficiaries need to continue actively looking for jobs or even accept jobs they do not want. The main benefit of the UBI is its simplicity.