Following the financial crisis of 2008, the United States government decided to take legislative action in order to protect the American public and tighten the leash on the financial sector. From unregulated derivatives markets to excessively risky trading and speculative losses written off under the cover of a portfolio hedge, the tools and investment vehicles utilized by the finance industry generated enormous amounts of revenue, however as the crisis showed, even financial powerhouses are susceptible to failure. Bailing out the finance industry with billions of dollars provided a quick fix for keeping major firms afloat with the taxpayer money, but it was clear that real change was necessary. Continue reading
South Africa is a country that has deep-rooted history of inequality starting with the Dutch colonization of South Africa in 1652, through British control during the 19th and 20th Century, and ultimately lasting through apartheid in the late 20th Century. The lasting effects of the European colonization and apartheid are still seen today in present day South Africa. South Africa has one of the highest income inequalities in the world. While the root cause for this inequality is the policies of segregation and apartheid of the black Africans, the central present-day cause for the income inequality is inequality between wage earners and the high proportion of South Africans who do not have access to wage income. The South African has tried to implement policies to combat the inequality. However, the policies are merely short-fix. My recommendations to improve the employment rate will hopefully have lasting effects on the South African economy and close the income inequality gap in South Africa.
Though boasting a significantly smaller population than countries such as China or India, the United States consumes more oil per year than any other country. In fact, according to the Energy Information Administration, the United States consumes roughly 7 billion barrels of oil annually, roughly 25% of all oil produced in the world. As such, our nation’s energy policy has been, and continues to be, almost entirely focused on oil production and importation. Continue reading
It seems crazy that child labor is still a problem around the world but when you really think about it, many children work because they feel like they have to. Some governments, like in Uzbekistan require child labor to harvest cotton and other countries are so impoverished that families feel there is no choice but to have children add to the family income. The problem is that child labor actually perpetuates poverty and violates basic human rights. Unfortunately, these violations and poverty cycles are only made worse by Western economies that literally buy into the cheap items it produces. Continue reading
The 2008 financial crisis left many people with no homes, jobs, or way of life. It affected the economy more significantly than any crisis since the Great Depression. Dodd-Frank was created in response to this catastrophe to assure that it would never happen again. The law imposes regulation in nearly every aspect of the financial industry, covering investment and commercial banks, insurance companies, rating agencies, hedge funds, and many others. With the implementation of Dodd-Frank, we must consider the costs and benefits of such a bill. If there is too much regulation on banks, for example, they will be less likely to lend, decreasing liquidity in our economy and leading to a lack of economic growth or even a recession. Continue reading
The food industry is very complex and I was astonished at the amount of ethical issues I found, ranging from government-issued agriculture subsidies to the treatment of animals. There were a number of different players in the food industry that are to blame for the health and environmental concerns that the food industry has created, but I decided to target food retailers in general. Continue reading
History is meant as a learning tool for the future so people do not make the same mistakes of the past. The Cold War arms race between the United States and Russia for a majority of the mid to late 20th Century is a prime example for the United States to learn that over spending on military expenditures does very little benefits to American life as a whole. However, 20+ years after the dismantling of the Soviet Union, Americas spike in military spending is back and as reckless as ever. President Obama has started cuts that are necessary to decrease the wastefulness, but they are not nearly enough.
I hope to show that over spending on certain departments including weaponry and research and development does not have the positive safety effects that many outsiders perceive it does. A more efficient spending culture will not only be equally as successful, but it will aid the other sectors of the economy through more funding that is usually directed towards the military. The United States has held the position as the World’s military power for some time now and they have no thoughts of giving that up. By cutting down their defense spending, they are not putting America at risk for attack, they are merely helping build the other aspects of American life that are struggling to progress at the same rate as other powerful countries in the world.
The composition of the agricultural industry has changed over time, which has affected the food industry. Genetically modified foods have been a major topic of discussion in the world. Since the long-term effects of GMOs on human’s health and the environment are not yet defined, the European Union has decided to place very strict regulations on GM food, while the United States is more lenient. The consumers in each country have affected the severity of the regulations. The EU has adopted strict regulations since the consumers do not trust their regulatory agencies as much, due to their history of health outbreaks such as mad-cow disease. The EU is following a precautionary principle and the US is following a postcautionary principle. Continue reading
Campaign finance reform is the effort to change the power and effect that money has on United States politics, particularly elections. The current sanctions and regulations placed on groups or individuals who donate money to certain parties or candidates are not thorough enough. Campaign finance law is often thought about as loopholes rather than laws. Candidates and supporters find different loopholes in order to pour money into different sectors to influence politicians. Although it is difficult to stop people from donating money where they please because of their first amendment rights, there needs to be a governmental change in order to overcome this misrepresentation of the American people. More power needs to be given to the Federal Election Committee and the right people need to be selected to run the FEC. Campaigns need to be run mostly by publicly funded money so that the American people are actually represented in Congress.
Childhood obesity has become a national epidemic in the United States, but only recently has the issue gotten significant attention. The rate of obese and overweight children in the United States has doubled in the last 20 years and will continue to increase if changes aren’t made to children’s lifestyles. Continue reading
As humans the way we eat and think about food is something that makes us different from the rest of the animal kingdom. For people food is about so much more than carbs and fats and the energy needed to complete tasks throughout the day and survive. Food is a social connector that not only brings groups of people together but can also divide individuals (Lind et al, 2004).
“We eat for reasons other than taste. Meat and potatoes, apple pie, turkey, grits, tacos, beans and rice, low fat yogurt, veggie-burgers, a Big Mac and fries to go; these foods all carry a symbolic load far heavier than simple nutrition or taste preference can capture. Foods have meanings for us. They signify lifestyle, celebration, and ritual, nutritional concerns, and personal, ethnic, regional and national identities” (Lind et al, 2004: 46).
In 2007 and 2008 this divine right to food, that is so instrumental to the survival of humans both biologically and socially, was stripped away from millions of people around the world as The Global Food crisis began to rip through our international society.
The obesity stats in America have been well documented for quite some time and still are startling each time I look at them. How is it possible that 15% of our country’s children are considered obese? Many different issues attribute to this fact, but one of America’s biggest crutches shines the brightest: the fast food industry. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were able to get ride of these evil empires and significantly increase the health of our youth and population as a whole? The McDonald’s and Burger King’s of America sit all along the freeways waiting for travelers to come clog their arteries with cheap poorly made burgers and fries. The statistics out there about these fast food joints show that they are nothing but an impediment on society.
One measly meal at a local fast food restaurant can average out to 37% of a person’s daily calories and 42.6% of the carbohydrates. For a family that stops by their once during the day, this could be corrected by two other healthy meals, but as we all know, that is not usually the case. With some customers coming numerous times a day due to the low prices and great taste, their health diminishes severely as the days go on. As seen in this clip from the critically acclaimed film, “Super Size Me,” the man running the documentary had his health deteriorate significantly after his solely McDonald’s based diet. Quite honestly, I feel shares borderline comparisons with tobacco and alcohol in respect to how they harm the human body.
Obviously since these are large corporations with armies of lawyers that defend each and everyone of their moves, getting rid of this industry is very likely. However, it is interesting to think how the country would fair with the disappearance of the fast food. How drastically would obesity fall and the average life span go up? I realize that the economy would feel the negative effects of their extinction and the government would never back such an event due to this and the many lobbyists that pollute our capitol for the benefit of the industry, but it would be interesting to see if the American people as a whole had a better quality of life without the temptation of their shoddy food products.
What is the one thing that every human in the world hates: TRAFFIC!.
Ok, so I didn’t think of some life altering idea that will revolutionize the very world as we know it, but rather identified traffic as something I pretty much am sure every human on earth hates. Also upon reading the prompt, the fact that Seth Godin’s ideas on Traffic was a link at the bottom seemed eerily serendipitous. But, again, I have never come across a traveler who smiles appreciatively upon gazing at the line of what appears to be 968 cars stacked bumper to bumper like an evil, bloodsucking serpent. Sorry…I got carried away.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves. The fact that in 2013 we still have parking meters that use coins is completely ridiculous. For some reason this has always bothered me. Maybe its because I rarely have coins on me, so I end up searching for coins for 5 minutes in my car like an idiot. I just feel that by now someone has to have come up with a better solution. Here in Lewisburg, it actually is not too bad. For one, the meters accept all types of coins except pennies, and secondly they meters are pretty cheap. I think a quarter gives you 45 minutes. Around where I’m from it’s completely different. The meters only accept quarters and a quarter only gives you 15 minutes. If I’m going to be out for an hour and a half, I have to put six quarters in the meter. How often do you ever have six quarters on you? Me, I never do. This topic for the blog kind of came up in my head after parking downtown today and seeing all the meters covered for the holidays and how nice of a feeling that was.
Somewhere over the last two or three decades, our society has fallen into a state of political correctness where children are taught that everybody wins. Youth sports give out participation trophies and children are always told they are winners by parents, teachers, and public officials. This creates a generation of entitlement, as many people believe that they “deserve” to get good grades, have a great job, earn a high salary, or ultimately be successful in life without putting in the work necessary to achieve that goal. Yes, some people may have to work harder than others to achieve a certain goal, but everyone is capable of doing so.
Many areas of youth sports are guilty of political correctness in the use of participation trophies. By giving everyone an award, winning is devalued and children are not taught how to handle failure. There is then no incentive to work hard to get that trophy and it sets many young kids up for disappointment when they get older, as mediocre efforts are no longer rewarded. Children who have been praised their whole life are likely to shy away from a difficulty for fear of failure. They may take the easy way out, try to cheat, or do the minimum to get by, yet they would still expect to go to a great college or get an offer from a high-paying job. Failure makes people stronger and makes it that much sweeter when people are awarded based on their merits.
I propose that we reinstate the merit-based society that was seen in previous generations and help children learn at an early age that they will not be given things in life and that every accomplishment must require a certain amount of work. If we transition away from a society of entitlement, we will restore the American Dream mentality among U.S. citizens. The change mainly will come from society as a whole, as parents, teachers and public officials must make conscious efforts to let the children fail.
Forget the untied shoe laces, only wearing one backpack strap, your wheely bookbag and hall monitors from elementary school. Those old school favorites are in the past and should stay there (definitely the wheely book bag, that thing was weird) but it is about time we brought back a staple from our elementary school days, gym class! Working out everyday is a vital ingredient to a healthy lifestyle and should be apart of every person’s daily routine. Just 30 mins of exercise a day can make a huge impact on an individual’s life. Let’s take a look at the benefits you probably didn’t realize you receive from working out daily…. Continue reading
If one were to listen in on a typical conversation between high school or college students there is a very good chance that the topic of disliking school or the work involved with going school will be mentioned. I am not writing this blog to argue that school is a bad idea, quite the opposite in fact. I think that today’s system for evaluating students through grades is extremely flawed. The point of going to school is about learning, not obtaining grades. Often students simply do the bare minimum to get by so that they can post the GPA that they “need” to get into college or get the job they want. This can lead to students cramming to finish projects/papers/study at the last minute. And when students cram they often to not actually learn the information. The competition for grades can also lead to cheating. Grades also are a distinct way or measuring people and there are people in the world who do not think and work the same as the majority. Therefore, these students whose minds do not work the same way are heavily penalized by the grades, affecting the entirety of their lives.
As childhood obesity becomes a bigger problem in the United States, there is the question of what we are feeding children in schools. In order to prevent bad habits and teach a healthy lifestyle, I believe schools should offer healthier food in their cafeterias. When I was growing up, elementary through high school, I noticed that school lunches are quite unhealthy. A lot of the time, they offer foods such as pizza and fries, instead of foods that have nutritional value. I would like to see more vegetables and fruits and less fatty/sugary foods. I think that if kids learn to eat healthier when they are young, they will most likely keep the same good habits as they get older which will decrease the risk of the many diseases associated with obesity.
The US government should create a new law that requires all food to be produced organically. Food integrity is lacking in the US and we often have no idea what we are consuming. The majority of the food we consume has artificial ingredients and or traces of pesticides. Although science and technology have greatly increased the efficiency and pace of food production, the industrialized, mass production of food has caused the integrity of the food industry to suffer. It will most likely take years for this law to come into full effect but it would be worth the wait. The organic food movement has taken off in the past several decades but its growth could be greatly enhanced with more support from business, government and society. Organic food sales doubled globally from 2002-2008 and future growth estimates range from 10-15% annually. Continue reading
The day we were given this assignment, I was met with an all too familiar Buzzfeed about the consequences of cyberbullying, the title being “That Dead Girl”. Unfortunately, this article is not the first in which a young child has committed suicide due to cyberbullying and/or bullying in general. The a quick Google search on bullying, I was met with the following statistics: Continue reading
According to American Student Assistance, nearly 20 million Americans attend college annually and 60% of them borrow in order to cover costs. Though the level of need varies greatly, estimates indicate that there is somewhere between $902 billion and $1 trillion in total outstanding student loan debt in the United States today. Such statistics, as well as the many others out there, point to a very troubling and precarious situation for our nation. And what’s more, the figures continue to worsen each year with one of the most troubling statistics being that the number of college drop-outs is on the rise. In fact, nearly 30 percent of college students who took out loans dropped out of school, up from fewer than a quarter of students a decade ago (Source: Education Sector). Continue reading
At age 7, equal numbers of men and women want to be president of the United States when they grow up (about 30% of the kids). Ask the same question when they are 15, and the proportion of women who want to be president drops off dramatically. This trend goes beyond politics; we live in a cultural system where people are socialized by gender to believe certain industries and positions are for men or women (as well as other types of minority statuses).
In 2009, American advertisers spent $235.6 billion on advertising. Not only does the media pervade every aspect of our culture, it only offers limited number of portrayals of girls and women. Women are told to measure their worth through their bodies’ adherence to an impossible cultural standard perpetuated by the media. In today’s age of technology, that physical standard is easily manipulated and exaggerated through the use of photo-shopped enhancements. The results of this pressure on women alter every aspect of life: from career ambitions to emotional state. Continue reading
As a young child, we were often forced to take naps whether it was at school, or at home. We resented the attempts to take us away from our favorite cartoons or play time. Fast forward a decade and some and as a college student we relish the chance to take a nap in between out hectic schedules. Being a sleep deprived student myself, I decided my policy would be for mandatory nap time for college students. Continue reading
The drinking culture today attracts a lot of attention. Since 1984 the drinking age in the United States has been twenty-one. This law has been considered a “bad social policy and a terrible law.” There is a lot of discussion why a soldier can fight and die for the country and not enjoy a beer. I believe this poses a very interesting paradox. Furthermore I believe the drinking age at 21 has caused a culture with more binge drinking and reckless alcohol consumption.
If the drinking age is lowered, I suppose the college drinking atmosphere would be different since it would be less of a deal to drink heavily. I believe the drinking culture today is a result of deprivation. Continue reading
Minimum wage today if indexed to 1938 $0.25: $3.60
If indexed to inflation since 1948: $7.25
If it were HALF of the average of all production & non-supervisory workers (80% of workforce) it would be: $9.54
If it were HALF of the gains in productivity in the economy since 1948: $14.73
If it were indexed to the same proportional increase in productivity: more than $20