I have 10 fans: Become a Fan. You'll get emails whenever I post articles on OpEdNews
Reza Varjavand (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is associate professor of economics and finance at the Graham School of management, Saint Xavier University, of Chicago. He has been an avid participant in many professional organizations and active in the areas of research and presentations. His research interest includes economics of healthcare, pedagogy of teaching, and economic development especially in the developing countries, economic crisis, and economics of religious practices. Varjavand is a regular contributor to the iranian.com, one of the most popular electronic journals dedicated to the issues related to the Iranian expatriates worldwide and in Iran. He is the author of a newly published memoir entitled "From Misery Alley to Missouri Valley" He has as received the Excellence in Scholarship Award in 2004 at Saint Xavier University and the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2005 from the Graham School of Management.
(16 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 18, 2012 Legalized Market for Human Kidneys: a Problem or a Panacea?
Out of 113, 000 patients who are waiting for organ transplants, as of Feb. 8th 2012, almost 91,000 of them, more than 80%, are waiting for a kidney. Additionally, the number of kidney donors is 12,090, indicating that there are only thirteen donors for every 100 patients on the waiting list. Evidently, there is a severe kidney shortage in the US, thus creating the possibility of alleviating it through monetary incentives. Ca
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 30, 2012 Nonbeliever Nation, The Rise of Secular America
How misinformation and the infiltration of the Religious Right into mainstream American politics have caused marginalization of secularism and the polarization of American society.
(26 comments) SHARE Saturday, October 29, 2011 Looking Back To Move Forward: Resuscitating The Ailing U.s. Economy
Although numerous books have been written in the aftermath of the 2007 great recession, but none has captured the essence of what went wrong and why America was so oblivious to the changing world than the Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum book entitled That Used to Be Us. Although the authors are frustrated with the current state of affairs in America, they are optimistic about our future outlook and believe there is a l
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, October 19, 2013 Ignoring Scientific Realities is Not Good for America
Republicans and the Tea Partiers have a vested interest in keeping people ignorant of scientific realities because this paves the way for them to remove social safety nets by defunding or repealing the ACA. They believe that by luring people to ignore scientific facts and promoting a certain brand of religiosity, more people will come to expect God to take care of their needs and not the government.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, July 18, 2011 The Evolution of God, Is God a Figment of Human Imagination?
Because, the finitude of our earthy existence precluded us from understanding and proving the existence of God, we have always speculated about the nature of God and have switched from one perception to another. However, one thing that is still unambiguous is that newer gods are the offspring of the old ones, so are the newer religions.
SHARE Saturday, November 13, 2010 Incentivizing Religion
This article argues that the promise of heaven reward and the threat of punishment have transformed the religion into a self-serving station
(7 comments) SHARE Saturday, July 30, 2011 Why Do We Believe?
In his newly published book "The Believing Brain" Dr. Michael Shermer's argues that people first believe in what they want to believe and then search for justification afterward. In other words, "beliefs come first; reasons for beliefs follow in confirmation of the realism dependent on the belief." This is the persistent theme of his book.
SHARE Friday, September 30, 2011 Are We Worried About the Wrong Things?
It is tempting to think that materialistic progress will enhance our overall level of welfare and promote social justice equity. Quite the opposite, it may have only created a false sense of contentment and security. We are now more skeptical about the positive correlation between material growth and the overall social and individual welfare.
(7 comments) SHARE Friday, February 22, 2013 Lawyers: Rent Seekers or Problem Solvers?
The U.S. ranks at the top when it comes to its number of licensed lawyers. There are currently 1,143,358 of them, one per every 265 people. Meanwhile, the inverse correlation between economic growth and the number of lawyers has been properly documented by some research.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 2, 2011 Pricing Human Organs
Human organs are not common commodities; hence, they do not conform to the law of supply and demand. With or without a market for human organs, the shortage is going to persist.
(12 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 14, 2012 The Costs and Benefits of Belief: An Economic Perspective
By making requirements less stringent thus lowering the costs of compliance, some religions have attracted a massive number of well-off followers and/or prevent them from defecting. Although the non-monetary benefits of religious practice that entice most people, the monetary benefits do matter especially for underprivileged followers who seek security through social affiliation.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, December 29, 2017 God, A Human History
We have depicted gods like humans; they possessed all the attributes of human beings. The reason gods were depicted as human beings was because human beings were the only intelligent beings known to them. Aslan argues that we need to dehumanized God in a pantheism approach, think of him in terms of the forces and laws of the universe and not restricted to being like a human
(6 comments) SHARE Sunday, May 13, 2012 Damn it, Are You Still Alive? Should We Allow Market Forces to Invade Our Lives?
Devoid of morality and ethical values, capitalism is heading in a scary direction. The proliferation of strange ways to make money has made some people wonder if the free-enterprise system is devolving and being dragged into denigrating territory due to our obliviousness to the reckless deeds of greedy people who are taking us for a dangerous ride.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 24, 2013 Rising Economic Inequality in America: Its Causes and Consequences, Part 1
Even though the United States has the largest GDP in the world, income and wealth inequality in this country is rampant and counterproductive. Many researchers blame excessive inequality as the principal cause of 2008 Great Recession and the lackluster recovery afterward. They believe inequality may force the U.S. economy into another tailspin.
SHARE Monday, November 22, 2010 Are We in This Together?
The government policies, designed to stimulate the economy, cannot save us from another economic catastrophe unless the needed fundamental reforms are dealt with properly.
SHARE Wednesday, July 1, 2020 Arranged Marriages or Love Marriages: Which one Last Longer?
In the old days, especially in Middle Eastern countries most marriages were arranged by family and they remarkably lasted for a lifetime. Today, however, marital life must be based on love even if it leads to an easy separation. Most people believe that the quality of a marriage must be important, not the quantity.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, April 29, 2013 Is America Retreating From the World?
In his latest book, Dr. Vali Nasr blames President Obama for his unwillingness to pay due attention to diplomacy and his failure to uphold the goodwill assets of the U.S. as he promised to do when he was a presidential candidate. U.S. foreign policy is mainly based on the advice of military generals and intelligence reports rather than on the expert advice of the diplomats.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, May 6, 2011 You Say Islam, I say Veiling
Compulsory veiling is tantamount to sequestration of the body which is as appalling as sequestration of the mind and its brainpower.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, August 14, 2011 Why Do We Believe? Part 2
The Believing Brain by Micahel Shermer is one of interesting books I read them this summer. The book presents an intriguing account of why people believe, its main argument: beliefs come first and the reasons for beliefs come next. I especially appreciate of the author's inventiveness and admire his embracement of scientific method as the best way to discover the truth about God and religion.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, July 12, 2014 Do We Need Another So-Called Holy War: Religion vs. Science
Just as there is no reason to accept scientific phenomenon based on mere faith, there is also no reason to believe that religious stories are scientific fact. We should not emasculate proven scientific theories simply because they are at odds with religious theology, nor should we aggrandize religious establishments simply because they have power, the financial backing of some organizations, or have a large adherent base.
(9 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 3, 2018 Aging, a Problem or an Opportunity?
No one wants to get old. We routinely resort to every possible tactic to postpone old age or to camouflage its appearance. However, even all such measures enable us to live a few extra years, is that necessarily worth it. We still don't know whether a prolonged life means a happier or a more fulfilling life.
(5 comments) SHARE Monday, January 29, 2018 Trump Is Our President
I am one of those tens of millions of people who were disappointed and taken by surprise by the outcome of the presidential election. I believe, however, that democracy is like a competitive market; it works best in the long run if it is left to its own devices. This corrective action may not happen quickly, but all we need to do is wait.
SHARE Friday, July 27, 2018 Hijab: A Symbol of Domination or a Symbol of Freedom?
I am really flabbergasted by the fact that, while many women in Iran and other prominent Muslim countries where hijab is mandatory are struggling to free themselves from the hardships they have to endure stemming from this oppressive imposition, in America, hijab is being advertised by some apologists, so-called Muslim feminists, as a sign of liberation and freedom.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 13, 2017 It Is All in Your Head
In this book, the author, Dr. O'Sullivan, shares her long-term experience with some of her patients who thought they were suffering from serious diseases. She explains, however, how medical tests showed they had no serious disease but only illness, in how they respond to emotional situations.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 30, 2012 The Changing Face of "We the People
Our nation has been going through deep demographic changes during the recent decades. According to the latest report by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of babies born to non-white families is greater than the number of babies born to whites, 50.4% vs. 49.6%. While the percentage of the population accounted for by whites is still a majority, 63.4% of the total, this will no longer be the case by the year 2050
(6 comments) SHARE Monday, August 25, 2014 Bringing Heaven Down to Earth
If we need to do good deeds, if there is a purpose to life, and a wisdom at play in how things turn out in our life, why do these things have to be imposed from the above with a predestined blueprint of where we are heading?
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 4, 2013 A Religion for Atheists
Religion can be utilized to solve many of the problems atheism has to confront but without religion's supernatural source. The key challenge is not to utterly reject religion, but to instead exploit the good ideas put forward by religion to boost atheism's chance of increasing its appeal to the masses who are habituated to religion. Atheists need to learn that people seem to be more strongly drawn to believe in something
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 7, 2013 Time for the U.S. President to Go to Tehran
U.S. politicians must realize that as U.S. dominance in the Middle East dwindles, Iran's power will surge and the U.S. will be less capable of achieving its goals in that region that are so vital to its interests. America may have no choice but to seek Iran's collaboration. In order for this to happen, it should recognize first the legitimacy of the Iranian government. And warm up the Islamic Republic.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, July 20, 2014 Book Review, Capital in the Twenty-First Century
The distribution of wealth/income is a dynamic mechanism that has been shaped historically by both divergence and convergence forces. It is too consequential to be left to the market forces alone. Inequality is a threat to the world economy and the best solution, according to this study, is a universal tax on capital and wealth supplemented by a state-of-the-art regulatory system.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 19, 2019 Is Capitalism a Problem or a Panacea?
Capitalism can be brutal at times because it is based on the survival of the fittest. It is not, however, a losing game. Free trade coupled with incentives and competition guarantee that if an entrepreneur misuses his or her power, collective forces of consumers will kick in and react.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 4, 2011 Blind Adherence to Free Market Ideology May No Longer Serve Us Well
If there is anything useful about the recent economic crisis is the lesson we should learn from it. It should persuade us that despite our steady faith on capitalism, it is not without shortcomings . Our infallible adherence to free enterprise doctrine may no longer serve us favorably?
SHARE Thursday, August 13, 2020 Behaving to Please Others
Capitalism and popularity of social media have turned people into discerning, selective consumers of what is being sold. The art of selling requires likeability, which becomes a sought-after commodity under capitalism. Just like politicians, businesspeople and others wish to become popular and sell themselves, so as to attain fame, status, and possible monetary gain.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 4, 2015 The Role of Social Media: Judge and Jury?
The social media has become an extremely strong court of public opinion that seems to be jeopardizing the long-held principle that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
(13 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 12, 2017 Should America Phase Out Cash to Curtail Crimes?
There is approximately $1,500 billion currency in circulation, nearly 84% of it is in the form of $100 and $50 bills, making illegal transportations of cash less toilsome for criminal purposes. Some economists suggest that phasing out large can serve as a deterrent to the illegal activities facilitated by cash.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, August 21, 2015 Heretic: Don't Demonize Ayaan Hirsi Ali Because She Tells It Like It Is
Although there might be other reasons for the violence perpetrated by some Islamists, Ayaan Hirsi Ali argues that the root cause of this violence is the Islamic texts and hadiths. Without the proper reformation of Islam, we cannot effectively deal with global terrorism and its related ills. Despite all the opposition and resistant to changes, she argues that reformation is imminent.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, March 7, 2014 Take an Aspirin and I’ll Send You a Bill in the Morning!
We are supposed to trust our doctors because they are expected to do what is best for us, especially when we encounter serious illnesses. It is not out of the ordinary for doctors to earn high salaries, but they should be doing so honestly and by providing proper care for their patients. Ethical and moral values should take precedence over compensation.
SHARE Monday, September 1, 2014 The Value of Big Gods: Are They Here to Stay?
As societies grow larger, anonymity becomes a problem that undermines cooperation and compliance with social norms. Thus, the monitoring of individuals becomes complicated, thus, the need for a supernatural policing arises and consequently, so does the need for big gods.
In advanced countries, the secular democratic institutions have eliminated the need for organized religion. As he puts it, these prosperous nations "climbed
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 18, 2014 Is Fear of Islam Irrational? Ask the Victims of Extremism
The recent appearance of Reza Aslan on CNN and his flare-up during an interview has created a public backlash concerning the treatment of women and violent actions in Islamic countries. He overreacted to the CNN interviewers' claim that women in Islamic countries are mistreated by calling their claim "stupid."
SHARE Thursday, August 4, 2011 Killing For Cause
Because all religious rules and codes of conduct are made by men, they have a built-in misogynistic element that often provides the impetus to disrespect women and treat them harshly. The complicity of religion in killing for cause gives rise to many significant issues we need to tackle.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 9, 2013 Happy Valentine's Day; Say No to ED
I would say that erectile dysfunction is not as big of a problem as advertisers want us to believe. Perhaps they are playing on men's insecurities and fear of inadequacy. Even if a man is unable to have an erection, why should this be considered a problem?
SHARE Monday, March 22, 2021 Praying in Public
I believe praying is personal and private. It is between you and the God you believe in and must be done in the privacy of your home or in your faith places of worship, just as dancing is performed in studios and gymnastics in gymnasiums. Performing religious rituals in the public sphere may create adversarial reactions from people who think Muslims are doing it for publicity or personal gain.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 2, 2013 Let Bygones Be Bygones
The recent diplomatic overtures toward improving relationships between Iran and the US are unexpected but certainly welcomed milestones. The major diplomatic turnarounds with Iran confirm the theme of this article that U.S. hegemony around the world does no longer resonate with the new mosaic American nation. A nation dominated by minorities is a kinder nation that brings about more tolerance, collaboration, and fairness.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 20, 2011 Are We Really So Special?
It seems like fanatic religious people claim specialness just because they have nothing else to be proud of or to capitalize on. Or, they want to create distinctiveness as the instrument for generating fictive bonds that could grow and lead to domination.
SHARE Tuesday, October 11, 2011 Cheap Hope
The resurgence of conservative ideology over the past two years, especially following the recent midterm election, clearly signifies voter dissatisfaction with the status quo.