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.