Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Food: Or Justice

An interesting article in the print edition of The Economist on relationship of food and justice...

It transpires that the statue of Justice, so familiar with her sword, scales, and blindfold, probably misses one final ingredient: a lunch box. Sadly, at least for the supposedly food related post, it doesn't seem that it is the blood sugar level which makes the Israeli judges turn down more and more parole requests the further away they are from their breakfast, brunch, and lunch respectively (the figures show that if your case is heard just before the latter two, you might not have bothered at all). Rather, the conclusion is that it's the fatigue of constant decision making that does it for the judges (or rather, the prisoners). But it seems that there is one effect that was not explored: in light of positive decisions, time to reach them, and number of words to explain them all seeing a significant drop just before meal breaks, I would like to offer an alternative, or at least aggravating, explanation. What if the knowledge of an upcoming break, possibly filled with tasty food, makes judges even more likely to rush their decisions, rather than the only reason being mental fatigue? After all, and as the article and the study point out, too, the judges are but human and us humans tend to rush a chore if it's to be followed by a juicy treat. The good news? British judges seem to have learned this lesson, and are thus keeping their hours extremely short, and lunches extremely long. A win-win if ever there was one.

And for poor Israelis? Well, just keep out of prison...