Archive for September, 2013

Logical Model and Physical Database Design -Chores Database

September 30, 2013

Contents

1.      Project Plan. 4

Introduction. 4

Project Description. 4

Metadata. 5

2.      Logical Design. 6

Introduction. 6

Logical Schema. 6

ER Diagram.. 7

Entity Description. 7

Relationship Description. 8

Business Rules. 8

Constraints. 9

Normalization. 9

3.      Physical Design. 10

Introduction. 10

Naming Conventions. 10

Physical Schema. 10

4.      Conclusion. 11

 


 

 

1.     Project Plan

Introduction

            The objective of this project is to design a database that could be used to store and retrieve information about daily chores. The reason behind choosing this application is the need for maintaining daily chores in a central database so that it can be tracked accurately for pending or left-out chores and helps in future forecasting based on previous history. Above all, maintaining a central database would remove duplication of data entry thereby saving time and effort. This sort of application will not only helps an individual in tracking his or her daily chores but also helps cleaning and maintenance companies to keep track of chore activities with the associated employees and clients. Thus, the project will be designed in a high level such that it can be adopted with no or less modifications by both individual users as well as cleaning companies.

Project Description

            As explained in the introduction section, this project would aim in designing a database that would keep track of household chores so that the activities can be tracked and reports be generated. The database would be designed to store information about the following data.

Person: This data would represent information about persons responsible for chores such as name, contact details, etc. For company use, this data could be details of employees responsible for each chore.

Chores: Information about chore including chore description, estimated and actual time, assigned person, etc will be maintained. In addition, companies can also add ID of the associated client with each chore.

Clients: Information about clients including client name, address and contact details will be tracked.

Profit: Monthly profits for each year will also be maintained. Profit will be calculated using queries relating the actual and allocated cost for each chore.

Reports

            Various reports can be generated from the information stored in the database. Some of the reports include retrieving all the pending activities for the current day or current week, profit variance for the current year, estimated duration for work for each employee for a particular day or week, list of all completed tasks for each employee/person for a particular month, etc. One of the sample reports that shows all the chores that the company is currently handling along with its description, frequency, category, estimated minutes, minutes per week and person responsible is provided below.

 

Figure 1: Sample report generated from Chores database   

Entities

This database will contain the following entities with the following attributes:

  • Persons
    • Attributes: name, DOB, address, contactNo, email and salary
    • Chores
      • Attributes:  description, category, frequency, estimated minutes, actual minutes, status, assigned person and associated client (if any)
      • Clients
        • Attributes: name, address, address, contactNo and email
        • Profit
          • Attributes: month, year and profit amount

Metadata

Person responsible for the chore (person), Person requesting the chore (client), cost, time

Database Application

As compared to manual maintenance of household chores in spreadsheets or flat files, database maintenance is very effective and time consuming. Adopting a central database for storing and retrieving information will avoid wastage time in unnecessary duplication of data and helps in faster data retrieval. Further, it minimizes errors that could arise while entering same data in multiple places thereby increasing accuracy and precision of data. Above all, data can be easily portable and can be shared with less effort.

2.     Logical Design

Introduction

            This section describes the logical design of the proposed database. It starts with a detailed logical schema of the chores database along with an ER diagram. In addition, detailed description about each entities, constraints and associated entities will also be provided.

Logical Schema

            The detailed list of all entities and their corresponding attributes are shown in below table.

Entity

Attributes

Person

Person ID

 

Person Name

 

Person Address

 

Person Contact No

 

Person Email

 

Person Salary

Client

Client ID

 

Client Name

 

Client Address

 

Client Contact No

 

Client Email

Chores

Chore ID

 

Chore Description

 

Chore Category ID

 

Chore Frequency

 

Chore Estimated Minutes

 

Chore Actual Minutes

 

Chore Assigned Person

 

Chore Associated Client

 

Chore Status

Profit

Profit ID

 

Profit Year

 

Profit Month

 

Profit Amount

Chore Categories

Category ID

 

Category Description

 

Category Cost per hour

Person Expertise

Person ID

 

Person Expertise

 

ER Diagram

Based on the above logical schema, the ER diagram is drawn as shown in the below diagram (figure 2).

 

Figure 2: ER diagram of the chores database

Entity Description

            The detailed description of each of the entities in the ER diagram is given below:

Person: This entity contains information about persons or employees responsible for one or more household chores. Attributes include ID, name, address, contact number and email. 

Client: This entity contains information about clients for whom chore is added in the database. It may be self or any other family members in case of personal application. For company applications, it may hold details of clients. Attributes include ID, name, address, contact number and email.

Chore: This entity contains information about every chore that may be handled by the company or an individual. Attributes include ID, chore description, category ID, associated client ID, frequency, estimated time, actual time, assigned employee and chore status.

Profit: This entity would hold information about the monthly profits for each year. Attributes include ID, year, month and amount.

Chore category: This entity acts a look up table for chores entity and contains name and cost of all the possible categories of chore that may be handled by the company or individual.  Attributes include ID, description and cost per hour.

Person Expertise: This entity is added for ease in selection of persons while assigning them to chores. It contains all the expertise of a person and each expertise would be on among the available chore categories. Attributes include person ID and Expertise ID.

Relationship Description

            The relationships mentioned in the ER diagram are explained below in detail:

Handles is a one-to-many relationship between a person and a chore. This implies that one person can handle one or many chores but no single chore can be handled by more than one employee. 

Request is also a one-to-many relationship that exists between a client and a chore. A client can place one or more request to the cleaning company. For personal use, any individual can place one or more household chores in the database according to their individual needs. However, each request should be made by one and only one client.

Makes is a one-to-many relationship between a choreCategory and profit entity. Each chore category makes some profit based on the allocated cost and actual cost. These profits would be calculated every month and stored in this entity for each year.  

ExpertIn is weak one-to-many relationship between person and personExpertise entity and relates to choreCategory entity via another weak one-to-one relationship PersonBelongsTo. This entity does not stand alone with a unique primary key but is a combined relationship of two entities: Person and ChoreCategory.

BelongsTo is a many-to-one relationship between chore and choreCategory entities. Each chore will belong to one and only category but more than one chore can belong to the same category.

Business Rules

            The following business rules are identified for the database design:

  • No two persons can handle the same chore. Each chore must be handled by one and only one person.
  • No two clients can share the same chore. Each chore identified in the chore entities must be from one and only one client.
  • Each chore must belong to a category, it should be one, and only one category identified from the chore category entity.
  • Each person should have an expertise entity in the personExpertise entity. And each entry in the personExpertise entity should be for one and only one person.
  • Each expertise in the person Expertise entity should belong to one and only one category in the choreCategory entity.

Constraints

            The database is designed with both entity integrity and referential integrity. In order to enforce entity integrity, each entity will be identified by a not NULL unique primary key. In order to enforce referential integrity, foreign keys defined in each table will exactly match the primary key of the referenced table. The foreign keys will be a not NULL field and the data type will exactly match that of the primary key of the referenced table. The details of referential integrity and entity integrity as enforced on the database are shown in below figure.

 

Figure 3: Entity Integrity and Referential Integrity on Chores database

Normalization

            The database is designed such that it confirms to 1NF, 2 NF and 3NF. In order to confirm with 1NF, each entity is designed with a unique not null primary key. In order to confirm to 2 NF, the tables are designed such that each non key attribute of the table depends on the primary key. Further, in order to confirm to 3 NF, all the non key attributes that does not depend solely on the primary key alone has been moved to a separate table. For example the personExpertise and choreCategories table has been introduced in order to confirm the design to 3 NF.

3.     Physical Design

Introduction

This section gives brief introduction about physical design of the database including the naming conventions and physical schema.

Naming Conventions

            In order to standardize the naming convention across the database, each column in each entity is identified by its entity name followed by column description. For example each column in person entity will have a prefix ‘person’ followed by the actual attribute (personID, personName, etc).

Physical Schema

            The physical schema of the database is given in the below table.

Table Name

Column Name

Data type

PK/FK

Is Null

Person

PersonID

Integer  (Auto Increment)

PK

NOT NULL

 

PersonName

Varchar(40)

 

NOT NULL

 

PersonAddress

Varchar(100)

 

NOT NULL

 

PersonContact No

Varchar(12)

 

NOT NULL

 

PersonEmail

Varchar(50)

 

 

 

PersonSalary

Float

 

 

Client

ClientID

Integer (Auto Increment)

PK

NOT NULL

 

ClientName

Varchar(40)

 

NOT NULL

 

ClientAddress

Varchar(100)

 

NOT NULL

 

ClientContact No

Varchar(12)

 

NOT NULL

 

ClientEmail

Varchar(50)

 

 

Chores

ChoreID

Integer (Auto Increment)

PK

NOT NULL

 

ChoreDescription

Varchar(60)

 

NOT NULL

 

ChoreCategoryID

Integer

 

NOT NULL

 

ChoreFrequency

Varchar(20)

 

NOT NULL

 

ChoreEstimatedMinutes

Integer

 

NOT NULL

 

ChoreActualMinutes

Integer

 

 

 

ChoreAssignedPerson

Integer

 

 

 

ChoreAssociatedClient

Integer

 

 

 

ChoreStatus

Varchar(10)

 

NOT NULL

Profit

ProfitID

Integer (Auto Increment)

PK

NOT NULL

 

ProfitYear

Integer

 

NOT NULL

 

ProfitMonth

Integer

 

NOT NULL

 

ProfitAmount

Float

 

NOT NULL

Chore Categories

CategoryID

Integer (Auto Increment)

PK

NOT NULL

 

CategoryDescription

Varchar(60)

 

NOT NULL

 

CategoryCostperhour

Float

 

NOT NULL

Person Expertise

PersonExpertise

Integer (Auto Increment)

PK

NOT NULL

 

PersonID

Integer

 

NOT NULL

 

ExpertiseID

Integer

 

NOT NULL

 

4.     Conclusion

Thus, the logical and physical schema for the Chores database has been designed and documented successfully. All the available business rules have been identified and discussed. All the necessary constraints and normalization has also been enforced.

 

 

Cardiac assessment and intervention

September 30, 2013

Introduction

The human body is a complex mechanical system that consists of numerous organs, some of which are crucial for survival, including the lungs, liver and brain. The heart falls under the same category of vital organs as the brain and lungs, primarily because of the role it plays in the body. Some of the heart’s main functions include the distribution of oxygen to the entire body, transportation of nutrients and removal of waste from the system through blood. It is, therefore, essential to ensure it functions correctly, usually by getting regular check-ups that provide for early detection of any faults to its functions. The heart comprises of tissues that are prone to damage if injured and thus requires proper maintenance. Although individuals theoretically are supposed to go for frequent check-ups for early detection of any anomalies in bodily functions, most people only seek medical help when they perceive fault in standard functions or experience pain. This paper explores some case studies with the aim of explaining some of the conditions, processes and procedures that cardiac assessment and intervention involves.

Question 1

Diagnostic process

The first case study involves a situation in which a hospital admits a fifty eight year old man in a ward following an episode of chest pains. In such a case, although abnormalities involving the heart are a common cause of such pain, it is important to conduct an inquiry involving a series of questions before establishing a cause of action. One of the reasons this procedure is necessary is to rule out other causes of such pain, other than cardiac malfunctions. Secondly, the questions enable a medical practitioner narrow down the causes of distress through the symptoms a patient describes.

 One of the questions that aid in the diagnostic process is, asking the patient the particular area that causes distress. Localized pain makes the problem easier to detect as opposed to pain in a general area. For instance, pain in the left side of the chest is more indicative or a heart related problem while pain in the lower right area of the chest is more indicative of gastrointestinal problems.

Another question that greatly aids in the diagnostic process is the type of pain it is (LeMore & Burke, 2004). Although the necessity of the description of his pain may seem trivial to the patient, it helps a doctor or nurse make a proper diagnosis without involving invasive procedures such as surgery. A burning sensation is common with conditions that involve stomach acid like peptic ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease. A dull type of chest pain or mild discomfort may indicate conditions or disorders involving other organs close to the heart like hiatal hernia, a condition in which the stomach pushes towards the lower part of the chest after food consumption. Discomfort and mild or dull pain may be the resultant outcome of pressure on the lower chest area. Sharp pain on particular areas of the chest usually indicate localized injuries to those areas, as is the case with a rib fracture, muscle strain or tear.

Asking the patient the length of the period within which he has experienced the pain helps establish the severity of the condition. Sudden sharp pain indicates conditions that require immediate urgent attention such as rib fractures and hypotrophic cardiomyopathy while gradual pain often indicates conditions that a nurse can address more progressively through tests and further inquiry.

The patient’s medical history, especially with diseases or disorders that comprise similar symptoms, is also vital (Petrie, 2013). Conditions such as pulmonary embolism and asthma may bear similar symptoms to an angina or myocardial infarction thus it is necessary to eliminate as many possible causes as possible while isolating the most probable cause of the main.

Other questions that form part of the important inquisition phase include the patient’s occupation or normal every day activities and the patient’s history with drugs and alcohol. It is also necessary to ask whether the patience experiences pain in other areas of his body such as the neck and arms.

Although questions are necessary in establishing the cause of the pain, the nurse or doctor also needs to observe keenly symptoms such as shortness of breath, inflammation of the skin around the distress area and other areas of the body and dizziness.

Some of the medical intervention measures that a doctor or nurse may take at the time of admission of the patient include tests such as breathing and coughing tests for airway obstructions, an x-ray in the case of a suspected rib fracture or an ECG (electrocardiogram) for a detailed heart examination (Fiumara & Goldhaber, 2009). In cases where the pain seems to subside when the patient rests during the inquisition process and does not have any severe symptoms, the nurse may prescribe rest, antibiotics for infections and painkillers in cases of severe pain. Other modes of intervention include surgery and prescription of medical routine check-ups for cases in which the nurse or doctor prescribes medication for the patient to take while at home.

Question 2

Tachycardia

Tachycardia is a condition in which an individual’s heart rate is above normal limits, mainly indicative of hypotension. Hypotension is a descriptive term for a condition in which the blood’s pressure falls below normal limits.

In the second case study, a patient undergoes a 12 lead ECG that indicates ischemic changes in his anterior leads and hypotension associated with tachycardia. A 12 lead ECG (electrocardiogram) is a test that checks the heart’s health through an analysis of the heart’s electrical functions. The heart’s electrical functions are responsible for the frequency and rhythm of its contraction (Kaneko, Cohn & Aranki, 2013). Through an analysis of the electrical emissions and pathways, the ECG is able to measure an individual’s heart rate, the size and position of the heart and lungs and blood pressure. Proper analysis of the tests takes some time, as an individual needs several different tests at different times to provide comparative results necessary for proper diagnosis and prognosis.

The ECG results appear in the form of linear curves that bulge upwards or downwards in a steady manner, with higher peaks during heartbeats. In the case study, the results would indicate more peaks, usually higher than usual and appearing irregular, an indication of irregularly fast heartbeats. Ischemic changes are irregularities in the brain’s metabolism that usually cause irregularities in other body functions such as metabolic rates and energy regulation. Taking several tests enables a doctor or nurses establish the cause and determine an appropriate course of treatment.

Although tachycardia may not seem like a likely cause for hypotension, a variation of the condition may ironically cause hypotension. When the body experiences low blood pressure, the heart responds by a rise in the heart rate, increasing the amount of blood pumped that in turn increases the amount of blood in circulation, creating a subsequent rise in pressure. However, during ventricular tachycardia, the increase in heart rate causes the reverse effect leading to a decline in blood pressure. Ventricular tachycardia is a condition whereby the ventricles contract rapidly and irregularly. Due to the rapid contractions, the ventricles fail to fill properly leading to a decrease in the blood pumped and a subsequent decrease in the blood available in the body, hence hypotension (Lin, Lee, et al, 2013).

Medical prescription for the tachycardia depends on various factors, including the cause, severity and frequency of the condition. In essence, the central aim of the medical intervention is to lower and possibly normalize the individual’s heart rate.  In cases where the cause of distress is anxiety or panic attacks, the doctor may prescribe a period of rest coupled with anti-anxiety medication in cases of recurrent attacks. Cardio version is also a temporary solution for conditions that are not life threatening as it normalizes the heart rate through the use of electric shock through the skin to the heart.  The medical practitioner may also apply the use of vagal maneuvers, which are movements that affect the vagus nerve that helps with the regulation of the heartbeat. The movements include exercises such as coughing and applying pressure by holding breath as if passing stool. The doctor may also prescribe some anti-arrhythmic drugs such as Esmolol or beta-blockers that aid in lowering the heart rate (Mulpuru, Pretoriols & Birgersdotter, 2013). The doctor may also recommend that the patient desist from using diuretics in cases where low blood pressure results from dehydration due to their consumption. However, in severe cases, the patient may need to undergo corrective surgery in cases where the use of drugs may not be possible.

Question 3

Ischemic changes

Ischemic changes are alterations or irregularities in healthy brain function that result from a decrease in blood supply to the brain (Majib, Awan, et al, 2004). Low blood supply to the brain causes a decline to the nutrients, hormones and oxygen the brain gets causing symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, confusion, reduced motor functions and fainting. The changes are usually visible through observation of the patient, although conducting an ECG may enable easier detection in cases where the symptoms are not yet manifest. In cases where low blood pressure occurs for long periods without proper treatment, a patient may stand a high risk of developing complications with such as impaired speech, vision or lose the use of his or her arms and legs, sometimes permanently. Low blood supply to the brain due to low blood pressure causes a drastic decrease to the amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching brain cells, impairing their development. In extreme cases, such deprivation and impairment may eventually cause the brain to degenerate and eventually die, leaving the patient clinically dead.  Ischemic changes are especially dangerous for infants as they bar the growth of the brain, causing permanent physical and sometimes mental disabilities.

Question 4

Risk factors and role of nurses

One of the risk factors associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases is lack of exercise. Exercise plays an important role in improving and maintaining blood circulation in the entire body, preventing problems such as myocardial infarctions and hypotension. The second common risk factor is poor dietary options that lead to problems such as obesity that make the heart prone to conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and an angina. Consumption of fatty foods leads to excess fats in the body that is likely to cause blockages and thicken the heart muscle (Lin, Lee, et al, 2013). The third risk factor consists of occupations that prove hazardous to cardiovascular health. People who work in factories involving gaseous products or strenuous activity such as construction work possess a higher risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases or disorders. Fourthly, use of alcohol and drugs increases the risk of a contracting cardiovascular disease due to their characteristic of changing the body’s metabolism including factors such as the heart rate and consequently blood pressure. Age comprises another one of the important risk factors as it affect the body’s ability to repair cellular damage to body organs and makes the heart particularly vulnerable (Sharma, Datta, et al, 2013). Issues such as financial concerns and relationship problems are more prominent in adults than they are with teenagers. Lastly, the presence of other diseases creates a predisposition for cardiac diseases as the diseases leave the body weak.

The main role nurses play in the reduction of cardiovascular diseases in the community is educating community members on the importance and methods of self-care (Kozier, 2007). Giving advice on proper dietary plans and exercise for prevention and management of any existing conditions ensures sustainable reduction in cases of cardiovascular disorders and diseases. Although providing treatment helps in management, self-care is the primary means of reduction in most cases.

Question 5

Angina management

An angina is a blockage of the blood vessels in the heart, causing a reduction in blood and oxygen supply. Glyceryl trinaitrate is a drug commonly applied to the treatment of the disorder as it relaxes and expands blood vessels, causing immediate relief. It also serves a preventive measure during activities that may trigger the condition, such as exercise. Recommendations for lifestyle changes are often part of the intervention aimed at prevention of future episodes. Proper healthy diet low in fat and adequate rest includes part of the lifestyle regime under common recommendation.

 

 

 

 

References

Fiumara, K. & Goldhaber, S. (2009). Cardiology patient page: A patient’s guide to taking

Coumadin/ Warfarin. AHA Journal, 119.

Kaneko, T., Cohn,L & Aranki S. (2013). Controversies in cardiovascular medicine:

tissue valve is the preferred option for patients aged 60 and older. AHA Journal, 128, 13

Kozier, B. (2007). Korzier and Erb’s Fundamentals of nursing (8th ed.) New Jersey:

Prentice Hall.

LeMore, P. & Burke, K. (2004). Medical-surgical nursing: critical thinking in client care,

Volume II (3rd ed.) New Jersey: Prentice Hall

Lin, H., Lee, J., et al (2013). Accumulation of epicardial fat rather than visceral fat is an

independent risk factor for left ventricular diastolic dysfunction in patients under

peritoneal dialysis. Cardiovascular Diabetology 12 (127).

Madjib, M., Awan, I., et al (2004). Leucocyte count and coronary heart disease:

implications for risk assessment. American College of Cardiology Foundation, 44

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Mulpuru, S. Pretoriols, V. & Birgersdotter, U. (2013). Arrhythmia Management Devices.

AHA Journal, 128.

Parsonage, W., Cullen, L. & Younger, J. (2013). The approach to patients with cardiac

chest pains. Medical Journal of Australia, 199(1).

Petrie, J. (2013). The cardiovascular safety of Incretin-based therapies: a review of the

evidence. Cardiovascular Diabetology, 12 (130).

Sharma, S., Datta, S., et al (2013). The relationship between Elder Risk Assessment

(ERA) scores and cardiac revascularization: A cohort study in Olmsted county,

Minnesota, USA. Dovepress journal, 1209-1215

 

Political and Cultural Consequences of Neoliberalism

September 30, 2013

Introduction

After the decline of the classical liberalism in Europe, a new form of liberalism was introduced- the neoliberalism.  The term neoliberalism gained its popularity in the late thirties. Its inception was highly misunderstood and many associated the term with market dynamics.  The term was also used to describe the rules and aspects of managing a state. The neoliberalism concept is a theory that spells out the political and economic management in countries.  The theory proposes that any form of advancement can be evidenced when human beings are offered freedom to operate in a free market.  Some of the said freedoms include having strong individual property ownership rights; the establishment of a free market that facilitates free trade. Neoliberalism is highly supported by states; hence it ends up establishing quality and integrity of money. Through neoliberalism, different cultures have been affected while providing a trend of eroding some of the existing cultures (Harvey 2005, p.7). The imperial plot that has encouraged political and cultural influence has been enhanced by neoliberalism. Many communist countries have liberalism as a theory against communism economies. This is based on the fact that communist states have a tendency of the state controlling everything. On the other hand, liberalism makes markets free from any state influence.This essay will offer a critical examination of some of the political and cultural consequences of neoliberalism.

The states’ role in the process of forming neoliberalism is worth critical examination. The state has to offer protection of the individual rights.  Essential security should be offered whereby markets are made safe for proper functioning.  The use of force if necessary is recommended so as to make sure that the markets function. The offering of land, water and prevention of the markets from being subjected to environmental hazards is the duty of the state. In the above mentioned areas, the state intervention is highly encouraged to take active part. The only thing that makes the markets free is the fact that minimum state intervention is encouraged.  Maximum interventions in the markets in the state discourage interested parties from carrying out their activities in that country.  Some of the countries have witnessed withdrawal of the state from offering social facilities to the market, and many states have adopted the liberal market system after the end of the Cold War. Emerging democracies such as New Zealand and Sweden have embraced the theory of neoliberalism (Harvey 2005, p.13).

The establishment of the operation of neoliberalism calls for a complete restructuring of the institutional frameworks. The said creative destruction has been cited to challenge the sovereignty of the state in some instances.  Restructuring also affects division of labour and other pertinent social relations. The ways of living of individuals in the said states are substantially affected.  The value attached to land and technological advancement is also changed.  The guiding principle in changing markets is to make sure that state involvement is reduced or completely done away with.  Building liberalism is challenging since it has the effect of introducing a new way in which the market is viewed. The neoliberal wave has proved strong to some economies, thus breaking them and introducing new economic strategies.  It is estimated that billions of people in both developing and developed countries have been affected by the wave. Some scholars have argued that neoliberalism is the most memorable economic event of the twentieth century.  The main proponents of the economic wave have observed that neoliberalism has introduced many consequences to the states. The triumph of new markets where governments had control has been witnessed, and freeing the market from the forces of government control has introduced political effects (Clarke 2004, p.18).

 The neoliberalism policies have brought about the regulation policies in states that have had the impact of changing the entire political landscape and the welfare of the state. The welfare and the politics of a given country change in the sense that politician’s choices change. So as to establish strong support, they focus on the dynamics of the market in a liberal way. A bargaining point is similarly introduced between the politicians and other groups that have the mandate of running the market.  The terms of market operation are subject to bargaining between the politicians and other groups. The institutional structuring has enhanced the widening of the political domain. Neoliberal economies have created a room for political incumbents such that they have a chance to expand their political control.  The political dealings of a country are affected in the sense that the politicians rule in consultations with the societal groups that control the markets. The political class is involved in the building coalitions which are designed to assist in the regulation of markets. 

The coordination of the societal groups and the politicians helps in arriving at the best policies in the market and the economy of the country. The societal groups get a chance to mobilize people to support the regulation process.  In so doing, the right institutions are created and market governance is facilitated. Therefore, government intervention is not entirely eliminated, but neoliberal reforms define the new policies that are to take place. The political class benefits from the said arrangements, but the benefits are realized in the short run only. The long term effect of the unregulated market is that the country’s power to decide what its citizens should consume is compromised (Harvey 2005, p.17).

Neoliberal reforms create incentives and opportunities for parties concerned to build stable institutions. The neoliberal policies render some of the institutions inapplicable, thus replacing them with new kinds of institutions. The new policies are very instrumental in shaping the country’s market towards globalization. The management of the markets rests on the dynamics of supply and demand. The monopoly of government is eliminated, therefore, making it easy for parties from outside of the country to invest. This ends up promoting globalization. It is imperative to note that the market created institutions promote efficient market regulation.  The political economy of a country that adopts neoliberalism is substantially affected. The cross national working of different reforms poses a major threat to the country’s existing institutions. Neoliberalism has explained the reason why countries apply certain policies at a given time. The support of neoliberal policies by politicians has largely caused many consequences to the country’s existing policies.  There are factors that make politicians support neoliberal reforms. The reasons for supporting neoliberal reforms explain why countries have experienced varied economic success. The reforms have had the effect of rendering the ancient regimes that regulate markets inapplicable. The political difference is highly witnessed in developing countries. Neoliberal reforms have changed the state’s focus on policy creation. Politicians have focused on coming up with policies that allow reconstruction of the markets. The policies by politicians are largely formulated through consulting the right parties, thus politicians have linked technical requirements to the neoliberal policies (Harvey 2005, p.16).

In preparation of state enterprises in improving the country’s public expenditure, the global market pressures are eliminated.  This provides sophisticated information that helps the exports and import markets. The global market competitiveness is boosted abroad. It is essential to note that the neoliberal reforms assist to trigger politically motivated institutions (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim 2002, p.8). The drive in the neoliberal reforms changes to the extent that politicians’ ambitions to control policy areas are enhanced. Industrial countries are said to embrace neoliberalism.  The implementation of neoliberal reforms has become a vehicle whereby democracy and other rules of governance have been furthered.  Criticism behind the political influence of globalization and neoliberalism has been witnessed.  

The effects of neoliberalism have generated incentives that have ensured incentives for political based policies. The highlighted factors have made it inevitable for politicians to implement the essential policies so as to stay and gain power. The political economies of deregulation have established a sustainable framework explaining the institutional structuring.  The regimes that take part in decision making are structured in the formal and informal rules so as to conform to the neoliberal working framework. Local governments and the state government hold the authority over the aspects that support the intergovernmental competition. The wave of democracy facilitates multiparty politics whereby strong incentives are created; hence fostering citizens’ representation (Leys 2001, p.30). 

The societal groups that participate in the free markets are relatively responsible in making sure that politicians implement the policies that are in place. The strategies that are designed to manage the country act as the motivating factor to guard the behaviour of politicians. The fact that is that neoliberalism has made politicians act in a responsible manner.  Neoliberalism policies have opened up markets for countries to invest.  The globalization trend has helped in promoting democracy in undemocratic regimes. Neoliberalism has come up with dominating politics. This has been evidenced whereby a given form of governance has been imposed on weaker states. Freeing the market is the main basis of neoliberalism.  The United States dominance in the political affairs of the world has been through neoliberalism. The argument of the United States’ political dominance has emphasized the fact that politics of imposing a certain rule have been advanced through neoliberalism (Leys 2001, p.29).

The hegemonic perception of the global economy is one of the main political consequences of neoliberalism. Opponents of neoliberalism have pointed out that origin of neoliberalism dates back to 1930s. The creation of the theory was by capitalist states so as to avoid future threats on the capitalism economies. International relations acted as the main transmitting agents of neoliberalism.  The concept has largely achieved the goal of making capitalism a dominating economy. On the other hand, democracy has been spread to many countries through the notion of encouraging free markets.  The proponents of neoliberalism have contended that its principles have encouraged the rule of law in dictatorial regimes. On the same note, interstate geopolitical rivalries have been highly minimized (Elliott & Atkinson 2009, p.243).

It is argued that a world has been created whereby dictatorial regimes based on communism have been challenged and other regimes created. Democratic institutions have been guaranteed ample peace, political, as well as economic stability. A world with institutions such as the United Nations and other financial institutions such as the World Bank has emerged. These institutions have helped in creating a stable environment for reliable international relations. The political limits that were used by the Soviet bloc have been broken and states have been formed, grounded on democratic principles.  A global acceptance of the duties and responsibilities of a state have been initiated. Globally, a state was recognized as far as it focused on the well being of its citizens. Deployment of state intervention in such a country would only be allowed to encourage the market to achieve its ends. 

A form of political economic organization that is free from strict state regulation has helped in assisting economies in achieving growth. The main challenge created by neoliberalism is based on the fact that developing countries have played a spectator role in international politics. The silence of developing countries has been triggered by financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF. Many developing countries have often gone for financial aid from the mentioned institutions. The financial aid is always pegged on various conditions that must be met. Some of the main conditions have been coercing countries to free their markets. In other instances, the financial institutions have imposed a precondition to allow a type of governance. The IMF has increased breach on its morals; hence becoming a biased financial institution that promotes one-sided politics. Imposition of neoliberal principles in a country has largely acted to the detriment of the governed.  The liberalism policies have been said to be spread alongside neocolonialism because the developed countries have used that moment to exploit the developing countries. The neoliberalism theory has been used in developing countries under neoimperial plot. Politics of developed countries have been influenced by the developing countries through neoliberalism.  The opening of foreign markets has benefitted the multinationals, which are managed by the developed countries (Clarke & Newman 1997, p.11)

The political aspects of countries have been altered by neoliberalism. The social democracy ideology has been highly linked with neoliberalism.  Social democracy in this case has been coupled with other aspects. First, redistribution has been fostered whereby reduction of the inequities of capitalism has been promoted. Secondly, democratic economic governance has been put in place so as to reduce failures that are evident in the markets. This also helps in reducing excesses of products and other inefficiencies.  Thirdly, social protectionism has helped in making sure that citizens get satisfied in their education, health and welfare needs.  Largely, social democracy has been used by many politicians to seek support from their respective countries. The incentive of social justice leads to the mistaken belief that countries with free markets are better placed to advance economically than others. This notion has received widespread support from many countries. Markets have been made free from state intervention, but some of the policies created by stakeholders in the market have served the purpose of benefiting few developed countries. It should be noted that developing countries’ policies pertaining the regulation of markets have, in most instances, been reached through coercion and undue influence. The characteristics portrayed by different policies make it clear that neoliberalism is a tool for fostering political interests of the dominating countries.  Although neoliberalism has been said to promote transparency and devolution, its freedom is largely untamed; hence posing a great risk to any country adopting neoliberalism (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim 2002, p. 24).

Free markets have made many developing countries poor. Such countries have resorted to foreign aid. From a critical point of analysis, neoliberalism has made leaders to rely on borrowing to be able to develop their countries. Through the foreign aid, certain goods have been imposed on such countries. In some instances, the said goods have been sold without being levied tax, thus states have continued to lose out revenue through tax waived goods flooding markets. Institutions have been restructured so as to allow investment. Lack of proper institutions to control the flow of goods has continuously promoted capitalist political economies that are less concerned with the well-being of the citizens. Lastly, strong multinationals in developing countries have a role in the internal politics since they fund politicians who would consider their interests once in power. It follows that many of the said politicians are puppets of the multinationals of the developed countries (Foucault, Senellart & Collège de France 2010, p. 250).

There is growing concern that under neoliberalism, culture has been economized. Preservation of national or societal heritage has been looked at in the economic sphere. Values in specific states have been eroded. The national culture of preservation in different countries has lost its meaning.  State owned institutions that would promote better cultures have been individualized under neoliberalism. Institutions that were once controlled by the state are managed by capitalist multinationals.  The culture of capitalism has become highly predominant.  The strengthening of neoliberalism in 1980s opened a window in the emergence of the creative industries. The fact that people were used to goods from their country only changed drastically. Creative industry included creative arts.  The creative capital has received global support, making it have an effect on the culturally funded domain. There is a lot of borrowing of culture in neoliberalism.  It has been evidenced that global cultures mainly in the developed countries have been accepted in developing countries; for instance, the culture of individualization is encouraged. This means that the free markets will have capitalism forces dictating (James 2008, p.16).  This means that a culture will be important as long as it has acceptance by developing countries. Cultures of the developing countries disappear and they become irrelevant.  The political culture of dependence will also be evident. States will be manufacturing less and consuming a lot of products from other countries.  Interdependence will be promoted, while at the same time exchange of cultures will be inevitable (Macpherson & Cunningham 2011, p. 26).

The country’s institutions are weakened, leading to poor policies to regulate cultural degradation. The economic ties under the said states strengthen, while at the same time different cultures are affected.  The increased global integration leaves no room for cultural development, thus encouraging social changes that are undesired.  Ideally, the starting of the creative industries has mistakenly made many to treat culture like a commodity. Through liberalism, culture is viewed as a commodity that can be sold. Many countries have lost the institutional culture. With the freedom in the markets, it is becoming harder for some of the countries to control the negative impacts presented by neoliberalism on culture. In the global economy, the very cultures that should be preserved are lost. New cultures that are in-line with the commodities in the markets are promoted. Neoliberation makes institutions weak, while creating a lot of freedom to those taking part in market expansion and policy creation. Without the right regulation, cultures will be eroded while others will be traded like commodities. For the sake of protecting culture, the state should move swiftly and intervene to prevent further breaches (Bauman 2001, p. 32).

Conclusion

Freedom of markets is a notion supported by many developed countries. Under that notion, government intervention is reduced in the markets. The only intervention that is allowed is when the state is offering social facilities to support the functioning of the market. Markets have been left to operate through the forces of demand and supply.  This has greatly helped in supporting the economic advancement of the host countries through enjoying what they do not produce.  The dominance of markets by foreign goods has become a common trend. There are political and cultural consequences brought about by neoliberalism in countries. Developed countries’ institutions and formulation of policies have been interfered with. The fact that culture has been treated like a commodity has caused a lot of effects to countries. Worth noting is the fact that liberalism has provided negative as well as positive impacts. Elements of neoliberalism that entail democratic principles have helped in modelling institutions in the right direction. As such, an economy that is managed by the neoliberal theory is encouraged.

 

Reference List

Bauman, Z 2001, The individualized society, Polity Press, Cambridge.

Beck, U & Beck-Gernsheim, E 2002, Individualization: Institutionalized individualism and its social and political consequences, Sage, London.

Beck, U & Beck-Gernsheim, E 2002, Individualization: Institutionalized individualism and its social and political consequences, Sage, London.

Clarke, J & Newman, J 1997, The managerial state: Power, politics and ideology in the remaking of social welfare, Sage, London.

Clarke, J 2004, Changing welfare, changing states: New directions in social policy, Sage, London.

Elliott, L & Atkinson, D 2009, The gods that failed: How blind faith in markets has cost us our future, Nation Books, New York, NY.

Foucault, M, Senellart, M, & Collège de France 2010, The birth of biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978-1979, Picador, New York, NY.

Harvey, D 2005, A brief history of neoliberalism, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

James, O 2008, The selfish capitalist: Origins of affluenza, Vermilion, London.

Leys, C 2001, Market-driven politics: Neoliberal democracy and the public interest,  Verso, London.

Macpherson, CB & Cunningham, F 2011, The political theory of possessive individualism: Hobbes to Locke, Oxford University Press, Don Mills Ont.

Globalization Controversies

September 30, 2013

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction                                                                                           3
  2.  Background                                                                                          4
  3. Globalization Controversies                                                                  5

3.1. Globalization and environmental sustainability controversy               6

3.1.1.     Bhopal Gas Tragedy Case Study                                                     8

3.2.Globalization, Multinationals, Culture and                                          10

             Small Businesses Controversy

3.2.1.     McDonalds Globalization Case Study                                           12

   4.0. Conclusion                                                                                             13

   5.0. References                                                                                             14

    6.0. Appendix                                                                                              15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

Since the fall of the Breton- Woods in the mid seventies, global economies have taken a path of interdependence, liberalization, deregulation and modernization. There has been a rapid internalization of markets across the world accentuated by the development of international regimes that have assumed powers to make and enforce rules of trade. This phenomenon is what many economists and international relations specialists refer to as globalization. From an international relations perspective, globalization is process of fast global change which has an effect on all parts of the world, with the effects being felt in sectors like the economy, politics, media and technology. These changes have occurred as a result of the increased interconnectivity of people across the world. Globalization can also be seen as a process that widens, deepens and speeds up the interconnectedness in every aspect of modern life all over the world. There has bee a long standing debate about the consequences of globalisation. Some people feel that globalisation has done more harm than good in the world while others believe otherwise. In many cities across the world, there have been both peaceful and violent confrontations between the supporters of anti globalisation movement and those who support the expansion of the worldwide marketplace.  Though increased cross border flow of people, goods, ideas and capital has created economic growth, anti globalisation crusaders believe that globalisation has only benefited the developed countries while the developing ones have been exploited and left struggling. They also feel that globalisation is a capitalistic tool used by the transnational corporations and fiscal institutions to gain control of the weak nation states, thus abusing their sovereignty.  This paper will focus on the controversies that have marred the process of globalisation. It will use two case studies to reinforce the theories explored in the research.

 

Introduction

Globalization is one of the most common buzzwords of the 21st century. It refers to a process of integration and interaction among people, nations and businesses. Globalization can also be seen as a process that widens, deepens and speeds up the interconnectedness in every aspect of modern life all over the world. Globalization affects all aspects of social life from the cultural to the financial. Political Science analyst, Anthony Giddens defines globalization as the intensification of the social relations across the world (Baghmati, 2005). These intensifications link far flung localities in a manner in which events in those localities are shaped by things happening thousands of miles away.    Jan Aart Schulte, an international economics scholar suggests that globalization is synonymous with internationalization and the term is used to describe the cross-border activities that take place between different nations (Nels, 2005). He also asserts that the term is synonymous with liberalization. Liberalization is a process that removes sanctions imposed by governments on movement between different states. According to Schulte, liberalization creates an open and borderless global economy, free of bureaucratic restrictions. He also equates globalization with universalisation, a process of spreading things and ideas to the entire world without limit. Schulte also asserts that globalization is synonymous with westernization and modernization (Noels, 2005). This definition denotes the influence of the western world especially united states of America on the rest of the world because the concept of globalization rose from the western world. From a geographical perspective, globalization entails a reconfiguration of geography in way that social space is not mapped in terms of territorial distances, spaces, borders and places any more.

It is a process that is driven by investment and international trade. It is catalyzed by advents in information technology. Globalization has affected political, social, environmental, economic and cultural structures positively and negatively around the world (Noels, 2005).  Though globalization is not a new phenomenon, it has gained momentum in the summative years of the 20th century and the 21st century. The current wave of globalization can be attributed to policies that have opened up global economies.

Background

 During the past two decades, most countries in the world have moved towards free market economies. This has increased the production potential of many countries vastly. Also it has created many opportunities for international investment and trade. Barriers to trade and commerce have also reduced due to the sweeping wave of globalization. International agreements aimed at promoting trade have also increased.  To take advantage of the new opportunities that have been created by globalization, corporations have started operating in multiple countries (Noels, 2005). They have built factories, production plants and distributorships in foreign countries. Also, they have made marketing arrangements with partners in foreign countries.

 Apart from free market policies, technological revolution has been another driver of globalization. Technological advances have made transformations in the economic life. This revolution has given economic actors at all levels valuable tools for pursuing and identifying economic opportunities. They have also provided faster platforms of analyzing economic trends around the word, for easy asset transfer and for collaboration with partners allover the world.

Controversies

Despite its attractiveness, globalization has remained one f the most controversial issues in the world. Proponents and opponents of globalization have always given contrasting view points about globalization. Opponents of globalization have held protests in many places around the world, condemning the practice as exploitative and an element of western hegemony. They claim that globalization, benefits the developed countries which are enabled by the process to exploit the poor countries (Mohamed, 2009). They claim that multinationals from developed countries, use the free market conditions created by globalization to set their bases in developing countries where they exploit cheap labor and resources. On the other hand proponents of globalization assert that poor countries benefit more from globalization because it helps these countries to develop economically and improve the living standards of the people in those countries. This controversy has heightened resistance at both popular and governmental levels as both the governments and the people try to manage the flow of goods, ideas, capital and labor, due to the wave of globalization (Noels, 2005). This paper will investigate the controversies surrounding globalization using two case studies of international companies.

 Globalization and Environmental Sustainability Controversy

 One of the controversies regarding globalization is its impact on environmental sustainability. Proponents of globalization assert that the process has been responsible for creation and exporting of technologies that use few natural resources (Baghmati, 2005). The use of these technologies has reduced the harm on environment. However, opponents of globalization view it as the most environmentally unsustainable practices in the world. They claim that the harms globalization does onto the environment far outnumber the gains the environment makes from globalization.

Opponents of globalization assert that globalization enhances more consumption through marketing of more goods to more people. This creates artificial needed that utilize more natural resources. Opponents of the process still argue that globalization encourages countries to specialize in certain products so as to take advantage of the economies of scale. This creates scarcities and surpluses at the same time leading to a less than perfect utilization of resources. Globalization has increased global travel by workers seeking jobs. Employees of multinational organizations also travel widely. According to the opponents of globalization, these travelers utilize a lot of fossil fuels that contribute to global warming. Globalization encourages transport of raw materials using resources which are not renewable (Steger, 2002). The rapid spread of factories and production plants across the world has increased the use of infrastructure, which exploits substances from the earth. These factories also degrade the environments through their emissions, according to the opponents of globalization; there are some multinational corporations who have shifted their operations to the poor countries, after being lured by the lenient safety and environmental regulations. They take this advantage to deplete the environment in poor countries. The Bhopal gas tragedy is a classic example of an environmental disaster caused by a corporation that adopted safety standards that were lower than the standards in the corporation’s home country

Case Study: Union Carbide and the Bhopal Gas Tragedy

 The Bhopal Gas Tragedy epitomizes the controversy surrounding the issue of globalization. It signifies the failure by the legal systems and international agencies to address the challenges of a globalised world.  The Bhopal’s disaster is a product of the wave of globalization. The multi national company involved in this disaster was Union Carbide. The Bhopal gas tragedy occurred on December 3 1984, in Bhopal India after a gas leak incident, considered to be one of the worst industrial disasters in the world (Cassel, 2003). Union Carbide India Limited, an Indian subsidiary of global pesticide manufacturer, Union Carbide Corporation exposed dangerous gases accidentally to more than half a million people in that Indian district leading to over 3,500 instant deaths and more than 20,000 subsequent deaths. There were more than 500,000 permanent and temporary injuries suffered by the affected people.

What is the relationship between this tragedy and globalization? Union Carbide Corporation is an American multinational that has subsidiaries in different parts of the world. Globalization has created a free market economy that has enabled multinationals to establish themselves freely across the world. Multinationals prefer setting factories and production plants in poor and developing countries because of several factors. First, the regulatory environment in these countries is not strict. Even in cases where the regulations are strict, these companies can bribe the ruling elite so that they can have their own special regulatory standards. Secondly, the cost of raw materials in these countries is cheap. Therefore, the multinationals go there to exploit natural resources. Thirdly, labor is cheap in developing countries. The multinationals can have its employees working for many hours under poor working conditions and at very low wages (Noels,2005). This enables them to save a lot of money, unlike in their mother countries where strict environmental and labor regulations make sure that these multinationals spend a lot of money to fulfill them.

The cost saving strategies that Union Carbide (India) adopted within a globalised context chiefly contributed to this environmental disaster.  First, the company used to switch of several safety systems to save on costs. Due to limited industrial inspection in India, the production plants were poorly maintained (Kitching, 2001). Secondly, the company set it plants in a highly populated area. Such companies dealing with dangerous chemicals are not supposed to be set in highly populated areas. However, to save on costs, the company got cheap land near a slum and set up a factory. Lax regulations on establishment of factories in India encouraged the company to set base in such a dangerous environment. 

 To make further cuts on costs, the company halved the number of its supervisory staff. There were no night shift supervisors. Similarly, instrument readings at night would be made after two hours instead of the recommended one hour due to lack of manpower to carry out that role. At a certain point before the disaster, an employee was fired for sticking to the internationally recommended safety regulations that were being ignored by the management. Sticking to the recommended safety regulations would be costly to the management.  Increased compromise on safety standards ultimately led to this magnanimous disaster which had far reaching implications on the lives of Indians and the environment.  Opponents of globalization argue that without the free market economic environment created by globalization, Bhopal tragedy would not have happened. First, they argue that Union Carbide would not have set its plants in India. Without a free market economy, international expansion of multinationals would be limited due to the existence of expensive barriers. Secondly, globalization encourages putting profit on the frontline and other human and environmental issues on the periphery. Therefore, multinationals move to those countries where they know they can make maximum profits by ignoring safety standards and exploiting cheap labor. This combination of factors encouraged by globalization ultimately led to the Bhopal gas disaster.

 Globalization, Multinationals and Local Business Controversy

 The second controversy surrounding globalization is its effect on local companies and cultures when multinationals start expanding allover the world.  Proponents of globalization argue that globalization and the rise of multinationals have helped to provide consumers with cheap products thus improving their standards of living. Multinational companies enjoy the economies of scale. Due to their outsourcing abilities and scope of operation, they are able provide high volumes of products at reduced prices. This is an advantage to the consumers. However, the opponents of globalization and the multinationals look at the impact of globalization on the small businesses.  There is a common story told by opponents of globalization to highlight the impact of the process on the small local businesses “ When Wal-Mart, establishes in a certain town or city, the existing businesses, regardless of their friendly relations with the customers, are brought to their knees because they cannot match the low prices that Wal-Mart gives (Ingram & Lori, 2010).  Wal-Mart can sacrifice margins to wipe out the local competitors and still make profits due to its volumes and its sprawling amounts of resources”.

 Unlike Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Starbucks and other leading multinationals who have the capacity to forge outsourcing partnerships, small local businesses cannot forge such partnerships. This puts them at a disadvantage especially in terms of pricing. Therefore, the multinationals tend to take advantage of the outsourcing business model to the maximum, so as to provide cheap products. They are able to sell high volumes to offset the low profit each product earns. This easily undercuts local competitors who cannot provide goods in volumes and at lower prices. After killing the competitors, the multinationals go on to raise prices again due to the monopolistic environment they create using their capitalistic business model.

Opponents of globalization claim that such competition created by multinationals can decimate local companies overnight. Destruction of local businesses leads to several implications for a country (Stigliz,2002). First, the death or paralysis of local companies leads to the loss of the local culture. For example, the urban landscape in China is full of Starbucks, MacDonald’s, Wal-Marts, KFCs, Pizza Huts and many other American multinationals. These multinationals have brought American culture to China en-mass, eroding the Chinese culture. This has not happened in China alone, the scenario is the same in Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil , Mexico and many other countries where these multinationals set base. However, proponents of globalization do not agree that multinationals have perpetrated cultural erosion (Mander, 1996).  They argue that multinationals always localize their brands with a view of accommodating local tastes. They argue that domestic governments put rules for the multinationals to abide by to ensure that they do not mess with the interests of the local people (Baghmati, 2005).  These multinationals take their profits back home. After killing local businesses that support local economy, multinationals enrich their mother countries. This leads to economic stagnation and increased poverty in countries where these multinationals operate since the locals cannot compete with the multinationals in business.  Therefore, opponents of globalization feel that globalization has led to imperial capitalism.

 Case study: McDonalds and Globalization

American fast food restaurant, McDonald is one of the faces of globalization, alongside, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, KFC and many others. According to Gould,1996, Introduction of McDonalds overseas has led to cultural erosion and crippling of restaurants in foreign countries. McDonalds was the first corporation to export fast foods outside America. Arrival of fast foods changed dietary habits in these nations. McDonalds is present in more than 120 countries around the world. Globalization of this fast food restaurant has raised positive and negative debates. Though pro-globalization scholars argue that McDonalds conforms to the tastes of local cultures in countries where it sets franchises, there is evidence that McDonald has exported American eating cultures worldwide (Bergers,1997).  Anti-globalization crusaders on the other hand argue that McDonald introduces non traditional foods into foreign countries leading to loss of values (Derdak, 2005).  Foods are cultural symbols of a given community. When communities abandon their foods due to influx of foreign foods, there are adverse effects on the culture that community is trying to uphold. Globally, McDonalds has become a symbol of cultural erosion due to Americanization of diets around the world.   McDonalds, which has been accused of spreading obesity across America, is spreading the same condition around the world through globalization, Gould, 1996 argues that nutritionists have had issues with the content of the foods sold by this restaurant. Therefore, globalization of unhealthy eating cultures by McDonalds has not only eroded traditional dietary values, but has also led to prevalence of dietary conditions like obesity around the world (Gould, 1996).

 Secondly, the dominance of McDonalds in foreign countries has affected local restaurants. Local restaurants cannot effectively compete with McDonalds. McDonalds can offer a wide variety of foods in high volumes at cheaper prices. This unfair competition practices have impacted negatively on local restaurants, some of which have been forced to close down, while others have been forced to offer different diets to survive the competition. Death of local businesses has an impact on local economy. Collapse of local restaurants due to the arrival of McDonalds has led to increasing rates of unemployment and poverty in the country (Friedman,2005). However, proponents of globalization argue that McDonalds has stimulated economic growth in countries it operates due because it encourages competition within the restaurant industry.

Conclusion

 Multinational companies such as Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Starbucks and KFC have become targets of hate, criticism and even violence because they have become faces of globalization, a process that is becoming increasingly controversial (Smith, 2007). During United Nations and World Trade Organization meetings, there have been protests by anti-globalization crusaders who accuse the capitalistic west of engendering poverty, economic inequality and environmental degradation in developing countries through globalization (Glyn, 2006). One of the most notable protest occurred in Vienna, Austria, ahead of a WTO summit. Despite the controversies surrounding the process of globalizations, the gains made through this process cannot be underestimated. The free movement of goods, capital, services, cultures, ideas and labor has led to economic prosperity allover the world. All countries have benefitted from globalization. The main issue is that the developing world feels the developed world has gained more from globalization at their expense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

List of references

Baghmati, J., 2005, In Defense of Globalization. New York: Oxford University Press

Berger, P., 1997, Four Faces of Global Culture . NJ: Prentice Hall

Cassel, J., 2003, The Uncertain Promise of Law: Lessons From Bhopal. Toronto: University Of Toronto Press

Derdak, T., 2005, McDonalds: Business Model. NY: St. James Press

Friedman, T., 2005, The World Is Flat. New York: Farrar

Glyn, A., 2006, Capitalism Unleashed: Finance, Globalization, and Welfare. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Gould, P. 1996, Manfred.Globalization: An Introduction New York: Oxford University Press.

Ingram, P.,Lori, Y., 2010,”Trouble in Store: Probes, Protests, and Store Openings by Wal‐Mart, 1998–2007,” American Journal of Sociology July 2010, Vol. 116, No. 1: pp 53–92.

Kitching, G, 2001, Seeking Social Justice through Globalization. Escaping a Nationalist Perspective. Penn State Press

Mander, J, 1996, The case against the global economy: and for a turn toward the local. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books

Mohammed, D, 2009, The challenges of Globalization, Stockholm: Uppsala University. Stockholm.

Noels, P., 2005, Globalization: A Short History,   NJ: Princeton University press

Smith, C, 2007, International Trade and Globalization, 3rd edition. Stocksfield: Anforme.

Steger, M. 2002, Globalism: the new market ideology. Lanham, M

Business Ethics

September 30, 2013

Introduction

Ethics is a wide topic or element that can be defined differently by different people and in different circumstances. Ethics in business can be defined as the rules that should be adhered to when individuals are conducting their businesses and when interacting with different people in a given setting of a business organization. Ethics can also be defined as rules of conduct that are recognized in respect to a given class of human actions or a particular group, culture etc.

Ethics principles

The same principles that guide an individual to act ethically should be applied to the way businesses also behave when dealing with their various stakeholders. In a given business setting, there are several stakeholders who are involved. They include the employees, customers, the suppliers, the government and entire communities that keep the business going in terms of profits and general growth that the businesses desire (Jennings 2011).

According to Megone (2002), acting in an ethical way means differentiating between wrong and right action and making the right choice. Businesses serve a wide range of individuals and in most times conflicts arise and most of them are caused by lack of ethics when conducting their operations. For example, many businesses which do not take care of the environment in which they are operating their businesses are said to be conducting their business unethically. They end up causing harm to the people surrounding them and they do not take any action towards reducing or helping out on the medical expenses. This leads to what is generally referred to as corporate social responsibility. When a business takes care of the environment in which it operates and is concerned about the people’s welfare, it is said to be socially responsible.

It is relatively easy to identify unethical business practices. For example a company should not use child labor and it should treat its workers fairly in terms of payment and provision of proper and right working conditions so that they can be as productive as they are expected. Companies should not unlawfully use copyrighted processes and other materials that they have not legally acquired. In many cases, it is not so easy for a company or any type of a business to maintain the required ethical conducts but it will be very easy for such an action to work if proper and right working procedures are followed by all organization leaders (Kaptein and Wempe 2002). Work and conduct codes in organizations assists employees and all the stakeholders of a given organization to act in the right manner and will assist them to avoid behaving unethical.

Examples of Business Ethics in a workplace

Most employees face a lot of dilemmas in the work place. A dilemma is a situation where an individual is torn between deciding on what should be treated as a bad or a good action. Some situation arises and most employees are not able to do the right thing or to make the required choice. Situations such as workers being tempted to leave the workplace earlier, taking credit of another worker’s hard work and even lying to a potential customer to sign an insurance policy so that they can increase a company’s wealth and so on (Ferrell, Fraedrich and Ferrell 2012). All these can be reduced or prevented if the right preventive measures are taken which involves creating of an ethical policy that clearly spells out acceptable and unacceptable actions. It should clearly state the necessary steps of discipline that will be taken to those employees found acting against the laid down rules of conduct.

The following are some examples of business ethics in a workplace that should be applied by most organizations and businesses to reduce unethical actions among their employees.

Working with the clients

According to Phillips (2003), it will be advisable and more diligent if there are strict laws as to how the employees should treat clients. The set out ethics policy should clearly spell out to the workers that they should treat the customers fairly and always be honest. This goes a step further in ensuring that the customers instill confidence in your employees. Employees should not hide the true prices of a service or good that a company is producing or offering in order to trick the clients and sign the policies. They should not further promise more of what a service or a good can deliver than it can. The ethics policy should clearly ban bullying and harassing of potential customers, they should be aware on when and how to approach the customers, what they should say to the customers and how often they should call the clients.

Cheating the company

The ethics policy should clearly stipulate the time the workers should report to work or else they will formulate their own time and the boss will always be in conflict with them. They will end up leaving the office early in terms of meeting a client at the end of the workday but in the real sense, they are going to watch a ballgame or to watch their favorite soap operas on television. They may claim they are in the workshop early in a working day but they are managing their drinking hangovers. Open communication should be instilled among the workers instead of the sneaking activities that they keep on doing in the workplace. The workers should be given a procedure on how they should ask or request for a leave, more so when it concerns their private matters.

Abusive Behaviors

An effective ethics policy forbids and restrains bad behaviors in any organization. Abusive behavior in an organization can take several forms such as sexual harassment, bullying of other workers, inappropriate jokes, stealing from co-workers and display of pornographic material on the office computer and TV screens and many other forms of behaviors that are not accepted by other workers. It should also spell out the punishment for people who are involved in such unethical conducts (Phillips 2003).

Undue credit

Some workers will try to gain credit or rather be recognized for the actions that they did not perform and others will feel unappreciated which will most likely affect the activities of an organization or a given business setting.  All employee complaints about other workers stealing their ideas should be dealt with promptly to avoid affecting other workers morale. All these should be involved in the ethics policy and strictly followed by all the members of an organization.

 Theories of Ethical Issues

Normative ethics is a branch of philosophy which is composed of two theories i.e. Mills Utilitarianism and Kant’s deontology. All the theories there in can be easily applied to explain the business ethics in a wider perspective. As stated earlier all that an individual thinks to be ethical should be practiced by all the businesses since businesses are comprised of individuals.

Utilitarianism theory is derived from the word utility and is a philosophical theory that was developed by Professor Mill in the nineteenth century with an aim of coming up with a theory that would fit in all ethical situations in the society (Sims 2002). Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that considers moral duty based on the consequences of a particular action. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory that considers moral worth of the society by advocating for all those actions that lead to maximum benefit to all members of the society which is one of its main advantages. Utilitarianism considers happiness of society members based on the human nature of persons always looking for ways to maximize their personal pleasures.

Utilitarianism has an advantage of appealing to common sense in the society at all times. Common sense is a premise that is present in all rational human beings and, therefore, it makes it possible for a human being to always make others happy by his or her actions as a consequence of common sense. Utilitarianism theory also has a benefit of promoting democracy in the society by considering the opinion of the majority group. Through utilitarianism, the society is able to achieve equality and fairness to all society members (Sims 2002).

Utilitarianism theory is based on practicality and rationality in the society and, therefore, does not rely on religious beliefs that cannot be verified. It is through rational calculation of number of people who are able to attain pleasure that happiness in the society is maximized. The only way utilitarianism theory works is only by using the principle of utility as the only way of judging right and wrong in the society .This helps a great deal in avoiding moral prejudices ,and judgments based on irrational basis of feelings and intuitions of human nature.

The great benefit of utilitarianism theory is its focus on quality as being central to all society members. As the founder of the theory once said, every being counts as one and no one counts more than once. With this taking, it emphasizes on equality of all members of the society (Megone 2002 ).All members of the society are a no exemption to achieving maximum pleasure and happiness which is the main principle of the theory. All members of the society are also expected to be responsible for the consequences of their actions whether good or bad. On the basis of its branch of act utilitarianism, when every rational human being when faced by a dilemma or a situation where a choice is involved, the important thing is to consider the consequences of the potential action involved.

Utilitarianism urges all rational beings to be careful in the society and uphold responsibility. It urges us to look at potential rules of action as a means of determining the resulting rule leads to maximum happiness it is considered (Phillips 2003). This helps rational human beings to follow a set of rules in the society that will uphold morality in the society. In general therefore utilitarianism advocates for moral actions that result to maximum happiness and good for the largest number of people in the society.

Utilitarianism theory though has some drawbacks as related to the good of the society. The comparative scale of utilitarianism theory is on the basis of pleasure and happiness acquired which cannot be measured. This calculation of determining right and wrong is difficult and complicated as not all human beings have the capability of making the judgments before the action is beforehand. The main principle of promoting action that result to moral good for the largest number of people in the society is itself a disadvantage. This is because in the process of promoting goodness for a larger group of people in the society it may come about with a price of harm to some people in the society. This is because utilitarianism theory considers greater good at the expense of some harmful in the society. This may be present where a violation of individual rights may take place in the process of achieving greater good of the society

According to Waluchow (2003), Kant Deontological theories of ethics are a contrast to consequentialist theory of utilitarianism and concentrates on individuals following universal moral rules thus making it a duty based branch of ethics. Deontologist theory argues that choices cannot be justified by their consequences as some choices tend to be morally forbidden. The theory therefore argues beforehand that a rational human being should act out of duty and not based on consequences. The major advantage of this theory is that the rightfulness of an action can be determined beforehand. This makes it logical since it is the rightfulness of the action and its conformity to the moral codes that make it right and not the effects.

Deontological theories have an advantage of making it possible for people to be consistent in their decision making since even in situations of dilemma a person should always incline the decision to what is morally accepted by the society .Deontological theory also helps people to place their priorities on friends, family and other close society members and thus manage to avoid and manage the over demands of the public systems that may be difficult to fulfill. Deontological theories have an advantage of giving an individual a chance to make a choice to doing an action which is morally correct based on rationality of his thoughts and not on consequences (Peterson and Ferrell 2005). Based on categorical imperative an individual can determine whether his actions are ethical or not with absolute certainty.

Deontological theories have an advantage of promoting sense and responsibility in the society as people are supposed to do the right thing that is expected and avoid doing wrong things because they are wrong. This helps individuals to respect others and recognize they have a moral duty to always do what is right and expected of them by societal ethics. This in addition helps to foster equality in respecting all human beings (Weiss 2008). Deontological theory also emphasizes on the value of every human being through avoiding wrong and doing what is right to everyone. Deontological theory also provides a foundation for human rights since it singles out the interests of a single individual even when it is at conflict with the interests of the majority in the society. Deontological theories also give an explanation about intentions and consider ethical issues to be a subject of intentions that a person has before doing a particular act.

Deontological ethics have a degree of absolutism through the moral rules it has put in place thus making it difficult to deal with cases that do not fit in the rules unless an exception is made. Deontological theories are not concerned with consequences and therefore may lead to actions that lead to a reduction of happiness in the world in the long run. Deontological theories also have a disadvantage of failing to provide a clear direction in solving conflicts between moral duties. The deontological theories do not offer an answer to varying and conflicting interests between individuals as they assume people should always follow a set of moral rules.

Toyota

 Toyota is a global company that engages in business worldwide which goes beyond manufacturing to cover the area of research and development. This broad perspective of its activities helps to ensure it remains a trusted global company able to respond to the economic needs of the local societies and states (Sunita 2005). Toyota has also realized it is better placed compared to its competitors and, through its strong earnings and cash position, it will be able to offer better services and products to its customers globally in terms of quality, environmentally friendly and customer focused vehicles.

Such an organization should always work towards ensuring that the vehicles manufactured are environment friendly and they are also safe for all the people who are using them on the roads. This is a responsibility of the company to satisfy the needs of the consumers such as the production of fit vehicles to prevent harm to the consumers (Sims 2002 ). Following the recent developments whereby most of their vehicles were found to be having minor faults that included over speeding and other defaults that tinted their public relations globally, the technical error portrayed them as being insensitive to the society’s needs.

Applying the utilitarian theory discussed earlier, it would be advisable if they did a proper research so as to avoid such incidents. The theory advocates for production of fit goods and provision of proper services that will increase the welfare of the society as whole. Thus they never followed the theory of satisfying the society maximally as a whole and to satisfy their personal desire and increasing their profits (Kaptein and Wempe 2002). They aimed at increasing their profits but the entire management was not keen on the quality which is against the principles of the theory.

Most actions that are conducted by most human beings should bear in mind the end benefit to each and every member of the society in which they are operating. Toyota accepted to take back the vehicles and they did a further research on their safety and ensured the defaults have been rectified. They therefore applied their common sense which is advocated by the utilitarian theory (Sims 2002). It is vital to realize that common sense dictates what is right or wrong and always the right action should be utilized or taken into action.

Conclusion

Doing the right thing may have different meaning to different people in a business setting. Many leaders in organizations also assume that as long as there are laid down set of rules and conditions that explain ethical theories, all the workers will follow them, but this is not normally the case. Ethical policies should be regulated and revised always to guard stakeholders of an organization. In order to attain the desired outcomes, the ethical policies should be clearly communicated to all the involved participants.

 

Reference List

Ferrell, OC, Fraedrich, J, Ferrell, L, 2012, Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making & Cases, Belmont, Cengage Learning.

Jennings, MM, 2011, Business Ethics: Case Studies and Selected Readings, Mason, OH, Cengage Learning.

Kaptein, M, Wempe, J, 2002, The Balanced Company: A Corporate Integrity Theory, London, Oxford University Press.

Megone, C, 2002, Case Histories in Business Ethics: Virtues and Moral Decision Making in Business, London, Routledge.

Peterson, RA, Ferrell, OC, 2005, Business Ethics: New Challenges for Business Schools and Corporate Leaders, London, M.E. Sharpe.

Phillips, R, 2003, Stakeholder Theory and Organizational Ethics, San Francisco, CA, Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Sims, RR, 2002, Teaching Business Ethics for Effective Learning, London, Greenwood Publishing Group.

Sunita, 2005, Politics, Ethics and Social Responsibility of Business, New Delhi, Paragon Books.

Waluchow, WJ, 2003, The Dimensions of Ethics: An Introduction to Ethical Theory, London, Broadview Press.

Weiss, JW, 2008, Business Ethics: A Stakeholder and Issues Management Approach, Mason, OH, Cengage Learning.

 

Textual Poaching

September 30, 2013

Introduction

            Textual poaching is a term that was first used by Michel de Certeau in 1984, and was developed later by Henry Jenkins in his book “Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture” written in 1992. Jenkins defines textual poaching as “an impertinent raid on the literary preserve where fans take away only those things that are useful or pleasurable” (Jenkins, 2013, p. 9). Before the advent of digital technologies, fans basically consumed text, but the modern digital technology has enabled the replacement of passive fans with active fans that Jenkins has called active readers. These active readers actively participate in the production of content using inspiration from the texts that they enjoy (Jenkins, 2013). This essay is going to examine text poaching as resistance and poaching as actualization and take a position on the continuum created by these two concepts.

Text Poaching As Resistance and Poaching As Actualization

In his essay “Star Trek Return, Reread, Rewritten: Fan Writing as Textual Poaching”, Jenkins (1988) argues that the popularity of Star Trek is what motivated different creative rewriting of the program and cultural production. This was seen in children’s backyard plays, adult interaction games, and creation of elaborate costumes, computer programming, and private fantasies. According to Jenkins, text poaching is as a result of fans embracing the text that they favor and try to integrate them in their social experience. Fans have also been likened to cultural scavengers whereby they take works that other people may regard as worthless, and turn them into a reward source of cultural capital. Text poaching is also characterized with the ability to change personal reaction into a tool of social interaction, passive audience into active audience, and also forms the basis for fandom.

            Text poaching is whereby fans reproduce content by taking text and utilize it in the creation of something new. The interaction and connection enabled by the advancement in technology, according to Jenkins, has provided fans with a forum of not only expressing adoration or fascination, but also antagonism and frustration. Fans normally engage in text poaching not for financial reward but for the sake of delving into fantasies that they are passionate about and value so much (Jenkins, 2013). When fans engage in text poaching as a means of expressing their adoration or enveloping themselves into fantasies, they are text poaching as a way of actualization because it gives them a way of living their fantasies and dreams, which can never be achieved in real life. On the contrary, when fans engage in text poaching as a way of expressing frustration or antagonism, they are text poaching as a way of resisting (Jenkins, 2013).

            For example, a Star War fan who attaches the head of a politician to a certain character is engage in text poaching-as-resistance. Text poaching also narrows the divide between producers of artistic materials and fans, and gives the consumer the power to generate their own work based on how they interpret the works of a particular artist. And poaching-as-actualization offers an escape from reality by creating fan communities and sub-cultures (Jenkins, 2013). Hegemonic theories have considered text poaching as resistive activity, and portrayed fans as people who are socially stigmatized that fail to obey the dominant cultures in society. Fans who engage in text poaching as a way of resistance may protest against dominant cultural norms or media industries (Jenkins, 2013).

            Jenkins in his essay “Quentin Tarantino’s Star War?” discusses the scope of regulation and independence that is experienced by the fans of Star Wars. He describes how the Lucas film struggle to establish its position on the tendency of fans to adopt and participate in Star Wars and the possibility of infringing on intellectual property rights (Apicella, 2013). Jenkins starts his discussion of text poaching by referring to contest in 2003 that invited fans to create their own films based on the Star Wars universe. This contest led to the creation of several unofficial Star Wars movies with their own advertisements and publicity campaigns. This was an indication that fans were no longer consuming media in a passive way but are insisting on becoming full participant in the creation of media content (Apicella, 2013).

            Jenkins also argue that large companies that own copyrights should be willing to accommodate the demand by consumers to participate in the creation and sharing of content because without this, they will not make it in the media market place that is overcrowded.  According to Jenkins, fans are reluctant poachers who will only steal things that they really love, who seize media content to protecting from abuse by those who generated it and have right of ownership over it (Apicella, 2013). When identifying with popular texts, the fans normally regard such texts as their own. When text-poaching as a way of resistance fans will utilize images and concepts obtained from mass culture texts to express their frustration, explore their subordinate status, to create possible alternatives, and share their newly found understanding with other people (Apicella, 2013).

            Resistance emanates from how the fans utilize popular texts, what they do to them, and not from rebellious meanings that are found in the media content. For example, the Star Trek contained homo-erotic relationship between male characters named Kirk and Spock. Some fans protested against this because it challenged Heteronormativity. Left-wingers in Eastern Europe protested against western capitalism by either loving or hating the film “Dallas” (Jenkins, 1988). Resistance through text poaching does not offer unique cure to the social evils, but they can be used to create a popular support for social change. Some content producers have protested against textual poaching because it does not only change the intended meaning of their text but also infringes on intellectual property rights (Jenkins, 1988).

            However, some popular authors like J.K Rowling have encourage text poaching by letting their fans remix their works, and consider text poaching by fans as an indication that they highly regard her works (Apicella, 2013). Whether authors and other content creators are for or against the idea of fans engaging in text poaching does not change anything. But the truth is the days fans are inactive, consumers of media content are gone, and now they demand to take part in the creation and distribution of their favorite content (Apicella, 2013).

Conclusion

            From the above discussion, it is evident that text poaching as actualization and text poaching as resistance is differentiated on the basis of how the fan use media content and what they do to it. If fans engage in text poaching as a way of expressing their adoration for a particular content, or as a means of fulfilling their fantasies, then that constitutes poaching as actualization. On the other hand, if fans engage in text poaching as a way of expressing their frustration, antagonism or challenging the existing social norms, then that constitutes text poaching as a resistance.

 

References

Apicella, C. (2013). Fanfiction and Henry Jenkins’ “Quinton Tarantino’s Star Wars?” Retrieved from web 20 May, 2013 http://webstu.onu.edu/emedia/content/fanfiction-and-henry-jenkins%E2%80%99-%E2%80%9Cquinton-tarantino%E2%80%99s-star-wars%E2%80%9D

Jenkins, H. (2013). Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge.

Jenkins, H. (1988). Star Trek Return, Reread, Rewritten: Fan Writing as Textual Poaching. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 5 (2), 85-107.

   

                     

 

Mode of Reasoning-Locke and Descartes

September 30, 2013

Descartes: Before we got interrupted, you were telling me something about mental perceptions…

Locke: Yes, mental perceptions or contents exist in two forms and these are ideas and impressions. Current experiences like feelings, sensations, emotions and desires to name but a few are what can be considered impressions (Carruthers, 2005). On the other hand, we derive ideas from our impressions. Ideas can be simple or complex. Simple ideas can be classified into primary and secondary qualities with primary qualities being those that the object possesses independent of us for example motion, texture and solidity and secondary qualities being those that are produced by primary qualities of the body itself and their perception which depends on the normal operation of the senses for example color, taste and sound among others (Kenny, 2001). Complex ideas are a combination of simple ideas derived by transposing, compounding, diminishing or augmenting impressions (Aune, 2004).

Descartes: Where are these ideas obtained from?

Locke: Ideas are obtained from two sources, sensation and reflection. Through sensation, ideas are produced immediately after an exposure to an experience through the sensory organs (Carruthers, 2005). Human senses are already conversant with certain sensible objects and these, the senses convey to the mind in a number of distinct perceptions, for example color, sound, smells etcetera (Aune, 2004). The second source of ideas is reflection which is the way through which the mind can understand and produce ideas by perception. Human beings reflect within their own minds upon the ideas they obtain through sensation. This furnishes them with a new set of ideas that cannot be obtained from anywhere else (Carruthers, 2005).  

Descartes: So what is knowledge to you?

Locke: A human being starts to have ideas when he experiences his first sensation (Kenny, 2001). The mind as mentioned earlier is a blank slate without any prior innate ideas and as such it is until an impression is made in some part of the body that a human being will first develop a perception of an idea (Aune, 2004). I need to also add that the first capacity of human intellect is that be it through sensation or reflection, the human mind is developed in such a way that it can receive impressions. This is the first step for human beings to discover anything in this world and thus through the two processes of sensation and reflection, they gather ideas that eventually become knowledge (Kenny, 2001). My understanding of knowledge therefore is that it is the result of a perception of ideas which may be in accordance or discordance with each other and which is only gained through experience (Carruthers, 2005).

Descartes: Only gained through experience? The human mind at birth already has innate ideas and knowledge?!

Locke: That is where you are going wrong. The human mind at birth is a blank slate containing no prior innate knowledge. From the time a child is born, various alterations take place. Its mind through the senses become furnished more and more with ideas and this causes the mind to become more awake and to think more (Kenny, 2001). As time goes by, the child will start to know certain objects that he is familiar with the most and which have had lasting impressions on him. Starting to know things is a process for the child and as he continues conversing himself with them, he is able to distinguish between what is familiar and what is strange (Aune, 2004). The ultimate beginning of all human knowledge therefore is sense experience. It is the senses that provide us with all the raw data we require to understand the world and therefore without the senses there is no knowledge. It is after we perceive through our senses that we create a belief system that ultimately becomes our knowledge.

Descartes: That is not true. The ultimate beginning of all human knowledge is reason and not the senses as you claim. There exist certain ideas which I call ‘priori’ that through biology are carried in the mind (Kenny, 2001). When an infant is born, these priori ideas have already been acquired through reason.

Locke: I am listening, go on.

Descartes: Now, this is the point, without these prior principles and categories, we do not have the capacity to organize or even interpret the experience we gain from our senses. Without these priori ideas, human beings would be faced by one undifferentiated, huge and kaleidoscopic whirl of sensations that have no significance (Carruthers, 2005). When the mind of an infant begins working, it does so in two hundred and fifty six different ways. This of course does not include induction which is the method through which we identify our perceptions. The infant will soon seek which one of the two hundred and fifty six methods actually work and the truth is that only fifteen of them work (Aune, 2004). The other two hundred and forty one methods cannot be said to work because they only lead to false conclusions. The infant therefore will result to throwing the fallacies out once he realizes that they do not work (Kenny, 2001). Reason therefore is the ultimate beginning of all human knowledge since it is through it that innate knowledge is generated and certified (Carruthers, 2005).  If I may ask, supposing the human mind is a blank slate at birth as you claim, without any ideas or characters, how then it is furnished? Where do all these varying materials of knowledge and reason then come from?

Locke: It is from experience. All our knowledge is founded from experience and this is how it happens. We employ observations either about our mind’s internal operations or about external sensible objects which we then perceive and reflect on. Doing so supplies us with the understanding of all thinking materials (Carruthers, 2005).  

Descartes: Have you considered how correct the knowledge obtained from experience is? For example, when you observe the sun through our senses, it appears smaller in size but in reality it is not!

Locke: It is until we become aware of the representations of external objects that we can be aware of the external objects themselves. For example, an object cannot be described as “red” in color if prior knowledge of what “red” should look like is unknown (Carruthers, 2005). As such, the “red color” idea is in our minds and not with the external object.

Descartes: What you have said is true. We cannot rely fully on our senses in order to gain knowledge. Things can only be fully and correctly known through both our senses and reason.

References

Aune, B. (2004). Rationalism, Empiricism and Pragmatism: An Introduction. New York: Random House.

Carruthers, P. (2005). Human Knowledge and Human Nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kenny, A. (2001). Rationalism, Empiricism and Idealism. Oxford: Oxford University Press

 

 

Validity of Eyewitness Testimony

September 30, 2013

Abstract

The validity of the eyewitness testimony is subjected to increased variations, especially with respect to the grounds upon which the information is shared. This implies that the prospect of realizing an effective testimony of the model is casted along a platform of doubts. The evaluation of the various supportive studies deployed in the elaboration of the subject matter assist in the development of a conclusion on the topic, which anneals to the fact that the validity of the statements or the testimonies is highly compromised. This paper seeks to elaborate on the principle topic while fetching some assistance from the reflections sourced from related literatures, to develop a conclusion on the concern.

Introduction

Amongst the central elements of a legal engagement, especially in criminal legal systems of the contribution of the witness associated to the case on reference, are the testimonies. Eyewitnesses, who are subjected to a legal procedure of warranting their statements, as well as ensuring the subsequent validity, make these entries. The nature of the legal system associated to the criminal case procedure calls for the restriction or monitoring of the evidence of the testimonies submitted by the respective legal partners. This implies that there rises an increased desire to ensure that the validity of these statements is achieved during the presentations, and there is a complete seal of the loopholes that may encourage the delivery of doctored testimonies.

On this regard, it is of significant merit to evaluate the essence of each of the statement, in terms of validity. The journey towards this objective involves the evaluation of the prospect s that may lead to the development of an inconsistent or non-valid testimony by an eyewitness. However, prior to the development of this assertion, it is vital to outline the elements that comprise of a valid eyewitness testimony.

 

Valid eyewitness testimony

Accuracy of information offered under an eyewitness may be described as the primary factor that is attributed to the validity of the testimony. In addition, the statement is anticipated to be developed by the witness without the contribution of the third parties, which on this regard are the law enhancer (Louw, and Venter, 2005). However, this perception is subject to changes or adjustments in accordance to the demands of the various legal systems. This implies that the perception of the testimony in terms of validity is also subjected to encounter significant errors. Some legal provisions dictate that the statement should be comprised of the signature of the witness; while others demand that the statement should be made on sworn grounds. In a conclusive description, the statement is anticipated to contain various elements that indicate the identified witness made it, as well as indicate the date and the reason behind the submission.

 

These developments may be described to be offering slight assistance towards the isolation of incorrect or doctored witness testimonies in the courtroom. The principle challenge associated to this development may be edged on the fact that legal teams, that mounts their arguments on eyewitness testimonies, seem to accept them as gospel truth. The prospect of compromising the legal procedure via the engagement of such grounds of assertion can be described as eminent.

 

Challenges facing the eyewitness testimony

Psychological analysis of the elements that comprise of an eyewitness statement can be described as being fetched from the nature of the testimonies. They are developed with respect to the recollection memory of the human brain, an organ that has been described to be linked to increased influence with respect to the grounds of performance. The conditions upon which the mind is subjected to deliver a certain theory plays a significant contribution to the eventual customization of the theory. This implies that the descriptions accorded to the human brain are subjected to the adjustment of the regulations, as well as the conditions upon which the regulations are conducted.

This leads to the identification of two models upon which adjustments in the content of such recollection can occur. Amongst these is the non-conscious adjustment: a condition that happens without the notion of the participant. The psychological dimensions of the witness influence these statements. The testimonies are, further, influenced by the standards upon which their delivery is established, as well as the magnitude of their implication in the development of the eventual verdict. Critical testimonies seem to suffer from increased psychological pressure; while testimonies offered on grounds of reduced of reduced legal tension seem to be of improved accuracy.

In addition, the human brain is notorious of adopting a selective trend in the recollection of memories, with increased attention being pegged on the ethical perception pegged on the observer. This assists in the determination of the essence of the content of the memories recollected by the individual. In addition, the prospect of raising or developing inconsistency in the nature of the eventual testimony is also evident. This implies that there rises an increased desire to develop regulative approaches towards the justification or validity of the entries.

In addition, the validity of the testimonies presented under the eyewitness conviction can be challenged by conscious based infringements. This implies that the prospect of developing a credible testimony based on an eyewitness is further impaired by the reasons that are clear to the conscious of the perpetrator. Such instances are driven by the emotional perceptions harbored by the witness towards the culprit, as well as mental prejudice that may be shared alongside. In such an instance, the development of a testimony on such a victim by such a witness is subjected to the inclusion of consistent levels of biases.

Such developments are destined to impair the prospect of developing a credible judgment against the realization of an effective testimony. This revelation assist in raising the doubt bar associated to eyewitness testimonies.

 

Assertive literature on the topic

Various literatures have been developed with a focus on the topic. The primary target has been the establishment of the credibility of these testimonies, as well as the certification of their contribution or usage in legal podiums. Amongst such listing is the work by Areh and Umek (2004), which focused on the identification of the similarity or the correlation between the content of the testimony and the character of the witness. This is with respect to the nature of and the validity of the testimonies offered by the individual. The research paper embarks on a mission to point on the correlation between the two entries, where there was  identification of significant similarity. The apparent, ideal, notion developed by the findings of the study is that the traits that determine the personality or the character of an individual assist in the development of the subsequent testimony, which may be developed by the individual. This perception has been drafted from the progressive comparison that have been established towards this assertion. The study team embarked on comparative models on the various cases involving eyewitness testimonies, with the aim of predicting their content on the character of the individual. A significant proportion was linked to a positive correlation.

On the other hand, Bradfield and Wells (2000) seek to evaluate the criteria upon which the identification of the ideal eyewitness team has been achieved. The study has engaged into a sequence of interactive procedures that seek to isolate the most relevant individuals for the task. The primary argument introduced by this work is the contribution of the desires of the inviting team. On this regard, the study team sought to illustrate the interest that are attributed to the identification of a legal eyewitness via the utilization of a criminal law based legal procedure. The disclosure enlisted the prospect of the prosecutor team isolating only but the witnesses that would favor the strengthening of their case, while the defence team is anticipated to presume similar measures towards the isolation of the ideal eyewitness candidates.

This implies that the development of their testimonies is not only based on the positions that they anneal towards the extraction of the truth but the perspective upon which the testimonies angled the win of the case. This perception assists in the identification of the position upon which the validity of such a statement is annealed.

The tradition procedure upon which the verification or the evaluation of the validity of the statements has been based  on the certainty and attentiveness of the submissions. In addition, the description jolted in the statements, as well as the time of submissions make an increased impact on the validity of the statement, so does the view shared by the witness. This detailed evaluation procedures assists in the indication of the doubts associated to the eyewitness testimony in the judicial corridors.

As an additive to the statement description, there has been constant description by the scientific world that there rises an increased prospect of fooling the human eye on the content perception. This implies that the human brain fathoms only the content that has been perceived via the description of the eye. This description may be varied by the distance, as well as the time of the observation. In addition, the nature of the event, as well as the historical backgrounds shared by the individual may be utilized in the development of an ideal account on an observation.

The deceptions that are associated to the imaging of the eye are critical in the constituent of the evidence developed by the eyewitness. The paper by Brigham and Bothwell (1983) seek to illustrate the contribution of illusions in the development of an eyewitness testimony. Their quest is nurtured along the lines of optimization, as well as assumptions of the mind. The argument is furthered by the theory of perception of the brain, which states that the mind sees or recognizes what it aspires to perceive. This prospect of constant perception being associated to the brain, prior to the establishment of a viable judgement, implies that the prospect of sustaining a credible opinion on the basis of eyewitness testimony is rather varied. The aspect of credibility is perceived to be affected by insignificant factors, a development that assists in the quantification of the apparent delusion conveyed to the mind (Lindberg, Jones, Collard and Thomas, 2001).

This perception is critical in the evaluation of the validity of the offered testimony. In addition, the recap of the cases that have been ruled on the basis of negative or erroneous testimony, only to be rejected by the invoke of scientific presentation of evidence are rather increased. This may be described as the basis of the argument presented by O’Rourke and his colleagues. This paper seeks to outline the influence of hormonal imbalance on the moods of an individual, as well as the eventual testimonies derived from the individual. Arguments pursued by the paper are jolted together with supportive evidence of various judicial proceedings experienced in the contemporary world. This is with respect to the nature of the primary arguments, as well as the strengths of the contradictions. These findings assist in the development of a stable evaluation on the validity of the eyewitness testimonies in a judicial chamber.

 

Evaluation of findings

The assertions presented by the identified studies on the subject assists in the identification of the extent upon which the variation in the validity of the testimonies is developed. This is with respect to the discussed attributes, amongst them the contribution of the psychological, and external factors to the judgemental capacity of an individual. There rises an increased desire to develop influence of performance on the mind, a factor that assists in the influence of the effectiveness of the recollection (Wells, Lindsay and Tousignant, 1998). In addition, various obstacles that seek to hinder the validity of the primary process have challenged the judicial channels. This is with respect to concerns such as utilization of the undesired methodologies in the extraction of testimonies, a development that can be described best via the reflection of the invoke of torture as a means of information extraction (Buckley and Kleiner, 2007).

The extent upon which the credibility of the statement can be affected has been exhibited to be beyond the possible restriction of the judicial mechanisms. This is with respect to the extent of corruption that can be instigated on the eyewitnesses; as compared to the correction measures adopted by courts of law. Apparently, the system of verification of the validity of the content of the eyewitness is pegged on the faith that the witness will honour the obligation to the law or to the religious creed (Amina and Don, 2007). This is with respect to the nature of the oath sworn in respect to the validity of the information offered. The studies have proceeded to prove that some avenues of compromise to the information. Apparently, the studies have proven that there rises a prospect of developing a differing opinion over the nature of the testimonies offered by the witnesses. It is also evident that the content of the testimony can vary with respect to the stretch of time (Wise, Dauphinais and Safer, 2007).

 

Conclusion

The topic of validity of the eyewitness testimony in a judicial procedure is challenged by a complex of developments that seek to derail the prospect of its acceptance on bases of legitimacy. The descriptions of the captured details are developed abreast with an ocean of challenges that seek to water down their credibility or the prospect of entertaining them in a court of law. However, the descriptions of some legal engagements calls for the invoke of eyewitness testimonies in an effort to develop a perception of the nature of the proceedings. On that regard, the utilization of these entries is advised to be oriented towards the development of the sketch or the theories that mark the judicial procedures, and not the development of the actual verdict.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference page

Amina, M., & Don, T. (January 11, 2007). The myth of the incredible eyewitness.

Areh, I., & Umek, P. (January 01, 2004). Personal characteristics and validity of eyewitness testimony. Policing in Central and Eastern Europe. Dilemmas of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 355-359.

Bradfield, A. L., & Wells, G. L. (October 01, 2000). Perceived Validity of Eyewitness Identification Testimony: A Test of the Five Biggers Criteria. Law and Human Behavior, 24, 5.)

Brigham, J. C., & Bothwell, R. K. (January 01, 1983). Ability of Prospective Jurors To Estimate the Accuracy of Eyewitness Identifications. Law and Human Behavior, 7, 1, 19-30.

Buckley, A., & Kleiner, B. H. (January 01, 2002). The accuracy of eyewitness testimony. Managerial Law, 44, 86-91.

Lindberg, M. A., Jones, S., Collard, L. M. C., & Thomas, S. W. (September 01, 2001). Similarities and Differences in Eyewitness Testimonies of Children Who Directly Versus Vicariously Experience Stress. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 162, 3, 314-333.

Louw, D. A., & Venter, A. (January 01, 2005). Estimator variables and eyewitness testimony. Acta Criminologica, 18, 1, 21-39.

O’Rourke, T. E., Penrod, S. D., Cutler, B. L., & Stuve, T. E. (December 01, 1989). External Validity of Eyewitness Identification Research: Generalizing Across Subject Populations. Law and Human Behavior, 13, 4, 385-395

Wells, G. L., Lindsay, R. C. L., & Tousignant, J. P. (January 01, 1998). Effects of Expert Psychological Advice on Human Performance in Judging the Validity of Eyewitness Testimony. Law and Human Behavior, 4, 4, 275-285.

Wise, R. A., Dauphinais, K. A., & Safer, M. A. (June 06, 2007). Tripartite Solution to Eyewitness Error. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 97, 3.)

 

 

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Comparison and contrast between Courage in The Map of Love and Four Feathers

September 30, 2013

Introduction

There exists a wide range of comparison in the two creative productions titled The Map of Loveby Ahdaf Soueif and the movie Four Feathers by A. E. W. Mason. This includes the themes of politics, nationalism and the common plot which is in the Middle East and mainly Egypt. On the other hand we also realize an extent of contrast in the two pieces of work noting that it is unlikely that the two thinkers could totally compare in their perspectives. The two characters Anne and Harry in both Soueif’s and Mason’s work is what brings the biggest similarity. They both move to Egypt in desperation after losing their lovers either to death or as a disowned.

In The Map of Love, Ahdaf Soueif manages to provide accounts of love of three groups of people across three generations in a family tree in a competent way. He weaves the message of love with the topics of British imperialism and consequently the Egyptian Nationalism. Key issues which emerge alongside politics include love, change and continuity of social values, family, clash of civilizations and technology.

But for Mason, his movie is more military oriented where we see key themes being colonialism, nationalist uprising and war.  His movie focuses on Sudan unlike Soueif novel whose plot solely in Egypt. The main character is a man unlike for Soueif who gives women key role.

Comparison and Contrast

To start with, the three generations in Soueif’s story include that of Anna Winterbourne, her daughter Jasmine and finally Amal who appears due to Isabel. Shariff al-Baroudiis a nationalist and Anna is a daughter of a British ruling class. They both come together under the auspices of love and they get married. But this comes with challenges to clash of cultures. The issue is not liked by Anna’s family and the British society. On the other hand, Sharif faces similar problem when he starts being viewed with suspicion by his colleagues who are nationalists fighting freedom battles for liberation of their country. The story of love between Shariff and Anne is told by Amal in such a gorgeous and romantic way.

On the other hand, Mason provides characters like Harry Feversham and Garnet Wolseley’s who represents Britain interests as an officer of the same. When he appears in stage, he is required to exhibit braveness rather than cowardice as his wish for resignation is never welcomed.  Nonetheless, the idea of love is introduced when it is noted that Harry had a fiancée by the name Ethne Eustace. But we do not see this theme being emphasized as it is in The Map of Love. Actually, Harry is in trouble and his lover is not supporting his idea to quit.

In The Map of Love, the story is triggered by the finding of documents by Isabel in a family tree trunk which were written in both Arabic and English. After fetching Amal to help reveal the riddle by reading them, they realize that they have a lot of narration on the encounters of Anna on her life especially in Egypt. Anna had come into the country after the death of her husband. This idea of desperation due to loss of love also appears in Mason work after Harry loses the love of Ethne due to his behavior which is translated as cowardice.

Also, though on one a female figure is featured and the other a male figure, the aspect of a foreigner is a new land which happens to be Egypt is brought into focus. Harry moves to Egypt and there he is imprisoned as a mistaken Dutch musician. But the ordinary theme of the movie continues and fails to take the subject of love but instead we see the heroism of Harry when he rescues a British Captain.

In The Map of Love, the love of Anna and Shariff is refabricated by Omar al-Ghamrawi and Isabel who is seen to be more of an American being a great-granddaughter of Anna. Love in this story is so much romanticized unlike in Mason movie. Amal mentions Anna as they took their journey to Sinai as having “dressed in the flowing white of the Bedouin”

Mason movie brings a different mood as the aspect of death takes domination. For instance, one notes a situation where British governor George Gordon is killed by the Dervishes. This is connected in the idea of Harry finding Gordon’s lost letter in Egypt. Just like Anna in the novel by Soueif. The difference is the development of the two stories from the capture where Soueif prefers to feature Anna falling in love with Shariff who assists her.

Soueif novel being a latter one, we are to come across the theme political instability in Arab dominated region taking us to neo- colonialism. Generally, there is repetition of incidences despite the passage of time. Though in the past an aggressive political battle was witnessed, the real political battle taking criticisms still continues with the idea of fundamentalists emanating. That of Mason takes mostly the theme of the violent warfare involving British troops and the African nationalists. Such ideas of change like the issue brought with the character Amal in the ‘map of love’ when she uses email bringing in the issue of change in technology is not evident in Mason work.

The Map of Love delivers its message all through not leaving out the idea that love overpowers the clash between cultures. This shows the commonality of human race. The building of a new culture intrudes and thus modernity and traditional. On the other hand, the heroism of Harry is restored after his achievements in Egypt and thus he manages to win Ethne back and they finally get married. Thus in some way, the message of love is interwoven in that of politics and warfare in the movie.

Conclusion

In conclusion, then the theme of politics and actually colonialism strongly comes out with a focus in Arab dominated regions. The nationalists are featured who are seen to be more of fundamentalists getting strength from their religious affiliations. Soueif communicates his topics of politics and the history of Egypt in the main message of love and romance. He starts with Anna and moves through the rest of her two generations in a family tree. Mason’s character Harry shows a lot in common with Anna. Harry regains his heroism in his travel as a fugitive of love.

But generally, the Four Feathers does not romantise love since it is fully of the theme of warfare being more aggressive. This is why Edwin A. McAlpin commenting on the movie talked of “sophisticated examination of courage.” He further added that “Some men have no idea of what nerves mean, while others have to fight the hardest kind of a battle in their own minds and soul.” This is evident in the behavior of the character. The Map of Love keeps it mood as we see a repetition of the kind of love between Anna and Shariff being repeated by Omar and Isabel.

 

 

Work Cited

Mason, A. E. W. Four Feathers. 2002.

Soueif, A. The Map of Love in Courage. New York, Booker Prize Finalist; 1999, 1- 76.

 

Cyber Crime

September 30, 2013

Cyber Crime

My topic of research is An Investigation into the categories and trends of Cybercrime in USA. This research shall focus on the types and prevalence of cyber crime in USA. The hypothesis is that cybercrime is on the rise in the United States of America and that the majority of the cyber attacks are from off shore organized criminals. The reason why this research needs to be undertaken is that there have been fears in the press and social media regarding potential threats of cybercrime to national, corporate and private data that is transmitted online. The three main factors that lead to cybercrime are motivation, opportunity and lack of adequate guards to victims (Grabosky, Peter. 2000). Classifying the various types of cybercrimes and their prevalence, it is hoped that this research will partly help security agencies in designing response measures to mitigate or eliminate the crime.

While acknowledging the potential benefits of this undertaking, there are some foreseen obstacles to the research. The nature of cybercrime is such that the criminals have become very mobile. This makes it very challenging to categorize cybercrime based on region. If a study is conducted today for instance showing a concentration of cybercrime in major US cities, a similar research conducted later may reveal a completely different topology of cybercrime. Another challenge is that since the internet is a system of globally interconnected computers of different types, capabilities and size, the potential of a crime being initiated in overseas locations that affect computers and servers worldwide makes it very complex to study the trends (Gerke Marco, 2012). Thirdly, there are various views and theories regarding cybercrime some of which are conflicting (Grzybowski M. Katherine, 2012). For this reason, researchers in the field have made it highly taxing to establish which theories to use in the research. These are just few of the challenges foreseen hitherto.   

Cybercrime is a potential threat to protected data and information. There are many forms of cybercrimes which make it complex for security agents to effectively investigate, apprehend and prosecute the masterminds. The final major challenge is that there is insufficient research in the area of trends which can help security agents and law makers to provide a robust counter framework both in terms of formulating laws and designing response measures. This research shall be aimed at classifying the types of cybercrime in order to provide lawmakers and security agents in USA and the world with a guiding framework that will clarify the types of cybercrime. The prevalence section shall help to create awareness to the problem. It is the assumption of the research that cybercrime is on the rise in USA. 

In order to conduct this research in an effective way, the key sources of data shall be various published literature on the subject. Key themes of relevant and latest literature shall be studied, analyzed and compared, critiqued and a conclusion reached upon based on the findings. In order to ascertain the accuracy and validity of the data collected via secondary sources, it would be helpful to use questionnaires and interviews. Five key sectors and businesses that are prone to cyber attacks shall be sampled and data collected from them. This will include banks, security agencies like police, social networks like twitter and facebook, NASA and the military.

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Gerke Marco  (2012) Understanding Cybercrime: Phenomena, Challenges and Legal Response. (New Ed.) Telecommunication Development Sector. ITU. Online at www.itu.int/ITU-D/cyb/cybersecurity/legislation.html accessed on 21st April, 2013.

Grabosky, Peter. (2000) Computer Crime: A Criminological Overview. Canberra, Australia: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Grzybowski M. Katherine, (2012) An Examination of Cybercrime and Cybercrime Research: Self-control and Routine activity Theory. Arizona, USA. Arizona State University.