Claire Chen

5 Posts
Authoritarian Success Stories? Evaluating Amartya Sen’s “Development as Freedom” in the Unfree World

Authoritarian Success Stories? Evaluating Amartya Sen’s “Development as Freedom” in the Unfree World

iStock photo by imaginima (2021) By: Claire Chen Amartya Sen’s “Development as Freedom” examines a provocative question posed by authoritarian governments and their sympathizers: does economic development truly necessitate liberal political values, especially in today’s developing world? Such a question becomes especially interesting in the context of Asia’s rapidly industrializing economies. While it is true that some wealthy nations have stable democratic governments, most notably post-WWII Japan, the relationship between prosperity and liberalism is not always clear-cut. South Korea and Taiwan are relatively affluent democracies today, but their authoritarian stints, which both lasted until 1987, could be compatible with economic…
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The Populist Revival of the Islamic Banking Movement

The Populist Revival of the Islamic Banking Movement

iStock Photo By Claire Chen Islamic banking is on the rise. Recent estimates suggest that the industry can expect a 10 percent growth rate over the next year, part of its broader transformation from a niche cultural product to a mainstream commodity part of the broader ethical finance movement. A prevailing interpretation of Islamic banking considers it as simply another alternative in the consumer banking market. It is here that much of the discourse is centered: Islamic banking appears to be an individual moral statement that the savvy consumer chooses among a variety of products. At the same time, the…
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Fund No Harm: Stopping the Financing of Unlawful Organizations

Fund No Harm: Stopping the Financing of Unlawful Organizations

By Claire Chen iStock Photo by Andrii Yalanskyi (2019) Vanderbilt’s latest Greek-life controversy saw the suspension of Sigma Chi due to “accountability issues.” Though this explanation provides little insight into the fraternity’s inner workings, to say nothing of the timeline for potential reintegration into campus life, the consequences of the suspension are clear: for the time being, Sigma Chi will no longer have the privileges of a Vanderbilt student organization. These range from dull logistical details such as branding and room-renting in addition to the existentially significant matter of financial estrangement, and Sigma Chi can no longer look forward to…
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The Informal Economy: Case Studies Within America’s Ethnic Chinese Diaspora

The Informal Economy: Case Studies Within America’s Ethnic Chinese Diaspora

By Claire Chen The universal status of Chinese food is perhaps the most iconic symbol of Chinese diasporic success. Even three years and five hundred miles out of the house, I can still find the dishes of my childhood when I walk down the streets of Nashville. No doubt you’ve ventured to these same businesses as well to chase that late-night fried rice craving that only Chinese takeout can fix. But the public-facing businesses catering to the American palate are just the surface of community innovation. The fried rice you trust is made by workers with W-2s in a kitchen…
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Bread, Circuses, and… Gas Prices? Energy as the Symbol of American Prosperity

Bread, Circuses, and… Gas Prices? Energy as the Symbol of American Prosperity

By: Claire Chen The U.S. Department of Labor’s August 2022 CPI report reveals that American consumers may finally see a respite in the inflationary processes that have contributed to a skyrocketing cost of living. The modest 0.1 percent increase in August’s CPI – still higher than expected, but consistent with July’s 0.0 percent increase and a dramatic reversal from June’s 1.3 percent increase – may explain the September 26 remarks expressed by Federal Reserve Chair of Boston Dr. Susan Collins, who states, “I think that it’s quite likely that inflation is near peaking and perhaps may have peaked already.” However,…
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