Academic and Professional / Occupational Advice for American Citizens Under Thirty Years of Age

The evil of socialism is what the British homosexual economist, John Maynard Keynes, brought to the devious and pragmatic mind of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his cronies before, and during, the Great Depression, an economic catastrophe that economist Milton Friedman said was "deliberately manufactured through the pragmatism of the Federal Reserve to reconstruct the American republic. " While at the University of Chicago, Dr. Friedman stated that the political and socioeconomic purpose of the Depression was to socialistically redistribute wealth through economic adversity in the USA; and it did just that. The deliberately engineered Great Depression created the American middle-class by dispossessing the small agrarian farmers and wage-earners of their lands and their means of sustaining themselves. Thomas Jefferson said as much as he sought to fight against Alexander Hamilton's Bank of the United States, the embodiment of British federal banking and the forerunner of the federal reserve, saying that such an unconstitutional banking system would dispossess ordinary working Americans of their means of acquiring economic and financial mobility.

The basis of the advent of socialism in the USA was the imposition of high taxes and their austere, almost fascist, collection from hard-working Americans by the federal and State governments. The dubious passage of the 16th Amendment imposing the graduated income tax on the American citizen electorate came in 1913 at a time when 99 percent of the US electorate and the state legisllatures were against an un-apportioned federal income tax. The issue lingers ominously over the republic as to how this amendment was legally passed with such profound opposition from the electorate. Nonetheless, socialism can only exist where there are exorbitant taxes available for collection and use by government. Thus came the rampant spending of the federal government for its entry into World War I, and, later, the maintenance of FDR's inexorably expanded federal regulatory agencies and administrations, which today number over 2,000 such entities exuding out of Washington, DC These ruling agencies are as blatantly unconstitutional as would be a law legislated by Congress placing a golden calf on the podium of the US Senate to be worshipped, or a law requiring all children born in the states to be born only in hospitals and to have RFID chips placed into their neonatal bodies for Orwellian control over them. Yet, the pragmatic illegal legislative fiats of the US Supreme Court have placed the official "constitutional" seals of approval on these perverse acts of Congress creating these agencies and administrations; Therefore the possibility, if not probability, of the latter-mentioned utterly tyrannical laws being imposed on the People is not mere fantasy. Such abysmal changes in the economic and governmental fabric of the republic have caused grave cultural changes in the presiding collective state of mind of the electorate.

For it used to be that normal healthy young people, teenagers, were encouraged by their fathers and mothers to begin working at an early age to develop personal responsibility, an appreciation for hard-work, and a value for the American dollar. In 1910, the US dollar was worth 95 percent of it's value, based on a standard of gold and silver, precious metals. In 1910, one-dollar could buy, either, 20 candy bars, nearly three gallons of milk, or a new well-made shirt from any retail store in the United States. I learned the value of money when I was seven years old, when my dad, a independent welder in East Texas, first instructed me to move some pig iron from one place to another in his shop yard. When I had done the job correctly, to my dad's satisfaction, he came over to me and placed a silver quarter into my hand and said, "good job." With that quarter I chose to buy 5 Hershey chocolate bars from a nearby store; and I realized at that moment that there was more money to be made. After that moment in time, I began doing all sorts of work for my dad, and I received just compensation for my work. When I was four years old, my mother taught me how to read and write, and I began to realize the power acquired with continual learning. Of course, my first grade teacher did like the fact that I came into the first-grade reading "Little Golden Books" and "Nancy Drew" mystery books by Carolyn Keen. But my elementary school teachers, and the principal, were, unfortunately, statists, who had accepted the philosophy that students should be trained only to serve the community, state, and nation; and that the republic was not intended to serve the People, as the Constitutional Framers had intended. I mean, John F. Kennedy embellished statism in his famous statement, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." And that statement preceded Lyndon Johnson's pernicious experiment in socialism, the "Great Society" of welfare recipients, which miserably failed.

Since I had been raised in a working class environment, one that depended solely on financial success through continuous hard physical work, I was told by my parents throughout my formative years that I was going to be responsible for what schooling and learning I would obtain after high school; that is, the twelve free years of primary and secondary education afforded by law through local and state taxes to all American citizen children. Hence, I set about to learn as much as possible about electronic engineering technology during my elementary, junior-high, and high school years, a science in which I was very interested. I had also joined the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program in 1963, paying my own dues of $ 13.00 / year, in order to prepare for a military career, which I had aspired to achieve. My dear mother supported me 120 percent in this endeavor, and I remained in the CAP, a semi-military USAF auxiliary, until I enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1971. During those teenage years, I was hired continually by numerous local employers to do yard work, manual labor, and ranching chores, during the years of my public education, and during the summers between those years. All of this was done while tending to my chores at home.

Most children today, in most middle-class American citizen families, don't know the definition of hard-work, or the value of an earned dollar, because they are not required to experience performing productive work until they are in their mid-to -late teens. Many young people never experience a job until after they graduate from high school. This is because the sociopolitical culture of the 21st Century USA is a permissive indulgent socialistic one that persists in treating young people like small children throughout their developmental years, insisting that children should not have to learn to work and to carry their own weight. The value of the American family, and the responsibilities of the mother and father, the parents, have been supplanted by a Hegelian statist philosophy that a village, instead of a family, is necessary to properly raise a child to adulthood. This is hogwash! The great Benjamin Franklin endorsed the great success of apprenticeships in families for American youth, for them to effectively learn a trade before turning eighteen years of age. A productive trade, he said, requires not only the ability to read, write, and perform arithmetic and advanced mathematics, but the ability to logically solve problems through acquired intuition. The great educator, Dr. Jerome Bruner, said basically the same thing in his small, but mighty, book, "The Process of Education. My dad taught me to weld when I was eight years old, and, even though I did not pursue welding as a vocation, I Can still, to this day, use a basic arc-welder and an acetylene cutting / braising torch to work with metal. How many fathers today take the time to teach their children their trades and professions? Not that many, if any! Most parents Thirty years and younger regard the public and private schools as solely responsible for the academic and intuitive development of their children. In reality, only those US citizens parents are currently scrounging for a payday-to-payday financial existence in a Keynesian economy (where a 2017 US Federal Reserve one-dollar bill is worth only 2 cents compared to the value of a US silver certificate one-dollar bill in 1910) have children who aspire work at an early age to help themselves and their families carve out meager financial existences. the y say, necessity is the mother of invention, and the statement proves true in such an economy as the USA has in the 21st Century.

All American children should be encouraged by their parents (Lord knows the encouragement will not come from the 21st Century society) to learn to do profitable and instructive work during their formative years. And those children should be paid by their parents when they perform profitable work at home. These children should be taught that going to college is not absolutely necessary to acquire salable work skills; that these skills may be acquired through public, or private, education, if the educational process is taken seriously by preadolescents and adolescents. A successful public school education should be treated by these children as a profitable job, wherein they are being offered the learning that will eventually provide them financial security for life. Their payment or compensation for harnessing themselves dutifully in vigilant classroom study will be their report cards that reflect the degree of learning acquired through vigilant study. Of course, report cards do not always reflect the long-term effect of the acquired learning. A child that studies continuously and gives 100% of his effort to his public school classes, burning, as they say, the mid-night oil to do well, and makes solid 'B' grades, will in all likelihood learn and retain much more than the student child who is blessed to find classroom learning easy and always makes a straight 'A' report card.

The socialist statist society is what is prevalent in today's 21st Century world, and it is not, in the least bit, great! When children are told that going to college is an assured thing because of student loan financing, they are greatly disadvantaged. This egregious mindset leads them to think that society is going to pave the road to success for them, through the use of tax money. Most children today believe that to work, while they are going to public or private schools, means the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment upon them. The same applies to the application of proper discipline to preadolescent and adolescent children. When these recalcitrant and rebellious children have the means of reporting their loving parents for child abuse by simply dialing a hotline number, if they receive spankings from them, these unlearned, impulsive, impetuous, and undisciplined children have the means of remaining unlearned, impulsive, impetuous, and undisciplined, coddled by a permissive society, until the sad reality of adulthood harshly knocks them to their knees.

My advice to the American citizen parents of preadolescent and adolescent children is to follow what Benjamin Franklin, the great American Framer, scientist, and philosopher, gave as sound advice. The effective prior planning of families for the development of their children will, in most cases, prevent poor performance by these developing youth in any avenue of life; and the incremental valuation of work, money, and education in the minds of American youth, wrought through the implementation of personal industry, will lay a foundation for future success. As my dear mother said as her personal maxim, "A person should work like everything depends upon him, and pray like everything depends upon God."



Source by Norton Nowlin

The Cloud Capped Star

Probably no other auteur in the history of cinema has garnered such a tremendous influence by churning out only eight movies and one script in his entire career span, which Ritwik Ghatak did. Having led a life which had witnessed the wrath of partition, in a state of penury supplemented by the habit of binge drinking; Ghatak remains a controversial, yet a pivotal figure in the history of the New-Wave of Indian cinema. Speaking about the ‘New-Wave’ or ‘Alternate cinema’, one cannot afford to give a miss to the famous trio of Satyajit-Ritwik-Mrinal, who pioneered the movement. Ray, without even a shade of doubt has been the most prolific and colossal figure and received immense accolades both in India and throughout the World. Mrinal Sen’s artistic description of social reality and constant experimentation with parallel cinema made him an award winner in almost all the major film festivals; Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Montreal, Chicago and Cairo. Retrospectives of his films have been shown in almost all the major cities of the World. Ray, who has directed 36 films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts earned numerous awards, which comprised of 32 National Film Awards, a number of awards at International Film festivals and other ceremonies, a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award in 1992. The Government of India honored him with the Bharat Ratna in 1992, which is the highest civilian award granted by the Republic of India in any field of human endeavor.

I often wondered what made people to place Ghatak in the same row of these stalwarts. A man, who did not receive an Oscar, whose films with the lone exception of Meghe Dhaka Tara, failed miserably at the box-office, who was never a Jury in a prestigious film festival, is so much talked about till date. He was a cutthroat speaker, a perceived iconoclast of nihilism, had a profound alcoholic addiction, a conformist to communist ideologies. Did these attributes added feathers to his colorful public image, so much so that he became a topic of discussion, an issue of debate especially among the Bengali intelligentsia. Why has he always been a subject of comparison with his much-revered contemporaries, in particular with Ray?

I have once read in a novel (can’t remember its name), life is a marathon race where each one of us is running with a flamed torch. It is not possible for us to reach the finish line. What we can do at the utmost is to ensure that the BURNING TORCH gets passed on to someone with fresh vigor and unexhausted vitality before we stop permanently. The true success does not lie in the wealth we accumulate, the laurels we procure. It is our capability to inspire generations in future that really counts.

WHAT WE CAN GIVE TO THIS WORLD THAT IS THE QUESTION.

Treading by this line of thought, let us take a glimpse of some of the accomplishments of the Maestro that can serve as BEACON LIGHTS for the ages to come and have already served many.

1. His first movie Nagarik (The Citizen) was completed in 1952 was released 24 years later, even after the demise of Ghatak. Nagarik was the first instance of an art film in Bengali Cinema. Renowned critics like Derek Malcolm, Safder Hasmi, Someswar Bhowmick and many others regarded it as the maiden attempt to explore the inner-essence of realistic situations in Indian cinema. Satyajit Ray himself opined that had Nagarik been released before Panther Panchali (Song of the Road), it would have been the initiation point or emergence of Indian Alternate Cinema.

2. Ajantrik (The Unmechanical), a comedy-drama film with science fiction themes, was one of the earliest Indian films to portray a relationship between a cab-driver Bimal and an inanimate object, his old modeled car, Jagaddal. The movie was considered for a special entry in the Venice Film Festival in 1959. Based on a short story by Subodh Ghosh, the movie deals with the themes of artificial civilization and fallacy of the changes rendering the society mechanized thereby yielding to internal inconsistencies within its multifarious strata. Georges Sadoul, the noted film critic remarked, “What does ‘Ajantrik’ mean? I don’t know and I believe no one in the Venice Film Festival knew. I can’t tell the whole story of the film… There was no subtitle for the film. But I saw the film spellbound till the very end”. The protagonist Bimal (played by Kali Banerjee) was clearly an influence for the cynical cab driver Narasingh (played by Soumitra Chatterjee) in Satyajit Ray’s Abhijan (1962), which in turn aided to create the character of Travis Bickle (played by Robert De Niro) in Martin Scorsese’s epic movie Taxi Driver (1976).

3. Legendary French Director Francois Truffaut’s most successful film in his home country, The 400 Blows, depicting the tale of a runaway kid was clearly inspired from Ghatak’s masterpiece Bari Theke Paliye (The Runaway). The film, based on a short story by Shibram Chakroborty,depicted literary tools of metaphor, abstract symbolism with great elan. Ritwik handled issues of a child’s visualization of Utopia and his ultimate realization, which resulted in a compromise to perfection. The film served as a reference point, which culminated, to the NEW-WAVE in cinematic history, The French-Wave.

4. Subornorekha (The Golden Thread), my favorite of all the gems he created, vividly described the stark reality of the aftermath of the Partition of Bengal. Ray’s unique feature was his eye for detail, Mrinal’s was the ability to stir a realistic situation to such an extent that the audience became an integral faction of plot development; Ghatak’s specialty was BOLDNESS. Many Directors have displayed the aftermath of a political mishap in terms of sufferings inflicted, tortures tolerated and fragmentation of the society- Polanski in Pianist, Spielberg in Schindler’s list have all portrayed such instances. Ritwik plied a distinct route. He canvassed the scenario with poignant pictures of human distress- not just the pangs of separation that caused so much hardship but also the long term effects on mind. Erin O Donnell rightly points out; the majority of Ghatak’s films are narratives that focus on post-independence Bengali family and community, with a sustained critique of the emerging petit bourgeois in Bengal, specifically in the urban-environment of Kolkata. The story revolves around the tragic fate of a family separated and shattered owing to a turn of events following the event of partition. The Asian Film Magazine CINEMAYA ranked the movie starring Abhi Bhattacharya, Bijon Bhattacharya, Satindra Bhattacharya and Madhabi Mukherjee in key roles as the 11th greatest movie of all time.

5. Meghe Dhaka Tara (The Cloud Capped Star), which many regard to be his Magnum Opus and his solitary successful commercial venture is a landmark in the history of Indian films. The story revolves around the struggle of a young woman named Neeta, who sweats her blood to provide for the basic amenities of her family. Her brother does not accept any sort of a responsibility to run the family and chases his aspirations to become a singer. Neeta carries the entire burden on her shoulders. Her family thrived on her income. However, what she got in turn was exploitation; everybody took advantage of her goodness. She was the embodiment of self-sacrifice who suffers immense personal losses. First she loses her fiancé, then her job and finally succumbs to chronic tuberculosis. Her brother is the only person who cares for her at the end. She expresses her deep-rooted agony, her screams “DADA AMI BACHTE CHAI”(Brother, I want to live) ends up in vain and provides the enormous sense of loss to the viewer. Meghe Dhaka Tara is strongly melodramatic in tone, especially in respect of pains heaped on the protagonist. There is also an ample use of surrealistic sound effects.

Regarding this Ritwik said, “Melodrama is a much criticized narrative form. But from that alone, the truly national film will emerge. I am not afraid of melodrama. Using it as a device is the birthright of an artiste”.

In 2002, the movie was ranked #231 on the Sight and Sound Critic and Director’s poll for all-time greatest films. In a confirmation of the popularity of Meghe Dhaka Tara, a recent survey by a leading Indian news group reported that the concluding line of the film “DADA AMI BACHTE CHAI” was the most well known line of any film.

6. TITAS EKTI NADIR NAAM (A River named Titash) Ghatak’s only Bangladeshi movie, based on a novel of the same name, by Advaita Malla Burman, was one of the earliest films along with Ray’s Kanchenjunga and Mrinal Sen’s Calcutta 71 to resemble hyperlink cinema, featuring multiple characters in a set of interconnected stories. This was attained before Robert Altman could conceptualize Nashville (1975) in Hollywood. The movie TOPPED the list of ten best Bangladeshi films, as chosen in the audience and critics poll conducted by the British Film Institute.

7. Madhumati (1958) Produced and Directed by Bimal Roy, Madhumati was scripted by Ritwik Ghatak with dialogues by Rajinder Singh Bedi. The film, which included an ensemble, star-cast of Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Pran, Johhny Walker with soulful music by Salil Chowdhury. Madhumati was the record-holder for the most awards received by a film at the Filmfare Awards (9) for 37 years until the release of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, which won ten awards. Ghatak won his only Filmfare Award for the Best Story. What makes it really special is the fact that it was one of the earliest films to deal with reincarnation and had a gothic-noir element to it. The movie has been a source of inspiration for the American Film “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud” and Hindi movie “Karz”. Many films Indian as well as foreign have captured similar themes in their plots; Chances Are, Sooryavanshi, Karan-Arjun, Om-Shanti-Om etc.

8. Jukti, Takko ar Gappo (Reason, Debate and a Story)- The Swan song of the maverick was his only movie to bag a National Award for Best Story. It is one of the rarer films to receive astounding critical success where the lead actor, scriptwriter and the director are one and the same person. The film is considered to be technically superior to other films of that era due to its camera work and is placed in the league of Jean Cocteau’s Testament of Orpheus and the Nicholas Ray and Wim Wender’s noted documentary film, lightning over water. In the movie Ghatak portrays his alter ego, Nilkantha Bagchi, a disillusioned intellectual who has drowned himself in the ills of alcoholism. The film deals with multiple themes. Nilkantha, having been deserted by his wife and child owing to his excessive drinking habits, wanders through the countryside and meets unusual folks along the way. He meets a young woman who is driven away from Bangladesh and seeks shelter in Kolkata, a schoolteacher who is in the lookout for a new job as his school is closed on account of political unrest, a group of naxalites whom he describes as misguided. The film does not preach or protest any political ideology in particular but paints the pitiful state of affairs on account of fading moral values, decant attitudes and exploitation all-around. In an interview, Ghatak mentioned “The Great Mother Image” exists in its duality in every aspect of our existence. This is what he has attempted to show through Neeta and Bangobala. Hence, Keno cheye acho go Ma mukhopane, era chahena tomare chahena re,apono ma ere nahi jane ( Why are looking at their face Mother? They don’t want you, they don’t even know you.)

Ghatak lived with a sharp intellect bent on breaking establishments, an inquiring mind and a very restless honesty. He always argued against the well-established premises. Ray and Mrinal openly conveyed their love for the cinematic medium. Ritwik gave a damn to it. In an interview he declared ” After quitting the tax department job, I tried writing poetry but found myself singularly incapable of it. I shifted my interest to writing short stories and won a bit of fame. More than a hundred of them were published in “Desh”, “Parichay”, “Shonibarer chithi” and other leading magazines of Bengal.That was when I found that literature delves deep in the soul of man, but it works slowly. It takes a long time to grow roots inside. With typical adolescent impatience, I wanted to make an immediate impact, because I felt people should be roused immediately”.

Yes… PEOPLE- that was the word. He wanted to reach out to his audience. He further added by saying, “I just want to convey whatever I feel about the reality around me and I want to shout. Cinema still seems to be the ideal medium for this because it can reach umpteen billions once the work is done. That is why I produced films- not for their own sake but for the sake of my people. They say that Television may soon take its place. It may reach out to millions more. Then I will kick the cinema over and turn to T.V”.

He never believed in the production of tales depicting the clinically disinfected state of poverty, a tale where poetic justice is restored with a dramatic turn of events, a story where everything is unscathed and the background music rings “TA RA RA TAA TAA, TA RA RA TAA TAA, TA RA RA, TA TARARA”. Barring Komolgandhar, all of his films have a doleful ending.

The enigma still remains why did an inborn genius like him completely destroyed himself? Why the real life Nilkantha did drank poison and embraced a ruin? Probably there are two possible explanations to this, which I have tried to explain to the best of my knowledge.

HIS VIEWS ON PARTITION

He could never accept the partition of India in 1947 that divided Bengal in two countries. The drudgery of people owing to the phenomenon of partition has been a recurrent theme in almost all his movies. To deprive someone of his land, to snatch away his nationality is to deny his very existence. It is the greatest crime of all. He could never live with the fact that such a heinous deed was carried out in the name of religion, ordained with the concept of Independence. It is like cutting the head off in order to remedy a headache. He once remarked,

“Being a Bengali from East Bengal, I have seen untold miseries inflicted on my people in the name of independence- which is fake and sham. I have reacted violently towards this and have tried to portray different aspects of this”. While the films “Refugee”(1959) directed by Shantipriya Mukherjee or Rajen Tarafdar’s “Palanka”(1976) have now faded into oblivion, Ritwik Ghatak is the only director whose films and worldview have become synonymous with partition. While depicting this cruel saga, Ghatak was not satisfied with a form that exalts the historical flow; but sought to turn history itself into an object of investigation. It is Nilkantha’s dictum “Chinta korte sekho” (learn to think), what he tried to make the audience do. Was partition a ploy for the benefit of the nation or a platter for the power mongers? It is an issue, which he made us to think over and over again.

THE PEOPLE

His people meant everything for him. He stated his by quoting, “I do not believe in the label entertainment, nor do I accept sloganeering. I would like to deeply meditate on this universe, this World, International situation, my country and my own people. I would like to make films for them. I might have failed in today. But time and people alone have to decide”. His livelihood in a state of abject poverty induced him to do a TVC for the Imperial Tobacco Company. The money helped him to complete his film “Subornorekha” after its producer left. Ghatak shot a film based on a novel by Shankar – Koto Ajanare. A day’s shoot was left when the film got shelved. Many opine that Koto Ajanare could have made history in Indian Cinema, as the novel was a widely celebrated one. Despite all this, he continued making films. The people were his sole motivation. His films had a unique Indian feel to it. Unlike Mrinal Sen’s dig at Victorian nitty-gritties, Ray’s fascination towards Italian Neo-realism, Ghatak followed the Indian way, which was something his very own – Astute, Hard and full of melodrama. Although Ghatak credited Eisenstien and Bertolt Brecht for his dramatic display of scenes, yet they seemed to have been deep engrafted in the Indian psyche. It is when most of his works ran to empty theatres in Bengal, he sank deep into depression. He did not do films for money, for awards. Had he pursued such a path, he would not have left Mumbai after the phenomenal success of Madhumati. He left because he could not adapt himself to the market governed Mumbai film industry. He was lacking creative freedom there. He could not reach out his own people in his very own way. The audience was his God and the follower’s prayers remained unanswered for the major part. It was this set back which gave place to dejection. His apparently scornful remark “My films did not flop. The audience flopped” is an outcome of the widespread rejection he received. It is quite astonishing to know that the filmmaker was a tea-totaller before turning 35. Once, he issued a notice against alcohol consumption for studio technicians during work hours. It is this man who surrendered himself to this vice out of misery, frustration and remorse out of a life that he considered WASTED.

The perfect tale of an unrewarded genius.

During his teaching stint at the FTII, Pune he has been a mentor to personalities like Mani Kaul, John Abraham, Kumar Sahani, Saeed Akhtar Mirza and the legendary Adoor Gopalakrishnan. He also made two short films with the students in Pune – Rendezvous and Fear.

John Abraham, known as one of the first eminences of the Alternate Malayalam Cinema, was one who followed Ghatak to the hilt, from his nihilism to his drunken ways. This is what he wrote of his Guru:

Ritwik Ghatak

Refugee

Alien

Unwanted

Insufferable

For him life was holier,

Than his holy worship.

Death of Ritwik Ghatak,

Is a happening very unusual.

I rise in pride to reminisce on my Ghatak da.

He will live eternally.

In my thoughts,

In my senses and in my soul.



Source by CA Nirmalya Banerjee

Semiotics of Corruption: Reflection by Bollywood

Introduction.

Does the popular cinema as revealed by Bollywood generates the societal attributes or does the characteristics and the elements of society are reflected by Bollywood? The answer lies in the interesting cycle of reel and real itself, which has no beginning or end. Any event, which grips a part of nation, is replicated by the medium of a movie in no time. By the medium of this paper I have attempted to compare, contrast and comment on the semiotics of the bollywood cinema through some movies which captured the imagination of the nation in a colossal manner. How the communication in these movies was coded and then how the audience decoded that message is particularly interesting as for each of us the perception of the external stimuli is different. Probably, that also highlights the differences in the intellectual capacity by which we all view and consume the movie in different mannerism. There is a definite language which express this medium of movie and that hints the culture as well as practices of a nation.

I have made an endeavor to be able to emphasize some of semiotics post 1995, through the medium of movies, when India was on a verge of considerable progress, made possible by loosening government regulations, especially in the area of foreign trade. Many restrictions on private companies were lifted, and new areas were opened to private capital. Then as we progressed, the economic liberalization boomed and we as a nation were on the path of progress, which continued through the mentioned decade, and presently it is predicted by Goldman Sachs that Indian economy will surpass most of the nations by 2020. These reflections have been showcased by most of the Indian movies in recent past, but the corruption which is the backbone of this paper resulted in a greater extend as well. Was that a by-product of the technological and the liberalization revolutions or was it the result of the greater need to be successful over night and be akin to the power businessperson exudes in the movie, flaunting all the wealth from the word go. Were the movies also culprit in triggering that existing need of those few, who wanted to be as rich and successful, by the means of short cuts, as what they experienced in the consumption of these movies? Probably, both society and movies reflect each other, but the scope of this paper will not analyze this effect. This question was hoisted, as it was necessary to create the ground of the subject, which this paper is set out to deal. The screenplay, dialogues, costumes, situations, costumes, etc. all hints at a certain cultural process and we as a viewer consume it. Movies are also cultural products ‘designed’ with an audience and are profit oriented as a main objective. As the topic suggests, the paper will aim towards the exploration of the ways the in which corruption has been incorporated in today’s cinema and hence states the scope of this paper.

The octogenarian spirit

In 1996 arrived the movie ‘Indian’ that explored the horror of bureaucracy, corruption and bribery in modern India and its effect on society. The movie demonstrates the evils in the society, which is the society itself. The series of confrontations through the movie between the principled, though murderous father and the corrupt son form the crux of the movie. The characters are actually representing the two sides of the debate on corruption; the modern view of rationalizing it and the view held by our freedom fighters. An old man decides to take the law in his own hand to wrestle corruption, which hints towards the incapability of most of today’s youth who have actually accepted corruption as the past and parcel of contemporary world. They would not battle for the ideology of righteousness, but choose the marriage of convenience with the fraudulent side. The director has shown this dilemma for an old man who is the idealist thought and ironically his very own young son who progresses the realistic thought. In addition, the semiotics also indicates the uneasiness of the freedom fighter generation, on the prevalent corruption in contemporary world, who got the nation freed from the British.

Here corruption could also be viewed as a factor of suppression and in line with the rebel nature of protagonist, who revolted against the British in a violent manner. In all probability, that is the only way he has always known. In his young days, during British revolution, he shed a lot of blood and when the corruption engulfed and made the nation a slave in present, he revolted all over again in almost equivalent manner. The causes of his violent reactions of present are ingrained in his past, which the director probably wanted to put forth in the defense of the protagonist as that is the only way he knows to fetch out the nation against oppression by slavery in the past or the corruption in present. The movie attempts to reflect on these mal-practices in a simplistic manner.

The news we hear all the time that a medical establishment refuses to give the body of the person expired if their family falls short of some money, or the clinic refuses to begin the treatment unless the concerned party pays up the advance etc. are so much in line and in-sync with the coded message of the movie. When Kasthoori, his daughter is grievously hurt in a house-fire the doctor wants him to file a police report or pay him Rs.500/-; at the police station – the Inspector wants Rs.250/- or a report from the Village Administration Officer; who in turn wants Rs.150/- so that he can initiate preparations for the report. This delay results in his daughter’s death. How would one react on losing their close one for not bribing the officials at time? This is a mass sentiment and the worst fear for the under privileged population today is being captured and indicated.

His son, Chandru, meanwhile has also turned corrupt and shockingly becomes an accomplice to the death of entire bus full of children. We see, read and hear the bribing culture floating in nearly all government circles, permits being no exception. The illegal provision of sanctioning these official papers by the means of bribe is so evident in our country. The repercussions are no less than frightening, with the collapse of bridge, deaths of road and other infrastructure in no time, the sanctioning of money from the tube wells, which never exist in reality and so on and so forth. The list is endless and the movie symbolically picks out one of these evils and ironically makes the son as the culprit, which ends in a thrilling climax in which he has to kill his son.

What would you do if you were to become the chief minister for a day?

The question “What would you do if you were to become the chief minister for a day?” is answered in the movie Nayak, which came out in 2001. The search of the protagonist for truth and honesty brings him to the point of changing the entire corrupt bureaucratic system of the country. Upon being invited as to chair the chief minister’s position for a day, can one man change the entire system in a day? I believe the point that the movie was trying to make is about the depth and width of the corruption form top to bottom in today’s society. It might be a common and idealistic notion that the system could be changed from the bottom level if every one tries that to happen. The movie suggests that the corruption can be changed from the top, if the power at the top tries to change the system.

The protagonist, a common person begins the cleaning process at the root level and fires all the corrupt public servants. With the support of people from all occupations, he instantly solves the big problems that had been pending for years. Is not that we all want is the big-ticket question. The matter of representation is just simple, as the person is one among us. He is also the voice of the youth and middle-working class. The personality reflects ambition to change and raise the voice.

The argument of the existing chief minister in the movie, that in politics, things are easier said than done and it is impossible not be corrupt when in system. We consume the statement that the system changes one, all the time and so effortlessly as well. In addition, the existing chief minister is convinced that it takes a long time to understand the ramifications of politics and no man would be able to make any difference in just a day. That is the big reflection of modern times. It is make belief that the politics is like a puzzle impossible to solve and people conveniently miss the ballots or are just involved in the teatime conversation about politics not willing to take that next step to bring about a change. The movie is a hard-hitting statement on the current state of affairs, on how the top powers can contribute to change the system in no time.

The enforcement agencies and their encounter mechanisms

Maqbool, which came in 2003, shows the operations of a gangster through the cooperation of cops and politicians, a reflection on the current state of affairs and about all the nexus, we come across by the media. The interesting part is the belief being portrayed that the gangster carries on, knowing that money and bribes will assist him throughout his life. That is the point of belief which probably most of the gangster harbors and is even believed by a majority of masses. However, this is one of the angles of the movie, which has many other flavors and themes. The enforcement system has been rendered impotent and instead of using the official power, the cops play strategy between the groups so that they end up killing each other and therefore reduce the work for police.

In a contrasting spirit the police and cops which appeared in one of the thrillers

‘Ab Tak Chhappan’, which came in 2004, touches the subject of how the system tries to change an honest cop for its own requirements. The way the character taps his cigarette to the way sips his tea – it is almost as if he is not bothered about anything. The realization that the killings are the part of their routine gives a cold and scary feel. The placement of characters is important as we had this case of Inspector Daya Nayak of Mumbai, a real like story, which gripped the nation a while ago. The title also suggests some kind of similarity with AK 56, the Chinese copy of the machine-gun, Kalashnikov AK-47, which is being manufactured since 1956.Gun, which is a mere machine, an object will destroy no matter what, similarly, the nomenclature of the movie is in resonance with the concept I feel. The character of the cop is like an object and will destroy anyone, the moment he is being instructed.

Cop’s task is to eliminate those unwanted elements of society, who wield power and could escape the clutches of law by pulling strings or by using loopholes in the legal system. He has already encountered 56 people in a number of staged encounters, made possible by the full support from his mentor Commissioner. This is the indication of all the encounters we read or hear in the media. Is that is staged. The movie exactly attempts to clear some of these issues while forcefully stating the fact that not all the police officer submit to corruption. What makes Ab Tak Chappan alluring is the objective approach it takes into the life of a hardened cop. The protagonist of the movie becomes emotionless towards death. He hardly flinches before pulling the trigger and then goes about his daily chores – buying vegetables, chatting with friends and watching television – as if nothing has happened.

Paint it yellow

While Indian as discussed above took a freedom fighter to fight the battle against corruption, Rang De Basanti (2006), is an interesting contrast as freedom fighters life and actions inspires some youth to awakening and taking a stand for their beliefs. Dedicated to lives of Indian Airmen who have died due to frequent MiG aircraft crashes; this is a story of five friends, who are approached by a U.K.-based Filmmaker, to participate in a documentary about India’s freedom fighters. The movie starts on a very high spirit reflecting today’s youth mindset who believe that patriotism is something that looks good in history chapters and today’s world is far ahead of all that, they would prefer to go boozing and dancing rather than thinking on any of those lines. That is the reflection of what our youth is engaged today. The Gen-x who knows Mac-Donald but prefers the Dhaba Paranthas with sweet Lassi. However, they restrict their national values only to food and nothing more. We hear the chant of hindutva from some political parties. Their ideology is simple; to align the youth of today and get their own selfish interests executed out. We see in the movie the extend of manipulation these parties could go for their fake ideology, during the lathi charge scene. The uncomfortable father and son relationship, as industrialist father has no time is also imitated effectively. The movie also deeply reveals the fact that an educated youth, Hindu or a Muslim, is generally bound by the same faith, belief and value system.

The Jessica Lal case and its impact on the movie is also evident in the form of the peaceful protest, or the candle light protest in front of the India Gate in New Delhi. The film grows on you gradually. The director has made sure that there is a clear message in everything he presents; even the group of boys represents different sects of society and religion

These youngsters could be anyone of us today and their lives mirror the kind of lives the youth of today lead – namely a self centered and materialistic existence where ideas like patriotism and making a change are strictly the stuff history books are made of. The film thus doubles as a narrative on the changes in perspective and values the young boys and girls acting in her documentary go through as they shoot for the film. Few scenes from the past and present are juxtaposed against each other, which renders a unique treatment, which serves to highlight the slow change in mindset and attitude that overcomes the group through the process of the film. That could be a reflection on the inspiration we achieve reading a text or knowing the context? The same effect is being shown in the sense of juxtaposition.

RDB is more of introspection, a food for our thought process. It makes us think, as to how we should actually celebrate our freedom. The juxtaposing has been used with such a great effect, where the freedom fighters and youth merge a number of times in past and present and that is the point where value system of the past is transferred to present.

Master of all: The Guru

We have dealt with corruption semiotics in the light of different institutions, government sector, and law enforcement among some few and amidst this arrived Guru in 2007, which set out for a debate on the ethical practices, right vs. right, and what is wrong about making all empowered, even though the means to achieve that is questionable. Is end more important than mean, is the question being embedded in the movie. The Indian business situation of the 1950s-1980s (pre-liberalization period) was difficult for a new entrepreneur. Indian business and trade in those times were run by a handful of the rich and the privileged. Only they were given the licenses. They had the quotas and they controlled all government trade. It was an exclusive club where it was impossible for an ordinary middle class newcomer to enter, let alone succeed. This film chronicles the obstacles the central character meets, his subsequent rise and the huge backlash he receives when it is revealed that he used unethical means to rise in the business circuit. His response is probably hinting to employ various mechanisms to be able to fight the License Raj, Market Imperfections, Corruption, Excise duties, Import-Export regulations, which troubled the businesspersons and hindered the growth of the economy and nation as a whole.

The film highlights the power of media and the manner in which it can make or break any one. It probably draws an analogy on the success story of Dhiru Bhai Ambani, and the means he employed to achieve what he has achieved today. The film also hints at the corruption at those times (70’s) in India, when the liberalization was yet a dream, privatization was held by a few players and there was a huge entry barrier. The breaking of various excise, income tax, customs, and even smuggling to improve the business was prevalent and this is being mirrored in the movie by the means of characterization and the situations. The commissions, which have become regular feature nowadays, may find a birth here. Government of India sets up a commission, which is also symbolic of a power of a nation in a legal manner to confront some wrong practices. That contrasts and confirms the acceptance of the bribe by the central character’s son in the ‘Indian’ discussed above.

CONCLUSION

Film uses not only words, but also different kinds of shots, angles and speeds for the audiences to react and there is a means for the spectator to identify with or rebel against the image offered. The movies are just not an experience alone but cast a deep impression upon society and vice versa. The semiotics is thus that powerful relation between the cinema and the culture and this interesting cycle of reel and real goes on endlessly. In my opinion, it is impossible to derive a finale on who reflects whom. The movies that I have chosen have this inbuilt energy to charge any audiences for a long time. The characterization is powerful, so are the dialogs hinting towards the ambiguities and different anomalies of our nation. When all the factors of the film making combine to create a resonance then the audience is under a spell for sometime. I also realized that most of times government machinery is shown under bad light, and then someone take an initiative to change it. Is it because people are convinced that a counter power is required to change that, but see to forget that whatever is reflected in movies is a part of societal attributes itself. The discourse is well received in most cases and people identify the reason and rational behind it. Moreover, that discourse lasts for periods and generations in some cases, capable to change the way the entire nation thinks and reacts, confirming the power of media in transforming and evolving culture.



Source by Sharma Atul

So You Want to Join the Merchant Navy?

So you want to join the merchant nav as an officer? You've heard all those stories about being paid to visit foreign countries, haven't you? What about the girl in every port stories? And you must have been told about the exciting life we ​​sailors lead, right? Are these stories true? Do you think you have it in you to sail the high seas? Well, I am here to tell you about the REAL merchant navy – some of the stories you've heard are true, some are not. I have been sailing for the past 30 years including 13 years as Captain so I am giving you an inside view.

Before we begin, let me first clarify something, the merchant navy isn't the same as the Indian navy. Merchant ships carry cargo as the name suggests, we are not the fighting navy. The cargo could be containers, oil, passengers, animals, bulk ore etc.

So what is the big attraction of the merchant navy? Usually two things come to mind – money and foreign travel. There are other benefits like tax free income, quick promotions and an exciting life. But the good salary is the main temptation. You get fat pay checks and you don't pay tax (if you stay out of the country for more than 6 months in a financial year). You start earning a big salary at a very young age. To give you an example, the starting salary for a 22 year old 3rd officer or 4th engineer (junior most officers on board ships) on an oil tanker is more than 2000 $ per month (conservatively speaking). This amount depends on the type of ship and the company you join so don't quote me! Officers normally work on a contract basis. Junior officers do 4-6 month contracts, while senior officers do 3 to 4 months on board. Some companies pay salaries round the year while others pay you only while you sail. However, your annual salary will remain the same. Why do ship owners pay you such high wages (relatively speaking)? There has to be a catch, right? The catch is, you stay away from home for extended periods of time. In fact you spend most of your time at sea rather than on land. Sure you get to visit foreign countries but things have changed now. Its not as if you reach a port and everyone goes ashore.

Work continues with every officer / crew member working in shifts (watches as we call them). You are free to go ashore once you have completed your watch but don't forget that you have to come back from your shore leave and work again. So, you either sleep or you go ashore. Work on a ship, never stops. As long as the ship is doing something – sailing, loading / discharging cargo, it's making money for the ship owner. Port stays have gone down considerably so the ship is in port for a short time. Of course, this depends on the type of ship you are on. Container ships are in port for a few hours (YES few hours), oil tanks for 24 hrs, cargo ships and bulk carriers stay longer in port. Watches in port are usually on a 6 on 6 off basis, 6 hours on duty, 6 hours off duty, and then you are back to work. Hence you cannot go ashore in every port because you need to rest sometime. The ship owner is paying you to stay on board, not to go ashore! Its not all bad news, you do get to go ashore and do some shopping and maybe sight seeing. Ports are normally far away from civilization. Traveling to and fro takes up time and is not cheap.

With visa restrictions post 9/11, many countries will not let you stay back for a holiday after you complete your tenure on your ship. So now you know why the ship owner pays you so much. You are being paid for staying away from family and home, you are being paid for long stints at sea and hardly any chance to go ashore. By the way, the girl in every port stories you have heard are pure myths !!! You will not get time to meet girls and if you do meet girls then they will be the wrong kind. On the positive side, some companies do allow officers (usually senior officers) to carry their family (wife / kids) with them but not girl friends!

No problem you say, I can handle everything, just as long as I get paid well. That's just fine, as long as you are aware of what you are getting into. Expect to work with a multinational crew. Expect multinational cuisine. Expect cultural differences, your Captain could be from UK while the other officers / crew could be from Philippines, India, Croatia, Bangladesh or some other country. This variety means that you may not have much in common with them. You might have to spend time alone in your cabin. Can you handle being by yourself? Of course, it might be possible that you are lucky and you get along with everyone, in which case you will enjoy yourself soaking in the various cultures. Or you could be luckier and get to sail with a majority of your nationality. It all depends on the company you work for. During your leisure time you can watch movies, play indoor games (cards, carom etc), work out in the gym (most ships have one) or just relax in your cabin. Most companies allow officers to send emails home and receive them. Of course, there are restrictions on the number and size of emails after all, satellites are used for transmitting / receiving emails. You will get snail mail (conventional paper letters) when the ship touches port but usually not more than once a month. Lately, bigger companies offer internet facilities on board so sailors aren't as isolated as before. Mobile phone sims can be picked up locally as well so you can call home whenever you are in a port.

Now we come to work. Each type of ship requires specialized crew. Each department on board a ship has different duties – the deck department looks after the navigation and loading / discharging of cargo while the engine department looks after maintenance of various machines. Life on board every ship is not the same. Some ships are old so you need to work harder to keep them running. Some ships are newer and are easier to work on. Oil tankers, gas carriers need special training and experience. Container ships and bulk carriers have similarly experienced crew. While at sea, officers generally do 4 on 8 off – 4 hours duty and 8 hours off. This does not mean that after you finish your 4 hours of duty, you can go to sleep. No, you might have to work on other things like maintenance of machinery / equipment. Normally officers and crew work 10 hour days. This is a general statement and is not a hard and fast rule. Work loads increase considerably, when ships are in port. Officers and crew are on watches throughout the day and night. There is no weekend for them – there is no such thing as a public holiday. If one officer falls sick, then the other officers on board share his duties until he is fit again. Normally ships do not carry doctors on board unless you are on a passenger ship. Ships carry medicines and all officers are trained for first aid / medical emergencies. Whenever ships touch port, medical treatment can be provided ashore.

Another aspect to think about is the weather. Ships do run into bad weather (read storms). Even the biggest ship is but a toy when up against the fury of the sea. Sea sickness is not something to be scoffed at. Before you take up a career at sea you had better make sure that you don't get sea sick. Take a trip on a boat to get the feel of things.

Right … now you are aware of various aspects of the merchant navy, money, foreign travel, life on board, work and rest hours, medical facilities, weather etc. What? You still want to join the merchant navy? Bravo !! We need guys just like you – guys who join with their eyes open, guys who don't have wrong ideas about a career at sea. So how do you go about joining the merchant navy? Information is available on the net. In addition, you can keep an eye out for advertisements in major newspapers.

A word of caution, don't be in a hurry to hand over money to some agent who assures you of a job at sea. Check his credentials; check the credentials of the company or training institution you intend to join. Preferably, find someone who is already at sea and who can guide you. This is one profession where a mentor is always a good idea.

I have been sailing for the past 30 years including 13 years as Captain. To me the merchant navy is wonderful. It has given me everything I dreamed of and wanted in life. Life on board ships isn't easy but its not as bad as it is made out to be sometimes. As there seem to be a lot of extreme views on this career, I have tried to give you the real picture. This is a serious profession where you have to work hard and your hard work pays (quite literally)!



Source by Vaibhav B

The Effects of Bureaucracy in the Life of a Clerk in Benito Perez Galdos' Miau

The writer probes on the effects of bureaucracy in the life of a clerk, Don Ramon Villaamil, in Benito Perez Galdos' Miau which was written and published in 1888. It is anchored on the sociological theories of Max Weber's concept and functions of bureaucracy (Gerth and Mills, 1961) and its disintegrating effect on the main character and its repercussions in the multi-dimensional life of the protagonist. In understanding further the novel, the student writer uses Hippolyte Taine's three-pronged approach to the contextual study of a work of art, based on the aspects of what he called race, geographical and social milieu, and historical moment (wikipedia.com).

Hence, to fully understand the bureaucracy mirrored in the novel, the writer traces first the historical, political and biographical life of the author and Spain in the nineteenth century. How all these artefacts affected the writer to record vignettes of hard truths in the society is remarkably interesting to investigate.

The Spanish novelist and dramatist Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920) is best known for his masterly treatment of the vast panorama of Spanish society in a series of historical and contemporary novels.

Benito Pérez Galdós was born on May 10, 1843, in Las Palmas, Canary Islands. Due to a rigid upbringing he developed into a shy, quick-witted boy, interested in music, drama, and painting. He learned English from an American woman whose illegitimate daughter, Sisita, was his first cousin and childhood love. One of Galdós's most enduring remembrances concerned his affection for Sisita and the brusque intervention of his mother, who sent him away to Madrid in 1862 to study law.

In Madrid, Galdós felt irresistibly drawn to the turmoil of city life and soon abandoned his university courses for cafés, opera, theater, and long strolls through the streets. Intent upon understanding all classes and types of Spanish society, he frequented outlying districts, open-air markets, taverns, and tenement houses. By 1865 he had begun newspaper work. His articles on parliamentary sessions in Las Cortes made that newspaper famous.

Although Galdós was a perspicacious journalist, his ultimate aim was to give Spaniards not only a coherent picture of their daily lives but also a vision of a new Spain, reborn spiritually, culturally, and economically. He believed the novel best suited this purpose. In 1867 Galdós went to Paris, rediscovered the novels of Honoré de Balzac, and once back in Spain finished his first novel, La sombra (1870), and began a second, La Fontana de ore (1867-1868).

Henceforth, except for his advocacy of liberal politics, Galdós lived immersed in literary activity. He wrote almost a hundred novels and plays, which may be classified into three groups. The first group includes his 46 Episodios nacionales, historical novels beginning with Trafalgar (1873) and ending with Canovás (1912). They retell in story form stirring episodes of 19th-century Spanish history and embody Galdós's conviction that the key to Spain's present and future betterment resides in a critical examination of the past.

The second group includes Galdós's realistic social novels, which divide into two subgroups. The first comprises the Novelas de la primera época (1867-1878). Among them are Doña Perfecta (1876) and Gloria (1876-1877), which boldly depict Spain's provincial hypocrisy and religious fanaticism. The second is made up of the 24 Novelas españolas contemporáneas, (1880-1915), which mark the maturity of Galdós's art. In such works as La de Bringas (1884), his four-volume masterpiece Fortunata y Jacinta (1886-1887), and Misericordia (1897), Galdós harmonized his passion for reform with the art of creating the illusion of reality. While treating many problems of Spanish life, he did not sacrifice character freedom to any social or moral teaching. Today, as then, his novels offer a compelling imagen de la vida.

The third group is made up of Galdós's plays. After writing novels for 20 years, Galdós turned to the theater. In 1891 he recast his novel Realidad into dialogue, staging it successfully the following year. He produced 22 plays, of which La loca de la casa (1893) and El abuelo (1904) are considered his best. The premiere of Electra (1901) unleashed a storm of controversy, earning Galdós the hatred of Spain's clergy and conservative class. Galdós was an authentic revolutionary of the Spanish theater. Reacting against José Echegaray's outmoded romantic melodrama, he confronted audiences with a frank portrayal of social conflicts. His plays anticipated the innovations of modern Spanish drama.

In 1897 Galdós was elected to the Spanish Academy, and by 1912 he had become totally blind. Beset by financial difficulties, he continued to write, although his health was failing. He died on Jan. 4, 1920, in Madrid.

From the Galdos' biography, facts which are reflected in the novel Miau are his beautiful and vivid description of Madrid, the streets, the plazas, the churches, the house and even the places of entertainment such as the parks and theaters or opera houses that his women characters Senora Pura, Abelarda and Milagros Villaamil are fond of frequenting to show their social status. Likewise, the insolent and abusive Victor Cadalso has a semblance with that of radical and revolting views of Galdos.

What is striking in the novel is the inclusion of many historical allusions and daily government bureaucratic system which affected our protagonist in the novel and the domino effect to his family. The history of nineteenth century Spain is sometimes considered by other writers as the century of madness due to the gross effects of bourgeoisie capitalism, political unrest, rise and fall of one government to another and constant civil war within Spain and her colonies in the Philippines and Cuba.

It is noteworthy to look at the tumultuous history of Spain during the nineteenth that will reflect also the divisive, despotic and unpeaceful milieu which our protagonist experienced at the hands of the selfish bureaucrats.

In 1866, a revolt led by Juan Prim was suppressed, but it was becoming increasingly clear that the people of Spain were upset with Isabella's approach to governance. In 1868, the Glorious Revolution broke out when the progresista generals Francisco Serrano and Juan Prim revolted against her, and defeated her moderado generals at the Battle of Alcolea. Isabella was driven into exile in Paris.

Revolution and anarchy broke out in Spain in the two years that followed; it was only in 1870 that the Cortes declared that Spain would have a king again. As it turned out, this decision played an important role in European and world history, for a German prince's candidacy to the Spanish throne and French opposition to him served as the immediate motive for the Franco-Prussian War. Amadeus of Savoy was selected, and he was duly crowned King of Spain early the following year.

Amadeus – a liberal who swore by the liberal constitution the Cortes promulgated – was faced immediately with the incredible task of bringing the disparate political ideologies of Spain to one table. He was plagued by internecine strife, not merely between Spaniards but within Spanish parties.

Following the Hidalgo affair, Amadeus famously declared the people of Spain to be ungovernable, and fled the country. In his absence, a government of radicals and Republicans was formed that declared Spain a republic.

The republic was immediately under siege from all quarters – the Carlists were the most immediate threat, launching a violent insurrection after their poor showing in the 1872 elections. There were calls for socialist revolution from the International Workingmen's Association, revolts and unrest in the autonomous regions of Navarre and Catalonia, and pressure from the Roman Catholic Church against the fledgling republic.

Although the former queen, Isabella II was still alive, she recognized that she was too divisive as a leader, and abdicated in 1870 in favor of her son, Alfonso, who was duly crowned Alfonso XII of Spain. After the tumult of the First Spanish Republic, Spaniards were willing to accept a return to stability under Bourbon rule. The Republican armies in Spain – which were resisting a Carlist insurrection – pronounced their allegiance to Alfonso in the winter of 1874-1875, led by Brigadier General Martinez Campos. The Republic was dissolved and Antonio Canovas del Castillo, a trusted advisor to the king, was named Prime Minister on New Year's Eve, 1874. The Carlist insurrection was put down vigorously by the new king, who took an active role in the war and rapidly gained the support of most of his countrymen.

A system of turnos was established in Spain in which the liberals, led by Prásedes Mateo Sagasta and the conservatives, led by Antonio Canovas del Castillo, alternated in control of the government. A modicum of stability and economic progress was restored to Spain during Alfonso XII's rule. His death in 1885, followed by the assassination of Canovas del Castillo in 1897, destabilized the government.

Cuba rebelled against Spain in the Ten Years' War beginning in 1868, resulting in the abolition of slavery in Spain's colonies in the New World. American interests in the island, coupled with concerns for the people of Cuba, aggravated relations between the two countries. The explosion of the USS Maine launched the Spanish-American War in 1898, in which Spain fared disastrously. Cuba gained its independence and Spain lost its remaining New World colony, Puerto Rico, which together with Guam and the Philippines it ceded to the United States for 20 million dollars. In 1899, Spain sold its remaining Pacific islands-the Northern Mariana Islands, Caroline Islands and Palau-to Germany and Spanish colonial possessions were reduced to Spanish Morocco, Spanish Sahara and Spanish Guinea, all in Africa.

The "disaster" of 1898 created the Generation of '98, a group of statesmen and intellectuals who demanded change from the new government. Anarchist and fascist movements were on the rise in Spain in the early twentieth century. A revolt in 1909 in Catalonia was bloodily suppressed.

Spain's neutrality in World War I allowed it to become a supplier of material for both sides to its great advantage, prompting an economic boom in Spain. The outbreak of Spanish influenza in Spain and elsewhere, along with a major economic slowdown in the post-war period, hit Spain particularly hard, and the country went into debt. A major worker's strike was suppressed in 1919.

Mistreatment of the Moorish population in Spanish Morocco led to an uprising and the loss of this North African possession except for the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in 1921. (See Abd el-Krim, Annual). In order to avoid accountability, King Alfonso XIII decided to support the dictatorship of General Miguel Primo de Rivera, ending the period of constitutional monarchy in Spain.

In joint action with France, the Moroccan territory was recovered (1925-1927), but in 1930 bankruptcy and massive unpopularity left the king no option but to force Primo de Rivera to resign. Disgusted with the king's involvement in his dictatorship, the urban population voted for republican parties in the municipal elections of April 1931. The king fled the country without abdicating and a republic was established.

Though the novel ends with the suicide of Villaamil, his will for Spain for better administration and other advocacies are written as MIAU that stands for Morality, Income Tax, Additional Duties and Unification of the debt (Cohen, 1963: 145). It summarizes his personal wish for the total moral reformation of the government official and rank and file workers; instituting payment of personal income tax by workers; additional tariffs for the products of foreign traders and paying the national debt by consolidating all the provincial needs and paying them only once a year.

To analyze the sociological concept of bureaucracy in the novel, the student writer uses the Weberian Model which concepts are summarized thus: The last century saw the perfection of the bureaucracy – a form of organization that has been enormously successful and is the result of thousands of years of trial and error evolution. Max Weber outlined the key characteristics of a bureaucracy:

  1. specification of jobs with detailed rights, obligations, responsibilities, scope of authority
  2. system of supervision and subordination
  3. unity of command
  4. extensive use of written documents
  5. training in job requirements and skills
  6. application of consistent and complete rules (company manual)
  7. assign work and hire personnel based on competence and experience

In Miau, principles seem clear and commonplace. However, they are all inventions — the government offices did not always have these features rather the opposite.

The narrator of the novel, third person omniscient sees bureaucracies as inefficient, slow and generally bad. When don Ramon Villaamil was following up his possible reinstatement, he was totally disappointed to hear false promises that he will get back the position. For Villaamil was already in his retirement when he became a "cesante" or "suspendido" the sudden change in the government suspended all workers which are not their allies, based on favoritism. There would have been no problem had he served for two more months. He can live with his pension to sustain the pretentious and spendthrift lifestyle of his wife Dona Pura, his daughter Abelarda and his sister-in-law who all love to go to the opera house even if they were already begging because Villaamil was already penniless. In Weber's time, they were seen as marvelously efficient machines that reliably accomplished their goals. And in fact, bureaucracies did become enormously successful, easily outcompeting other organization forms such as family businesses and adhocracies. They also did much to introduce concepts of fairness and equality of opportunity into society, having a profound effect on the social structure of nations.

However, bureaucracies are better for some tasks than others. In particular, bureaucracies are not obviously good in the Spanish government. Officials abuse their authorities. Worst, unqualified officials or even clerks were promoted not on the merits of their work but with the great persons they know in the ministry. There are many instances in the novel when this immoral promotion was practiced …

Then that thankless wretch, that ungrateful scoundrel, who was a clerk in Office when I was Financial Inspector, fourth class, that shameless rogue who by sheer audacity has got himself promoted over my head and become no less than a governor, that man has the indelicacy to hand me two and a half Pesetas (Cohen, 1963: 15)

He was already asking for assistance from his former clerks when he was suspended. And he connected in saying that there's nothing left in the world but selfishness and ingratitude. He added another clerk who was promoted and got increase every year ..

"Take that clodhopper Montes, for example, who owes his career to me, because I proposed his promotion in the central Auditory. Do you know He doesn't even greet me in the street? He gives himself such airs that not even the minister … And he's going ahead all the time. They have just raised him t to fourteen thousand. He gets a rise every year. Nothing stops him. That's what you gain by flattering and crawling. He does not understand the least thing About administration . All he can do is talk about shooting with the director And about the dogs … "

Almost finding fault because of his misery, Don Villaamil could not do anything but to ask favor to their friends to follow up possible vacant post where he can work again. This was one of the weaknesses of Weberian Model of bureaucracy, he thought that the bureaucracy in his country, Germany, and her flourishing industry can be likened to all other organizations. Weber connected that all these new large-scale organizations were similar. Each was a bureaucracy. Obviously, Villaamil regarded bureaucracyas a dirty word, suggesting red tape, inefficiency, and officiousness. Bureaucracies can develop these features, especially if authority is highly centralized. The final result for his possible reinstatement which he patiently waited would have to come from one high office down to the provincial office. The red tape was indeed vicious that tremendously affected Villaamil. That of hatred to bureaucrats, the hypocrite clerks, the unworthy workers and the injustice of the government when he said to Victor, his son-in-law:

"Yes, yes. There's no beating you for bare-faced effrontery. Because you've got no shame '(livid with fury and swallowing his Bitterness)' you get everything you want. The world is at your feet Promotion at all costs, and devil take the hindmost! " (Cohen, 1963: 73)

With all the bitterness, Villaamil said that he would bear his misfortunes patiently and it never occurred to him that the government will not give his post back again.

Weber's purpose, however, was to define the essential features of new organizations and to indicate why these organizations worked so much better than traditional ones. Let us examine the features that Weber found in bureaucracies.

Above all, Weber emphasized that bureaucratic organizations were an attempt to subdue human affairs to the rule of reason-to make it possible to conduct the business of the organization "according to calculable rules." For people who developed modern organizations, the purpose was to find rational solutions to the new problems of size Weber saw bureaucracy as the rational product of social engineering, just as the machines of the industrial revolution were the rational products of mechanical engineering. He wrote:

The decisive reason for the advance of bureaucratic organization has always been its purely technical superiority over any former organization. The fully developed bureaucratic mechanism compares with other organizations exactly as does the machine with non-mechanical modes of production (Coser, 1969)

For Weber the term bureaucracy was inseparable from the term rationality. And we may speak of his concept as a "rational bureaucracy" but what were the features developed to make bureaucracies rational? Namely, they are: (1) functional specialization (2) clear lines of hierarchical authority, (3) expert training of managers, and (4) decision making based on rules and tactics developed to guarantee consistent and effective pursuit of organizational goals.

Weber noted additional features of rational bureaucracies that are simple extensions of the four just outlined, To ensure expert management, appointment and promotion are based on merit rather than favoritism, and those appointed treat their positions as full-time, primary careers.

Quite the reverse in the novel, while Villaamil is the most upright, honest, brilliant and obedient to the government, that he even worked in the Philippines when he was still new in the civil service at the age of twenty four but has to return to the mainland because he was suffering from dysentery. In complete contrast, his son-in-law, who married his favorite daughter Luisa, was always promoted even if had questionable transactions in the government. All the allegations against him were dismissed because of his charm and connection. According to the office gossip He is the favorite of the aunt of a high in the government, in short, the woman has a great influence in the government. It is called the petticoat influence. Without the influential woman going to the office, Victor, as a secret lover of the matron, secured his promotion despite his alleged plunder and malvailability of government funds.

Similarly, even other officials where Villaamil was working, all the unquestionable officials with their integrity and capacity were easily promoted, while the honest men like him are suspended.

To ensure order in decision making, bureaucracy is conducted primarily through written rules records, and communications. This is vividly described in the novel several times. Rank and file and officials as well are always on their desks for their business transactions, hence, creating the red tape. But, when the officials are out, expectedly, the office workers are not at all working. They are seen talking, eating and even jesting each other. One time when Villaamil visited the office, he saw that the office workers were just talking during office hours. The lame Guillen would even draw caricatures that even Villaamil was satirically attacked with a disgusting description of his poverty. But when Pandora, his friend, the official, arrives the office, hypocritically, workers return to work.

Weber's idea of ​​functional specialization applies both to persons within an organization and to relations between larger units or divisions of the organization. In the government of Villaamil, work was broken down into many special tasks, and employees were assigned to one or a few such tasks, including the tasks involved in coordinating the work of others. (Such coordination is called administration or management.) Weber argued that such specialization is essential to a rational bureaucracy and that the specific boundaries separating one functional division from another must be fixed by explicit rules, regulations, and procedures. Villaamil never saw it when he was already suspended. But things seemed right when he was still in the post. His honest and contented attitude in work would only allow him to work and work without giving himself in rumor-mongering. As a matter of fact, Villaamil's proposal with an acronym of MIAU, according to him, was painstakingly conceptualized and studied for ten years. But not for other characters. They were his complete opposite.

For Weber it was self-evident that coordinating the divisions of large organizations requires clear lines of authority organized in a hierarchy. That means there are clear "levels of graded authority." All employees in the organization must know who their boss is, and each person should always respect the chain of command; that is, people should give orders only to their own subordinates and receive orders only through their own immediate superior In this way, the people at the top can be sure that directives arrive where they are meant to go and know where responsibilities lie. This idea in the novel was tainted with favorite or nepotism. Their focus is directed to the official and not on their work, hence their patronage for them otherwise, they will not be promoted and will not get a raise in the salary. Victor did this several times by rubbing elbows with the officials by flattering them, or by hooking rich and influential women with his handsome looks.

Furthermore, hierarchical authority is required in bureaucracies so that highly trained experts can he properly used as managers. Rational bureaucracies can be operated, Weber argued, only by deploying managers at all levels that have been selected and trained for their specific jobs. Persons ticketed for top positions in bureaucracies are often rotated through many divisions of an organization to gain firsthand experience of the many problems that their future subordinates must face. Ironically, all this bureaucratic models that Weber conceptualized were not dutifully practiced by all the characters except by Villaamil himself and perhaps Pantoja and the young Cucurbita.

Finally, Weber stressed that rational bureaucracies must be managed in accordance with carefully developed rules and principles that can be learned and applied and that transactions and decisions must be recorded so that rules can he reviewed. Only with such rules and principles can the activities of hundreds of managers at different levels in the organization be predicted and coordinated. If we cannot predict what others will do, then we cannot count on them.

Weber's concepts of bureaucracy are rational and functional but in reality and in practice, are all idealistic. The people in the system were taught to be machine that would do as they were told. The novel Miau just showed the complete opposite. Because they are all human in the bureaucracy, they are all susceptible to human weaknesses, frailties and disdain for rules.

And with all the irony of bureaucratic system in the novel, our protagonist was totally affected by "the inhuman machine-like character of this bureaucracy" (Soileau, 2006). The effects can be gleaned on economic, physical, psychological, moral and spiritual aftermath that affected and destroyed Señor Ramon De Villaamil.

First is economic. When Villaamil was suspended, he became more conscious of the lack of food to eat on the table, if not the absence of it. It resulted further to humiliating himself by begging to his former clerks and friends in the government. His suspension in the government meant the absence of salary, the absence of money. His only joy, his grandson Luis, was a young witness to his suffering. Meanwhile, his insensitive and hypocrite wife, Dona Pura, would make a way to find food on the table just for the day. According to Villaamil, she loved beautiful things that would make them look rich, beautiful curtains, beautiful study room, that Villaamil's salary on the first day of the month is already spent on the day it is received. With this economic downfall, his daughter Abelarda and sister-in-law Milagros, together with his wife, called the three Miaus, for they resemble the face of a cat, or pussy-faced, according to Luis' classmates, would still find time to watch at the theater socializing with the true rich.

Second is physical. Many of Villaamil's former colleagues noticed his age, his emaciated face and the sadness he emanated whenever he would visit the office. The suspension totally lost his appetite, aside from the fact there was really nothing to eat, has made his body thin. That according to Dona Pura, he must be smart and elegant if he wanted to get back his post. N the end of the novel, his weak body would always stumble on the rocks of the mountains, on the edges of the table in his house and could not even last to carry his grandson Luis. This terrible effect was felt by his unsuspecting body.

Third is psychological. In the dizzying maze of bureaucracy, his impatience for the reinstatement, his economic and physical crises, indeed, pushed him to psychological abnormality. Many times, he would blame to an unseen evil force, that he suspected, might be behind the reason why he was not reinstated. Several occasions would prove that he would dwell on pessimism and negativism: "Don't come to me with optimism and tricks. I tell you again and again that I will never get back to work. I have no hope, none."; likewise he said they won't give me my job back until the afternoon of the day of judgment. "; Villaamil sank more and more into his pessimism, reaching the extreme of saying 'We'll see the sun come up in the west before You'll see me go back to work. '"; "I did not have any illusions and that's not the way", said don Ramon, raising his hands almost to the ceiling, "I never had any hope. I never believed that they would give me my job and I will never believe it . "; and, God doesn't help anyone but the crooks. Do you think I expect anything from the Ministry or from God? Everyone is the same … above and below farces, favoritism. ''. All these he uttered to others but mostly to himself (interior monologue). Since he had no more face to his outside world, even his inside world in the family , he totally lost all control to survive and live.

His lack of moral turpitude on what is good and right interspersed with his personal spiritual connection to God was totally lost in the last two chapters in the novel. It may have been a wry humor in the story but bites one in the conscience when the old, suspended, mad Villaamil was running away from the family and Mendizabal, his neighbor, who were searching for him. He was enjoying, like a child, the hide-and-seek that meant to save him from his final death.

But, it seems that, there is a Dostoyevskian belief in Villaamil that madness is a path to divine inspiration (Cohen, 1963: 5). In his majestic figure in the cliff, like Jesus when he was tempted by the devil to throw himself to the depth, he found strength in his new freedom. He was totally detached from reality. He even made a motto for his death which was: "A foul death to the whole universe" (which in Spanish the initials are MIAU- "Muerte. Infamante.Al Universo"). He enjoyed the idea of ​​not thinking for money anymore; that he would free himself from the pretentious, hypocrite and materialistic Miaus and passed them onto Ponce, the future husband of Abelarda who inherited a great sum from an uncle who just died, that he would not care for the post anymore for better is to be with God. He comforted himself by looking and talking to the birds. Those birds were surviving without to worry on what they would eat and so would he.

And with that false belief if not wrong notion of spirituality (as Luis told him about the apparition that God would get his grandfather) he shot himself… and the shot echoed in the solitude of that dark and deserted place. Villaamil gave a terrible leap, his head plunged into the shifting earth, and he rolled straight down into the gulf. He retained the consciousness only for enough time to say: "well… it did…"

In conclusion, our protagonist, who may also be considered a tragic character, in the maze of bureaucracy where it has favored the people on the basis of favoritism, nepotism, "petticoat influence", closeness, patronage of the officials, abuse can be seen, if not felt, by Villaamil, his family and his grandson. Villaamil must have been promoted based on his merits, qualifications, honesty and integrity on his work. This abuse, which led to his suspension, affected him economically, physically, psychologically, morally and spiritually and brutally put himself to death.

Bibliography

Cohen, JM(tr). (1966). Miau. Baltimore: Penguin Books Ltd.

Coser, Lewis A. and Bernard Rosenberg (eds). Sociological Theory: A Book of Readings.

London: The Macmillan Company.

Gerth, HH and C. Wright Mills. (1961). From Max Weber: essays in Sociology.

New York: Oxford University Press.

Soileau, Clany. (2006). Money and Tragedy in the Nineteenth Century Novels.

Louisiana: http://www.galdos.com .

http://www.galdos.com

http://www.wikipedia.com



Source by Wilfredo M. Valois

50 Investing Tips for Safe Investment In Stock Market

Wish to know how to make safe investing. Just follow these 50 investing tips for safe investing. Well, let us check out the investing tips.

1. Do not buy a stock without examining the financial health.

2. Go for a good and professional help so that you can be guided about the market.

3. Never buy a stock without knowing its business and who its competitor is.

4. Always focus on the leaders in an industry so that you can get good knowledge of the market.

5. Do not try to bottom guess the Indian stock market.

6. Always buy stocks when market indexes are in up-trend.

7. Try to wait until the Share market has clearly turned around.

8. Always make your decision to buy the top companies of industries.

9. Make it a point to buy companies with new products or services.

10. Make sure that you buy stocks that are expanding in the stock exchange.

11. Try to determine whether large or small caps are favored in the share market.

12. The earnings should be at least 25% quarterly.

13. Try to invest in companies that have high management.

14. Make wise decisions.

15. Do not be impatient.

16. Average up with your winners.

17. Go for a good broker.

18. Set a strict budget.

19. Set your goals.

20. Don't feel like a loser

21. Aim higher

22. Try to minimize risk.

23. Maintain market records.

24. Do not be greedy.

25. Act wise.

26. Think more.

27. Make a research.

28. Tax planning.

29. Understand the value.

30. Learn about NSE and BSE

31. Buy fixed income securities.

32. Minimize risk.

33. Try to spend less.

34. Enjoy open communication.

35. Keep track of records.

36. Ask for latest updates.

37. Beware of fraud brokers.

38. Set yourself on win-win situations.

39. Get some share tips

40. Never average down.

41. Pay attention to real estate.

42. Avoid fraud websites.

43. Set your objectives higher.

44. Do not give any credit card details.

45. Never be disappointed.

46. ​​Listen to news.

47. Give stress on investment tips.

48. Consult your experienced stock consultant.

49. Have in your hired technical or fundamental analysts

50. Do not overextend your budget.

So these are50 investing tips for safe investing you can use while investing in the stock market.

Now stop losing money in stock market. Just follow above 50 investment tips and start minting money from share market



Source by Saam Patel

Born Free and Unregulated

All human beings are born free, every man and woman; even those in totalitarian states. Their fundamental human rights have simply been removed by a government with too-much authority. The people are still born with the natural right to life and liberty; for they are the rightful sole owners of themselves. As human beings we are born with the drive to attain not only the basic essentials, but to also improve our lives with a higher standard of living. This being inherently true, man in pure right, has the ability to obtain goods through purchase, production, sell and trade. In self ownership the wholeety of the human race should always have these abilities. We are born with the freedom to live life however we see fit, so long as no one else is being forced or restricted (no aggression, no force.) Any central government, agency or entity thereof that restricts these fundamental freedoms in any way has become an aggressor against it's own people. This type of governance is tyrannical.

Any state to make a proclamation that it recognizes and upholds individual liberty can not contain and will never exhibit such authoritarianism, lest it becomes a state of contradiction and tyranny. In order to achieve liberty, to be truly free whilst having a central government, we must have the ability to live life freely, in our own way; so long as we are not stopping someone else from doing the same thing. There should be no government intervention in personal or social decisions, interactions or actions, so long as these decisions and actions do not impose force or coerce anyone. For state to regulate or to restrict the peaceful personal interactions of the individuals within said state is nothing more than a totalitarian breach of the proclaimed liberty that it claims to uphold.

In a true free society these same principles of liberty and non intervention of the state must also be applied economically or the state is still using force or coercion against it's people. No central government should interfere with aa man's business, so long as he is not violating anyone's liberty, stealing or using aggression against someone. This is his means of income, and through his means, consumer demand is met. For government to impede, makes the government an aggressor. Governmental regulations imposed on business usually has detrimental effects, not only upon the applicable industry, but the economy as a whole; With small business being the bearer of the heaviest regulatory burden. According to the office of information and regulatory affairs, there are around 3,400 federal regulations on business. with nearly 1/3 impacting small business directly. State forced licensing, fees, taxation, and location regulations are all non consensual aggressions that decreases a nations industrious value. Regulation that forces a business to add additional features, materials, and dictates procedural and manufacturing changes also directly forces an increase in manufacturing cost; which leads to an increase in product price. This decreases overall output and total gross production of that business and industry.

Regulatory statutes far too often limit a businesses ability to compete within their market, they stifle market expansion, discourage business innovation, and industrial crossover. According to a 2014 article from the wall street journal, titled "Behind the Productivity Plunge: Fewer Startups," Due to over regulation, The United States production growth rate was nearly half of its historical rate. It plummeted from its annual average rate of 2.5 percent, which was held from 1948 to a low 1.1 percent between 2011 to 2014. This drop off was huge and is just one of the thousands of regulatory imposed hardships forcefully placed upon businesses. People who have great, innovative entrepreneurial ideas are set up for failure because of these regulations. They are forcefully restricted by licensing, fees, and requirements that the majority of these great minds simply cannot meet; and their ideas never becomes anything more than an idea, no matter how revolutionary. During that span of production rate decimation the gross domestic product declined severely which lead to the annual hourly productivity rate to 3.5%. This was the worst productivity statistic seen in a 24 year span, from 1990 to 2014. According to scholars at George mason university; We have clear data that shows when regulation is doubled in an industry there is a 9 percent decrease in the formation of new businesses. This does just hurt those that wish to become businessman, it also has a negative impact on job seekers. Through the same analysis we find that doubling regulation in an industry also leads to a 5 percent decrease in new hires. You can read the article at https://www.mercatus.org/publication/regulating-away-competition-effect-regulation-entrepreneurship-and-employment / Numerous studies have provided strikingly similar data, making it reasonable to assert that it is the nature of regulation to restrict. Gegulatory increase slows down economic growth. Fiscal regulation in essence is nothing more than a thinly veiled tax on individuals. For example, if a government imposed a regulation on beverage companies to use a higher grade metal for their canned products, then cans become more expensive, just as if the government imposed a new tax on canned beverages.

We must have entrepreneurial spirit driven free markets, void of government regulation. This ensures competition, lower prices and more jobs. If I as an individual wish to start a business, I should be free to do so without paying a large portion of my profits in taxes. I should be able to operate without unnecessary licenses and production mandates. I should be free of regulations and fees that harm my business and that of my competitors. Americans, in order to remain free and maintain liberty we must have a system of pure capitalism without cronyism or outside market manipulation. Our American markets should be based upon competition and competent service. In a free-market economy the consumer truly directs the markets. Product pricing, demand, and supply levels will be a real reflection of consumer interest. Only when this is achieved can we see an accurate depiction of our economic strength, or lack thereof. In a true free-market economy, we would have to maintain a zero percent corporate tax rate. Businesses would not only stay in America but several companies would move to America; Further stimulating the economy. A state does not need this (tax) money to survive and taking money that an individual or company has earned without their consent is illegal, for it is nothing more than thievery. Where true freedom abides, self efficiency and liberty is always the result. This is the only way true capitalism can benefit everyone, non-interventionist economics.

Yes, this also applies to wages. The compensation for an individual's Labor belongs solely to the individual that earned said compensation. The production, which is the end result of the laborers productivity is owned by the employer. Imagine that I am a worker in a factory and my productivity value is $ 10.00 an hour, and I am paid a wage of $ 8.00 an hour for my work. This is fair; as it allows my employer to profit + $ 2.00 an hour and relative to my productivity. If a state imposes regulations that force my employer to pay me $ 15.00 hourly, the wage may increase, but my hourly productivity does not. My employer is now – $ 5.00 on my hourly productivity rate. This wage is unjust as it is government forcing financial loss to the business owners. They are buying tyranny and have become aggressors against anyone who wishes to pursue the American dream. The wage is not a reflection of my actual production value, and falsely reports financial output value. Therefore such imposed laws, are an act of force, an aggression committed by the government. These types of regulations force unemployment to rise, productivity to be lowered and output to be muffled. Someone will lose their job, and will have a hard time finding another one, unless they can achieve a where their hourly productivity rate is higher than the imposed wage regulation. More people will fight for said job, less people will receive jobs with these high wages. People with lower productivity rates will be fired, the businesses will have no incentive to employ or retain said workers. Any machinery that can replace a worker, will, for it receives no compensation, requires no breaks and always meets output criteria.

If we had no regulations, wouldn't breweries put poison in beer and kill people? Of course not, not if they wanted to succeed at business. People would instead buy their beer from a different brewer, and the murderous company, would fail. This can happen under our current over-regulated economy. The difference now is that there would be no government bailouts or substation, ensuring that the breweries would be driven to produce quality products, for the consumer regulates the markets; with their purchasing power. Still not satisfied? What about the FDA? We need a government reulated agency like the FDA making sure we are getting safe products, right; well no. Many times the FDA stops life saving medicines from hitting the markets and they approve medicines which have devastating physical and mental effects. They promote addiction and ensure that no one has the authority to stop "Big pharma." If consumers want quality approved products, this becomes a market demand, without government interference private firms would then pop up, offering quality control specialty, with their stamp of approval being greater than that of the FDA. Businesses could afford these approval agencies because they too would be open to free market competition. To live in a country where the state claims to uphold liberty, these fundamental personal and economic freedoms must be allowed, and upheld. This is the cornerstone of freedom, voluntary cooperation, entrepreneurship, anarcho capitalism, and limited government. The only way to be truly free, is to have true personal and economic liberty.



Source by Aaron C Sprouse

We the People: Toward a Fair and Just Society and How to Get There

In 1991, after over 30 years of research and original thoughts, I published my theory of the future democratic society in "Technological Democracy: A Humanistic Philosophy of the Future Society", and presented its more refined structure in my later publications cited below. Because of the global economic crises forcing people to look for a new societal system to replace the old corporate dominated one, I decided to publish a simplified and short version of my theory, in a manifesto form of only 64 pages for general public as a guide for taking action toward changing the system. I firmly believe this is the system of the future world which will materialize within this century. It will save many lives and opportunities if we understand it now and take action to materialize it before it gets too late to stop wide-spread violence and bloodshed.

The economic concept presented here is a part from a new scientific theory of technological democracy society which is thought, sooner or later but ultimately, to replace the present two centuries old chaotic and outdated system of, so called, representative democracy. People in nearly all developed and some developing countries are earnestly looking for a modern but just and fair system to replace it. The total and detail structure of this new societal system, which is presented in three books (over 1000 pages), obviously cannot be properly presented here. The reader needs to have this in mind when some questions arise. However, understanding it with a little use of logic and reasoning is quite simple, since the scientific base of the theory rests on the application of a single principle of equality of opportunity.

Our Constitution literally covers the principle of equality of opportunity but suppose, to clarify it, we pass an amendment to our constitution recognizing equality of opportunity as an individual right in every aspect of daily life. This immediately expands democracy to cover the whole system of the societal life: economic, political, as well as social. Let's see what happens to the economy of the country and along with it to individual liberties, political process, social order, employment rights, and equality regardless of race, gender, culture, and religion. Here is a very brief account of it ..

The New Economic Theory

The manner by which property is produced, owned, and used, determines the economic structure of a society and, to a substantial degree, its social and political characteristics. A necessary condition for economic democracy is the equitable distribution of capital among the people and dispersed control over its use.

The Principle of Unjust Enrichment

The principle of equality of opportunity prescribes that every person has full authority of control and management of whatever he or she owns during his lifetime, but no one in a technological democratic society is allowed to gain opportunity over others through accumulation of wealth by profits achieved by exploitation and subjugation of others, or free transfer of assets. This principle is known as "prohibition of unjust enrichment." Such accumulation is allowed only through individual's own labor. Thus, no one can be enriched through inheritance or receiving property or assets without a comparable compensation. The reason is that such enrichment will disturb equality of opportunity by increasing one's opportunity, without his personal efforts, over those of others. Inheritance is allowed only to the extent that it does not affect equality of opportunity. Profit is another form of unjust enrichment since the capitalist receives it through exploitation of workers as well as consumers. It unjustly enhances the opportunity of the capitalist against workers and others. However, a nationally specified amount of return from the use of capital is justified.

Capital and Capital Accumulation

While capital is still one of the main forces of production, its characteristics is quite different with that under capitalism or socialism. Besides the capital accumulated through savings from a worker's own earnings, in order to attain equality of opportunity, each worker has also another source of capital accumulation. It is a determined number of shares of his employer's firm he receives every month along with and as a part from his salary. This process gradually and peacefully transfers capital from the capitalist to the worker allowing him or her increasing voice in the operation of the firm. A unique and fantastic result is attained by this process of transition; the distinction between the capitalist and working class disappears and both join together into one. It is important to note that the working class under this theory embodies anyone working in any production process from its top managers to its least qualified one.

The accumulated capital by the workers under this program stock-holding is non-transferable, but it remains under the ownership and control of the worker. It replaces the present Social Security system, providing him or her with income sufficient for a modest but comfortable living standards after retirement. Like Social Security, after the death of the owner, this non-transferable capital reverts to a public organization known as the Public Consumption Fund responsible for providing free health care and free education for all. However, in order to diversify his or her non-transferable holdings, the worker may exchange part of his or her firm's non-transferable stocks with non-transferable stocks of other companies in the stock market. In reality, these stocks are a part from the social capital in circulation providing a variety of beneficial functions, all under individual and private control. In addition, of course, the worker has capital accumulation by savings from the salary, income from capital investments in production firms, income from nontransferable stocks, and inheritance. The worker has full control over all these assets during his or her lifetime.

The Working Class, Shared Opportunity and Employment Right

The application of equality of opportunity creates a new mode of production eliminating exploitation and gradually making the worker a full participant in production and distribution process. At the workplace, it creates different opportunity levels based on each individual's education and experience.

Under equality of opportunity, employment is an individual right because there is no such equality present between those employed with those unemployed within the same level of competence. Each institution must provide employment for any applicant corresponding to his or her level of competency through the use of the principle of "shared opportunity" derived from the equality of opportunity principle. It requires that each employed person within the firm at the same level of competency as those unemployed applicants, to give up a small portion of his employment opportunity (eg 1-4 hours out of 40 hours per week) to provide the same employment opportunity for the applicants. The concept of supply and demand at each level of opportunity stabilizes the employment market for this and any other level of work nationwide. Shared opportunity causes full employment and lifetime job security for anyone desiring to work.

Work, Education, and Pay System

The general level of compensation is determined by a general position classification at the national level calculated and established by the National Economic and Production Council (NEPC) by the assistance of the Technodem, which is a national independent, self controlled electronic system and indispensable instrument in Proper application of equality of opportunity, also known as the people best and trusted friend. The Technodem by having access to prices of all goods and services and the cost of living, calculates and reports to NEPC the amount of minimum wage required for a minimum living standard. The NEPC designs a model position classification and pay system accordingly. This is fed to the Technodem equipped to supervise its application in every institution hiring workers. Each production firm then, following the national model, establishes its own position classification and pay system and feeds it into the Technodem which instantly compares it with the national model, and reports back discrepancies, if any, to be corrected. The position classification within each firm does not have to be exactly the same as the national model but it has to fit into the range specified by that model.

Education

In technological democracy, after twelve years of general education, the work system and education merge together. Everyone is required to complete the general education program. It consists of four years of preschool education starting at age three up to seven; four years of elementary and four years of secondary education. It contains a condensed curricula from grade one through twelve. After completing this educational program, the person who is about fifteen years old, begins to work part-time while starting his higher education full-time. His study program is equally divided between general-humanistic and professional-technical parts. The first part, develops him as a democratic person, deeply devoted and committed to the principle of equality of opportunity. However, the core part of his humanistic education is achieved through his or her 12-year of general education. By the age of 22, he or she achieves the knowledge level of an MA degree under our present system, and starts to work full-time and continues his studies part time for the rest of his working years. Every worker at the time of retirement, which arrives at his early 50s after 30 years of work, accumulates knowledge, far beyond the Ph.D. level, the highest degree in higher education offered today. This higher level of knowledge is required and necessary in a highly scientific and technological and ever-changing life environment at work as well as at home. This part-time education is a part from the worker's required working hours; for a 40 hour-per-week work program, he works 32 hours and studies 8 hours. Everyone starts the life from scratch and gradually moves to a high position and high income by the time of official retirement. There remains still two or more decades of active life left for each individual after retirement to enjoy life without worry spending it in leisure, art, music, travel or other creative and desired ventures.

The Government

The technological democratic society is based on the concept of the least government being the best. Accordingly, the national government has no domestic line functions. All national departments except for defense and State, all regulatory agencies and welfare programs are discarded. The state governments are down-sized by about 40 percent; while the size and responsibilities of local governments are increased by about 20 percent. The Technodem, production firms and local social organizations carry out most of the needed public functions. Under this system there is an incredible expansion of individual rights and freedoms, free education, fee health care, employment rights, and old age benefits all under full individual and private control.

The Transition Process

The transition has to be through a peaceful process, thus, it needs to be gradual stretching from two to four decades. The following is the process proposed here subject to replacement or modification if better ways are found.

The first and immediate step is to legalize the principle of equality of opportunity through a constitutional amendment, if it fails, then through a national constitutional convention. Immediately after its passage, establish a temporary National Economic and Production Council (NEPC) (See We the People, cited below, Fig. 5, p. 49). Its first task is to create a temporary national position classification and pay system based on a minimum wage calculated by the Technodem. For example, at $ 8.00 per hour minimum wage and 5 percent annual increase, the minimum annual pay will start from $ 16640 at the age 15 rising to about $ 100,000 at the age of retirement at 53. This is the highest executive pay any worker may receive at the time of retirement. It must be noted that under the new system there is no individual income tax, or other taxes such as Social Security and Medicare. Thus, these incomes are equivalent to the real income at the present after all deductions for taxes.

All employers are required to classify their employment and pay system according to the national model established, and feed it into the National Economic and Production Council's computer. This is the initial creation of the Technodem which plays essential role in supervising and sustaining the democratic system. As the production firms prepare their own position classification and pay system, following the national model and feed them into the NEOC computer, the Technodem progresses in its information storage and capability in taking over the supervision of the application of the equality of opportunity at the workplace and ultimately its application in political and social aspects of daily life.

The period of transition will not be an easy one. There will be a need for good and sharp thinkers to smooth out the process. If Congress refuses to propose the equal opportunity amendment to the Constitution or obstacles are created by the national and state governments in calling for a National Constitutional Convention, the people will have no choice but resort to a general strike, as defined by the French philosopher George Sorel, until it succeeds. The nation may need a temporary commission composed of highly qualified individuals to put into effect the new system, supervise its progress, make necessary adjustments for its proper operation, and eliminate the old departments and agencies when they become irrelevant, including the Congress and presidency when it becomes appropriate to install the new National Legislative and Coordination Assembly and the National Executive Council. This must be the people commission and its members chosen by the people or their chosen representatives.

In a technological democracy, the social goal and common purpose, for which society is to be organized, concern itself in providing equality of opportunity for everyone. In such an accomplished society:

1. Everyone starts life from the scratch. There are neither rich nor poor under the present meaning of the terms.

2. Everyone receives 12 years of free general education up to the age 15. Not only it is totally free but no obstacle can be created to hinder it.

3. Everyone starts to work part-time at age 15, starts full-time at the age 22, and works until retirement, never facing unemployment.

4. Everyone continues his / her education full-time after the age of 15, while working part-time, and continues part-time after the age of 22, as a part from his / her work program, until retirement. Such education consists of a balanced combination of technical-professional, liberal arts, and humanities subjects. It is reduced to two courses on each subject per year after the age 22, when the worker assumes full-time position.

5. Everyone receives free health and preventive care for life.

6. Everyone, starting from zero, gradually becomes a part owner of production of goods and services. These ownership shares, which replaces the present Social Security system but fully privatized, are destined for the support of the owner after his / her retirement, and thus are not transferable.

7. Everyone works full-time for at least 30 years or equivalent of it.

8. Equivalent to one-fifth of the working hours are allocated to

education. Accordingly, for a 40 hours per week work, the person works for 32 hours and studies for 8 hours.

9. Promotion is based on the level of education and years of experience, liberal art education having the same importance as the technical or professional.

10. The age of retirement depends on the supply of the young labor force for the purpose of allowing them equal opportunity for employment. However, to guarantee a comfortable retirement life, no capable person works for less than 25 years full-time before retirement. The general retirement occurs after 30 years of full-time work.

11. After retirement, which more likely occurs when an individual is in his early 50s, he or she has enough non-transferable assets accumulated to bring him or her returns sufficient for a simple but comfortable living standards. In addition, through his or her personal savings, he or she has other transferable assets under his or her full control.

12. All elective public positions:

a. Require very high qualifications relating to education and experience.

b. Are temporary and no one is elected for the same office for more than one term. Besides other benefits, this also allows opportunities to a greater number of well qualified retired citizens to hold public office and serve the people.

c. These two requirements would allow a better chance of being elected to retired individuals since they are better educated and well experienced and are not looking for a permanent position. They are still young, but matured and capable of fruitful participation in the public policy-making process and public service.

13. As a result of democratic norms and technological developments, family life is transformed from its traditional form into a democratic unit; Parents being responsible, though in a different manner, for upbringing of the children up to the age of 15, after which the child, who is considered an adult, enters the labor market and is considered independent.

14 By the time of retirement, the family, more likely because of voluntary birth and population control, has no children to take care of; and free from this responsibility, the couple, if they desire to remain together, has many years of economically secure, very fruitful, still productive, dynamic, and enjoyable life.

15. After death, a substantial part of an individual's wealth, according to the principle of equality of opportunity, is returned to society, through the Public Consumption Fund, to sustain free services such as health care and

education for the new generation which is also to start from the scratch.

16. Though some individuals accumulate more wealth than others, the difference is not so great to cause class distinction. Furthermore, such

difference is only for the life of the person and disappears upon his death. In reality, this is a classless society with minor variations in material ownership.

17. An individual's obligatory relationship is within his family and his workplace. Outside these areas, he remains free to enjoy life with a great many things and means accessible to him in an infinite variety of combinations.

18. In its narrow application, equality of opportunity does not allow individual competition where the intention is to take opportunity from someone against whom the individual is competing. However, equality of opportunity not only allows but encourages each individual to compete against himself or herself to become better than what he or she already is. This is quite different from competing against a designated person even it may give the same result. Open competition is the backbone of the democratic market operation, but, it is free of fraudulence, propaganda, and false commercials. Self competition should be the motto of production here as well. It causes the production of better goods or services resulting in marketing success the exact specifications of the products are stated and left to the consumer to make the choice. Unlike the present situation where commercials are forced on the people by being inserted into television or radio programs, no one is forced, through any means, to watch or listen to commercials.

19. The wealth of a society is the sum total of individual wealth plus all natural and other resources which belong to the society as a whole. However, the important part of the wealth of a society is not economic and material, but technological in the form of knowledge, experience, and means which is the way of doing things.

20. More important than the production of wealth is its equitable distribution among the working class, subject only to the level of knowledge, and experience. Every worker receives nearly the same amount of income in the full period of his or her work as the others. There will be some differentiation but it will not be so remarkable to upset equality of opportunity. Each worker starts with the minimum wage and gets more as he or she climbs the ladder to higher positions or become better educated and more experienced. By the time of retirement, each worker is a high ranking official in his or her firm regardless of type of work he or she is assigned to perform.

21. In a democratic system, there is no class structure or class distinction. Differentiation is only at the work place, based on the level of knowledge, experience, and expertise. Working class refers to all working individuals including members of the board of directors, chief executives down to the least experienced.

22. The proper function of government is to establish, maintain and periodically revise the standards required by the principle of equality of opportunity, particularly relating to division of labor and compensation. The national government has no domestic line functions except some supervisory authority in the areas relating to the national consumption fund such as education, healthcare, and corresponding standards. Government is reduced to its minimum functional size.

23. Private wealth totally belongs to the individual for life. It is a wealth initiated, created, and accumulated through his / her own labor, use of his / her assets and not through profits by exploiting others.

24. Public wealth mainly constitutes of the society's natural resources. They belong to the society as a whole, and therefore, net proceeds created belong to the people. Equality of opportunity does not allow any private ownership of natural resources such as oil, gas, minerals, and forests. Such resources may be leased to specific firms to operate. Whatever is left after paying for all expenses including depreciation of tool, machineries and other properties used for production purpose, goes to Public Consumption Fund and used for public benefit.

25. The electoral system is managed by the Technodem, The only thing a candidate needs to do is to enter his or her name for the office he or she seeks to be elected, into the Technodem's list for that office. No additional information is needed, because the Technodem knows all about each individual in the society. It will present each individual's qualifications in three categories: personal, educational, and experience, and rank each candidate in each category. However, each candidate may have his or her own electoral website and may place in it additional information he may think beneficial for his campaign. No voter is obliged to vote for Technodem's first choice, Each voter selects his or her candidate from this list and votes for him or her, through the Technodem's electoral website, on the election day.

26. Political parties as we know of them today are eliminated since there is no need or justification for their existence or other organizations for electoral purposes. The electoral process is electronic, simple, and abuse free; During the election day, each qualified individual inserts his or her electronic ID card into the computer, it is checked against his or her background. If qualified he or she votes from anyplace in the world for the candidate of his or her choice for the national, state or local office.

27. There is a total private ownership of the means of production of

goods and services. This ownership is highly dispersed with no concentration in the hands of a few.

28. Giant corporations are automatically disintegrated into several smaller institutions once the workers take over the management. Huge overhead expenditures are saved.

29. A new free market economy is established with fair and open competition based on equality of opportunity.

30. No individual taxes, no property taxes, and no social security taxes.

31. There is protection of environment, preservation of natural resources, and meaningful use of them for public benefit and keeping them in proper shape for the future generations as the equality of opportunity requires.

32. A marvelous outcome of this system is the disappearance of all economic, political and social interest groups. There won't be any need or requirement for their existence. People, for the first time become free of all pressures, demands, and restriction of thousands of such organizations that exist today including all charitable organizations. What a wonderful freedom this would bring.

Morality Under Technological Democracy

The moral boundaries of technological democracy are very broad based on the principle of equality of opportunity. No conceivable common ethical code can be comprehensive enough to cover nearly boundless domain of these moral possibilities relating to such values ​​as honesty, integrity, humility and freedom. It is impossible for any mind to comprehend the infinite variety of individual freedoms and good deeds ensuing from this foundation of morality. Whether one's interests center around his or her own well-being, or the welfare of others, regardless how broad and expanded these interests may be, the end that the individual may be concerned with, is always only an infinitesimal fraction of what could be possible under this democratic system. It is within these nearly limitless confines that the individual strives for his life liberty and pursuit of happiness.

________________________________________________________________________

References:

The following books and articles explain in detail a quite complex theory of a humanistic future society. Some 30 years of the author's time has been spent in its development. The readers are requested to be patient and deeply conscious in its comprehension and interpretation. After Karl Marx's theory of communism which ended up to be utopian and not actually applicable, this is the second scientific societal theory based on reason and logic; It is also pragmatic and practical. For the author's brief biography and books cited below and some relevant articles see his website and http://www.ezinearticles.com/?expert=Dr._Reza_Rezazadeh

Technological Democracy: A Humanistic Philosophy of the Future Society, 1990, pp. 365.

Technodemocratic Economic Theory: From Capitalism and Socialism to Democracy, 1991. pp. 359.

Passage to a Just Society: Secrets of Democratic Life, Leisure and Happiness. 2003. pp. 374.

We the People: Democracy as a System, a Humanistic Philosophy of the Future Society, 2010. Frederick, Maryland .: Publish America, pp. 64.

This book is a very brief and simple presentation of the theory to the general public and a guide for a national movement and action including the general strike. For those interested in forming a successful movement or action, reading the author's article about the General Strike and some writings from the French philosopher George Sorel concerning his theory of general strike are recommended.

It must be noted that when the first two books were published in the early 1990s, Vice President Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet.



Source by Dr.

The Right Way To Reform An Ailing Economy

How do you reform an economy reeling from severe balance of payment problems, shortages of foreign exchange and raw material and so on? At this point, these economies are in really, really bad shape.

The next step usually is to bring in the IMF to sort out its woes. The IMF prescribes its usual medicine- devaluation, privatization, deregulation etc.

Unfortunately, what has been observed in most instances is that the 'bitter' medicine only stabilizes the condition without initiating a full recovery. Criticism then mounts against further reforms.

I have always felt that implementing economic reforms should be a skill and not just textbook work because the programs affect humans.

How should reforms therefore proceed?

Reforms must first start with those that may be most acceptable to the government. Devaluation is sellable and the benefits are swift, primarily an increase in foreign reserves, an increase in government revenue, economic stability and an end to a lot of trade distortions. A devaluation also reduces the relative cost of servicing budget busting State corporations. And anyway, the governments in question in cases have little option.

Apart from these, there are many wrongs that a devaluation will right such as raw material shortages, weak industrial production, misallocation of resources etc.

What is the next step? Privatization of State enterprises? This will be a positive step as privatization will lead to a reduction in government spending improving the fiscal position and will also enhance productivity of hitherto poorly managed companies. Unfortunately, this will prove unpopular both with the government and the masses. It will be unwise to move in this direction due to the mass sackings that follow.

Foisting painful reforms upon reluctant governments has in most cases, proved counter-productive and stall other reforms.

Rather than start a privatization process, focus should be placed on eliminating needless regulations that stifle business. Governments must make it easy to start a business, hire and fire workers, clear goods from ports and the reduction of paperwork in most sectors of the economy. This will help in creating employment and generate revenue which both the populace and government will find beneficial.

Taxes should also be reduced. This is perhaps the most important. A reduction in taxes will lead to both an increase in economic growth and government revenue. When Russia reduced its income and corporation to 13% and 24% respectively, tax collected increased by 40%!

As earlier mentioned, a massive reduction in taxes will spur economic growth.

The reason is not far fetched. Businessmen love low taxes and this spurs investment, both local and foreign. A surge in investments will give the economy a much needed boost that will be sustained in the long term.

A significant reduction in taxes can add an extra 3-4% to yearly economic growth rates which is significant indeed. If care is not taken, it may even result in overheating from the excessive increase in growth over the long term.

For an economy in shambles, it will take a minimum of three years for the positive effects of the tax cuts to become manifest or bear fruit as it takes time for it (the tax cuts) to work its way through the economy.

Further reforms should enable the private sector to enter new industries from which they were previously secluded from especially where private-public sector participation is possible. Examples are the setting up of airports, seaports, roads, power generation and so forth on BOT terms. Enabling legislation should be put in place. We should however note that before this policy yields the desired fruitage, it will take time due to the size of these projects.

With the above mentioned reforms in place, the economy within three years will be growing at a solid rate of 7-8% annually. Such growth is impressive and is capable of creating enough jobs for those entering the job markets yearly.

Once this growth has proven sustainable over a period of five years at least, 'painful' reforms can now be carried out.

At this point, the populace will see reforms as beneficial and that economic growth can be driven by the private sector and no longer government. Also at this junction, the private sector ability to create jobs will have taken hold among the citizenry.

Government can now implement painful reforms. Note that at this stage because public institutions were not privatized and the civil service was not downsized, the budget deficit will most likely be in the red and inflation in low double digits.

Once government begins to privatize and rightsize the civil service, the budget will shrink and may even become a surplus.

You see, at this junction, these 'belated' reforms will not be as painful as they would have been were they had been implemented in the beginning.

The reason is that with a booming economy, job losses are more acceptable to the citizenry than in a collapsing one. The opportunity available to those laid off will have increased substantial and the populace now link the old unreformed system as wasteful and purposeless and new one beneficial. This is most crucial as reforms continuously need to be improved upon.

About subsidies, government can at the beginning cut costly subsidies if it believes it has no option ie it consumes an obscene percentage of the budget and only benefits in reality a privilege few.

Following this, the next step will be to cut down the foreign debt. This is best achieved through debt forgiveness.

Will foreign governments forgive these debts? Yes, based on the present happenings in the international community. Countries that take reforms seriously have consistently been rewarded not only with debt forgiveness but with increased foreign aid as well.

With the above reforms, there are no reasons why these economies will not become developed within a generation or two.

The next time the IMF or World Bank, rather than force down bookish reforms down the throats of unwilling countries, it will do better by considering these options.



Source by Ariyo Akinlosotu

Mutual Funds – An Introduction to the Types of Mutual Funds

A mutual fund is a trust handled by the fund manager that pools the savings of thousands of investors who share the same financial goals. The money collected is then invested in capital market instruments such as stocks or bonds, or a combination of the two.

Investing in mutual funds is done through the provision of different types of investing options that are made available to the investors. These falls broadly into the following categories: SIP (Systematic Investment Plan), onetime payment, yearly, half yearly and quarterly payments. SIP was essentially introduced to average out the cost of investment by purchasing a particular amount of units at regular intervals irrespective of market movement. This reduces the volatility of the fund. Thus if price of the security falls, more units are bought and if price of the securities rises lesser units are bought.

To invest in mutual fund one should know the types of mutual fund available in the market. These are: equity funds, debt funds, balanced schemes, sector funds, gilt funds, index funds, MIPs (Monthly Income Plans), MMFs (Money Market Funds) ETFs etc. Each one of these schemes follows a different investment strategy. Most of the schemes have "growth oriented" or "dividend oriented" plans, which either re-invest or pay out the dividend collected from underlying stocks.

Equity Schemes: This type of fund predominantly invests in equity shares of companies. It provides returns by way of capital appreciation. This type of fund is exposed to high risk and hence return may fluctuate. As it invests only in stocks, it is riskier than debt funds. The returns will depend on the performance of the company that the fund invests in. However, on the flipside, this fund has a high return capability since equities have historically outperformed all other asset classes. There are several types of equity schemes based on different categorization parameters.

1. Large cap funds / blue chip funds – invest in large company stocks, typically from BSE 100 index. Generally low risk investment with average returns.

2. Mid cap / small cap funds – Mid cap & small cap funds are generally considered riskier because smaller companies have higher business risks. At the same time, they can give multi bagger returns because smaller companies can grow multi fold if they are successful.

3. Sector Funds: These funds are the riskiest amongst equity funds as these invest only in specific sectors or industries. The performance of sector funds depends on the fortunes of specific sectors or industries. This type of funds maximizes returns by investing in the sector, when the sector is expected to boom and gets out before it falls. You should invest in these funds only if you really understand the sector and its trends.

4. Index Funds: These funds track a key stock market index like BSE Sensex or NSE S&P CNX Nifty. It will invest only in those stocks which form the market index, as per the individual stock weightage. The idea is to replicate the performance of the bench marked index. The performance should ideally be better than or at least the same as the concerned index. The exit load of these schemes is usually lower than regular schemes.

Debt Schemes: Debt schemes invest mainly in income bearing instruments such as bonds, debentures, government securities and commercial paper. This type of fund basically invests in FD like instruments that pay interest based on various market factors. Its volatility depends on the economy reflected by factors such as the rupee depreciation, fiscal deficit and inflationary pressures. Broadly speaking, the returns from pure debt schemes will be in line with bank FDs. There are short term, medium term and long term debt funds based on the time horizon they cater to.

1. Gilt Funds: This is a sub-type of debt funds, which invests only in government securities and treasury bills. They are generally considered safer than corporate bonds and are more tuned towards long term investments.

2. Monthly Income Plans (MIPs): This is basically a debt scheme which invests a marginal amount of money (10% – 25%) in equity to boost the scheme's return. This fund will give slightly higher return than traditional long term debt scheme.

3. Money Market Funds (MMFs): These are also known as liquid funds. These funds are debt schemes that invest in certificate of deposit (CDs), Interbank call money market, commercial papers and short term securities with a maturity horizon of less than 1 year. The funds objective is to preserve principal while yielding a moderate return. It is a low risk- low return investment which offers instant liquidity.

Balanced Schemes / Hybrid Schemes: This scheme invests in both equity shares and in income bearing instruments in such a proportion that balances the portfolio. The aim is to reduce the risk of investing in stocks by having a stake in the debt market as well. It usually gives a reasonable return with a moderate risk exposure. There can be hybrid funds that are more oriented towards equity (60-70% in equity) and there can be debt oriented hybrid funds (60-70% in debt).

Fund of Funds: Fund of fund is a secondary fund, which invests in different types of funds based on market conditions. Eg if the stock markets are in a bearish mood, it might be prudent to invest in debt, and not equity. So this kind of a fund will sell its equity holdings and buy units of debt fund of the same fund house. "Asset allocation funds" is also a term used for these kinds of funds that take a macro call and invest in equity, debt, gold or some other security.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): These are the funds that are traded on the market like regular stocks. You don't need to pay Exit load to trade them, but you pay brokerage just like regular stocks. You can do intraday trading with ETFs, which is not possible with regular funds. There are ETFs that are based on Nifty (index), Gold and so on. Generally speaking, they are suitable for short term traders who want to take a position in the market using underlying security.



Source by Sunny TK

How a Social Impact Calculator on Aging Can Help Your Community

Many of our communities have been involved with Community Needs Assessments, Community Health Needs Assessments, Community Economic Development Plans, and ongoing planning for the built environment. All of these planning lenses are helpful ways to look at communities, and build for the future. One of the most important lenses to use for community planning for the next 10 to 20 years is the projected impact of aging on our communities, counties and states. What will is mean for a state to move from being 39th in proportion of older adults in 2010, to being 4th by 2030? What does it mean for a county to have a population shift that includes an increase of older adults by over 100% in the next 10 years, along with a projected reduction of people under 40 years old?

Understanding the Demographic Trend

The demographic trend has been called by many names, such as the "Age Wave," or "Silver Tsunami," with arguments in meetings and on blogs about whether those terms are helpful or pejorative, descriptive or ageist. In addition, some people find the terms "elderly" difficult, while others find "seniors" to be patronizing. Once people have dealt with parsing the grammatical minefield, then the most important issues are to understand both the demographic trend and other substantive factors.

Although a few in the field indicate that the aging of the population is rather slow and easily absorbed, the vast majority of experts agree that this is a significant, fast-moving trend that will not be easily absorbed. Research I've conducted has covered everything from future health professional shortages and health system gaps to the built environment, funding and policy trends. The potential impact of the aging of our population on communities and states is significant. It will require proactive, sustained responses at community, state and national levels.

Some communities and states are better positioned to respond to this trend than others.

Impact Also Depends on a Few Other Key Factors

The ability of groups to effectively respond depends upon a number of other key factors. Although the demographic trend is the primary issue, other important factors impacting our ability to respond include the following:

  • Overall community health;
  • Poverty levels, average and median incomes (especially for middle aged and elderly);
  • Local municipal budgets, economic ratings, and taxing capacity;
  • Legislation, policies, and funding related to both aging and community development;
  • Regional infrastructure and built environment.

The impact of the demographic trend is also shaped by the state of community and regional planning already in place to deal with the impact of aging upon our communities. Leadership and citizen engagement are also important factors that could help drive and mobilize initiatives. Leaders can and should respond. The issues are complex, but not overwhelming. However, they need to be addressed proactively.

How a Social Calculator can Predict the Potential Impact of Aging for Communities and States

Many of these factors have been analyzed by our team through a number of aging related research and planning projects over the past few years. We are now completing an Aging Social Impact Calculator that can provide an initial scan of the local environment, and the state environment. It looks at key factors that shape a county's or state's social, economic, and community health.

Research projects that I've recently completed demonstrate that the Social Determinants of Health, health rankings, economic benchmarks and policy issues either help communities and states to move forward, or serve as additional challenges.

Social Determinants . The Social Determinants shape us as individuals, families and communities. They include things such as family income, jobs, poverty and financial assets. Income, assets, poverty, and unemployment have been demonstrated to be some of the most important shapers of family and community health, health disparities, and health equity. Race and ethnicity have been seen as extremely important by the World Health Organization, US federal government bureaus, and the health research and funding community. Individual, family and community educational levels are also significant. Taken together, or aggregated, one finds community snapshots that reflect the local economy, jobs and poverty; racial and ethnic mix; and educational levels. They help to predict how our lives will be shaped in the future.

Community and State Health Rankings . Communities and states are rated on their overall health by many research groups. One of the key national ratings used is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJ) annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. They provide excellent state and county ratings based upon an analysis using more than a few dozen separate indicators. That ranking provides extremely important information to help determine whether an area faces significant health disparities and inequities. Rankings can tell planners whether community health challenges will pose additional difficulties that negatively impact the community's ability to respond to the aging trend; or whether the positive community health will facilitate communities to implement strategies to respond. These health rankings can help inform plans that more effectively address key issues.

Economic Benchmarks . Communities are very much shaped by large and small economic trends. Short and long-term economic ratings provide a picture of community economic health. Counties and states with strong economic ratings have more ability to respond to these challenges than do those with a weak economic picture. Communities that face a loss of jobs and capital, and a diminishing tax base, are not as well positioned to respond to the Age Wave as communities that have a different economic picture.

Other factors that can also help predict the impact of the demographic trend include whether or not a region has a net population loss. Areas that are losing population also begin to lose jobs and infrastructure over time, unless this can be proactively addressed.

Laws, policies, legislative initiatives and funding implications and strategies can also shape how well a local community or state is able to respond to this trend. Policies and funding that support economic development, the built environment, and services for older adults provide an environment that facilitates a community or county's proactive response to this demographic trend.

The Power of Collective Impact

The combined, or collective impact of (1) demographic trends, (2) Social Determinants, (3) health rankings, (4) local and state economies, and (5) policies together shape a region's sustainability. They also can serve as general predictors of how hard hit a community may be by the aging of the population. Taken together, these factors provide a picture of what may happen for communities, counties and states. They help us understand current and projected collective impact.

Aging Social Impact Calculator

The Aging Social Impact Calculator looks at states and counties, and provides an initial prediction about the level of impact you may expect from the aging of the population in your region. Some of the most important benchmarks that make up the predictive picture include:

  • Demographic Factors
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • County Health Ranking (Health Outcomes and Health Risk Behaviors)
  • County Economic Picture
  • Policy and Funding Framework

Working with a Predictor

Any social impact calculator has predictive capabilities. Many economic calculators have been used successfully by the World Bank, the Low Income Investment Fund, and others. The Robert Wood Johnson's County Health Rankings and Roadmaps and state level health department profiles (like the New Mexico Community Snapshots ) provide pictures of community health that capture both the present and the near future. The Aging Social Impact Calculator offers snapshots of projected impact on a community, and the community's strengths and weaknesses in that will affect its ability to respond. It provides a helpful picture of local and state capacity, which can help leaders to choose specify that fit their capacity to respond.

Predictors offer a holistic general picture that can serve as an important starting point for communities and states to respond to the needs of older adults. They serve as broad frameworks or roadmaps. Once a predictor profile is developed, then community leaders can look deeper into the community to:

  • Understand and address key issues;
  • Choose specifies, and create the size and scope of a response that fit community capacity;
  • Build upon community strengths and assets;
  • Reduce risks;
  • Create plans that bring owners together and leverage resources.

Every state and community has its own unique assets that can be utilized to respond to this issue, which are complex, and difficult to measure with a social impact calculator. These include the rich family and social networks, community leaders, volunteers, faith communities and civic organizations that represent significant community assets.

1. The term "Age Wave" was coined by Ken Dychtwald decades ago to capture the coming demographic trend that was then on the horizon, and is now a reality.

2. Social Determinants of Health were developed by the World Health Organization, and utilized by major institutions (US Department of Health and Human Services, Kaiser Foundation) and key research organizations throughout the US to deal with community health in a holistic way.



Source by Anne Hays Egan

Larry Silverstein and the Bernard Mendik-Vornado Realty Connection

It’s difficult for many to see the wood for the trees when it comes to 9/11. So much horror, so much information, so many conspiracy theories, so much fear by those that don’t want to be seen to buy into the theories, or even look at the evidence presented in case they are seen as a “traitor” and we all know that famous Bushwellian comment, that has been drilled into the American psyche, to the point it has been as affective as a national lobotomy; ”you are either with us or with the terrorists”. It doesn’t give one much room to move or make an informed opinion does it?

So, with all the fear and paranoia of being seen as a ”traitor” or even “‘terrorist” by taser toting Home Land Security, most prefer to just ignore the evidence. Muslim goes hand in hand with terrorism, Jew goes hand in hand with Israel, or does it? Much has been said about the use of the term “‘Jewish” with regard to the 9/11 insurance article about Mr Laurence Silverstein, multi Billionaire owner of the 99 year lease to the second biggest crime scene of all time, The World trade centre. (the first being Auschwitz-Birkenau). Some even say using the term ‘Jewish’ in context, is somehow anti-Semitic! Yet why are people so much less sensitive when the term “‘Muslim” is used whenever speaking of ‘the terrorists’?

But in all fairness to be clear, one needs to be specific and include ‘Islamic fundamentalists’ to the Muslim in the case of Jihadists and Zionist to the Jew or other, that is intent on the total control of Palestine and the ethnic cleansing of those lands of the Palestinian peoples. After all, one can’t really be a Jihadist unless a Muslim but one can be a Zionist without necessarily being a Jew. But the chances are, if you are a very wealthy American Jew, you are more than likely to be Zionist. But one needs to remember the Zionist plot to monopolize the holy land is only part of the Endgame to a One World Government controlled by the Bankster elite, with a pretext that the Jews are the chosen people and that Palestine or Israel, as the Zionists prefer to call it, is exclusively home to the lost tribe of Israel the Jews. I should add here, before I return to the core of this commentary on Laurence Silverstein and gang, that Jews and Muslims have lived in peace for hundreds of years before the Zionist plot to dominate Palestine and the endless propaganda created to create hatred between the two communities is merely that, propaganda. But what is the objective of this propaganda? What is it’s purpose? and how does one plan this New World Order Endgame with the complete support of the western world?

Let’s start by looking at a hypothesis, for example; how could one go about taking away civil power from the people in the west without a fight? Even better, in a way where the public literally hand over that power voluntarily? To start with, if I were mastermind and puppet-master of the ‘Endgame’ I would imagine we need a scapegoat and none better than the muslims, as they have so much to offer. After all, it is mainly within the Arab lands where the greatest riches and largest pools of petroleum resources lie, plus the largest poppy fields. So we have decided the Muslim Arabs are the initial candidates for scapegoats. Then we need to get everyone to mistrust and hate the scapegoat Muslims, not just the crazed ignorant fundamentalist Muslim that truly believes that after they have blown themselves and many innocents up, they will spend the rest of time in paradise drinking honey out of the cleavages of singing virgins. No, for a plan like this to work, we have to hate all muslims, men women and children. We can take some great tips from Hitler; he did exactly this when he made scapegoats of the Jews and Gypsies. A good start is to lock them up in a big concentration camp, we can do that in Gaza and starve and leave them with no sanitary conditions no clean water, no work, no freedom, nothing! And we don’t let them come out unless we say so.

To keep them feeling utterly hopeless, we need to hound, harass and humiliate them, shooting the odd child and woman in the back when going to the shops is good, make them ‘mad’! Make them hate us! Make them so mad they will do anything to get revenge, make them crazy and then we’ll groom and recruit those crazies through our own agents that are infiltrated within the islamic ’cause’. Then we finance and groom our mad crazy Jihadists to pull off false flag ops for us! Wow! This could work. We could pull off shocking murderous operations on civilians and blame it all on the ‘Jihadist terrorists’, just as we did with the 1954 Operation Susannah the 1985 hijacking of The Archille Lauro, the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, the list is long and truly impressive. Not only that, we need to do some really big scary horrific stuff so everyone hands over their civil liberties in the name of security. Slicing off the head of an American Jewish journalist on camera would be amazingly powerful, that will scare the pants off them! Imagine that on American TV! Fear is the key, the public should be reminded constantly that we are all under ‘threat’ from the nasty ‘terrorists’. Then We’ll set up ‘off shore’ detention camps and invent plots and cells that we can blame on innocent men going about their daily business, till we come in the night, cross- border and kidnap and drag them off to the detention camp.

Here we will use lots of grisly torture and threaten that we will do equally nasty things to their women and children so they confess to something they have never done. Oh, no trial, no access to legal process, of course not, it’s got to be under wraps, can’t have the bastards coming up with alibi’s and evidence of their innocence. Great Plan! We had better do away with Habeas Corpus though! Oh, of course we already did that, great! We could dominate the entire Arab world and loot all the resources and after smashing the place up, we’ll send in our own companies to ‘rebuild’. All our rebuild contracts paid for by the dumb taxpayer! We are clever, yeah, who’s going to stop us? We have the perfect excuse that we have to go in and “get them”. We’ll tell everyone, “we need to stop dictatorships” and “we need to spread democracy” to these murderous unlawful regimes that don’t respect human rights and who give refuge to the terrorists, yeah! that works. If half of the American public are dumb enough to believe that the Federal Reserve is a governmental institution and that Kennedy was shot by a lone gunman they’ll believe anything!, They don’t even know what democracy really means do they? After all, we whacked democracy years ago and buried it with the Patriot Act! But to continue to do this, we need to keep it amongst ourselves, yeah! Just our very close friends and those that do big favours for us. Hmm, what about our friend Larry Silverstein?

Mr Larry Silverstein is a man that can only be well connected. Born in Brooklyn, to poor middle-class Russian-Jewish parents during the depression, Larry still grew up doing all the things boys from better families do. Larry was taught to play the piano by his classical pianist father Harry and read lots and lots of good books. Larry attended the New York High School of Music and Art. But Larry’s father realised that music and books don’t make big bucks in Brooklyn, so he turned his hand to being a property broker, renting scruffy loft spaces in the rag district of Brooklyn. What Larry’s parents lacked in pennies, they more than made up for in ambition. Larry’s family although still relatively poor, surviving on rental commissions, managed to get Larry through NYU. Larry, after graduating from NYU with a new sense of business acumen, went to work full time for his father. Larry though, had bigger plans than his father and told Harry that being a middle man and just taking commission, was not where the money was, to make money letting, one really needed to own the lofts. In 1957, they established Silverstein Properties, as Harry G. Silverstein & Sons, and bought their first building, in Manhattan. Larry set about getting friends and family to invest money in him to buy and renovate scruffy lofts and cheap buildings in run down areas of New York. Now the Silverstein’s could command some decent rents and real income through sales. What Larry lacked in development know how, he made up in zealous salesman traits saying;

“You’ve got to believe it to sell” “You’ve got to sell with a passion.”

In 1956 Larry married Klara, who he had met at Jewish summer camp. The family struggled to start with and Klara used her paltry $3,200 salary as a teacher to help the family get through those early years. The family joke is that Klara was the original Silverstein breadwinner.

Around this time, Larry’s best friend |Bernard Mendik, a later New York law School graduate, married Larry’s sister Annette and became part of the Silverstein family business. The three men Harry, Larry and Bernard then set their sights on becoming the most powerful real estate developers of New York. When Harry Silverstein died in 1966, Bernard Mendik and Silverstein’s son Larry formed Silverstein & Mendik.

Larry and Klara went on to have three children the eldest Sharon, although Harvard educated, then married and became a home-maker but the two younger children, Lisa and Roger went on to work for their father and still work for Silverstein properties today.

Silverstein’s first big break came when he bought 11 west 42nd street near Bryant Park, before it was renovated to what it is today. He then built at 42nd west of Eleventh Avenue, and in lower Manhattan at 120 Broadway, a 1.8 million-square-foot giant occupying a full square block, steps from Wall Street. By the eighty’s, Silverstein was a multi- millionaire and controlled more than 10 million square feet of Manhattan residential and commercial property.

By the time Silverstein set his sights on the WTC, his brother-in-law Bernard Mendik had split from Silverstein after divorcing Larry’s sister. With the divorce, also came the split of the Silverstein Mendik business partnership. Mendik was now running his own property company, The Mendik Company. At the time of the split with Silverstein, Mendik cited disagreements with Silverstein over real estate strategies, with Mendik wanting to buy buildings while Silverstein wanted to build. It is said things were “‘not good” between Larry and Bernard at the time of their split and it was also said that “‘Larry and Bernard had a messy falling-out after Mr. Mendik divorced Mr. Silverstein’s sister Annette” Mendik, who went on to be a very successful lawyer and property developer in his own right after splitting from Silverstein was well liked and did much for charity.

Both men went their own ways till April 1997, when Bernard Mendik, ex brother in law of Silverstein folded his company holdings into the Vornado Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange. It was said at the time of the negotiations ”The combination, of Vornado with the Mendik Company’s 40-year experience in the ownership and operation of office properties is expected to create a powerhouse that will be an active player in the city market.”

It was written by Lois Weiss in The Real Estate weekly in March 1997

“In one of the most interesting transactions this year, developer/owner Bernard Mendik has agreed to swap his city real estate portfolio to become part of the Vornado Realty Trust. The transaction is valued at $654 million in a combination of cash, stock and debt,”

Mendik was at the time very close to forming his own REIT when Michael D. Fascitelli the former investment banker from Goldman Sachs who had been lured to Vornado Realty, convinced Mendik to join forces with Vornado. Mendik became Vornado’s co-chairman. But later resigned in October 1998 to “‘look after his personal investments”. Mendik was quoted as saying he was “stifled” by corporate bureaucracy, but he still remained a major stockholder in Vornado after his resignation. Vornado Realty just happens to be the very same company which was Silverstein’s competitor and beat Silverstein in the initial bid to the port authority for the WTC.

Mendik, through his great success and power in the city, become a very close friend to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. So much of a trusted friend, that Mendik was hand-picked by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to head a business group that provides sanitation, security and other services around Grand Central Terminal. But rifts were caused between the men when Mendik had his own ideas about how to do things and made changes to the board of directors, much to the utter outrage of Giuliani. At the time, Mendik was quoted as saying ” the new group would be free of political interference”

There is no doubt that by the year 2000 Bernard Mendik, former best friend, founding business partner and brother-in-law of Silverstein was now not only a equal major player like Silverstein, but a powerful voice in the property world, in his tenth year as Chairman of the Real Estate Board of New York and certainly Silverstein’s toughest competitor.

On February the 15th 2001 Vornado’s bid for the WTC, outbid Silverstein Properties $3.2billion bid by over 50 million dollars. It has been said that at some point between the end of March and mid April 2001 Vornado “suddenly changed their minds” and “suddenly pulled out” There have been various reasons given for this, but there is nothing to verify either version.

On April the 26th 2001 Larry Silverstein put in his final bid for the WTC, only four weeks later Bernard Mendik was dead! On July the 24th 2001 Silverstein’s offer which was 50 million dollars less than Vornado’s was formally accepted and closed.

Bernard Mendik, major shareholder of Vornado Realty died on the 28th May 2001 after being taken “suddenly” ill. Only weeks after Vornado “suddenly pulled out” after the winning bid that beat Silverstein for the WTC. The official verdict was ‘heart attack’ Although heart attack is often un unpredicted health emergency, many of his friends find this hard to believe, as Mendik was as far as they could tell a ”very fit and health conscious man” in fact, Mendik had even played his regular game of tennis the very day of his death. He had also had regular checkups by the best doctors that money could buy. It was later said that the heart attack was the result of “a blood disorder”. He had just turned 72. Whatever the cause of Mendik’s demise one thing is certain, the withdrawal of Vornado’s bid and the death of Mendik left the way clear for ”Lucky Larry” Silverstein, to accomplish his multi million dollar dream.

Footnote:

Mendik at the time of his death was in his tenth year as Chairman of the Real Estate Board of New York. As chairman of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), Mendik and the organization lobbied successfully to eliminate the onerous “Cuomo” tax on capital gains that took ten cents on each dollar, and obtained the passage of state legislation that reduced the 3 percent transfer taxes on properties that were merely being exchanged for stock and not cash” courtesy.



Source by Laurence De Mello

The Current US Economy and the Emergency Medical Services – An In-Depth Review

The Emergency Medical Services industry is a plucky, hard-driven lot these days. We're the healthcare safety net for every socioeconomic class. When the normal points of entry into the healthcare system fail to catch a disease process or when the unthinkable happens, calling 911 for an ambulance is the best option for most people. In fact, those that truly need us and can't reach us mostly die. Those that do access us enter into the most immediate and highly skilled acute care setting currently available. We catch the uninsured who can't manage their chronic conditions through primary care. We catch the immediately injured trauma patients from falls and car accidents. We catch the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses with no one else to turn to. We catch the rich who think that 911 is the most direct route to care in the hospital. We treat the homeless in their boxes on the curbside. We treat the athletes who injure themselves on the field. We treat the uninsured small business owners who were so scared to go to a doctor for fear of the bill that they waited too long and their lives are in danger. We treat the naked drunks swigging tequila straight from the bottle while peeing into their shoe. We treat the scared elderly lady who may have taken too much of her medication regimen. We treat everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, in their time of perceived need.

And we're stretched to our limit and something may have to give.

"Emergency Medical Services" or "EMS" systems are complex organizations made up of multiple players from different disciplines. Everyone knows the title "Paramedic", some know the term "Emergency Medical Technician" or "EMT", and some still tempor utter the detestable term "Ambulance Driver" relegating today's highly trained and equipped Paramedics to the level of yesterday's pioneers who simply drove really fast in hearses borrowed from the local funeral home. In just about every community in the United States ambulances are just a phone call away. Almost everyone has access to the 911 system and almost everyone knows just who the first people they want to see at their side when the unthinkable happens. No one gives us a moment's thought until that time though, and that may prove deadly as our country's economic woes drag on. Ambulances, with their "duty to act" and care for anyone who calls for them anytime they call for whatever reason, rely on the Fee-for-Service model to pay their bills. Communities are generally mandated by law to provide for ambulance service within their jurisdiction and this creates a problem. The fee-for-service model relies only on income from billing those whom can pay only when the ambulance transports them to a destination. This leaves a large amount of time when the ambulance is in service but not occupied with a call, with at least two crew members on duty, when the ambulance service cannot recoup any fees for its time. Some communities supplement their services with tax dollars; However this model places a disproportionate burden on property-tax payers who demographically are not the ones who most call for ambulance services. The homeless, the transient, and the person just-driving-through-town don't pay those property taxes but are entitled to the same level of service as the tax payers, whether they can pay the fee for service or not. Ambulance services have come to survive on these property tax revenue and insurance payments from those with insurance. While governmental organizations like Medicare and Medicaid do pay a highly discounted rate, usually paying several hundred dollars less than what is billed by the service and usually paying months after the transport occurred, they are not covering the true costs of treating their patients.

Industry experts are forecasting that the current US economy will hit the EMS industry very hard in the coming months. As factories and commercial entities close their doors, the people losing their jobs lose their employer-provided health insurance. This is a double-edged sword, because in addition to the former employees becoming newly uninsured, the shuttered facilities populating the tax plots are not pumping the industrial and commercial tax rates into the coffers that are the trickle of life into the ambulance services. That dwindling tax revenue is the small lifeline that keeps them in-service during the times when they are sitting idle, ready for the next call, or are transporting those who just cannot pay. Combine these facts with the fact that the now-uninsured people will begin to defer primary and preventative medical care until their chronic or non-diagnosed conditions become so severe that they must call an ambulance, placing yet another patient on the stretcher with no possible way to pay the bill.

We have a problem. Paramedics and EMTs have always done spectacular things with very little resources. Unfortunately, it looks like even the most dedicated and talented innovators in the Emergency Medical Services may not be able to solve this problem. Paramedics, the highest level of pre-hospital (or Field) medical provider are already woefully underpaid and in smaller communities, most acutely in the rural areas, they are already working close to and over 100 hours per week in most cases. Paramedics and EMTs have borne the burden of the overtaxed and underfunded EMS systems for the last few decades. By working for low wages and accepting forced overtime as a way of life in order to feed their families, they have kept the doors going up and the trucks going out of ambulance bases throughout the nation. Their dedication, and in my case, an addiction, to their work has kept the rest of us safe. Unfortunately, this tenuous system of depending on the altruistic tendencies of emergency medical providers is being hit by the economic collapse as well. For over a decade, there has been an acute paramedic shortage that has received far less press than the nursing shortage. In good part, this is caused by the long amount of schooling required to gain entry into the profession coupled by the low pay and long hours that forces the young, idealistic new paramedics to seek other careers that pay more substantially when they age and acquire things like families, mortgages, and responsibilities. Those that stay have gained a pseudo benefit from this shortage from the upward pressure on wages given by the law of supply and demand as well as the ample opportunities for them to take on second and third jobs (I have three).

However, that short-lived benefit is probably over. EMS professionals work in many capacities, some working only in part-time or "as needed" positions, and some working in strictly volunteer roles. Former full-time EMS professionals who left the profession for greener pastures seem to have been keeping their certifications up-to-date by completing the required continuing education. These people view their EMS licensure as marketable parts of their resumes and as their current non-EMS employers are facing layoffs and / or outright closings, these people are returning to reclaim their jobs in EMS. For the first time in many careers, EMS employers are seeing something they have never before witnessed: More applicants than there are positions. This is a sea change in most EMS organizations. Services have responded by hiring paramedics and EMTs to fill shifts that would regularly be covered by their current employees working built-in overtime. Consequently, the additional hours that the current paramedics depended on to swell their paychecks in place of higher wages have disappeared. Personally, my yearly salary has been halved and I am not alone. Without the upward pressure on wages caused by the former paramedic shortage, our wages will collapse. This puts the already vulnerable paramedics, who have highly-skilled jobs and who have been sacrificing themselves for their communities for years, at a real risk of poverty.

The public is largely unaware of what goes on in the back of an ambulance. An "Advanced Life Support" or "ALS" ambulance is staffed by at least one paramedic and combines the care of an Emergency Room with the care of an Intensive Care Unit. Paramedics have the abilities to administer close to sixty emergency medications, perform limited emergency surgery skills, receive training in and perform the same Advanced Cardiac Life Support skills as physicians, and bring close to the first hour of emergency room care to wherever their patient happens to be. Paramedic training is college level education that takes almost four years of intensive class work to attain licensure and then takes well over one hundred hours of continuing education to maintain per licensure cycle. Basic Life Support, or "BLS" ambulances staffed by EMTs provide life-saving stabilization skills and front-line emergency medications for the most severe of medical emergencies. Both are your best friend when you need them. Most communities have realized cost-savings for little detriment by combining ALS resources with BLS resources, such as by staffing an ambulance with one Paramedic and one EMT, or by sending a Paramedic ambulance out with a BLS first-response unit. There are other models as well. The bigger cities tend to use all ALS resources, with Paramedics on fire apparatus responding with dual paramedic ambulance. While this is the model most favored by the firefighters' union, ongoing research shows that this most-expensive method may actually prove detrimental to patient outcomes. Communities need to become familiar with how their ambulance service is being delivered, the companies or organizations that deliver it, and the capabilities that their ambulances have. A solution that works for one jurisdiction may not necessarily work for another. The public has to get involved because at this point, everything is at stake.

It is important to note that ambulances are not limited only to 911 emergency responses. Paramedics are experts in acute care and are the masters or mobile healthcare. Ambulances, by definition, move patients from point "A" to point "B". These points need not always be from an emergency scene to the emergency room. A good deal of ambulance services provide non-emergency transportation services for patients too weak to travel by any other means. This may be to and from nursing homes for routine appointments, hospital discharges, or even to doctor's appointments as well as for myriad other reasons. In urban areas, entire private ambulance companies use this as their sole mission. In smaller areas, the community ambulance services use these non-emergent transports as revenue generators to supplement their 911 emergency coverage. For the most part, these services are paid for by Medicare and Medicaid as the patients who are sick enough to need an ambulance as their sole mode of transportation are too sick to work and too sick to generate any income or to have insurance. For their part, Medicare and Medicaid do their best to deny and withhold whatever payment they may finally decide to pay and have created labyrinths of paperwork and forms that must be completed so so that they will agree to be billed. Laws also exist to disallow ambulance providers from ever billing the patients directly if Medicare or Medicaid decides not to pick up the tab, leaving the ambulance service to eat the cost of the transport. In my ambulance, I have to obtain four separate signatures from every patient every time so that my employer can either bill the patient or their insurance, or submit the claim to Medicare / Medicaid. Ever try to convince an unconscious patient to sign their name? What about their panicked spouse? The government has placed the same regulations on the ambulances that it has on the hospitals and clinics. However, it does not work in the pre-hospital environment. Where a hospital emergency room has the ability to provide clerical staff, I have to tend to my dying patient while convincing them to sign a form.

To answer this crisis, some communities have closed their own services and combined with neighbors communities. Some have privatized public services. Some have, like Columbus, OH have even considered the fallacy of downgrading their entire system from ALS to BLS. While I do not agree with Columbus's proposal, I do agree that communities must seek out the most efficient way to provide EMS services for their community and some of those solutions are privately held. I would strongly caution against simply downgrading the already dismal wages paid to paramedics and emts but i would say that the answer may very well lie in asking paramedics to take on more tasks and different roles. There is something to be learned from the UK model of the "Rapid Response Paramedic" and the "Emergency Care Practitioner". These are specialized and higher-educated paramedics that respond to medical incidents with a higher-level of knowledge and responsibility than their ambulance paramedics. They could be considered the equivalent of our US "Physicians' Assistant" (PA-C) or "Nurse Practitioner" (ARNP). These paramedics respond to the patient's request, perform an assessment and diagnosis, and can refer patients to the most appropriate level of care for their condition. Sometimes the care is an emergent ambulance to an ER (or Accident & emergency) in the UK, sometimes it is a referral to the front of the line for their normal family doctor, and sometimes it is on-scene diagnosis and treatment for their condition . Currently, US paramedics cannot legally diagnose an illness. Even obvious fractures are given "Field Diagnoses" of "probable" fractures, even though they are treated the same way. Studies have shown that paramedics can reliably diagnose the presence of a spinal fracture and an acute heart attack with almost 100% accuracy being documented. Common medical conditions are routinely "field diagnosed" correctly by paramedics and definitive care is provided on scene to those patients, with either the patient signing off "against medical advice" or being given a quick ride to the ER to be "blessed" by the ER physician and quickly discharged to home. I cannot even count how many times I have "sweetened" a diabetic patient with low blood sugar by starting an IV, administering sugar through the IV thus fixing their immediate problem, and then allowing the patient to sign a refusal of ambulance transport form. It's been in the thousands. In most cases, since I cannot legally "diagnose" the patient's condition, my service cannot bill the patient for the care. The current laws only allow us to bill for transporting the patient to the ER. These treatments are free for the patient and are very expensive for our service.

If paramedics were allowed to make legal medical diagnoses, devise and follow treatment plans, and either "Treat and Release" patients or refer them to more appropriate medical care other than the ER when medically appropriate, they could make a massive difference in the overall cost of healthcare nationwide. The ER is the most expensive form of healthcare. When medically appropriate, it is life saving. However, with more and more people turning to the ER for primary health care, the system is overburdened to the breaking point. If you've ever attempted to seek care at even a mid-size city's ER for a serious but not-life-threatening medical condition, you've experienced the hours-long wait time for care. By allowing Paramedics to diagnose, treat, and determine the most medically appropriate treatment path for patients we could alleviate the congestion, defer minor medical problems to less-costly but still appropriate medical care, and fix small problems right on the street. Imagine that an ALS ambulance responds to a 30 something male patient with the common complaint of "difficulty breathing". The paramedics would listen to the patient's lung sounds, take his vital signs, check his blood oxygen level, and would probably even attach the patient to a heart monitor to rule out a cardiac problem. As it stands now, the paramedics would determine the appropriate treatments for the patient and perform them. Imagine that the patient had a simple case of bronchitis. The paramedics might give a breathing treatment and transport the patient to the ER where he would most likely be released with a prescribed inhaler and an appropriate antibiotic. However, if the paramedics could do the same thing in the patient's residence, they would have saved whoever is paying for the patient's medical care thousands of dollars.

This would require some changes in the system that some in the industry will not be comfortable with. First, paramedic education would have to be fundamentally altered to require a degree (which it currently does not) and more classes would have to be added. Secondly, the legal status of the profession would have to be changed. Insurance companies and other payers will have to work with the industry to develop fee-schedules for paramedic care. Laws would have to be changed to alter the paramedics' scope of practice. I believe that it is worth it to realize the immense cost savings and also that insurance companies will jump at the chance to realize these overall savings, even if it means increasing monies paid to ambulance services. Paramedics' responsibilities, and remuneration, would subsequently rise.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The economy has challenges in store for the Emergency Medical Services. However, there is a bright spot on the horizon. EMS has languished over the last decade under the control of those with political agendas. The people returning to EMS or coming to full-time EMS that have worked in other private sector industries are bound to bring their various expertise and experience to EMS. I don't believe that they will accept the status quo and will break through the current barriers holding our profession back.

Then we can move about the real work of our profession, which is caring for everyone whenever and wherever they need us.



Source by Chris Kaiser

6 Things That Affect Land Values

There are many factors which will influence and affect land values ​​and these factors may fluctuate from time to time. For anyone who is thinking about land investment it is very important that you know what these factors are and how they may affect land values. You will have an idea of ​​what the land is presently valued and what the potential future value is likely to be.

The keyword here is future and someone who is able to speculate well what the prices of the land will be in future will always be on the gainers side. Here are 6 things that affect land values:

Scarcity

The basic principles here remains the same, that something which is tradable and is available in plenty have lesser value than something which is available in less volume. This factor is very significant and for eg we can see that the prices in the prime locations of any city, town or just any region is always higher than prices in the suburbs. This is because the prime locations has much more facilities and amenities which are available and due to which many people want to move over there and set up their business or buy a home there. This increases the demand where as the prices in the suburbs and outskirts are low because land is scarce in the cities and the opportunities are less and lifestyle too is not as good as towns. Here if you are able to buy land that is scarce at a reasonable price you will be able to make a profit for selling later at a higher price.

Arability

There are many land areas which are very fertile and cultivable. Places which are fertile and are cultivable are valued very high than non fertile areas .. If you purchase fertile land, you can easily sell it in the future as arable land is always in demand especially for agriculture. Due to this great demand for arable land the price that can be had is usually good.

Zoning Issues

There are local authorities that will place certain restriction on the kind of development that can be done on the land. Certain areas are zoned for certain kinds of development and amenities. Every land owner must apply for permission from the authorities to do any kind of development on any land. Permission is granted or denied based on zoning laws and other considerations and these all will affect the land price.

Development

The land value is also greatly affected by the kinds of development that takes place on it. If a very successful business is developed on it then you can include it in the overall value of the land. You can also choose to sell off the business while still retaining the property. This can help in earn profit from two sources. Thus, profit is coming from selling the business for a good profit and also a regular fixed income from the use of the land by the new business owner.

Taxes

The land value is also very much dependent on the area it is located in and the taxes that are attached to it. If the land tax is considerably high, then it might be a very god reason for the potential buyer to make another choice. Different states have different tax rates attached to land and depending on the type of land there may be a different tax attached. Also the size of the land will affect the amount of tax paid. Thus the larger the land the more tax will be paid and vice versa. Also the land to be invested in may have tax arrears that must be paid up before any transfer of title can occur.

Security

The safety of the area in which the land as located, is an important factor in determining land value. If the area is one that is crime riddled then the value will be lower. The safer the area the land is located in, the more likely that the land investment can produce positive returns over the long term.

When making a land investment these factors that affect land values ​​are to be seriously considered and steps taken to reduce or eliminate their effects.



Source by Gregory Akerman

Sound Money and Deflation

With the enormous leaps in industrial productivity over the 20th century, shouldn't a penny now buy me at least 10 Snickers bars instead of nothing? A great question, considering the world's population rose 4.2 times from 1900-2010, annual copper mining output rose 30 times in the same time period, and industrial / agricultural mass production technology (for making candy) has made exponential efficiency leaps. To investigate this serious matter lets look beyond the screams of "federal reserve and fractional lending robbed us all with depreciating overprinted fiat currency!" and delve into the underlining physical dynamics.

A one ounce Hershey's bar cost 3 cents (9 grams of copper) in 1918 whereas a 1.45 oz Hershey's bar in 1982 (last year to have 95% copper pennies) was 20.6 cents / 62 copper grams per chocolate ounce. As of 2010, the Hershey's bar approximates 65 fiat cents an ounce but since the imperial authorities diluted the penny with mostly zinc (making current pennies a harder to quantify mix of zinc and copper), I'll use the 1918-1982 period for simplicity .

If one adjusts for inflation, 3 cents in 1918 is 19 cents in 1982 (539% depreciation in purchasing power). An 80 year old, lets call him Bob, getting his favorite childhood candy treat would have seen his under the mattress savings buy 6.3 less Hershey's chocolate. Now this may not seem too bad IF Bob was in a theoretical situation where his real income growth was pegged to inflation the entire life and his fiat currency grew in a bank under inflation pegged interest throughout the 20th century. Considering the candy's probable mild price buoyancy due to brand recognition, on the surface it looks like the company is only charging Bob 8% more than they did in 1918 (20.6 cents to 19).

Looking through an Austrian economics lens of inflation being an increase in the money supply, since most people do not have their finances perfectly adjusted to inflation, Bob is being continuously ripped off and impoverished via inflation tax. He may not get exactly 6.3 times less chocolate but even 2-3 less Hershey's towards the end of life is a criminal swindle.

A defender of the socioeconomic status quo in 1982 may partially agree but counter this via a pseudo-Austrian angle, "If anything Bob is lucky to only be paying 62 grams of copper per ounce instead of 9 grams in 1918 since copper is mined faster than People are breeding. He looks like he is getting a deal when using this depreciating physical metal! Copper is as fiat as paper! " (Authorities saw the copper content in penny spike more than a fiat cent in 1980-1981 period and thus changed the content, the price of copper in penny then collapsed to just under 1 fiat cent again in 1982-1984).

This is an interesting response and lets take a look at it without distracting ourselves with multitudes of other serious issues such as the government ending the use of silver in currency, going off the gold standard, stagnation of real incomes, etc. Some of these issues will begin to be resolved indirectly by the end of the article.

If one tries to look at Bob's situation via Marxist economics lens of commodity exchange, then we see that the poor fellow is being swindled in another way. This investigation is a little trickier considering technological productivity cannot be readily quantified and since the concept of productivity itself is culturally determined. What is very safe to say is that mechanical efficiency in producing an ounce of Hershey's has risen a lot more between 1918 and 1982 than the 260% rise of human population in the same time period. That is, if copper production / demand magically froze in place, a 1982 Hershey's chocolate ounce should cost not 9 grams but substantially less. Surely, they've figured out ways to stamp out these chocolate treats by the millions in ways not dreamed of before (even taking into account employee salary operating expenses).

Of course copper dynamics were not frozen but they also end up benefiting Bob. If you consider the borderline exponential and evolving industrial demand for copper for electrical / water purposes throughout the 20th century, then it is clear that the 530% rise in copper production in 1918-1982 does NOT devalue 62 grams (needed to buy one 1982 Hershey's ounce) by half.

In other words, even though the copper money supply rose at twice the rate of human population, we did not see 100% inflation of the penny since the industrial demand for copper kept up pace with the human population at the very minimum. Therefore, a Hershey's bar ounce in 1982 should have cost at most 6 cents (1918 price * population growth) instead of 20.6 cents. Therefore, Bob does just just get ripped off through expansion of the fiat money supply but by value of goods not reflecting the breakneck pace in development of production and distribution of Hershey's bar. Considering a pre-1982 copper penny is approaching 3 fiat pennies in worth at the end of 2010 (and many countries having pulled copper from their currency in last 30 years), it may well be that a Hershey's bar should cost a lot less than a copper cent today. This makes more sense if one remembers that a silver dime from 1964 is worth over 2 dollars presently (even though annual silver output expanded 35 times in 1900-2010 period).

It appears safe to say that fiat currency was haphazardly introduced by business leaders in the first half of the 20th century (via their political appointees) to prolong the life of capitalism via inflation. Ironically, the financial robber barons ended up doing the same thing that rural agricultural interests wanted in late 19th century America. 19th century saw various deflationary collapses and farmers wanted silver / gold bimetallism since rapid mining of silver would have introduced inflationary pressure on the dollar and thus prevented profit loss. Banksters 100 years ago were gold bugs since they made money from loans and deflation benefited the loan sharks. Since financial capitalist take over of industrial / agricultural capitalism was mostly complete by 1900, bankers tended to win political arguments.

During the great depression, there developed a compromise and some convergence of thought between financial, agricultural, and industrial interests regarding the benefits of inflation. Biggest bankers by that time, found a way to profit while expanding the money supply via modern money mechanics and farmers ended up getting governments to pay them to not produce too much and thus prevent deflationary profit loss. FDR managed to reconcile the key parasites, preserve capitalism, and artificially prolong the profit taking of major monopoly industries at the long term expense of the consumer (in a very humane developmental manner). Yes, he also did a lot of great things and is one of the kindest masters people saw in the last century (no sarcasm).

If the price of an 1982 Hershey's bar reflected the real amounts of hard money (commodity) availability PLUS availability of Hershey's ingredients (commodities) PLUS the cutting edge technological ability to produce and distribute the Hershey, then we'd see the company experience the period deflation born crisis of overproduction that the communist manifesto summarized. One can imagine what will happen to corporate bottom line if a copper / silver / gold / rare earth metal commodity money coin buys more consumer goods every year than the previous one. On paper , Austrian Utopian capitalism is too efficient and benefits the consumer too much (so much in fact that it quickly implodes in deflationary collapse horror show, massive unemployment, and technologically driven socioeconomic evolutionary leap towards post-scarcity society).

It is little wonder that Trotsky sided with Austrian economists when he wrote of pre-requisites of United States going communist. They being commodity backed hard money utilized to barter for consumer goods. This is especially true for gold since gold production only rose 5.5 times in the 1900-2010 period, barely above population growth. Ironically, the current wave of libertarians are fighting to make capitalism disappear (since non-fiat currency would fully unleash the post-scarcity potential of means of production and distribution that have existed around us since at least the 1950s and that Buckminster Fuller and King Hubbert described in detail).



Source by Pavel Podolyak

The Pain of the SBA 8(a) Certification Process is Worth Your Effort

In 2005, I decided to expand my company into the “big contracting arena”. After researching, I determined the SBA 8(a) status was critical to my company’s future success. Here are tips to help you successfully apply for and receive SBA Certification on your own. FYI… The government does not charge you to apply for this program. So what’s keeping you from starting today?

Let me repeat… You don’t have to pay an “expert” to fill out this basic government application form. When I started this process, I was somewhat intimidated. by the SBA website. However, being a small business owner I did not have a lot of cash on-hand to pay someone else to fill out a form for me.

AND…. just think about this other aspect… you will be submitting your most personal information in this process. I can only imagine that companies you pay to submit this form for you maybe hiring low-wage people who are not bonded or even are outsourced in a third world country to fill out your form. Would you open your tax records or financial records open to complete strangers? I won’t. Save your dollars, save your privacy, complete your application on your own, do it yourself!

Also, knowing that government agencies are moving into a paperless mode, it did not make sense to download and submit the paperwork in hard copy. This adds weeks to the application process. Take the time, do it online. I made the commitment to myself that I would not rush the process but complete the application in chunks, taking it one step at a time, so it would be accurate and get through the screening process, the first time.

The online application is very straight forward and will cost you nothing to apply for. You can start / stop the application process at anytime to gather required documents or company references. While you can take your time in the application process, I would recommend you set a goal to get it completed in a week. I was very diligent and got mine done in a couple days.

If you have a question about the SBA application process you can always call the agency and get answers, another free access to advice.

Is there pain in the process? YES. This form will delve into the most personal aspects of your business … business references, income tax returns, personal credibility and finances. So be prepared for the pain! But keep focused on the goal you have set…to gain SBA 8(a) status for your company.

Upon submitting the application, you may receive an email from the SBA stating you need to provide additional information. If you are a caucasian woman like me, you may be asked to write a Social Disadvantaged Narrative. The bad news is…they don’t really give you much information or advice on this document. The good news is …that I was again able to write the narrative on my own (and not pay someone else $1000- $5000 to write my own story) and so can you.

What is the Social Disadvantage Narrative?

This is a story about your life, in your own words, that describes how your life circumstances caused you to have to struggle.

The SBA defines social disadvantage as:

“Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as members of a group. Social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control.

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, individuals who are members of the following designated groups are presumed to be socially disadvantaged:

o Black Americans

o Hispanic Americans

o Native Americans (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians)

o Asian Pacific Americans

o Members of other groups designated by the SBA.”

Author’s note: Members of other groups includes Caucasian women.

When reading about evidence of social disadvantage, it is important to keep in mind this quote… “However, an individual’s statement of personal experiences in combination with the generalized evidence may be sufficient to demonstrate social disadvantage.” This is why you SHOULD NOT HIRE SOMEONE ELSE to write YOUR story.

What does the narrative include?

There are three areas the SBA wants to see evidence of discrimination: education, employment and business work history. You can put together a compelling argument, just like I did, by focusing on four areas in your life. They are:

o Family Background / Influence: Describe the influence your family exerted on your career decisions. What were you expected to do with your life / career? What types of careers did your parents, siblings, grandparents or extended family members pursue? How did this differ from what you wanted to achieve later in life?

o Educational Background / Opportunities: Educational experiences directly influence your ability to make career choices. Describe your educational background. Do you have a college degree? How long did it take you to complete your education?

o Career Experience / Earning capacity: Career experiences directly influence your earning capacity and overall quality of life. Can you give an example of when you were subjected to harassment in your work environment that had a dramatic negative affect on your overall job performance?

o Business Work History / Your experience as a small business owner and potential jobs you were not able to bid on or receive.

Be prepared to live through buried personal pain

If you are like me, deciding to become an entrepreneur was a decision that evolved from your life experiences. Perhaps you worked for many years in companies and were not satisfied with the people you reported to or the salary you were paid. Your decision to start your own business was built upon opportunities that came your way or that you were denied.

As you start to go through the writing process, you may feel a full range of emotions erupt including: Anger, Fear, Frustration, Mental Pain, Anguish, Sorrow, Doubt

Why do I mention this? Because I experienced these emotions when I wrote my narrative and I want you to be prepared. Creating this document is like opening old wounds, remembering “bad stuff” and reliving events you really don’t want to dwell on.

You have worked through these bad times to make a better life for yourself and your family. And it is so frustrating to recount times that you did not win, those times you were bypassed for promotions and this negativity dredges up anger and self-doubt. But it is only temporary pain and think of it as a positive reinforcement that you made the right choice to start your own business.

With that said…. Here is another tip… While you do need to set a time limit on getting this document prepared, give yourself a break and write on it until you start to feel too emotional. Stop and come back later to continue writing. Keep the tissues nearby and decide that when you complete this task you have earned a little personal reward for your efforts.

Two Key Points

Here are the two key points to remember as you prepare the narrative:

1. Think of this as a writing exercise: Plan on spending at least 3-4 hours writing, editing and preparing the final narrative. Keep it in perspective, this is just a paper, don’t stress!

2. Put on your Whiner Cap: This is the one time that it is OK to be a whiner. You have permission to whine and write about all of the people and events that “did you wrong”.

And finally…. be sure to add some quotes to your narrative to support your claims. I used eight quotes in my seven page narrative. The best way to locate quotes is to do a Google search on key words that you want to emphasize in your narrative. For example I used the following descriptors: women salaries, women education, Texas women careers

In Summary

Getting certified as an SBA 8(a) firm is worth the pain. Remember that… You do not have to hire someone to apply for SBA 8(a) status or write your Social Disadvantage Narrative. You can do it yourself successfully. If you need some advice on writing the narrative, check out the Design2Train website http://www.design2train.com for information on our toolkit.



Source by V. Karen Miller

Alcatraz – An Island's History

Alcatraz, the small island in San Francisco Bay, received its name in 1775 from the Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala. He christened the land La Isla de los Alcatraces, which translates to Island of the Pelicans. He had no interest, as it was uninhabited, barren ground with minimal vegetation and treacherous, icy currents.

Having little to offer, Alcatraz was left on its own for another 72 years. In 1847, the US Army claimed the island for use as a military fortification. Within a year, US Army engineers were hard at work constructing both a military fortress and the Pacific Coast's first operating lighthouse.

Once completed, the fortress of Alcatraz became a symbol of military strength. Its features included long-range iron cannons and four 36,000 pound, 15-inch Rodman guns, which were capable of sinking hostile ships as much as three miles away. While the image of Alcatraz lived up to its reputation, the only round ever shot came from one 400-pound cannon. This was aimed at an unidentified ship, which it missed. Within 20 years, the rapid modernization of weaponry rendered Army defenses on Alcatraz obsolete. Soon the Army began rethinking uses for their island.

The natural isolation made Alcatraz the ideal location for an Army penitentiary. In 1861, the island began its 102-year history of housing prisoners, first as an Army penitentiary, then as a Federal prison.

Alcatraz was the Army's debut as a prison for long-term sentences. Civil War prisoners were the first to arrive. The population remained small until 1898, when the Spanish-American war brought the prisoner count from 26 to more than 450. In 1906, a catastrophic earthquake in San Francisco forced the city to evacuate hundreds of prisoners to Alcatraz. The large influx of prisoners forced building expansion. By 1912, a large, three-story cell house had been been constructed on the island's central crest. The structure had almost reached full capacity by the late 1920s.

Rising operation costs led the military to close Alcatraz in 1934. Ownership of the island was handed over to the Department of Justice.

During the late 1920s and into the 1930s, the Great Depression brought an excessive crime surge. The combination of Prohibition, massive unemployment, and desperate need fostered a new era of gangsters and organized crime. This new breed of criminals had taken over large cities. Ordinary prisons were not doing a good job of keeping them behind bars. The federal government needed an "escape proof" prison, where they could lock away the worst of these bad guys. On Alcatraz, the government found exactly that.

In April 1934, contractors began work to turn the military prison into a maximum-security Federal prison. This new and improved Alcatraz was designed to hold no more than 300 prisoners. Only those convicted of federal crimes were sent to Alcatraz. These crimes included bank robbery, kidnapping, income tax evasion, draft dodging, and murders related to these crimes. The Federal prison on Alcatraz was designed strictly as a holding pen with no rehabilitative intents.

Few prisoners were sent directly to Alcatraz when sentenced at court. Inmates found their way to the island through behavior problems and escape attempts. Getting transferred out of Alcatraz was even more difficult. Parole was not an option. Inmates first had to earn their way to a different prison through good behavior.

James A. Johnston, the first of four wardens at Alcatraz, made the rules. He insisted on one guard for every three prisoners. The average ratio in other prisons at that time was one guard for every 10-13 prisoners. The inmates had no commissary. No newspapers were allowed; their reading material was censored and extremely limited. They had no television and radio was banned until the mid 1950s. Inmates received no counseling and were not offered any classes or groups to join. Recreation was severely limited. Boredom was an ongoing and extreme problem for both the inmates and the prison guards.

Prisoners were allowed one visit per month, which first had to be approved by the warden. These visits lasted approximately 1 1/2 hours and were conducted through glass with the use of a telephone.

The most controversial of Johnston's rules was the "Silent System". Conversation of any sort between prisoners was forbidden. The prisoners were deprived of even the most basic human contact. Several inmates were reported to have gone insane due to this policy. Over the years, the silent system became too difficult to enforce. Four long years later, the policy was abandoned and never reinstated.

Alcatraz Federal Prison consisted of 336 cells in three cellblocks. The main corridor – dubbed Broadway – held 168 cells and stood three tiers high. Broadway offered little privacy for the inmates, as this area received the most foot traffic. However, cellblock D was by far the worst area in the prison.

Called the special treatment unit, this area was also referred to as isolation, segregation, and solitary. Five of the cells on the bottom tier earned the nickname "The Hole". Each cell contained a sink, a toilet, and a low-wattage light bulb strung from the ceiling. The solid steel door had a small insert that opened in order to push the prisoner's food through. Inmates were provided with thin mattresses for sleeping but those were removed during the day. No form of entertainment was provided or allowed. The prisoner was cut off from all human contact, suffering extreme boredom and isolation.

The strip cell was reserved for particularly difficult inmates. This was a dark, steel-encased cell with no bed, sink, or toilet. The door was solid steel that remained closed at all times. Prisoners were stripped naked and placed inside with no blankets or light. The "toilet" was a hole in the floor. A thin mattress was provided for sleeping hours, then taken away. This cell was a cold, foul, black void that was feared by even the most hardened criminals.

Time in "the hole" was not supposed to exceed 19 days and time in the strip cell was limited to two days. This standard, however, was not always adhered to. Reports were made of prisoners driven insane by the extreme sensory deprivation of the hole and the strip cell.

In its 29 years as a Federal prison, Alcatraz held 1,576 prisoners. During that time, 14 escape attempts were made by a total of 36 inmates. Of those, 21 were returned alive, two were returned and executed, seven were killed by gunfire, and one drowned and his body washed ashore.

Five prisoners, from two separate escape attempts, managed to get off the island. Ralph Roe and Theodore Cole disappeared in 1937 and Frank Morris and Clarence and John Anglin disappeared in 1962. Despite nationwide manhunts, none of these men were ever found and no bodies were recovered. Much controversy exists to this day as to whether any or all of these men made it out of the water alive.

Alcatraz's structure began to deteriorate. By the 1950s, the salt air had corroded the metal and concrete. Around 1961, the power plant began to fail, causing electrical blackouts. Plumbing pipes were cracked and major structural repair was required. During 1960-1961, the Bureau of Prisons spent $ 300,000 on renovations. An estimated $ 4 million more was needed.

Repairs were not the only factor in the high maintenance costs of Alcatraz. Because of its isolation, supplies, including water, had to be trucked in. This meant that even everyday expenses were much higher. The cost per prisoner was almost three times higher at Alcatraz that at other US prisons.

By the time of the last escape attempt in 1962, the decision to close Alcatraz had already been made. Construction had begun on the US Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois, the replacement for Alcatraz. On March 21, 1963, the last 27 prisoners were transferred from the island prison. Alcatraz officially closed in June of 1963.

Aside from a caretaker and his wife, Alcatraz remained a desolate place while various parties lobbied the government with development ideas. Nothing came of these ideas. Then, in 1969, a large group of American Indians landed on Alcatraz. A relatively unknown treaty with the US government in the 19th century allowed Native Americans to claim abandoned Federal property. Using this treaty, the group claimed Alcatraz as "Indian Land".

The Indians had an elaborate plan for transforming Alcatraz, which included an educational Native American cultural center. Public support quickly grew, with high-profile advocates from show business as well as the Hell's Angels. This was both a blessing and a curse. The volume of visitors to the little island quickly grew overwhelming. Sadly, Alcatraz soon became a haven for the homeless and derelict population.

Before long, the Indians faced the same problems that stymied the prison administration; the total absence of natural resources and the enormous expenses. A series of difficulties culminated in a fire on June 1, 1970 that burned down what had been the Warden's home, the lighthouse keeper's residence, and the officers' club. The Indian community fell apart. Approximately one year later, on June 11, 1971, Federal Marshals removed the remaining occupants from Alcatraz.

In 1972, Congress created the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which included Alcatraz. The island opened to the public in the fall of 1973. Today Alcatraz is one of the most popular National Historic Parks, with more than one million visitors landing there each year.



Source by Darcia Helle

Vacant Land Loan: Things You Need to Know

Vacant Land Loan allows you to purchase a parcel of land where you can build your home in the near future.

Types of Vacant Land

There are specifically four types of land, but only three (3) qualify for Vacant Land Loan. These three are as follows: 1) Standard land blocks, which are appropriate for a normal house in a major city, a regional centre, or a regional town; 2) Standard land blocks, suitable for a normal house in smaller towns of less than 10,000 people; and 3) Large, lifestyle hobby farm blocks of up to 50 hectares or 123.5 acres. The fourth type of vacant land which is commercial farms, are not acceptable for home loans.

Benefits

With vacant land loans, the benefits include redraw facility; no penalties for extra repayments; and for your choice of repayments, you can opt for weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. There’s also an automatic repayment through direct debit.

Other Details

There are many lenders in the market offering Vacant Land Loans. Most offer the same schemes, except for some tweaks being offered as marketing incentives.

Generally, interest rate for vacant land loan can be fixed or variable. Other normal requirements are as follows: Maximum borrowing amount (LVR) of 90%; deposit required is 10%; term of loan is 30 years; plus other fees that are subject to change.

Some lenders allow 100% home loan offset, which means you can make the most of your available funds to reduce interest costs and to cut down the term of your loan.

The redraw facility will allow you to access any additional loan payments you have made. There is a note on this however: any principal reductions made during any fixed rate period will not be available to be redrawn.

You may also opt for a split loan, which will afford you the security of a fixed rate home loan, and the benefits of a variable loan.

Requirements

These are the basic requirements for those planning to apply for a Vacant Land Loan:

For employment requirement, P.A.Y.G. must be full-time, or part-time permanent. If applicant is self-employed, the minimum requirement is two years. For proof of income: P.A.Y.G. Pay slips, group certificates, or employer letter. For the self-employed, two years of tax returns are necessary. Only citizens and permanent residents of Australia are eligible to apply.

How much can you borrow?

Normally, most lenders offer the following: for first home buyers, ninety-five percent (95%) of the property value, with some restrictions. For investors, its still ninety-five percent (95%) of the property value, without restrictions. For those availing the Low doc, they are allowed eighty percent (80%) of the property value.

What will the bank assess?

Different lenders have different treatments of land. Normally, these are the things they look into when assessing the land: land size, location, access, services, zoning, land use, and intention to build.

If you want to know more about Vacant Land Loans, search for more information in the Internet, and know what your options are.



Source by Jamie A Allen

Poverty Alleviation: An Aim Of Islamic Economics

Poverty is treated as WMD (weapon of mass destruction) of modern world. Eradication of it bears very importance. The economic systems like capitalism and communism have presented number of instruments for the alleviation of the poverty from the world. But, these extreme ideologies failed to satisfy the need of the people. Private ownership of property, laissez-faire policy of capitalism and class war, dialectical materialism, state ownership of property of communism did not touch the real cause of poverty. This situation necessitates seeking the possibilities of Islamic economics in alleviating poverty. The aim of poverty alleviation can be attained, in an Islamic Economic system through reducing the inequality. It never means attaining equality but equity and justice in the income and wealth distribution. Islam eliminates the absolute inequality which arises from unequal distribution of income, but relative inequality emerges from equitable distribution of income and wealth.

First part of this article has given a small introduction to both conventional economics and Islamic economics. Then it provides a picture of poverty of current world and Islamic perspective of poverty. Then Islamic economics instruments to alleviate poverty such as zakat, sadaqa, qard hasan, ganima, khums, fay, jizya, mudaraba, musharaka, prohibition of interest, abolition of extravaganza, prohibition of speculation and hoarding have been mentioned in briefly. Influence of Islamic economic instruments on marginal propensity to consume, multiplier, price investment and production have been dealt with.

The books and articles I referred for this article are Dr. Dr. Sabahuddin Azmi's Islamic Economics, SM Hasanuzzaman's Economic function of an Islamic state (The early experience), Towards understanding the economic system of Islam written by Dr.P Ibrahim and Introduction to the economic system by Moulavi.MVSaleem.

Introduction

Nobody can undermine the importance of economics which is a social science that studies the production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services. This very importance of economics resulted in emergence of different economic systems in the world and all of those economic systems claim that they will fetch economic welfare. Those dominating and prominent economic system's failure to accomplish economic justice, prosperity, the eradiation of the inequality and poverty make necessary an alternative economic system which can successfully make a starvation free and poverty free world.

Definition of Economics

Social scientists have developed various definitions of economics. Lionel Robinson's scarcity definition of economics is most accepted amongst them. According to Robinson "economics is a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses" This definition is based on two points which are scarcity of resources and the never ending needs. But in reality former is a myth. The survey conducted by UNO shows that are enough resources for 20000 million people on earth we have only 6000 million people on earth residing now. Latter point 'never ending needs' is also incorrect as the desire and greed of the man is unlimited but the need is countable and controllable.

Definition of Islamic Economics

As a system of life Islam has not left any area of ​​human life without guidance. Whether it is spiritual, individual, social, economical or political Islam gives clear cut guidelines. By considering the economic guidelines of Islamic sources, Islamic economists have developed plethora of definitions. Derivation of each definition of Islamic economics is based on guidance given in the basic sources of Islamic shariah which are Quran and hadith.

According to Yusuf Ibrahim, professor of Islamic economics, Qatar University "Islamic economics is a science studying the guidance of the human behavior towards the use of resources to satisfy the needs". This definition is based upon the following facts.

1. The resources are enough for satisfying the needs.

2. But the resources should be protected from the waste, and improper use.

3. The human behavior towards the resources should be controlled by divine injunctions.

4. Only legal needs, needs that build life on the earth, should be satisfied.

5. Illegal needs (desires), which destroy life on earth, should not be satisfied; they are never ending and never satisfied.

Islamic economic system, a normative economic system, has been built upon certain fundamental Islamic philosophies. According to Quranic teachings real and absolute ownership of the wealth belongs to the creator of the same, Almighty God. Quran says "To Allah belongs to everything in the sky and on the earth" (2: 284) .ole of the man is considered as trustee who is to manage the trust, ie wealth according to the directives of the real owner; God. Quran clearly states "And spend of that where of hath made you trustees" (57: 7). So man has been granted

conditioned and limited ownership.

Another Islamic philosophy is universal brotherhood and equality of men as their creator is one and parents are the same. Hence distinction based on color, caste, creed, races do not suffer at any cost. This concept induces the people for cooperation and participation in their all efforts instead of cheating, exploiting and making fraud each other. Another aspect of Islamic philosophy is the faith in the Day of Judgment after death. In the life after death man is accountable for his deeds on earth. The implication of this faith is that economic choices one makes in world are to be judged according to the norms Allah has laid down.

These are the revolutionary points which differentiate Islamic economics from the liberal, capitalistic, imperialistic, mainstream, usurious economic system and communist, class war, state dictatorship economic system. Islam constructs a just world on the spirit of everlasting divine concepts.
Poverty

Evil of any economy is poverty. The presence of begging hands in an economy pulls that economy into decades back. Poverty midst plenty is the challenge faced in the modern world. Impact of the poverty cannot confine into starvation only, but poor people, apart from starvation, suffering limited income which leads to inaccessibility of good education it disables them for challenging careers which requires number of years long education. Absence of nutritious food results in more child morality among deprived sections. Since limited access for information and knowledge those are prevented from market and opportunities.

Every country and international organizations like World Trade Organization, World Bank and Asian Development Bank hard work to construct the countries and world on the foots of self sufficiency respectively. Mission of the World Bank is described as global poverty reduction and improvement of living standards. General Council of UN has declared October 17 as International day for the eradication of poverty. It shows how seriously they took poverty as a problem

But, it is wondering that out of 6.1 billion world population more than 1 billion are finding their livelihood in less than $ 1 per day and almost 3 billion on less than $ 2 per day. You might be provoked that 74% of total income of world is shared by the 20% of the elite class of the world. It is heartening you that there are countries whose national income is less $ 800 and morality of below five years age children is about 26% .It is worrying that 110 million primary school age children are out of school and 60 percent of them are girls.
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Poverty and Islamic Economics

Below Poverty Line (BPL) fixes in Islamic economics system on the basis of ownership of nisab, which limit makes one eligible for the payment of zakat whosoever wealth on or over the nisab is responsible for the payment of zakat. Those wealth is below nisab are zakat recipients and they are treated as poor. Hence, in Islamic economics, the size of deprived come under BPL will be large. Starvation and inaccessibility of food, shelter, cloths and education could not suffer in an Islamic economy which aims human falah, ie human welfare. It does not support any economic instrument that leads to the deprivation of the man. Since poverty emerges in an economy as a result of various causes so wiping out of these causes is primarily important.

Limited income, unequal distribution of income and wealth, misdistribution of resources, regional disparities, unemployment, social injustice, and invested investments … etc are some of the obstacles in the way of attainment of self-sufficiency and welfare. Islam considers the fulfillment of basic needs of every member of society is economic, moral as well as religious obligation of the ruler. List of the basic goods extends from traditional food, clothing and shelter to seasonal clothing, personal attendant to disabled person, and spending on marriage of poor and spending on entire family of poor, which are intensified by scholars from time to time and likely to extend the list time to time for the welfare of the citizen. Islamic economic system introduces a bunch of divinely guided instruments which bring to an end of poverty and build
poverty less world.

Islamic Economic Instruments to eliminate poverty

It is advised to Muslim citizens in an Islamic county, as the part of believe, to practice certain things in their life, some of them are compulsory nature and the rest are voluntary nature. The practice of these will have vast economic implications apart from the reward of God. Non Muslim citizens also have to make certain compulsory payments, which have economic impacts, as the part of their citizenship in the Islamic country. Compulsory duties and agreements of citizens are governed by the Islamic country and violation of any part would not suffer Islamic state. In addition to these functions there are other things the Islamic state has to carry out similar to any nation does for the welfare of citizens. Both positive and negative measures have recommended by Islam for wiping out the reason of poverty.

Positive Measures

There are numerous Islamic orders and injunction to perform certain things which have immense influence on economies justice, prosperity and growth. Important divine injunctions amongst them and their influence upon the economy are briefed below.

Zakat

Zakat is the yearly obligation of wealthy Muslims to poor and it is the share of have-nots in the property and wealth of the rich. Quran commends "establish worship and pay the poor his due (zakat) and obey the messenger". Technically we can call it as spiritual tax. It is imposed on those forms of wealth which have the capacity to grow in value or otherwise produce further, is having the custody of whole year and have exceed a certain minimum value called 'nisab'. Quran has stated the eight specific heads for the distribution of zakat.
Due to the divine spirit for the performance of zakat, chances for evasion are less. The imposition of zakat on idle wealth urges the owners for the productive and profitable employment of idle wealth which increases the wealth of economy and again the share of zakat.

Donations

Sadaqa is the one of the voluntary economic instrument. No limit and eligibility criteria for performing contributions to needy. It can be divert, apart from the eight heads mentioned for the distribution of zakat, to any needy. and it will strengthen what economic implications emerged by zakat.

Qard hasan

It is an arrangement of interest free loans for unproductive purposes or for the needy to meet the expenses like hospital expenses, home expenses and education expenses etc which are do not make any earnings. So it is not able to charge any material benefit, like profit share, from qurd hasan. These are provided as the part of kindness to human beings. In an Islamic economy individuals and institutions like Islamic banks will offer this type of loans expecting the reward of Allah. Availability of qard hasan reduces the financial burdens like interest, of deprived.

Profit and loss sharing

Islam formulates profit and loss sharing as the tool of trade contracts instesd of interest. The motivation behind it is the cooperation amongst the people. In profit sharing there are different types of financing such as mudaraba (profit and loss sharing) and musharaka (participation) … etc
Mudaraba is the agreement between both capital owner and entrepreneur to share the profit arises from the business and in case of loss capital owner's capital reduces and entrepreneur's time and effort loose. Musharaka is the agreement to share profit and loss where all contributors participate in management of business. Both mudaraba and musharaka help the people, who have inadequacy of capital, to engage in business, production and contribute their share into the welfare nation and earn for their own.

Ganima (war booty), Khums (one fifth) and Fay

Ganima is the property Muslims seize from the enemy. Four fifth of the ganima is divided among the fighting army and one fifth (khums) of the entire ganima move to state fund, which is earmarked for the special beneficiaries mentioned in Quran. Fay is the property receives from the enemy without actual fighting. This source of state revenue is generalized for the common good of the entire population and public welfare.

Kharaj (Land- Tax)

Land-Tax, a source of revenue of state, is the levy imposed on land produce. This is actually the rent for the use of value of agricultural land. The rate of kharaj and method of collection can be declared by state from time to time as there is no direction of Quran and tradition of prophet in this regard.

Jizya (Poll tax)

Jizya (poll-tax) imposed on the non-Muslim citizens of Islamic country for securing their wealth, property and lives from damage. It helps them to contribute their skill, talent, health, wealth and property for the prosperity of the country

Waqf (Endowment)

Waqf (endowment) is regular source of revenue which is earmarked and dedicated fund of Muslim for supporting charitable and welfare activities
State ownership on uncultivated land:
Any economic instrument that hinders productivity is harmful to economies prosperous. According to Islamic shariah, if a land is remained uncultivated three consecutive years lead to moving of ownership of that land from current owner to other who is ready for cultivate the land and produce. Prophet (pbuh) said "The original rights of ownership in land are God's and the prophets and then yours afterwards. But he who revives any dead land acquires the right of ownership to it". There is an another institution, iqta, boost the circulation and tax revenue of the state by transferring the uncultivated / dead land to someone in return for ushr or khraj.

Combined ownership of natural resources:

Individual ownership of natural resources like fire, water, pasture and salt are restricted by the Islamic shariah. People have combined ownership in these natural resources which should be accessible to anyone. This rule allow anyone to use the benefit derives from the natural goods and ensure that nobody is away from the natural goods which are easy to get to without any hard work .. List of natural goods, in addition to mentioned goods, can be extended into more goods in time to time. Prophet (pbuh) said "people are joint owners in water, pasture and fire".
There are other sources of revenue like property of deceased with no legal heir, lost and found with no claimsants and additional taxations.

Negative Measures

There are some prohibitions of God which has influence on the economies prosperity and welfare of every men of country.
Prohibition of interest
Interest, whatever form, has been contemned by Allah and His messenger. Quran says "Allah has permitted trade and hath prohibited riba" (interest). Islam does not support interest but profit and loss sharing. Every financial transactions of Islamic economy should be free of interest. But absence of interest in an Islamic economy does not create any hindrance to prosperity but flourish the prosperity.

Prohibition of speculative instruments

Instruments which don't have any advantage to real economy such as futures and option are not permitted in Islamic economy. Stock market instruments like day trading, marginal trading are prohibited, either. Absence of these instruments in the economy reduces speculation which is harm to the entire economy.
Implications

The implementation of shariah guidelines we discussed above in an economy lead to number of positive fruits which make the state free from every form of poverty.
Increased redistribution of income and wealth will result in, when the people perform the religious obligations like zakat, donation, waqf, inheritances, fithr zakat and kaffarath etc … It leads to flow of wealth and money from rich to poor. Thus the concentration and accumulation of wealth in a few hands come down. Poor and needy spend approximately eighty percent of their earnings to fulfill their basic needs. Economically Marginal Propensity to Consume (MPC) of the poor is larger than middle and high class. A large portion of whatever comes into handy of poor will flow to economy for consumption of basic goods; it lead to more demand for primary goods and then it result in the increased production of basic goods. It is difficult to restrict luxurious consumption and production completely by law and force. But the increased rate of redistribution of wealth and income increase the demand for basic goods and decrease the demand for luxurious goods. Automatically it reduces the utilization of resources for the production of luxuries. Consequently, natural resources use for the production of basic goods and for the benefit of public welfare
This increased redistribution of wealth to poor enables them to get the accessibility of good education and nutritious food. Increased knowledge and skills help the poor to get good jobs and earn. This raises the entire poor family and dependence to heights. In turn, increase of income more than a certain limit make them capable for performing zakat and other voluntary donations for the sake of the benefit of have-nots. Rise in the redistribution help to reduce the gap between haves and have-nots and bring economic justice to all citizens.

Increased MPC of poor as the redistribution of income results in more multiplier effect in economy that fuels more income to the overall income of economy that help the poor section of people to raise their per capita income and living standards.

According to Professor Keynes, investment depends on two variables which are current rare of interest and the marginal efficiency of capital or expected profit rate. Investment would take place only if the expected rate of profit exceeds of interest. Due to the absence of interest, in an Islamic economy, only the size of expected rate of profit of profit will be the determinant of investment.

Speculative motive of money and liquidity theory of money will have no place in an interest free economy which reduces investment. But the presence of only expected rate of profit will result in investments, even in low rate of expected rate of profit to increase their principle amount and to avoid the deterioration of principal through zakat. The increased investment raises the production, employment, wages and overall national income of economy. It flows wealth to poor and raises their economic status.

Fisher's quantity theory which states that quantity of money affects the price and value of money. It means that increase in the supply of money will proportionately increase the price in economy but the output will not increase. But in the case of Islamic economy money should not be supplied without making increase in the output. The central bank and commercial banks of Islamic state increase the money supply through making investment contracts on the basis of profit and loss sharing. So every flow of money into economy results in output growth without making proportionate hike in price. It is helpful to the poor to get need things at reasonable price

Conclusion

Way of eliminating poverty in Islamic economy is simple. Faith in the oneness of God (tawheed) motivates to the performance of zakat and profit and loss sharing and avoiding interest and extravaganza. Increased redistribution and productivity are the outcome of these instruments which helps finally to attain alleviation of poverty.
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Writer's Address & Phone Number:

Nabeel.KN

92 Mimson House

LT Marg, Mumbai

India

Ph.022-2347 2118

Email.nabeel_kn@rediffmail.com



Source by Nabeel Kattakath

Why Politicians Shouldn't Create Or Save Jobs

In this economy, politicians talk about how they have created or saved jobs for their constituents, but what does that mean, exactly, and in what context would that be good for us? There are several examples of how they might go about performing such feats, and upon more careful examination, I'm not sure any of them are actually to our benefit.

Just to be sure we're on the same page, let's begin with a definition of these two concepts.

  1. To "create" a new job means to do something that causes someone to be hired for a position that is not already held by someone else. If someone else is being fired or replaced in order to hire the new person, it's a pre-existing job, not a "new" job.
  2. To "save" a job means to do something that prevents an existing position from becoming eliminated, transferred, or outsourced. If an employee simply isn't working out and a replacement employee is hired, while the original individual has "lost" his or her job, the job itself continues to exist.

With these definitions in mind, let's explore possible ways that someone might create or save a job. Before we begin the exploration of this topic, however, let's keep one important concept in mind: a politician represents all of his or her constituents in government, and should act with their common best interests in mind; an individual without a job is just one of the politician's constituents, and serving him or her should not be at the expense of the common good. Lastly, let me caution you in advance that the examples provided herein will be instructional, but severely over-simplified.

Long, long ago, in a savannah far, far away, before Internet shopping, before grocery stores, and before even tribes, there was a period when each of our living ancestors of the day was responsible for obtaining his or her own food. If you've ever camped, hunted, or fished, and if you try very hard to imagine feeding yourself without the benefit of a rifle, bow and arrow, or rod and reel, you may begin to recognize that a sizeable chunk of your day is expended just to find and overcome prey for yourself. My memories of camping always circle back to the fact that seemingly-vast quantities of firewood burn in much less time than it takes to collect them although I've never hunted or seriously fished, I can't imagine those efforts are more productive than collecting firewood, especially when performed without tools. Further, without refrigeration, even a large kill wouldn't last long. So, back in those days, all living people had jobs: to find and provide food for themselves. Those who did not perform well at this job did not feed themselves and died. Employment = 100%, but I doubt any of us would want to return to that era.

Fast forward a few generations, and at some point, someone discovered agriculture and domestication of livestock. Instead of wondering where the next meal might come from, people knew – it would come from the farmer or rancher. The fruits and vegetables were growing, the chickens were laying eggs in their cages, the cows could be milked at will, and the pigs and lambs could be slaughtered as needed. While killing animals, picking produce, and preparing meals still required a little time, the bulk of the time that used to be required to track, stalk, find, trap, and carry food back to feed oneself was no longer a factor. In fact, farming and domestication of livestock made food acquisition so much more productive that it no longer required 100% employment in order to feed the population.

While a comparatively-small group of people continued to be involved in the food-producing vocations, many were freed up to pursue other interests. Some built the facilities in which the food production was performed or the machines that performed the food production more efficiently and some became security guards for those facilities. Besides those directly or indirectly involved in food production, trades were established as some became cobblers, blacksmiths, fletchers, bowyers, tanners, builders, and shipwrights. While one cannot subsist on a diet of shoes, since the farmers could produce more than enough food for themselves, they could trade their surplus food for the cobblers' surplus shoes, and as a result, all parties involved enjoyed a higher standard of living. Whereas people spending most of their day stalking prey might not have time to make good footwear, clothing, homes, or tools, now, with most of the population freed up by technological advances, there were opportunities for them to enjoy all of this and more .

When we talk about creating jobs, this is what one might imagine as the shining example of job creation: a technological improvement in one area that permits people to pursue other areas of interest, making the whole of civilization richer as a result. Upon more careful examination, though, this really isn't job creation at all, but it's actually job attrition. 100% of people were employed in providing their own food, and then a huge percentage of them were laid off, made obsolete by technological advances. OK – they weren't really laid off – they could have continued doing what they were doing yesterday, and provided food for themselves (just as you could for yourself), but systemization of the industry made them so ridiculously inefficient compared to the alternative that They preferred to pursue other interests (just as you probably have).

So what do politicians mean when they say they've created jobs? Is it something along these lines? Is it something by which they are freeing up swaths of population from dull, unproductive, menial jobs to permit them to enrich society with art, poetry, and music? Probably not. When FDR did it, he hired people to build dams and bridges, to build rock walls on property lines, and to engage in parks and conservancy projects. While these may seem like admirable projects and efficient use of otherwise unemployed labor capacity, why had the projects been put off until then, and when he hired those unemployed people to perform such work, what happened to the employees of the viable construction companies he didn 't hire?

Furthermore, these jobs weren't magically created – not only did he engage labor to do work that was important enough to do earlier, and not only did he hire the unemployed labor from a section of the market that had been displaced by other better-run companies instead of hiring those better-run companies, but he paid for it with public money. This meant that the people who still managed to earn a taxable income during those tough times were compelled to pay for projects that either weren't necessary or weren't economical, and that hired laborers who must on average have been less productive than the laborers that weren't out of work, rather than reward the well-run companies that were still in business and were still paying salaries to people.

OK, so extreme situations may require extreme measures, but the mindset persists still today. President George W Bush created a lot of jobs, too. The Department of Homeland Security that he created has ballooned into a behemoth. In addition to all the US Customs, Immigration, and USDA agents that always used to be present at every US international airport and seaport, we now also have an army of TSA agents. If you've traveled internationally recently, you may also have noticed that there are so many flights into this country from around the world that we can no longer even provide security for all of them within the space of our own airports. Not only has outbound luggage screening been relegated to what used to be the front-end of our airports, but we've now also installed agents in the larger, more frequently-traveling foreign airports, to screen passengers before they get onto their inbound flights .

Whereas we used to have some number of international airports in this country, each staffed with federal agents for security enforcement, think about how many foreign countries there are and how many international airports each of them has. I shudder to think about the number of federal agents we must now employ to facilitate this paradigm. The other countries don't do this, so we're either being overcautious or they've figured out how to do it another way. Oh, and although you've probably guessed, for sake of completeness, let me point out that the employed taxpayers are the ones paying for these jobs the politicians have created.

When politicians talk about creating jobs, I'm not relieved; I'm incensed – it means they've hired people with my tax money to perform some function that I probably wasn't missing before, rather than do something with my money that I'd really want done, like hire contractors to pave the roads. I'd prefer that they keep their meddling hands off and just let the economy take care of itself. When they "create" jobs, we pay the bill, and if these created jobs were truly necessary and important, don't you think someone else would have hired someone else to do them long ago?

What about "saving jobs?" These are predominantly jobs that are being paid for by something other than my tax revenue, so saving them must be good, right? Probably not. If you've followed stocks at all, when companies announce layoffs the price of their stock typically rises. When a company decides to relocate a division to a tax-advantaged state or to outsource a department to another country where labor costs a fraction of what it does here, the price of their stock rises. Why, if jobs are being lost would investors bid up the price of such companies? Those investors know that the layoff will not be random, but will predominantly be of the less-productive employees; the work will still all get done – just more efficiently. They know that the move to a state willing to provide tax concessions will reduce the company's expenses, making it more productive. They know that while management and the executives will be retained, the move of the company to a less expensive country will save a wad on labor and benefits costs, allowing the company to either invest more back into itself or pay out larger dividends to the shareholders . In short, they know that such actions will be good for the business, and for them if they own the business.

How would a politician "save" those jobs? One way or another, he has to make up to the company what they would be getting if they went ahead with their job-cutting plans. Guess who's paying for that? Whereas I could pay less to buy my car if the manufacturer were able to build it cheaper somewhere else, now, someone else will get the benefit of the cheaper car while my tax money goes to make it "cheaper" for that manufacturer, right here . Their employees will be happier because they'll still have jobs, but who is really paying for those "saved" jobs? It's not the employer, and it's not the people reaping the benefit of the "cheaper" finished goods; It's the local tax-payer, while his or her money is used to entice that company to keep those jobs here. His taxes will either increase or the services he receives for his tax payments will be reduced to cover the new job-saving expenses.

Creating and saving jobs are just two of the latest euphemisms for redistributing the wealth. Yes, as I mentioned before, I know that some people will be unemployed without such measures. I also know that unemployment insurance is just another method of redistributing the wealth, so even if our politicians don't create or save jobs for these people, I know that those of us with taxable incomes will still be paying to support the unemployed. The difference, however, is that the creation or salvation of a job has a more permanent connotation to it, whereas unemployment insurance has a less permanent connotation. Salary is thought of as being indefinite, but insurance is thought of as paying out a benefit and then being exhausted until additional premiums are paid in.

The problem with the system is not that we need to invent jobs for people and not that we need to encourage jobs to stay here rather than move to places where they can be performed more economically or more efficiently (which saves us all money on purchasing the fruits of that labor). The problem is that we need the unemployed hunter-gatherers to retrain as cobblers. Anyone can still go hunt for his or her own food, but not nearly as economically and efficiently as big business can do it. This frees us up to pursue other endeavors, but we must find ones that are profitable so we can earn enough revenue to buy that food from its producers. Should the government have saved every buggy-whip manufacturer so that those jobs would be secure despite the fact that we no longer use horse-drawn buggies? Think about who would be paying for that.

When I was "in between jobs" a bunch of years ago, I briefly collected unemployment insurance. My experience with the system was that it was exactly backwards. Rather than encourage the unemployed to find work or to train for new positions, it encouraged laziness and passivity, and in-fact discouraged employment and education. A minimum-wage job would have paid less than unemployment insurance was paying me to sit on my couch, and couch-sitting isn't quite as difficult and thankless a job as those that pay minimum wage. Unemployment benefits, however, are only available to people who are ready and willing to work; those in school are predisposed, and are thus ineligible (at least that's how it worked at the time).

I was similarly discouraged from putting time or effort into my fledgling business; Whether it earned a meager income that day or not, if I worked at it for a minute, calling prospects or reading bid documents, I was ineligible to claim benefits for the day. Unemployment insurance should operate on a declining rate; every week the benefit should go down. At some point it will make those minimum-wage jobs start looking pretty good, and as if by magic, the unemployed will find work. Unemployment services should not only provide job retraining, but it should require it – on any day of claiming benefits, the claimant should be required to attend a few hours of classes on resume writing, interviewing skills, general education (math, English, foreign language , etc), or specific job skills, such as basic computer usage, typing, sorting & filing, or telephone etiquette. Such classes could be offered in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings, to permit time for beneficiaries to still apply for jobs and attend interviews.

I don't want the government creating or saving jobs – there's no shortage of work to be done already. Instead, encourage the population to advance their skills, experience, and education, and to retrain or relocate themselves as necessary to find work. To hire them with my tax money or to encourage some business to hire them with concessions paid for by my tax money only makes us all less productive on average.



Source by Brian Blum

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