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.
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 →
My quiz results as an ambivalent networker comes as no surprise to me. I love technology and all of the benefits it gives to me, but at the same time kind of hope that my privacy was a little more available. With camera phones, social media, and instant access to recent news all in one’s hand, it is hard to escape everyone’s business without turning off all electronics. However, this perceived lack of privacy also aids in more serious efforts such as stopping crime and catching criminals.
The NSA leaked reports from a few months ago show that our technological conversations can be easily seen or heard by government officials at the click of a button. While people cry out for individual and privacy rights, I tend to learn towards the other end of the spectrum. Don’t we want our government to be able to predict and foil attacks on our country before they actually happen? I would imagine texts with a girlfriend or calls with one’s mother are of much interest to National Security. Key terms and watch list individuals are located and followed in order to catch them before terrible actions occur. As can be read in this article about the sabotaged attack on the Federal Reserve in New York City, FBI surveillance aided in stopping the planned bombing. Instances as such cannot be ignored as successes and the people who wish for “more privacy” should remember that their privacy comes at a cost to National Security.
Recently I have been finding an overlap between my human resource management class discussions and business, government and society. That being said, HRM was a key factor in my decision in writing about Wal-Mart for my paper 2. My HRM professor has expressed multiple times her pure hatred towards Wal-Mart due to their work ethics and morals (or shall I say, lack there of). As I just recently read Raising the Global Floor for my HRM class which discusses labor laws across countries, and reading books on Wal-Marts culture behind closed doors, I typed in labor ethics into the search tab on TED.com.
The first result that appeared was “Auret van Heerdan: Making Global Labor Fair”. Auret van Heerdan is the President and CEO of Fair Labor Association, with an extensive background in international labor rights. Continue reading →
I plan on writing my second paper about Telsa’s (short-term) success as a sustainable business. So I started my search for a book by going to the library and searching, “sustainable business practices.” I figured that as an extremely new company, finding a book that tied my paper topic directly to Tesla would be very difficult. After reading a handful of abstracts, there was one book that jumped out to me as one that would be very beneficial for my paper, “The New Pioneers; Sustainable business success through social innovation and social entrepreneurship.” I then wrote down the number for the book and asked a librarian how to find my book based off of the code given to me from the catalog.
After going through the Kaiser Family Foundation quiz on Obamacare, I was surprised to get 8 out of 10 questions right. Though I was familiar with most of the questions asked, my understanding of Obamacare is at a basic level and I was interested in learning more about the law. As I read several articles discussing Obamacare, I learned more about the effect that the law would have on businesses.
I think that the concept of “too big to fail” still exists today, as the financial services industry is still an oligopoly with few banks controlling the fate of the economy. If, for example, a company like Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, or Bank of America were to go under at some point, the economy would fall apart. Though it has tried to address the concern that banks could dismantle the financial system by regulating proprietary trading, capital requirements and others, the government has not addressed the problem of “moral hazard,” where investment banks take bigger risks because they are dealing with other people’s money and not their own. The way to reform the banking system is to shift the risk to those that make the decisions to take the risk in the first place. Continue reading →
I found that Mike Daisy’s recount of the conditions of the Foxconn plant to be very graphic and disturbing. However, I do not think that this is the fault of Apple, but rather Foxconn and the totalitarian regime of China. The reason that the majority of U.S. products are manufactured in China is because the cost is so much cheaper than in the United States. Unfortunately, this cheap labor breeds awful working conditions. The Chinese government does not enforce labor standards, allowing for underage workers, harsh conditions, extended hours, and low wages. Foxconn operates on the basis of many Chinese companies that people are expendable and like parts of a machine.
Apple, on the other hand, has done nothing wrong. It periodically checks the plants for stable working conditions and—at least on the surface—investigates any labor issues that occur. Daisy even recounted that Foxconn knew when the plants were being audited and would adjust their standards accordingly. But the real point—though a controversial one—is that Apple needs the low cost labor of Foxconn to exist in the first place. If Foxconn increased wages and benefits to the levels that Americans enjoy, Apple would cease to exist, as the average wage in China is $2.00 compared to the average wage in the U.S. of $34.75 (this would be an additional $25 billion per year in costs and Apple makes roughly $14 billion) 1.
While the conditions in China are terrible, we cannot blame Apple for producing its products there to stay in business (focusing on the design of their products that consumers love so much). It is the role of the Chinese government to enact and enforce laws that help the people gain better working conditions, as companies like Foxconn are designed to minimize costs at all costs. However, as we have seen before from the communist China (i.e. sending a 14-year old to the Olympics in 2000), the government only views its citizens as tools to serve the state.
An organization/company I am familiar with is a professional sports team, specifically a Major League Baseball team. MLB teams have social responsibility similar to large corporations. They try to maximize profits in order to buy the best players so that there will be a greater chance of winning. The stakeholders of an MLB team are concerned with the corporate side of the team because their actions will likely affect them. For example, the players are major stakeholders because they are the employees and their salary and contracts depend on what happens in upper management. Profits are also important to keep people going to games, and paying for tickets and other items while they are there. If a team has a large profit, they will have better players, win more games, and attract more fans. This cycle is key to bringing as much money in as possible.
The business process of an MLB team goes along with what Milton Friedman says about the social responsibility of business. His point that the only social responsibility of business is to make a profit and be fair is exactly what MLB teams aim for. A player could be a great guy to have around but if he is not performing, the team is going to let him go so that they can hire another player that will produce more for the team, leading to higher profits in the long run. It was interesting when Freidman said that many businessmen are “far-sighted and clearheaded in matters that are internal to their business and short-sighted and muddle-headed in matters that are outside their business but affect the possible survival of the business in general.” I thought this statement related to how the owners and upper management of a team work. It seems as though they are very concerned with internal matters that they sometimes forget about external factors that could affect them such as minor league teams and younger players that could potentially move up to the major leagues one day.