Monday, March 24, 2008

Affirmative Action Around The World

I finished this book just this past weekend, during my flight back from Tokyo. It was a pretty quick read (or maybe it just seemed that way when trapped in an airplane for so many hours?), and I enjoyed it.

It is a mix of history and opinion (albeit heavily fact-supported opinion), grouped into chapters that dive deeply into affirmative action programs (original motivations as well as results to date) in several countries: India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and the US.

I was already familiar with a bunch of the data on the US situation (results as well as the data immediately leading up to its implementation), but I knew much less about affirmative action programs in the other countries mentioned. Read the book for the full story, but nearly every case involved plenty of:
  • Good intentions gone awry
  • Programs meant to be temporary far outliving the originally-envisioned duration
  • Everyone completely disregarding the law of unintended consequences
Some of the countries have had a worse time of it than others, but the facts don't paint the results too well in any of the studied countries.The actual book is only about 170 pages (with an additional 30 pages of notes beyond that), and so is quick to check out..

No comments: