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Performance Evaluation of the European Bond Market: Analysis of the Yield Spreads on 10-Year Government Bonds

Abstract

This paper analyses the performance of the European bond market with a particular focus on analysing yields and yield spreads in the Euro Zone area. The study observes poor performance of the bond market over the 18-month period April 2010 to September 2011. Countries with high credit and liquidity risks such as Greece, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal exhibit significant high yields and yield spreads over the period under analysis.

1. Introduction

Significant developments have occurred in the European Bond Market over since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007. In the light of these developments, this paper evaluates the performance of the European bond market by analysing yield spreads of the Euro Zone over the 18-month period 2010 to September 2011. The rest of the paper is organised as follows: section 2 provides a literature review, which focuses on understanding bonds, the factors that determine their prices and empirical evidence; section 3 provides a methodology for evaluating the performance of the European bond market; section 4 presents empirical results and analysis; and section 5 presents conclusions and recommendations.

2. Literature Review

One of the main variables used in measuring the performance of a bond is the yield spread. The yield serves as a measure of risk associated with investing in the bonds. Consequently, the higher the risk of a bond, the higher will be its yield and thus, the higher will be the yield spread relative to a particular benchmark bond.

Yield spreads on national bond markets depend on a number of factors. These include credit risk, liquidity risk and risk aversion (Barrios et al., 2009). With regards to credit risk, bond yield spreads are affected by three types of credit risk including default risk, credit spread risk, and downgrade risk[1]. In general, the yield spread increases with the credit risk and vice versa.

Empirical evidence suggests that yield spreads depend on both national and international factors. Codgogno et al. (2003); and Longstaff et al. (2007) argue in favour of international factors. With respect to national factors, credit risk has been found to be an important factor in determining yield spreads (e.g., Schuknecht et al., 2008; ECB, 2009). Despite the importance of credit risk, Beber et al. (2006) argue that liquidity risk is more relevant downturns and that the impact of credit risk is only relevant during stable economic conditions. Haugh et al. (2009) argue in favour of the general degree of risk aversion. In addition, government and Central Bank intervention in the economy also have an impact on bond yield spreads. For example, a European Central Bank Study ECB (2008) study suggests that stimulus packages aimed at rescuing banks from collapsing during the global financial crisis resulted to the immediate transfer of risk from the private to the public sector thus leading to an increase in government bond yield spreads.

3. Research Methods

To understand how the European Bond market has performed over the last 18 months, this paper looks at how the yield 10 year government bond yield spread of the Euro Area has moved over the period April 2010 to September 2011. The Euro area consists of 15 countries. These countries are presented in Appendix 1. The yield spread is computed by taking the yield on the 10-Year government bond and subtracting the benchmark yield. In this case, the benchmark yield is the German 10-Year government bond. Germany has the lowest level of inflation and thus the most stable economy in the Euro Zone (Fabozzi, 2011). This explains why its 10-Year government bond yield is used as the benchmark. Data on yields is obtained from the website of the European Central Bank and observations are based on a monthly frequency.

4. Analysis and Discussion

Appendix 1 illustrates the 10-year government bond yield for euro zone member countries over the period April 2010 to September 2011. It can be observed thatGreecehad the highest 10-Year government bond yield of 12.35% whileGermanyhad the lowest average yield of 2.72% on its 10-Year government bond. Other countries with significantly high yields on their 10-Year government bonds include theRepublicofIrelandwith an average yield of 8.05% andPortugalwith an average yield 7.66%.Cyprus,Italy,Spain,SloveniaandSlovakiaalso have significantly high yields with yields on their 10-Year government bonds ranging from 4.08% to 5.01%. It can also be observed that the yields have been rising for all countries in the Euro Zone as illustrated in Appendix 3. Appendix 2 illustrates the 10-Year government bond yield spreads for each of the euro zone relative to the German 10-Year Government bond. Appendix 4 illustrates the corresponding movement in the yield spreads. Like the yields, the yield spreads forGreece, theRepublicofIreland,Italy,Spain, Portugal Slovakia and Slovania have been significantly higher than the rest of the other countries. Moreover, the yield spreads have increased significantly over the period under investigation.

The countries with alarming yields and yield spreads have made news headlines of various financial publications over the last 18 months.Greecefor example, has been unable to meet its sovereign debt obligations and has been forced to seek help from the ECB.Portugal, theRepublicofIreland,ItalyandSpainhave also been struggling with meeting their sovereign debt commitments (The Economist, 2011; New York Times, 2011).

In general, the rising yields and yield spreads inGreece,Portugal,Spain,Italyand theRepublicofIrelandcan be attributed to an increase in credit risk, risk aversion and liquidity risk.

The rise in the government bond yield spreads have also been attributed to auctions that were to take place in Portugal and Spain (Reuters, 2011).

5. Conclusions and Recommendations

Based on the analysis above, a number of conclusions can be drawn. Firstly, the yields for almost all the countries under analysis have been rising. Significant increases in yields can be observed for countries with high credit and liquidity risks. These risks have led to an increase in investor’s degree of risk aversion and thus to an increase in the risk premium required for investing in their bonds. Yield spreads have also been increasing for all countries and significantly high for countries with high credit and liquidity risk, as well as a high degree of risk aversion. Governments in Europe and the European Central Bank are committed to supporting troubled countries from defaulting on their debt so as to avoid a Euro Zone debt crisis. Assuming that these efforts are going to be fruitful, there will be reductions in the cost of borrowing. Consequently one should expect to observe a decline in yields and yield spreads over the next 12 months (The Economist, 2011). However, given that Germany remains the most stable economy amongst Euro Zone economies, it is unlikely that the yield spreads over the German government bonds will every narrow to pre-crisis levels. The Economist (2011) suggests that it is unlikely for smaller countries to seat at the top of the table. However, it will be possible for them to maintain their Euro Zone membership. A major shortcoming of the study is that it is limited only to Euro zone countries due to time constraints. Another study including the U.K and other non-Euro Zone economies such as Denmark and Sweden will be desirable. This can be treated as an important area for further research.

References

Barrios, S., Iverson, P., Lewandowska, M., Setzer, R. (2009), “Determinants of intra-euro area government bond spreads during the financial crisis, Economic Papers No. 338, European Central Bank (ECB), Available online at: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/publication16255_en.pdf [accessed: 3rd November 2011].

Beber, A., M. Brandt, K. Kavajez (2006), Flight-to-quality or flight-to-liquidityEvidence from the euro area bond market, National Centre of Competence in Research Financial Valuation and Risk Managament, WP No. 309.

Bernoth, K., J., V. Hagen and L. Schuknecht (2006), Sovereign Risk Premiums in the

Bodie Z., Kane, A., Marcus, A. J. (2007), Investments, Seventh Edition, McGraw-Hill.

Codogno, L., C. Favero and A. Missale (2003), Yield spreads on EMU government bonds, Economic Policy, October, pp. 503–532.

ECB (2008), Recent widening in euro area sovereign bond yield spreads, November 2008, ECB monthly report.

ECB (2009), Financial integration in Europe, European Central Bank, April, pp. 33-9.

European Government Bond Market, SFB?TR 15 Discussion Paper, No. 150.

Fabozzi F. J. (2011) “General Principles of Credit Analysis” in Alternative Asset Valuation and Fixed Income, CFA Program Curriculum, vol. 5 Pearson Learning Solutions, p. 155.

Fabozzi, F. J. (2005) Fixed Income Analysis for the Chartered Financial Analyst, Second Edition, CFA Institute.

Haugh, D., P. Ollivaud, D. Turner (2009), What drives sovereign risk premiumsAn analysis of recent evidence from the euro area, OECD Economics Department, Working Paper No. 718.

Longstaff, F., Pan, J., Pedersen, L., Singleton, K. (2007), How sovereign is sovereign credit risk, NBER Working Paper 13658, December.

New York Times (2011), “Economic Crisis and Market Upheavals”, available online at: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/c/credit_crisis/index.html [accessed: 1st November, 2011].

Reuters (2011) “Euro zone bond yield spreads widen ahead of auctions”, available online at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/11/markets-bonds-euro-idUSLDE70A0I820110111 [accessed: 3rd November 2011].

Schuknecht, L., J. von Hagen, and G. Wolswijk (2008), Government risk premiums in the bond market, ECB Working paper, No. 879.

The Economist (2011), “European bond markets: Last among equals”, available online at: http://www.economist.com/node/17522338 [accessed: 2nd November, 2011].

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Investigative Journalism – Libel Actions and Coalition Government Reforms

Abstract

Investigative journalism is an important part of the international media and the lives of ordinary people, reporters involved with this type of work present important and highly valuable information to the public. This paper talks about investigative journalism and the risks and implications that result from it. When an organization or individual feels attacked by an investigative journalist’s report, they can take a libel action against the journalist. These kinds of suits are not only crucial but also highly costly. However, various governments provide some basic rights to both the individual and the journalist. The coalition governments, that is the cabinet of a parliamentary government, of various countries have come up with statutory reforms in order to protect the interest of both these parties. One of these reforms includes the Public Interest Defence reform, which protects journalists from libel actions when the information they have presented is in the public interest. This branch of journalism has been subject to several criticisms, however despite its controversial grounds, it stands strong due its important contributions in relation to public interest.

Introduction

Investigative Journalism has been a growing branch of journalism in the past and has had considerable influence on people’s mindsets and the media culture. It is a nature of reporting news in which a journalist focuses on a particular personality, business or phenomena and digs deep into its root, in order to bring out serious issues to the public’s eye. The only difference in this kind of reporting is that the people who are connected to the issue are not taken consent of and are often harmed in the process. Investigative Journalism makes available private and confidential information which is guarded with secrecy for public scrutiny. Libel actions are taking against ‘”a publication without justification or lawful excuse which is calculated to injure the reputation of another by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule” (Parke, B. in Parmiter v. Coupland 1840). This paper talks about Investigative Journalism, in context of libel actions and the consequences of such law suits. It also talks about different Coalition governments, and their stance on Investigative Journalism as well as the reforms they have introduced, including the Public Interest Defence Reform 1998 which was passed to protect the rights of the reporters.

Body

The nature of Investigative journalism is inherently controversial and has been received with considerable disapproval by the people who have become its victims. When One’s personal life or organization is attacked by an investigative journalist, they can lawfully take a libel action, mostly libel actions are taken when there is a threat to one’s own or one’s organization’s reputation. Though the requirements of a libel action vary from country to country, mostly the plaintiff must prove that the statement was made to a third party, that the statement was a direct reference to the plaintiff and that the statement was slanderous before filing a libel action.

Investigative reporters have some rights and can sometimes successfully avoid the consequences of these libel actions. The main ways are to justify their information as being truthful and actually. They can also exercise their right of Qualified Privilege which is given to a person, who has the authority to give out certain information without being liable of defamation. English law is one of the most reformed and well-enforced law systems which is followed by various countries. After various libel actions were filed, which involved a close battle between freedom of expression of reporters and the right to privacy of the defamed, the Public Interest Disclosure Act, was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1998. This act protects such reporters from a negative treatment by their employer or any individual. It was passed to protect employees who disclose information, which is confidential but is of interest to the general public.

This act has been very useful in protecting reporters who carry out risky investigative journalism to bring to light, issues that are in the public interest . Such cases have been very prevalent, for instant in the case, Reynolds v Times Newspapers [2001] 2 AC 127, the “public interest” defense was used, and “the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal” deciding that Reynolds’s defense was true to public interest and involved media’s freedom of expression. However, the Act has been criticized, as it has been a considerable deterrent on part of the employers, who can neither penalize nor discipline employees, who disclose confidential information and for failing to provide security to the reporters, if a libel action is filed against them.

Many constitutions have followed this legislation, the constitution of Canada too enforced Public Interest Defense, stating in Security of Information Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. O-5) that ‘No person is guilty of an offence under section 13 or 14 if the public interest in the disclosure outweighs the public interest in non-disclosure. The weighing of ‘public interest’ against one’s defamation, is a very subjective decision and can vary case to case, thus one can not rely on a jury to objectively give out a decision as to what is of more value. Thus, this legislation has its own limitations, and can at times fail to help the reporters against a libel action.

On the other hand the journalist of the developing countries are not even privileged enough to go through a law suit in order to fight for their own rights and neither are the defamed people or organizations, because of a weak law and order enforcement. Despite strict laws, the government of such countries fails to keep the security of the investigative reporters into account and also the libel action cases take several years to complete and a lot of money has to be spent. The reporters are often mistreated by the large organizations or powerful personalities and even face life threats. Such are the implications of investigative journalism; it is a complicated branch of journalism with many repercussions and unpleasant consequences but has its own advantages and uses.

Conclusion

Investigative journalism has had a considerable effect on the media and the lives of other people. In the third world countries have to risk their lives and face a lot of threats due to the nature of this reporting and often their government fails to provide them any protection. While their law system is weak and the libel actions that are taken, take several years to be proved and thus the victims of their defamation take other ways to threat these reporters. In Developed countries, the law and order is strong and thus these reporters are protected, however libel actions are processed with great care and thus can cost heavy fines and loss of career for these reporters, who are merely carrying out their job or following their employer’s orders. Investigative journalism, thus, can be very costly, whether it is the cost of the journalist’s career or the cost of the plaintiff’s reputation or even the material costs that one faces during or after the judgment is passed.

References

U.S.House, Security of Information Act. Hearing, 1985 Washington: Government Printing Office, Last amended on 2006-12-11.

Middleton, Kent, and Chamberlin, Bill F, The Law of Public Communication, Third Edition, 1994, Longman Publishing Group.

Lucinda S. Fleeso (1998). Ten Steps to Investigative Reporting. International Center for Journalists.

The News Manual [online]. (2008). Available from: .

Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 [online]. Available from: .

Mr. Robin Williamson (7 May 1996). WarWick [online]. Available from: .

Basic Law [online]. (1997). Available from: .

Law of Libel Amendment Act 1888 [online]. Available from: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/51-52/64/contents

Defamation: Reynolds public interest defence upheld by Supreme Court in Flood v Times Newspaper (2012). Herbert Smith [online]. [Accessed 2012]. Available from: .

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Environmental Sustainability Practices in the UK: Government grant schemes for solar panels

ABSTRACT

This report will review environmentally sustainable practices in the UK, with particular focus on schemes that have recently been implemented for switching to renewable energy sources and the transition from conventional means. Improvement of Government’s schemes and programmes and suggestions on how to help in the transitional period in order to smooth the progress to more innovative tools of the trade. By reviewing various primary and secondary data and reports, as well as the availability of information for grant applicants, the UK Government and its efforts in grant giving for solar panels will be criticised for the lack of definitive support. The report will help provide some clarity into what schemes are available to the public and the types of funding provided by the government, and how these are stimulating the transition to renewable energy schemes, and if it will be profitable in the long run. In conclusion, the report will note which of the two parties benefit most from the schemes.

INTRODUCTION

Renewable sources of energy that we have readily available, and more importantly, free and able to satisfy our needs if implemented correctly, can help minimize our dependence on non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels, which are polluting, unsustainable and environmentally damaging, and moreover take much longer to replenish. We have the technologies and means now to start using renewables as the main source of energy and in the long term generate less carbon emissions and greenhouse gases which are now majorly contributing to the global warming effect. Renewable energy sources inched sun, wind, waves and hydro powers, with sun rays being one of the most abundant materials available to us.

Turning industries and entire residential areas in favour of low carbon systems can seem daunting due to many changes that need to be implemented, however this is the right endeavour as we will start seeing the returns the sooner we implement them. Operational systems now will yield returns sooner than increasing our dependence on conventional technologies that use traditional fossil fuel burning methods and are becoming obsolete with the availability and knowledge of switching to new technologies. It is important for governments and support systems to circulate information and raise awareness in communities on how we can all contribute to a decrease in carbon emissions by switching to renewables and low-carbon techniques, and helping us along the way during this transition period.

The benefits may seem clear for both residential and industrial activities, with the introduction of government incentives and dissemination of means and materials that help us realize that consumption of energy and electricity must be renewable. However, some criticism is arising from the media as the press is negatively affecting the information flow, analyzing whether incentives from the government are, in fact, taking the right direction in the aim of making the UK more sustainable and eco-friendly. In the Methodology section further a review of the press and some feedback from the media will reveal if it has affected the public’s and the government’s view, and how.

In the Results section findings will be analysed in detail, highlighting whether the schemes will really be facilitating the transition for the public and the environment, or if is is some kind of a hidden agenda in place by the government will determine whether the beneficial outcome will be for both parties, and conclude who will see greater benefits in the end. Furthermore, in the Results section, a better understanding of the scheme will be reviewed, assuring or negating the possibility that the government scheme will see a favourable outcome for the environment and the future of sustainability measures. It is worth to note that the present key concern lies that any reports such as this may expose flaws in the scheme and discourage the use of solar panels with a detrimental effect on the public perception of the government and its spending, even if it is proven that solar panels are beneficial systems for climate change and long-term sustainability.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The aims of this paper are to review and compare the government’s grant schemes for solar panels, as well as critically review their process and progress. Additionally, as we are surrounded by information on financing strategies for renewable energy projects it is important to be able to distinguish among them and evaluate the ones that fit the needs and purposes of communities and contribute to overall progress in renewable energy race, rather than make it a complicated and an unnecessarily drawn-out process. This report will help identify and explain the government schemes currently in place, and by critically analysing all the different schemes involved it will be easier to classify all the information and results. The report will identify and attempt to set straight both the advantages and disadvantages for the two main parties – the consumer and the government, and assess which one will possibly benefit more, and how both can benefit from some improvements. Literature review is imperative for this objective as it can provide a more holistic view of the entire issue. In addition, it will evaluate results and methodology, and derive a conclusion which answers the aim – towards improvement and towards a progressive and modern society with concrete sustainable goals in renewable energy future.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The transparency and disposal of information, from the government, the industry, and the market makes it quite hard to distinguish between information that is beneficial for the consumer and that beneficial for those providing the services or for profit motive. For example, there are many sources that exhibit interest in these schemes but can be found to be subjective or overly critical of other sources. There are also information points that have different aims and objectives or whose intent is not quite clear. It is important for the consumer to be able to know where to seek information and how to rank it – from most useful to most rewarding.

Some sources offer very basic information for first-time researchers and customers who are wishing to get better acquainted with the programme, starting from scratch. It is important to provide full information and give access to full information, thus shaping the prospects and opening opportunities for everyone wishing to get in on the program. This is why all information is relevant, including the basic scheme and straightforward facts. Energy Saving Trust (2011-b) offers definitions and essential information on the benefits of solar electricity, in the way it helps cut carbon footprint as it doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) or other pollutants, saving up to 1 tonne of CO2 per year; it cuts electricity bills by up to 50% as the source from sunlight is entirely free after initial installation costs, and if it generates more electricity than necessary it can be sold to the grid and used by the surrounding community which is a bonus benefit. These reports are immensely useful as they raise awareness of the program and help the community make decisions based on the information available.

Some reports help highlight how the contribution which technologies can be realistically expected to make in the UK are identified in the light of the Department of Energy’s R&D programmes, factoring in institutional, environmental and market-related measures, and a series of future scenarios that help indicate their value (Buckley-Golder 1984, p. 111). For example, a table of economic prospects (p. 116) for the renewable energy technologies single out solar panels as economically good, solar heating as promising and active solar radiation as long shots, helping instil a range of options but pointing out that to achieve cost-effectiveness the particular technology implemented has to be beneficial across various energy markets.

Supplementing that information with reports on grant schemes available and funding already bestowed on participating communities help coordinate public and private support and promote investment in renewable energy in the future, with pilot communities inspiring one another in embarking on low-carbon initiatives (Renewable Energy Focus 2010). The availability and transparency of this information in specialized literature and media help communities prioritize their targets. The scientific community points out predictions, measures, arguments and calculations, and this conveys the process into the community and decision making powers (Hymers 2007, p. 167).

In literature the distinction is made between energy management and unnecessary waste from non-renewable energy sources as one of the measures pointing out the necessity of renewable energy resources. The latter tackles a more innovative response from various support systems. The above directions have encouraged the Government to act, trying to create a more sustainable future of the country by putting new guidance in place for new houses whose construction is on the way as the measures are being implemented now will affect future generations and long-term prospects. So now it has become compulsory to comply with this guidance to ensure that all buildings are as self-efficient as possible. The Government, which has also introduced advertising campaigns that encourage people to save money by making their homes more efficient, has created and funded various schemes that enable people to make this energy saving improvement.

In a handbook Converting to an Eco-Friendly Home, Hymers (2007, p. 105) notes both the benefits and drawbacks of solar panel installations, which are relatively cheap with grant funding and the payback is quick, which is encouraging and supportive for a regular consumer when reviewing the options. He goes on to explain that the effectiveness of harnessing solar radiation though photovoltaic cell technology is possible on highly localized scales, so community initiatives are encouraged (Hymers 2007, p. 33), and government grants are supportive as they understand that costs are one of the main drawbacks.

These funding schemes include FITs, Feed-in Tariffs, a financial support measure introduced by the government to increase the uptake of small-scale renewable regeneration and help deliver the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets (Swift) and LCBP, Low Carbon Building Programme, which involved the government offering grants for CO2 off setting schemes and subsidising the cost of solar and wind energy installation. Information acquired from the government and energy saver websites show there was a change made to the grants from 1 April 2010, with LCBP grants replaced with FITs as the UK Governments support scheme focused on small scale renewable electricity generation (Grants & Discounts Database).

Websites that are at everyone’s disposal and are quite useful in the research include Renewable Devices, Low Carbon Buildings Programme, Energy Savings Trust, Home Renewables Scheme, Grant Net, Green Grants Machine, England’s Regional Development Agencies, Government Funding, Community Sustainable, Local Authority Grants, Eco Schools, Fit for Funding, SMART Programme Grants, Ofgem, Energy Helpline, Good Energy, Ecotricity, Friends of the Earth, Climate Change Levy, Carbon Trust, Fit Tariffs, and of course the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Swift 2011, p. 5-6).

A Draft Renewables Obligation Order of Renewable Electricity Act 2010 before the House of Parliament highlights “the renewables obligation” of all electricity suppliers to produce certificates in order to band together the different technologies that are used to generate electricity from renewable sources (Dept. of Energy and Climate Change 2010, p. 1). The impact of these measures help put in perspective those eligible for support from the government, and for which support in particular, in order for every party to be able to directly apply for the necessary capacity.

In the academic article “The Future of Energy Conservation and Alternative Energies: Opportunities and Barriers“, Dupont and Diener (1985, p. 452) point out that government strategies that promote energy conservation and renewable energy sources stimulate programs for equipment such as solar panels and alternative energy commodities. New businesses that were targeting new energy technologies in areas of energy conservation and energy replacement, more efficient than traditional ones, had to depend on grants and subsidies from the government, which seemed to encourage their development (Dupont and Diener 1985, p. 443).

Reports that detail how the introduction into the marketplace of less than premature technologies, which were in the past wrongfully supported by governments, including the industry of solar energy extraction, have affected the schemes now as it struggles to keep afloat without sufficient government financial assistance (Dupont and Diener 1985, p. 445) are of note as they provide a viable precedent and can be used in measuring criteria.

Other international projects are used as a system and approach in literature. In Sustainagility: How smart innovation and agile companies will help protect our future, Dixon and Gorecki (2010, p. 25) point out the benefits of a project in Silicon Valley which leases solar panels to home owners, providing them with free electricity and working out a net saving overall, as well as giving loans for the purchase and installation costs with payback over 20 years as part of property taxes, with Federal subsidies like investment tax credits lowering the tax bills of banks that finance these projects.

METHODOLOGY

The data selection process in this research project was mainly a desk-top based study, using a mixture of primary and secondary research. The research consists of the fieldwork, or more accurately web search, inquiring about database management systems that the government has set up on the internet with an array of information and specifics about the availability and obtainability of grants, loans and discounts for energy saving plans and systems. There are numerous websites that offer guidance and advice on the correct direction to take and all the information necessary to set off on the right course and quickly so as not to lose time and reap full benefits of the decision to switch to renewable energy sources.

Primary research consists of data collection of all the accessible information and extracting it for the purpose of this report, its analysis and classification, as well as criticism. Data input into search engines and various government databases online that calculate the procurable means help establish categories and systematize all the resources on offer. Ideally, the primary research is collected from the subjects directly, using raw data from the source, making observations and analysing it, and providing input from observations of those specifics, and drawing subjective conclusions. However, that data for the purpose of this report is too voluminous, thus it does not seem to be time- and cost-efficient in this case, so the report will mainly rely on secondary data and peer-reviewed reports.

Various online tools and resources encourage consumers to calculate their usage in order to gauge the benefits of switching to renewable systems. Tracking bills and expenditure helps indicate requirements and availabilities for the community and region, which is a step in the right direction towards eventually helping minimize carbon emissions and tackling climate change. Successfully involved framework arrangements help the industry and the public gain insight into procurement methods of all sectors (Luff 2007, p. 210) and thus build the capacity to help a wider spectrum of grant applicants, although some methods can turn out to be a challenge and can require different resources or more targeted skills but in the end have an improved outcome.

This is why it must be noted that some material being used in this research and the report findings are taken from websites and published articles in specialized papers and trade magazines that are more focused on a target audience and government funding, so the reader should be cautious and aware that some information may be biased because its goals are more profit-oriented. However, that information is also useful and it does constitute a complete picture of the situation we are dealing with, so it will not necessarily be considered wrong or skew the findings.

For example, primary reports may reveal that when the government introduced the Feed-in Tariff in April 2010, the interest for renewable electricity systems has risen as the benefits from reduced electricity bills when using generated electricity on site became clear; the returns from annual sums (Energy Saving Trust 2011, p. 11) would reflect the renewable energy produced and the amount of carbon emissions saved. This kind of findings are immensely useful not only for providing full information and steering the course of other research, but also affecting decision making process and public feedback.

The secondary research that is conducted is collecting data from either the originator or distributor of primary research. In this research the secondary information is obtain from a range of articles and reviews from specialized periodicals, government-issued reports, trade publications, independent magazines, and studies with similar aims and objectives. In addition, information straight from government websites, government publications, public releases, and energy saving web site trusts will help round the perception of everything at disposal. It is imperative to focus on reports that point our and isolate the unnecessarily complicated and lengthy processes, or help standardise the procedure and mechanisms, encouraging greater teamwork and deliveries (Luff 2007, p. 342).

The schemes that the Government came forward with are all relatively new, which is why there is currently insufficient academic research in the UK that can provide a substantial feedback and review of the schemes. However the academic studies and reports are closing in on the headlines and they are becoming also more integrated with the decision making process. Most academic studies and academic research available is presenting a different angle – reviewing other reports and practices in places where the schemes are already well underway in other countries in the EU and around the world, effectively drawing information that can be potentially helpful to decision makers in the UK.

Using successful examples from various other countries and regions can help gain insight into what technologies are worthy of investment and what has proven to be a profitable venture. For example, potential growth markets in solar power and projects that have exhibited optimal balance between high reactivity good mechanical composite properties and thermal resistance (Cousins 2002, p. 8) can help with more error-proof decision making. Improving procurement skills and expertise of local deacon makers help the market as well, which is why it’s important to encompass their methodology, in particular the performance that may facilitate progress or attract and encourage more viable achievements.

For this project the research conducted is more wide rather than narrowed down to a few specific points, and it will be examining the pros and cons of Government grants to the consumer, as well as the pros and cons of Government schemes themselves and their output based on results obtained. It will do so by singling out relevant websites and articles among the range of available resources. Looking at all the choices within the schemes, reviewing their success rate and feedback, and concluding on the best option to take when installing solar panels will have more priority in the report, as that information can be used for the purpose of decision making in the future.

RESULTS

Results show that grant aid incentives are provided to complement the policy reforms and maximize the potential of systems to contribute to sustainable development (Department for Environment 2006, p. 161). For example, In April 2006 an ?80 million Low Carbon Buildings Programme superseded the previous ?1.5 million Clear Skies and Photovoltaic Major Demonstration programme, thus helping smooth the transition between existing capital grant schemes, with an aim to to take a more holistic approach at reducing carbon emissions by innovatively combining energy efficiency and generating technologies (Department of Environment 2006, p. 41). This shows immense dedication and focus on achieving goals and set targets by both the government and the industry.

Results show that simple operational renewable energy grant mechanisms are more in demand as they allow more installations per more square meters per year, in addition to retrofitting new solar systems on projects that are just underway (House of Lords 2008, p. 312) In March 2002, the UK government announced that its grant initiative is under way, in support and encouragement of the development and adoption of solar power, which projected to have a ten-fold increased in the number of domestic solar power and photovoltaic installations in Britain by 2005 (Cousins 2002, p. 82). The 2010 findings reveal (Solar Power UK 2010) that this has been achieved and that a once ambitious communal programme targeted at the implementation of 200,000 roofs and individual solar parks reached a greater rate of that emerging industry as it engaged more market segments and with the help of financing.

Renewable Energy Focus (2010) details some previous grant recipients and their projects, as well as incentives received, including grant on a renewable energy cogeneration plants and solar panels, loans for installation of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures, along with upgrades, progress monitoring through smart meters, assessment of the impacts of behaviour change and renewable energy technologies, as well as the terms, such as interest-free loans for a retrofit of homes and solar thermal panels, the measures of which could provide income for a rolling low-carbon fund so the community can take action for another 10 years, etc – all in an effort to provide more transparency and help applicants calculate their needs.

A perceptible shift also came with a continued support for household and community installations and a greater emphasis of large-scale developments designed to engage the industry and increase the use of refurbished developments, ensuring that new projects all deliver low carbon developments (Department of Environment 2006, p. 41). While the Government used the tax system to support progress towards environmental goals, the fiscal measures helped address market failures, introducing reduced VAT rates as part of grant-funded installations in order to support the development if micro technologies that use renewable energy sources that will in the long run greatly improve energy efficiency (Department of Environment 2006, p. 87).

Government initiatives have helped succeed in making domestic solar photovoltaic panels cost-effective, with the introduction of payback periods, as the sufficient tariff could feed energy into the grid through solar panels and then produce more energy than necessary, in that way helping make green energy more mainstream and available to households (Mendonca 2007). Results show (Energy Saving Trust 2011, p. 3) that the solar photovoltaic modules, which are simple to install, can help pool overall energy use by converting sunlight into electricity for use in the home or to export to the national grid, amounting to typically over 40% of the electricity, in one of the simplest systems to install and with not moving parts, making it a reasonable investment with the Feed-in Tariffs.

Results are clear when indicating that installing solar panels over a period of 25 years could potentially save up to ?10,500 as a better alternative to the government scheme, involving renting solar panels from the electricity companies in exchange for cheaper electricity, with utility companies benefitting far more than the consumer as they can apply for government’s FIT (Which 2010).

Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009 Report by United Nations Environmental Programme and Renewable Energy Policy Network notes (p. 56) all the green stimulus financial packages and measures, especially for sectors hit by the 2008 credit crunch, detailing all the investments for energy efficiency, low-carbon and clean technologies, as well as comparing it to some other regional initiatives, in particular North America and Asia. In 2009 it shows the UK receiving $441 million in grants, $551 million in loans, $771 million Return on Capital, and other means including grid development offshore, carbon capture and storage. The Report (2009, p. 57) criticised the UK’s Pre-Budget announcement of ?535 million in green stimulus, as it only appeared to have received a modest ?210 million dedicated to energy efficiency, a mere 0.7% of the ?20 billion stimulus which was anticipated over a long term.

Results indicate that the production of most efficient systems electrically using expensive materials for solar power entails a lower manufacturing cost and tends to lead to less efficient means (Cousins 2002, p. 83). Google, for instance, is a great example of large companies setting an admirable standard with their dependence on renewable energy and aim to be carbon-neutral in 2012, having installed one of the world’s biggest solar power arrays that has the capacity to generate 50 megawatt hours of in 9200 solar panels that cover its corporate headquarters (Dixon and Gorecki 2010, p. 116).

Similarly, international findings reveal ambitious and respectable projects such as that of the government of Abu Dhabi completely building an eco-city in the desert, where all buildings will be covered in solar panels and two-thirds of its energy will be generate from the sun, while all the water will be recycled (Dixon and Gorecki 2010, p. 97).

Indications and improvements arise in reports (Cousins 2002, p. 82) where grants for installing solar panels on walls and roofs of residential as well as public buildings, including schools, galleries, church halls and sport centres, from funds from the European Union, the British government and environmental advocacy agencies and organizations such as Greenpeace, show they are under way to improve solar power technology.

DISCUSSION (1400)

This section provides analysis of the previously-stated results, encompassing the literature reviewed and methodologies implemented. It is a discourse on how those stated and reviewed reports, data and practices reflect on the scheme and decision making process in the government when drafting new practices and acts regarding long-term sustainability goals and objectives. They may not provide a clear resolution or hypothesis based on methods presented but they do reveal some orientation and guidance, leading up to a more formed reasoning and a conclusion.

The government gives grants for solar panels as feed in tariffs, which is most rewarding to the earliest adopters of solar panels, while Feed in Tariffs for PV electric solar panels and Renewable Heat Incentive for solar heating schemes benefit the later adopters (Heat My Home). UK’s energy industry, however, is not particularly efficient at installations as most of the manufacturing appears to be occurring abroad (House of Commons 2007, p. 43), so the government grant schemes are encompassing these differences in trade and production as opposed to just financing assembly and actualization of projects.

Since 47% of the UK’s energy consumption is through domestic use, the government is keen to cut domestic non-renewable energy consumption, thus reducing dependence on ever-increasing fossil fuel costs, focusing more on generating electricity through retro-fitted photovoltaic systems (Heat My Home). In urban areas, in terms of satisfying electricity demand, the advantage of solar panels is that there are more roofs available for positioning the installations in denser urban areas in larger quantities, and potentially producing reel to reel technology and applying it to roofs and windows so that surface area available is quite large (House of Lords 2008, p. 15).

Instalment costs can add up to ?12,500 per household in a typical medium size domestic system, or ?5000-7600 per kWp (Energy Saving Trust 2011, p. 4), however it will certainly see a reduction in maintenance costs and expenses after the initial charges are out of the way. Moreover, government incentives, payments and grants can help cover these before they see a return. When positioning installations on public buildings, the schemes entail less exceptions and limitations, resulting in more output.

Previously, before the Feed-in Tariffs were put in place, main renewable energy support programmes in the UK granted up to ?1500 to customers that have installed and activated renewable technologies, along with The Low Carbon Buildings Programme and the Energy Savings Trust for home renewables schemes, which have since been closed for electricity generating technologies and in support of newly implemented financing properties which now reach up to ?4000 (Swift 4) in tax-free grants and interest-free loans, which are immensely beneficial in the long run, for both consumers and providers.

What the feed-in tariff does is bring into the renewable energy sector the actors that have not traditionally been included, involving the rest of the current market, not replacing it, and the logistics of companies and businesses investing in small-scale renewables (House of Lords 2008, p. 22) expands with more available resources, financial means, and best practices. The Government, previous concerned that it may have to deal with delays in certain technologies, affecting the ability of the UK to achieve EU renewable energy targets in due time, has reached the capacity with this to tip the scale of renewables and deliver the renewables target along with major climate change goals (Department of Energy and Climate Change 2010).

Some have called for an ambitious target of 50% of all homes to have solar systems by 2020, although there is no reason this could not be achieved for a cost of ?1 billion a year, the amount of money the big utilities make every year from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme which the government could partner with in order to reduce CO2 emissions (Roaf 2009, p. 280).

The aforementioned Renewables Obligation support scheme for renewable energy projects in the UK designed to incentivise renewable generation into the electricity generation market, combine the efforts of the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (Ofgem 2007). These incentives and support schemes from the government show dedication and development in the field of renewable energy and government funding for renewable energy initiatives and projects. They are more qualified to reach their targets, aims and potentials when they make a commitment to the rest of the industry and their united prospects and the future of renewable energy sector on the whole.

If well managed, the grants help recover the costs while the reduction in demand for traditional energy sources and increase in capacity of newly implemented renewable systems bring in the savings in reduced energy bills act in the transition phase of moving from fossil fuels to renewables are helping change attitudes toward energy production and consumption (Mendonca 2007, p. 22). Additionally, it is important to note that the massive quantities of waste from nuclear programmes make renewable energies more preferable as their materials do not decay (House of Lords 2008, p. 483), thus making it a more practical and environmentally sustainable option in the long run.

It is a crime against present and especially future generations to continue down the present path, with much talk and little action, pushing the climate closer to a catastrophic tipping point as we attempt to reign in our basic needs without making the full switch to using energy sources that are free, limitless, and environmentally, socially and geopolitically benign – which is the only way we can win (Mendonca 2007, p. xx). Innovative technology may in the future come up with projects that extent far beyond our conceptualization of solar energy today, with propositions such as installing huge satellites in geostationary orbit, 35,800 kilometres above the equator to collect solar power from space as it is more intense and efficient there (Dixon and Gorecki 2010, p. 28).

The current life of some solar panel installations is around 120 years, so more than one generation would benefit form having such systems in place, so these technologies will exhibit substantial reductions in costs of equipment in the long run, building up efficiency in collecting energy from sunlight (House of Commons 2008, p. 32), making them fully environmentally sustainable. The solar conservation options, while environmentally safer and scarcity-free alternatives, may take long time to develop and involve untried technologies that might fail, entailing major shifts in the control and authority structure of energy supply even, as well as possible higher costs and perceptible changes in consumer investments and habits (Leach 1976, p. 109).

Some scenarios for renewable energy technologies estimate high industrial sector demands, with the contribution from renewable energy sources appreciably contributing to the percentage over the years (Buckley-Golder 1984, p. 131), starting from meagre numbers while the industry and the market catch up to completely relying on them in the future, and making the full switch when the capacity reaches the potential. The impetus to switch from a largely fossil-fuel-driven system to alternate renewable resources is likely costly now (Grizzle ad Kaufman 1995, p. 69), however as the capacity grows and our priorities for sustainable resources grow, the governments, the industry, the market and the consumers will all make that call eventually.

The government has set targets to reduce carbon emissions and secure future energy supply through small scale investments in renewable energy projects across more territory (Heat My Home). The schemes have only just been implemented as the technology is still developing and becoming more mainstream, engaging more people and support systems for energy efficiency (House of Commons 2007, p. 45), putting in place means and practices that will help it grow into something more lucrative and beneficial for the environment.

The brand of environmentalism that will be most influential in the future is that of private advocacy groups, academia, and government all following a protection-only approach (Grizzle and Kaufman 1995, p. 69) which of course is highly unlikely, given various profit motives, but they are important to keep in perspective because environmental sustainability will not be achieved without that protection frame of mind. It is also important to note that renewable energy sources of the planet, especially the abundant sun energy, no longer faces problems in capturing and storing them as these technologies have successfully developed and are highly encouraging (Leach 1976, p. 112) the scheme is now to implement and fully switch to those methods, and also disengage from habits of the whole society relying on fossil fuels.

CONCLUSION (500)

Considering all the indications noted in this report, the summary of results and reports, the review of available literature from specialists, environmental advocate agencies, the media and the government itself, as well as the methodology that’s been used in obtaining all this information for the purposes of assessment and criticism of government grant schemes, it is evident that the government is really determined in helping the residential and industrial ventures for the implementation of renewable energy projects be under way with financial funding, putting them in effect and facilitating their functioning.

The benefits are evident for all parties – government, residential and industrial activities, the introduction of various incentives and boosts will help shift the energy consumption to renewable sources using these means. Even with the criticising in the media, this is the direction to take in order to ensure a sustainable and eco-friendly future. As has been presented in the Results section, the findings show that the schemes are facilitating the transition for the public and the environment in the right direction. No evidence that there is a hidden agenda or that the government is implementing various schemes but only in favour of the environment and the highest potentials for the future of sustainability, according to targets set by the government themselves and matching those of the EU and the rest of the developed world. It is more likely that the renewable energy race is lead by the government than any other profit-driven sectors.

For the time being, the transitional period between conventional fossil-fuel burning sources and new environmentally compatible green technologies and aiming for green targets will take some time and more funding. However, with the focus on real projects that will help generate substantial amount of solar power in the near future and with the support of the legal framework and funding provided, all parties – surveyors, planners, local governments, public-private partnerships, commercial, industrial, and residential uses will see incredible opportunities arising with the adoption of photovoltaic power (Solar Power UK 2010). Although some procedures are not as advantageous or take too long to present the benefits of switching to the strategy that is supposed to be advantageous and manifest substantial returns, it is still a good endeavour for the future of our communities, our society as a whole, and our planet. The different technologies that provide different levels of support, presenting a greater incentive to the industry or are too dependent on the market (Department of Energy and Climate Change 2010) also come into effect and exhibit at least some benefits in the long run.

REFLECTION (500)

Over the next few months the information within this proposal shall be further developed by adding more research and primary data as well as up-to-date materials from various different sources in order to ensure that all perspectives are covered and updated. The report will generate a better understanding of future decisions and decision-making processes as it will encompass new information and briefings as the legislation is being improved and new measures are put in places.

New releases and publications will be incorporated, as will the feedback from the initial research proposal and its objectives, and how they shaped to include and productively improve the quality of the report. As this is work in progress, the final project will have developed all information into a worthwhile informative research document, providing readers with an objective view of the problems and solutions, as well as an unbiased answer to the question of who will benefit or who is to benefit from the government’s grant schemes for environmentally sustainable projects and long-term initiatives whose results are based on cooperative measures and not individual strategies.

This project will reflect on a schedule of the work needed to complete this in due time, which is crucial to ensure that every step will be completed and will be correctly incorporated into the report as each point demonstrates evidence that discloses something about the next step, and in fact the results consider previous pointers and discussions. So, the time element is vital in making sure it all gets completed and sufficient time is arranged in order to confirm that all studies and accounts, especially the data and its evaluation is correct and presented professionally. The layout will help tackle big questions regarding the current financial methodologies being pursued and enacted int the UK and help unravel the complicated legal framework surrounding installations and the financing involved (Solar Power UK 2010).

Moreover, this report only outlines the one segment, albeit a very important one, of the entire scope of renewable energy options and potentials that the government needs to tackle, in only one avenue of climate change, the beginning of the great sustainability race. It’s a simple solution – to capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells, converting the sunlight into electricity, and using it to run household appliances and lighting (Energy Saving Trust 2011-b) – that should have been already implemented a long time ago. Unfortunately, past generations have not considered that the implications of their actions will burden our generation and the future generations to come. However, we can mitigate the threat now and with right resources and the right direction towards sustainable future, the future that will not inhibit the potentials of subsequent generations to live in a thriving and balanced world.

REFERENCES

Buckley-Golder, D H et. al. 1984, “Contribution of Renewable Energy Technologies to Future Energy Requirements”, Journal of Royal Statistical Society, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 111-132

Cousins, K 2002, Polymers in Building and Construction, Rapra Technology Publishing, Shawbury

Dixon, P and Gorecki, J 2010, Sustainagility: How smart innovation and agile companies will help protect our future, Kogan Page Limited, London

Dupont, S and Diener, G 1985, “The Future of Energy Conservation and Alternative

Energies: Opportunities and Barriers”, Canadian Public Policy, Vol. 11, pp.443-454

Easton, L 2006, “Green Buildings”, British Medical Journal, Vol, 332, No. 7554,pp. 1389-1390

Grizzle, R and Kaufman, W 1995, “Economics is Ecology”, BioScience, Vol. 45, No. 2,pp. 69-71

Leach, G 1976, “Energy Futures: Wide Open to Change and Choice”, Ambio, Vol. 5,No. 3, pp. 108-116

Luff, P 2007, “Ninth Report of Session 2007-08, Volume II”, House of Commons

Business and Enterprise Committee, The Stationary Office, London

Mendonca, M 2007, Feed-in Tariffs: Accelerating the Deployment of Renewable Energy,

World Future Council, Earthscan, Camden

Roaf, S et al 2009, Adapting Buildings and Cities for Climate Change: A 21st Century

Survival Guide, Elsevier – Architectural Press, Oxford

Rose, E 1986, “Urban Development Grants: Policy and Managerial Perspectives”, The

Town Planning Review, Vol. 57, No. 4, pp. 440-457 — 2009,

Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment, United Nations Environmental

Programme – Renewable Energy Policy Network,– 2008, ”

The Economics of Renewable Energy – Vol II: Evidence”, House of Lords –

Select Committee on Economic Affairs, 4th Report of Session 2007-08,

The Stationary Office, London– 2007, ”

Local energy – turning consumers into producers: first report of session 2006-07?,

House of Commons – Trade and Industry Committee,

The Stationary Office, London– 2006, ”

Climate Change: the UK Programme 2006?,

Department for Environment, Crown Copyright, Norwich– 2011 (a), ”

A buyer’s guide to renewable and low carbon technologies”,

Energy Saving Trust, E&OE, London– 2011 (b), “Solar electricity panels – Generate your own energy”, Energy Saving Trust,

Web, viewed 10 Apr 2011,

— 2010, “The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order 2010”, Department of Energy

and Climate Change, Web, viewed 10 Apr 2011,

— 2010, “Grants and Discounts Database”, Energy Saving Trust UK & Scotland,

viewed 09 Apr 2011,

— 2010, “Solar Panels Grants Feed in Tariffs Renewable Heat Incentives”, Heat My Home,

viewed 09 Apr 2011,

— 2010, “?10m for renewable energy initiatives by UK communities”, Renewable Energy

Focus, Web, viewed 09 Apr 2011,

— 2010, “Enabling the UK Solar Market for 2011”, Solar Power UK 2010 – Summary,

Web, viewed 10 Apr 2011,

— 2010, “Free solar panels are not such a great deal”, Which, viewed 09 Apr 2011,

— 2007, “Renewables Obligation”, Ofgem, Web, viewed 10 Apr 2011,

–, “Payback: FiTs, Grants and Funding”, Swift Wind Energy System, viewed

09 Apr 2011,

Categories
Free Essays

Religious non-government organisations and the united nations.

Introduction

This paper is ultimately regarding two very important sectors of today’s society. As the United Nations is so influential, and the number of religious non-government organizations are increasing, it deserves some investigation. For this paper i will examine two religious non-government organizations, (RNGO) to assess two aspects of their religiosity. By investigating two RNGO’s the purpose of this paper is to; Firstly address how integral religion or faith is as part of an organization identity and secondly, to what extent do their faith or beliefs drives their actions as an organization. From the beginning of this topic it was noticed that there is little previous information or research done on RNGO. As mentioned, due to the increase in number of RNGO’s, and the long standing debate of religion within the secular sphere, this research can be seen to be imperative for today’s society. Therefore, I am not alone in thinking some serious time and research should be dedicated to trying to gain some essential knowledge on RNGO’s, to further our understanding.

Religion within society has always been a widely debated issue, from early scholars such as Durkheim interests in the functions of society to more known contemporary secularist theories. Throughout history there has been a debate on how much influence religion should play within the state of a society and with today’s modernization and secularist theories one expects religion to be in a decline. This may be true in many western societies, especially with France being a prime example of a complete separation of state and religion. However, within many developing countries religion plays a huge role in all aspects of life. It is difficult to argue that within today’s society religion does not proceed to play a role. “Virtually on a daily basis, the media provide instances demonstrating that the people, institutions, and ideas that make up the religious sphere have a continuing and important relevance to the political realm.[i]” As the rate of RNGO’s being accredited to the UN has increased throughout the years it challenges the idea that the modern world is becoming a secular anti-religious one. As I will show in this paper, researching RNGO’s is a difficult task due to their vast number of diverse types and often the lack of information regarding the interactions between RNGO’s and the UN. However researching RNGO’s is an extremely important issue as they are having a bigger impact on the political world than before, in regards to the “enlightenment” era. Showing how they work on an international level is increasingly crucial as it will also be opening up the closed doors of the UN. Access to all sources and documents from the UN is of course not possible and therefore a basic understanding on how the UN interacts with RNGO’s is also available from a research of this sort. As countries interact more with each other, international organisations such as the UN are becoming more important.

To successfully research how religious RNGO’s are and observe hoe religious their work is within the UN one will have to start by observing the UN’s departments to see how the two organisation’s interact. As the UN deals with an enormous amount of issues this research has been contained to the assessment of projects regarding development issues. I will present the UN’s work towards development and analyse meetings and conferences where the interaction between the two sectors takes place. Most information gathered on the UN and RNGO’s originates from their own primary sources, in forms such as official documents and publications. The chosen two RNGO’s have been selected based on certain criteria, therefore making them comparable to avoid problems such as different types of work and resulting in different or obscured results. Before I disclose who the RNGO’s are it is important to investigate the theoretical problems in defining a RNGO, illustrating the broadness in types of organisations. Obviously, making clear cut distinctions of this kind is difficult. I will draw on five typologies of RNGO’s as to be able to apply one of these typologies to my chosen RNGOs. With all background knowledge attained I will then explore the first of my case studies, The Brahma Kumaris, (BK’s). I will explore their history, their religious views and how they have interacted with the UN. The results will then help assess how religious they are as an organisation and how religiously influenced their work has been with the UN. The second of the two RNGO’s is Christian Aid, (CA). I will present CA using the same assessment techniques as in the case of Brahma Kumaris, although throughout the second case study I will acknowledge their differences. As a limited study, this paper will not give a representational view of all RNGO’s. This study can only help build a data base of RNGO’s and add to a larger scale study, such as the research currently being done at The University of Kent. This paper will highlight how two RNGO’s participate and interact with the UN on issues within the field of development. Moreover, this piece will assess how religious these two RNGO’s are and how this effects their work. This way of assessing RNGO’s has been used by Tasmin Bradley, a scholar from the London Metropolitan University, in her the article, “A call for classification and critical analysis into the work of faith based development organisations”[ii]. Research of this type also brings into question whether RNGO’s play an influential role in the UN decision making process and if this influence should be present. However, these are issues for one to discuss at another time as it is not the main issue in focus.

The United Nations and its main bodies in development.

The United Nations has a colourful history which has departments dedicated to its history, steaming back from the world wars; however I will avoid such an elaborate view and portray only background facts and how the UN is seen in the modern world, working with NGO’s and RNGO’s. The UN can be seen as officially set in place in October 1945 when the charter, which was signed on June 1945, came into action. The UN was set up by Fifty-one starting countries which has led to a hundred and ninety-two member states today[iii]. The UN can be seen to have four general purposes. These are; To keep world peace; Develop friendly relations between all Nations; To help nations to work together to improve the lives of the poor, to conquer hungry, disease and illiteracy; And finally to be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations to achieve these goals[iv]. Generally it can be seen to be fighting for a better and more equal life for everyone. The UN is a highly unique international organisation containing many main bodies such as the firstly the General Assembly and secondly the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is these two large bodies which encompasses the interaction with NGO’s and RNGO’s and also these UN bodies which mainly work for the progress towards development.

The two RNGO’s selected both have consultative status with ECOSOC, however their classifications are different. NGO’s and RNGO’s of all kinds may attain one of three types of consultative status which are; general, special and roster. General contains NGO’s which work covers most of the issues on the ECOSOC agenda and subsidiary bodies. They tend to be large in size and have a broad geographical spectrum. Special consultative statuses are given to NGO’s or RNGO’s who are more specialised or only work with a few of the activities covered by ECOSOC. All others that apply and meet requirements are certified roster[v]. ECOSOC contains functional committees which have carried out commissions on varied forms of development from sustainable development to social development.

The General Assembly, the second largest body working with NGO’s and RNGO’s, contains fundamental programmes and funds for development such as The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD and The United Nations Development Programme or UNDP. As the UNDP is a programme dedicated to the issue of development, reviewing their areas of work to compare this to the areas of work done by the RNGO’s is necessary. The “UNDP describes itself as the UN’s global development network…advocating for change, knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.[vi]”The UNDP has been a significant player on the international level for achieving development and is therefore why i will be viewing the work they do. Today the UNDP has offices in over 150 countries and many of the representatives of the UNDP have been charged with coordinating all of the development work of the UN on a national level[vii], reiterating its importance within the UN on development issues. To strive for development the UNDP works with and in support of the Millennium Development Goals, MDG’s, which was adopted by world leaders in 2000. The eight MDG’s are; to end poverty and hunger, universal education, gender equality, child health, maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability and global partnership. These issues are often the areas of work for NGO’s and RNGO’s. These 8 MDG’s which, if addressed, will cut poverty by half in 2015 and increase development, is therefore a fundamental issue within the UN. The MDGs are a common goal to an end which all countries, people and organisations will benefit from.

From previous studies there has been some correlations drawn between the values held by RNGO’s and the values of the MDG’s, concluding that these similar values is reason why RNGO’s work with the UN. However as Joe Devine and Se?verine Deneulin show in their paper, “Negotiating religion in everyday life; A critical exploration of the relationships between religion, choices and behaviour”, there can be no clear conclusion regarding the issue of values, religion and behaviour. However, it is not uncommon for scholars to believe that religion reflects the views and norms within a society. Hence, an explanation as to why religious groups are integral in politics and should have access to political issues. The success of these MDG’s can be seen as essential to the development process by the UNDP’s work and to many RNGO’s, which are involved with them. The chosen two RNGO’s are no exception to the masses of NGO’s working within development and towards the MDG’s. As well as the MDG’s the UNDP highlights five areas of their work, all aiming towards future development and the achievement of the MDG’s. These areas are; Democratic governance, Poverty reduction, Crisis prevention and Recovery, Environment and energy and HIV/AIDS. One will clearly be able to see similar work done by the RNGO and that of the UNDP.

Problems defining and classifying an RNGO

The term NGO in itself a complex definition thus leaving an even bigger problem for the definition of a RNGO. The term NGO is used over any other term in this, and other papers, as this is the terminology used in article 71 of the UN charter[viii], however the definition of an NGO seems to be varied. There can be many characteristics of an NGO such as being for non profit, performing humanitarian functions, providing a voice between citizens and the state and monitoring policy. However, not all NGO’s do all of these therefore just being/exercising one of these criterion would possibly be enough to label them an NGO. One of the reasons which makes it hard to define NGO’s is that there are other terms being used referring to the same types of organisations. Many people have tried to define NGO’s in terms of being sovereign bound or sovereign free, such as James Rosenau, however this type of definition has been highly scrutinised. Some NGO’s have close contacts and relationships with national and international governments and work with them or alongside them, but this does not tell as to whether they have any kind of sovereignty or even any influential power at all.

Julia Berger, as well as many other scholars point out the when making distinctions between certain groups such as NGO’s, RNGO’s were in the past highly ignored. This may be due to lack of knowledge of what actually constitutes an NGO, let alone a religious one. “Both the terms “NGO” and “religious” lend themselves to just as much conceptual ambiguity and, as such, need to be defined at the outset.[ix]” This is why, when observing the two NGO’s we will see them call themselves differently. In some cases RNGO’s and in other cases Spiritual NGO’s or Faith based NGO’s. However, all leave us with the same ambiguity. Either way, many academics believe RNGO’s should be viewed as a “new breed of religious actors shaping global policy”[x]. When stating “religious actors shaping global policy” it begs the question as to whether or not all societies would approve of it, or if given a choice would opt for a separation between religion and politics. However, contrasting to secularisation arguments, the growth of RNGO’s does challenge views about religion in society. Also many people forget about the vast amounts of NGO’s which are religiously based and working alongside governments. In many western societies today religious groups of all kinds can be and have been portrayed unkindly by the world presses. Some scholars such as Berger argue that some NGO’s are reluctant to classify themselves as religious, which causes problems when trying to analysis them. One can imagine why they may be reluctant to call themselves religious as they may not want to restrict their members or opportunities to work, as many RNGO’s do not wish to spread their religion or teaching in a missionary manner, rather they want to act in a humanitarian approach regardless of personal religion.

Some RNGO’s have been described as formal organisations whose identities and missions are self-consciously derived from the teachings of one or more religious/spiritual tradition”[xi]. This seems a logical description of a RNGO however this is without considering the problems mentioned before when defining words such as religion. As this incorporates such terms as religious, spiritual and faith we appear to have some flexibility in which NGO’s we could include. However how strong do these foundations of religious belief have to beMany would argue that NGO’s are morally guided in some sense and that RNGO’s should be religiously guided, but to what extent do social norms which influence NGO’s contain their foundations in religious contextMany NGO’s represent their local societal norms which can also be seen as a reflection of historical religious beliefs. Some RNGO’s were founded on religious belief however they do not participate in practising religion today. Should these NGO’s be classified as a RNGO or just an NGO At the World conference on religion and peace it was stated that religious communities are without question the largest and best organised civil institutions in the world. Bridging a divide of race, class and nationality, they are equipped to meet challenges regarding conflict and peace.[xii] Illustrating that although their definition cannot be set in stone RNGO’s have been seen as useful to the domain of politics. The two chosen RNGO’s adhere to the definition above for RNGO’s, “A formal organisation whose identity and mission are self-consciously derived from the teachings of one or more religious/spiritual tradition”, however the criteria for choosing the RNGO’s are as follows; Both organisations must be international, having worked on projects around the world; Both must have consultative status from the UN; Both must be pursuing work regarding development issues, such as those outlined in the MDG’s and UNDP; And finally both must have been created by or founded on a religious or spiritual leader, text or institution. Both the BK’s and CA fit within this criteria.

As well as using this Criteria to select the RNGO’s I will also highlight the different typologies of RNGO’s as given by Clarke as he cites the typologies given in a study held by Green and Sherman.[xiii] Here Clarke distinguishes between five types of RNGO’s, or as he refers to them, Faith based NGO’s, FBNGO’s. These are; 1) Faith based representative organisations or apex body, 2) faith based charitable or development organisation. 3) Faith based radical, illegal or terrorist organisation, 4) faith based missionary organisations and finally 5) faith based socio-political organisations[xiv]. The BK’s and CA could be easily placed within the second of these catergories however they may also not look unfamiliar within the first and fifth catergories. Neither RNGO holds extremist views or are illegal thus ruling out catergory three and also both RNGO clearly state on their website that they work with all religions races and faiths and therefore hint that they are not to evangalise. However, some unofficial sources have claimed many controversial points about the BK’s, however these claims are unsupported. Classification number five is a difficult classification to apply. In some ways they are socio-political as they are a member of the UN, a legal body which is able to consult with the international political community and political aims may vary between the two RNGO’s. A way to explore these classifications further is to as mentioned before; First assess how integral faith is to the organisations identity and secondly, to assess how much their faith drives them to act as an organisation.

The Brahma Kumaris history and religious foundations.

The Brahma Kumaris call themselves a spiritual group which belongs to the wider religion of Hinduism. Brahma Kumari literally means daughters of Brahma. Brahma is most often seen as being the supreme overall god within Hinduism, the creator, and is usually bracketed to contain Shiva, Vishnu and the Great Goddess, however certain sects emphasise certain Gods. The BK’s were previously known as the OM Mandali group, OM being the sacred word in Hinduism, however the group was renamed in the sixties as The Brahma Kumaris, or in the official Hindi name as “Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya”, meaning the Brahma Kumairs world spiritual university[xv]. The founding of the Bks can be traced back to a man named Dada Lekhraj when he experienced visions in 1936. Lekhraj Kripalani was previously a follower of the Vallabacharya sect of Hinduism until he founded the BK’s. The official website of the Brahma Kumaris clearly express that they are a spiritual group and explain that due to Dada Lekhraj’s religious experience the group was founded. This organisation can clearly be seen to be befitting to our definition of RNGO as it was based on, and still practises, religious belief. The BK’s believe these visions gave him “an insight into the innate qualities of the human souls”[xvi]. It is said that his first vision included that of Vishnu and in other visions he saw nothing but devastation and suffering. These visions were so strong and impelling that Dada Lekhraj, a previous jewellery business man, packed up his belongings and devoted himself to understanding and knowledge.

Many who view the BK’s from the outside could get the appearance that it is a woman’s organisation, due to the fact that the majority, if not all of the spiritual leaders are women. However, this does not apply to its individual members which contains many males. In the early years the BK’s were seen as revolutionary or disruptive to the Hindu society because of this female orientated belief. In Hinduism as in many other religions, a woman’s “duty” or “dharma” is traditionally seen to be the family, however the women of the BKs were being invited to stay and live a celibate life. This obviously caused societal issues at that time. Dada Lekhraj formed a managing committee constituting of eight women in 1937 and a year later he gave all his property and assets to this committee which they had set up. Dada Lekhraj is also said to have foresaw that core values based on traditionally feminine qualities – patience, tolerance, sacrifice, kindness and love – would increasingly become the foundation of progress in personal growth, human relations, and the development of a caring community.[xvii] Many forms of Hinduism contain a strong female aspect due to the MahaDevi aspect of the religion. This is the Hindu name for the Great Goddess, which takes many forms. Not only does the Mahadevi correspond with Dada Lekhraj ideas of feminine quality, i.e. – patience, tolerance, sacrifice, kindness and love – but she also embodies great evil such as the Goddess Kali. Kali, a form of the Great Goddess can be seen as the most devilish, gruesome, evil God within Hinduism, although in-depth knowledge about which deities the BK’s worship is not openly mentioned by them on their websites. The main women, which appears to have direct interaction with the communities and the UN, is Dadi Janki. She joined as a founding member in 1937 and has devoted her life to the organisation. She was the first person of the BK’s to set up a centre outside of India, turning the organisation into a more international organisation. In 1974 that new centre was created here in the UK. The figure head of the BK’s is Dadi Janki as it is her who attends most meetings and presents most statements to the UN.

As the BK’s state on their official website, their main objective as an organisation is to help achieve personal development. “To re-discover and strengthen inherent worth by encouraging spiritual awakening.”[xviii] One can see that the BK’s openly uncover the personal religious side of the organisation, in no way trying to disguise the group’s religious beliefs. One interpretation of this personal spiritual awakening is that the personal reflects nature or the outside world and vice versa. This would not be uncommon in forms of Hinduism, were the body itself can be seen to represent many objects and forms, even the outside world. This is why meditation is popular within Hindu countries as it can bind the mind, body and the world together. Meditation is also of great importance to the BK’s who openly disclose their practice of Raja Yoga. Personal development and international development may just be an extension of one and other. “An understanding of the spiritual human context is offered to help understanding on contemporary issues.”[xix] We can see that they believe personal development to have an effect on international/national development with such statements as “The commitment to self transformation will create peace and a better world for everyone”.[xx]

They achieve their aims by holding lectures and courses, outreach programmes and international networks. On a local level they use outreach programmes to help their own community. These are imperative to improve the quality of life for the people which live among them. These programmes can impact people’s lives drastically as they work with people in hospitals, prisons, interfaith groups or even a local family who just needs support to feed their children. These outreach programmes are also to support the aims of the UN, even if they are not officially affiliated with each other. They hold retreat courses where people can visit a relaxing environment to try and get back in touch with oneself. People can explore Raja meditation and experience spiritual values in a daily sense. It is meditation which connects the inner self to the outside world,[xxi] and this appears to be their core religious belief. For the BK’s, as an individual group, their religious beliefs are integral to who they are as an organisation, their identity as a group. However is this reflected in the work they do with regards to the UN. I will follow this by showing which conferences they attended and how they participated within them. For most, if not all of the issues raised, their focus is on the spiritual learning process and how this is vital for individual development and for world development[xxii].

Brahma Kumaris participation with the United Nations.

The BK’s and UN have been working together since 1980’s when the BK’s were affiliated with the department of public information or DPI. However this is not the same as consultative status which was granted in 1998 with the ECOSOC and UNICEF, (United Nations international children’s emergency fund)[xxiii]. Although they were not granted consultative status until 1998 they have been active with the UN since the 80’s. A general consultative status from the UN confirms that this NGO in particular, the BK’s, are interested in most of the activities at the UN. The BK’s clearly promote on their website the Millennium Development Goals, MDG’s, set out by the UN. The idea behind of the MDG’s is to provide a framework for all countries to reach a common end, human development[xxiv] and this may be as to why so many NGO’s and RNGO’s are participating in the MDG’s, as they see it as a moral duty. The BK’s can be seen through its outreach programmes to support all of the MDG’s.

The BKs attended the 57th NGO/DPI annual conference on September 2004, held in New York. Here they wrote a paper with the purpose of showing how spiritual civil societies such as themselves could help advance the MDG’s. Notice on this paper they have named themselves a spiritual civil society and not a RNGO, however I am using the most common term used by the UN. As far as finding a key distinction between spiritual and religious one would have to spark a whole new debate which could be as long as this paper itself. At this conference in 2004 the BK’s pointed out that such problems such as terrorism, war, man-made and natural disasters where holding back the achievement of the MDG’s. The main point emphasised here by the BK’s was that the world needs a higher level of understanding, one which lies in understanding the spiritual being, the spiritual self. This is the key topic for discussion regarding all issues within development. It is something which can be seen to derive directly from the BK’s faith.

When discussing development works in terms of the environment one can see the BK’s playing an extremely active role. In 2009 the BK’s attended the Copenhagen Conference on climate change. Here they submitted a statement to the UN. From the beginning of this statement the BK’s show that their purpose is ultimately a spiritual/religious one. The BK’s “contributes to the UN community by reframing issues, such as climate change, in spiritual terms, by highlighting the inner dimension of the decisions facing the UN member states.[xxv]” Again, here there can be seen to be a direct impact from their religious beliefs of a personal spiritual development impacting their work at the UN. Sister Jayanti expressed how inner thoughts and consciousness can impact the world. This type of interaction, a religiously based active interaction, is seen throughout the BK’s work, being emphasised in all statements. At the Copenhagen summit the BK’s also held a side show which would be interacting with the individual members of the UN inside the conference.

In 2000 the BK’s attended the general assembly world summit for social development and beyond. Here their interaction was again very religiously active. The BK’s were also at the original summit for social develop, held in Copenhagen in 1995. At the recent 2000 summit the BK’s participated in many forms. “The BKWSU’s contribution at the Forum consisted of a series of panel discussions, an exhibition, a stand promoting Manifesto 2000 as part of the International Year for the Culture of Peace Project, and a lunch-time meditation room, under the overall title: “The Human Aspects of Social Integration”.[xxvi]” As we can see they are actively involved in all parts of the summit and even display their religion through events such as the meditation room. Bringing a direct line between their work as a RNGO and their religious practices. They submitted a paper to the UN titled “Searching for the human face of social integration”[xxvii]. This paper covers many issues of development regarding education, good governance and the family. However again, still claiming the spiritual understanding is key in changing the world for the better.

As the BK’s are also a member of the value caucus, an open forum for all affiliated organisations where they are able to discuss values in context of the UN. They started to review concepts such as love, tolerance, peace etc. All of these qualities match the previously mentioned qualities which the BK’s were foundered on. The BK’s write on their official UN blog, they felt as though people wanted to attain these values and valued spirituality, not as though they were having to convince people the importance of spirituality. Here we find that the BKs believe that they are making a difference, influencing the individual people who attend these conferences, albeit individual UN workers. This in some ways would also have an effect on the UN process as a whole, as the BK’s show, personal beliefs can help to shape the world, thus having better beliefs and values the individuals will work together to create a better world.

An issue which I believe to be on a high agenda for the UN is poverty eradication. This issue can be seen in the MDG’s and in the UNDP’s own areas of interest and action. In 1996, the international year of poverty eradication, the BK’s submitted another statement to the UN, “A better quality of life for all people”. In this paper they give direct attention to governments and show how NGO’s and the governments will need to work together to get results. “The programme of action mainly concerns governments. However, NGOs can collaborate with governments and give invaluable assistance in keeping with their particular specialties towards the success of their programmes.”[xxviii]They cover many intelligent points in which all types of NGO’s can assist in. However this paper is no exception for the BK’s as it again highlights the ongoing theme of personal/ spiritual development. They say the poverty is not only a material concept. Poverty can become entrenched in our own attitudes[xxix]. They conclude this paper with a part titled the spiritual response to poverty. This shows that they do not leave their religious beliefs out of any issue. This is most probably due to that they believe their beliefs to be useful on all levels, as they have demonstrated.

A large development summit was pursued on 2002, “The World Summit on Sustainable Development”, also known as WSSD, held in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was a highly published summit where the BK’s also attracted a lot of media attention. Here the BK’s showed vast ways of participating within the summit from holding workshops and meditation centres to having interactive games and submitting statements. The theme or emphasise of the BK’s was again on how the inner state of humans can reflect the outer world, naming their stalls “The Inner state and Outer state of Sustainable Development”.[xxx] They claim the essence of their message was given in three words, which were later developed into workshops. These were; Choice, Care and Cooperation. The three workshops were named “Choice with education, care with Ubuntu and cooperation with renewable energy.”[xxxi] Ubuntu is an African code of ethics or a philosophy regarding the relations between people, embracing hospitality, generosity, respect for your elders, youths and women and a sense of belonging to a community.[xxxii]Ubuntu can be seen as a similar concept to what the BK’s are suggesting, although obviously having differences and different methods of achieving. However, we can see here, that the BK’s in Africa are immersing themselves in the local culture and embraces other religious idea’s, as Ubuntu is also preached by the archbishop Desomond tutu[xxxiii]. This reinforces the idea that the BK’s are not a faith based missionary group as they are engaging in other ideas, which are not specifically Hindu.

In 2010 they attended the informal interactive hearings of the General Assembly for NGO’s, CSO’s and the private sector. The presentations and dialogues from these hearings will be issued as an Assembly document, constituting a formal input into the political process leading to the Summit. Therefore, in examples such as this, the bks can be seen to have a real input into cases and possible to make an influence on decision making within the UN. On the BK’s UN official blog they have commented about the lack of commitment seen by member states at this meeting, as the representative of the BK’s from New York writes that they counted “maybe 20 seats taken out of a great 192 countries[xxxiv].” Here they appear to be critical of the member states of the UN, something which is rarely seen elsewhere within the BK organisation, although useful to show that they will give critical feedback when felt necessary. Also, in 2010 the BK’s were still active attending the 2009/10 conferences on climate change. For both of these conferences titled “consciousness and climate change” the BK’s submitted statements to the UN. As further research shows a RNGO submitting papers and statements to the UN can be seen as an active commitment taken seriously. All documents given to the UN need to be organised before hand and also notifying UN members if you want to vocalise your opinion.

From all of these conferences and statements given by the BK’s it can be shown that the BKs and the UN have a healthy interactive relationship. The attitude from the BK’s towards to UN and vice versa appears to be that of a good one. The BK’s seem to truly believe in what the UN does and as shown above, can get critical of the UN when they are seen to be “unfocused”. This is the only negative attitude from the BK’s which I have come across and as we will see, this differs greatly between the two RNGO’s. The work that the BKs do at the UN coincides with their mission statement at the UN. Their participation is based on “unifying, universal, spiritual principles, as a platform for building a better future… providing spiritual solutions to the world’s problems.”[xxxv]This appears to be an accurate description of what the BKs aim to do and is what they are calling for in their statements. The BKs also meet their aims and objectives which have been set out by the official website and the BK’s work as a spiritual University. They claim to “help individuals re-discover and strengthen their inherent worth by encouraging and facilitating a process of spiritual awakening. This leads to an awareness of the importance of thoughts and feelings as the seeds of actions. The development of virtues and values-based attitudes creates a practical spirituality which enhances personal effectiveness in[xxxvi] a community”. One cannot say that the BK’s spiritually awaken people at the conferences that they attend, however they do emphasis an importance on thoughts and feelings. This is difficult to highlight their effectiveness in influencing UN decisions as much of the BK’s statements and work are all extremely personal. How much can the UN impact society on a personal levelTrying to change people’s perceptions and views.

Can the BK’s statements and religious values be taken and applied to a contemporary issue or is it something which we all, personally need to work on. “An understanding of the spiritual context of human existence is offered, helping to make sense of contemporary issues.”[xxxvii] Here they do not claim to have any direct affect on these issues but only help to understand them. Some of the work the BK’s do have a great deal of impact on society and if we were assessing their own success rate one could record a huge successful impact, however this is not the purpose of this paper. Their outreach programs such as the development of a community cooking systems can be seen to have a direct impact. On this occasion they provided various cookers to provide 40,000 meals a day, something which has helped the whole community, however these private projects are not usually officially associated with the UN. Although they do work towards similar ends to the UN, for example the MDG’s.

Firstly, the religious/spiritual essence one finds in the BK’s documents and statements are rife. It appears to be crucial to who they are as an organisation. Their interaction all highlights the spiritual, meditative influence of Hinduism. The BK’s, as any religious group, are sometimes difficult to contact directly and certain things are undisclosed to non members, one of these being that they are a millenarian group[xxxviii]. Knowing this, one could therefore suggest that maybe they are a missionary organisation, trying to gain members to save them. There are many unofficial web pages dedicated to warn people about the BK’s, therefore, not everyone has had a pleasent experience and some even go as far as to say it is a cult. However, these are included here as their reliablilty is at question. Secondly, the religious beliefs of the BK’s definitely drives and in some sense defines the work in which they do. The BK’s focus on personal development can be seen to trace back to the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, this is where Raja Yoga is found. (Patanjali Brahma Kumaris has also been used as their full name in certain areas.) The practice of yoga, within Hinduism, is outlined under eight headings; “abstentions, obligations, postures, breathe control, abstractions, concentrations, meditation and absorption.[xxxix]” If everyone practices these the world, in the BK’s eyes, would be a better place. People understanding that abstaining from violence and inequality would lead to a better world.

This yoga is meant to be followed only by a guru or teacher as it is advanced however within the BK’s work we can see them passing along information in a more accessible way to link with contemporary issues. Yoga, in Hinduism helps one to concentrate the mind and to avoid such afflictions such as egoism, dislike, desire and attachment. These cultivate into selfish actions which, in turn, causes problems in the world such as capitalist greed. We can clearly see from the examples of conferences attended and types of participation that the BK’s are definitely a RNGO, with religion being vital to their identity. Also that it is their faith which drives their actions within the UN, their statements and work with the UN it is influenced by their faith. But again, this only influences the UN so far, as mentioned before “Hinduism, Hindu worship, is an individual experience.[xl]”Therefore their influence may be restricted.

Christian Aids history and religious practice.

I will now move on to the second of the two RNGO, Christian aid. Christian aid, CA, is seen by the UN as an NGO and has had ECOSOC special consultative status since 1998. Here we notice a difference between the types of consultative status given to each NGO. CA has attained a special consultative status with the UN meaning they are only concerned with a few areas of activity. However it is the CA foundations and historical context which is extremely important for it being defined as a RNGO. CA was set up the 1940’s after World War One. On their official website they clearly state that they were founded by English and Irish churches, however they do not disclose as to which denomination they belong to. Other resources have claimed them to be protestant however this is not emphasised by CA themselves. What they do clearly state is that “they were not to evangelise, but to alleviate suffering, no matter of their faith.[xli]” They clearly highlight that they are definitely not a faith based missionary organisation, and as we continue this becomes clearer. CA is an interesting NGO to study as its status of being religious can be bought into question. It was obviously set up by religious institutions and even though they may not want to “evangelise”, their foundations were predominately religious. In the 1950s they say that the appointment of the new CA president, Janet Lacey, caused different opinions between the clergy, claiming her views were too radical, although there was no mention as to whether these views were religiously based or not.

There is a lack of readily available information about their religious beliefs and background, unlike the BK’s. However, throughout the years of CA they still remained to have men of the clergy working in high positions within the organisation. If one is to glimpse at the CA membership then one would find the majority of members are also members of the Church, however it is important to say here that not all members, directors or board members admit to or publish their religious beliefs. Within the 1980’s we can still witness the clergy involved in the organisation however there is little evidence of the organisation being actively religious or practising religion. However one can still find religious discussions about religious values being held within the organisation and some religious churches actively participate in projects with CA, although, like the BK’s outreach programmes, not all of these are officially affiliated with the UN.

From the official webpage, CA clearly state that, “We are not afraid to confront governments and challenge the rules of the day that said charities should be apolitical.[xlii]” This highlights that CA is all about influencing decisions with regards to their specific areas of work. Advocating is not uncommon within the protestant faith as the protestant faith encouraged many people to read and explore different interpretations of the bible. Although they make claims about working closely with the governments they do not mention the UN on their official webpage. The information regarding their history goes into the millennium without even briefly mentioning their newly attained status with the UN in 1998. However one can find many papers and reports where CA discuss the actions of the UN, usually drawing on a positive or negative outcome. They openly voice their opinions on governments and the UN’s actions and decision. This is an extremely different approach than that of the Bks. The relationship between the UN and CA appears to be a more reserved one, which less ‘face to face’ interaction. Even on official UN websites, such as the Civil Society Network, which contains most information on all NGO’s, contained little details of interaction as they lack documents such as statements made or active participation.

“Christian Aid has a vision – an end to poverty – and we believe that visions can become a reality.”[xliii] This is as to why they have different consultative status, as CA is specifically working towards ending poverty. Although this may be true the CA website contains many more issues such as gender equality, water aid and HIV and AIDS for example. These are a major part of development as to end poverty one needs to address issues such as education, the environment, gender equality. These are all issues concerned with development. CA set down some essential values which are; “to expose the scandal of poverty, to help in practical ways to root it out from the world, to challenge and change structures and systems that favour the rich and powerful over the poor and marginalised.”[xliv] In their essential values they claim to help in practical ways to root out poverty. This may be true in the sense that they are very active in many parts of the world with a variety of partners however most of this practical work is done alone as an organisation or with partners, all which are separate from the UN.

Although we can find some religious views held by the CA the extent of their religiosity is not certain or explicitly made clear. This could illustrate an example of an organisation whose identity is less attached to faith. This may appear to be a controversial statement as the name of the organisation is Christian Aid, however I believe CA to be less in touch with its religious side and possibly has a more humanistic approach. As Berger mentions, some RNGO may not want to attach themselves to religion[xlv]. This may be due to the fact CA works with many partners who share similar values although the partners are not all religiously based. It begs the question put across before of how much is CA simply reflecting social norms of a predominately Christian based society. Or, the possibility arises that they do not want to associate themselves drastically to the church. CA may have been founded by religious institutes however how religious have they continued to be is a difficult assessment. The lack of directly religious statements, mission or quotes from scripture could be due to, as many scholars have written about, the organisation not wanting to restrict itself. CA is a western based organisation and western states are more secular. This could have an impact on CA and may be why they a reluctant to display their religious beliefs. The lack of religious reference can show that CA may not be integrally attached to its religious identity. This mentioned, there are still a few publications found on the official CA site with regards to issues of theology and their beliefs. And although they may not publicise their organisation as religious, easily, when deep research is done into their publications one can see that is in fact, an important reason for their work.

Reverent Michael Taylor, the director of CA at the time, was working on renewing CA’s aims with the more modern times. However this was done by “drawing on liberation and other theology”.[xlvi] Liberation theory has been seen as a political and religious movement as it’s an interpretation of the bible and the teachings of Jesus in terms of liberation from unjust economic and political societies. Liberation theology is “an interpretation of Christian faith out of the experience of the poor. It is an attempt to read the Bible and key Christian doctrines with the eyes of the poor.[xlvii]” This, as we have seen, is what CA are advocating for. Although it appears different in religious values to the BK’s, CA are still drawing their actions from what they believe. Some publications such as “Theology and international development[xlviii]” highlight how this is done. This paper, written by Dr Paula Clifford, the head of theology at CA, shows how CA’s theology is interchangeable, same as international development. She expresses that a final more concrete paper will follow this between 2010 and 2012 and unfortunately it’s not available yet. In this paper CA say “The United Nations universal declaration of Human rights (1948) sets out values which are essentially religious[xlix].” This is where again a clear distinction between social norms and religion would be useful however the two concepts inevitably overlap. I would argue that the UN did not intend to incorporate any religious beliefs into the charter as this may be discriminatory to other religions. However, this is only a personal opinion.

The main emphasise within the theology paper is that of helping people. Giving reference to a fourteenth century theologian, William of Ockham, they believe that promoting the idea that people possess a natural right and emphasising the dignity of human beings as being created in the image of God. An example of this logic is “If you are sick, because I see in you the image of God it is my duty to care for you or ensure that you receive treatment.[l]” Everyone has the right to be treated and cared for, everyone has the most simple basic human rights. This is the main CA belief which can be seen to directly impact the work they do as an organisation. The organisation is essentially to help the poor and this is what drives them. However, religiously it appears on a different scale than the BK’s. A person does not necessarily have to believe in God to share a belief in their work. One might share exactly the same values just without the aspect of a Divine Grace.

CA, like all Christian religions draw upon the Ten Commandments as their basic Christian principles. Not only do CA emphasise their belief of human natural rights they also see this reflecting communities. The Ten Commandments are divided by CA showing that the bulk of the commandments deal with issues of the community. The first of the three deals with Gods demands which directly involve him. The fourth and fifth commandments deal with Gods institutions, the Sabbath and the family. Finally the remaining five deal with issues in the community[li][lii]. This again reflects the work which they do with all types of communities around the world. As CA are such a large organisation they have many partners situated around the world, thus helping them to move around the world helping others. However, this is separate to the UN interaction, although aiming for similar results. Just some of these partners are “The Middle East Council of Churches and the Christian commission for Development, Bangladesh. Other Faith Based Organisations such as Sanayee Development foundations in Afghanistan. Or secular institutions such as the Institute for Social Development in Sri Lanka[liii].” Again, they do not openly publise all of their partners and this information was gathered directly from an employee of CA who kindly sent me some resources. From this one can see their wide range of partners, all of which are not religious.

The language within the paper of “theology and international development” may be viewed as not being as colourful as the BK’s statements however they draw upon similar concepts. They refer back to Amartya Sen, an Indian economist who was the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economic Science.[liv] He makes claims such as “Absolute poverty is seen as having both material and social dimensions and, arguably, a spiritual dimension as well.[lv]” The paper on theology contains a sub chapter titled economically speaking which drew upon the way in which we classify the poor, in terms of something in which they don’t have, money. CA argued against this position of classifying poverty and can see that CA are also promoting a “spiritual approach” to the idea of development and poverty, albeit less intensely expressed. This is an un-doubtable reason as to why they do the work in the ways which they do. Not only do CA talk about theological issues, they also participate in prayers, which is a typical Christian practice. On their website they have prayers which are for certain issues, such as poverty. One can see here that CA are being active within their religious views and praying to a God to help them complete their aims and missions. The more one researches the more religious CA appear to become. They do not openly publicise themselves as religious.

Christians aids work with the UN

CA’s work with the UN is fairly new and, although CA joined at the same time as the BK’s in 1998, their participation has only been actively recorded since 2002[lvi]. Prior documents regarding participation of any kind is not acknowledged by the Civil Society Network, CSO, which is the main official website for information about NGO’s and the UN. The UN also does not have any joint pages with CA unlike www.bkun.org standing for “the Brahma Kumaris at the United Nations”. CA refers to little, if any of the UN meetings they have attended with the UN. Also the CSO Network website merely lists a few of the meetings that they attended. They do not contain any papers or statements which have been submitted by CA to the meetings. This makes assessing how CA participates and interacts with the UN difficult however there is evidence of some interaction which we can refer back to.

As with the BK’s, CA is concerned with the MDG’s. A large part of CA’s work is that of gender equality. Not only does CA deal with poverty reduction as their main aim, they have also been known to deal with gender equality. This brings into call as to whether the special consultative status is too harsh and whether CA, given the chance, could effectively participate in a number of the UN activities. CA are a very successful organisation and have large societal impact with events such as Christian Aid week, in the UK. In the years 2003/04 and 2007 CA attended the 47th/48th and 51st session of commission on the status of women.[lvii]From viewing a guideline NGO participation information memo for the 47th commission, one can see that statements given by NGO’s need to be planned well in advance. “NGO representatives wishing to speak in the general debate should notify Ms. Tsu-Wei Chang well in advance…. NGO representatives are therefore encouraged to prepare joint statements whenever possible.[lviii]” This is true for all NGO’s that attend however as we saw before, the BK’s make many statements and therefore show a great sign of commitment. As CA are involved with a large number of partners it possible that other organisations speak on behalf of them and therefore this may be as to why we don’t have records of them making statements specifically at the UN meetings, however this is only speculation. The lack of information from these commission is however not surprising. The UN claims over 900 NGO’s participated in the commission however only a total of 16 regional and international NGO’s made any sort of oral presentations.[lix]

Although the UN has not listed CA as attending the MDG summit in 2010, the CA website claims that a representative from CA attended. Not only had CA attended but the outcome of the summit for CA has been seen as a success. From one of the articles on CA’s webpage which discuss decisions of the UN, we see that the CA representative believes that CA’s mission or goal has finally been accepted by the UN and governments. “Governments taking Christian Aid’s proposals seriously. the head of the OECD, (Organisation for economic co-operation and development), said this: ‘Country by Country reporting and Automatic Information Exchange are anathema to those wishing to avoid or evade tax and we should pursue them[lx]”. CA said this in response to this apparent success “It is also a clear signal that Christian Aid and our partners have been successful in putting this issue firmly on the agenda of those in power.[lxi]” CA see this as a success as in 2008 as they published “tax and death” which highlighted the importance of tax money in relation to the MDG’s. Within this report CA do not mention anything surrounding their religious beliefs. One just has to remember their Christian beliefs set down in their theology paper.

The reports which CA have given regarding the MDGs are very technical and economic. If one was read the CA report without any knowledge of their religious foundations it would be difficult to relate it to any religion. The CA representative may have attended the MDG summit however there is no evidence of papers being submitted to the UN or any statements made to the UN to clearly show them what CA call for. Although CA publish many documents regarding development they do not mention if these are submitted to the UN for discussion or appraisal therefore one cannot assume that they made any impact on this summit at all, thus causing more difficulties in assessment. CA mention the purpose of their occasional papers (OP’s), “OPs are addressed to an audience including policy-makers, academics, the media, other non-governmental organisations and the general public”, however this doesn’t clarify the problem sufficiently. If these documents had been submitted to the UN then it is likely that they have taken into account CAs views and CA has had some part to play in influencing decision making. However, even if CA do not submit papers or documents to the UN many other organisations may do on their behalf. AS they have many partners, some of which may be an NGO or RNGO in the UN can speak on their behalf. Thus it does not render CA as “uncommitted” as once thought.

With regards to the environment and development CA attended the same Climate change summit in Copenhagen as the BK’s. On the CA website they display a lot of preparation done for this specific summit. Although environment development has not been overtly promoted on their website one can still see the significance it plays in eradicating poverty. Unlike other participation seen by CA, here they are seen being actively involved. For two years prior the Copenhagen summit CA campaigned to raise funds. “In the two years leading up to this, we ran our ‘Countdown to Copenhagen’ campaign. The resources committed to this campaign were significant and it involved a substantial level of joint working with other agencies.”[lxii] Again, we hear CA working with other partners to work collectively to achieve success. At the Copenhagen summit the UN have listed CA as being one of the NGO’s which participated with a side event. The exact same interaction that the BK’s themselves participated in. A side event which took show was CA declaring it was a crime to be leaving countries such as Africa to defend for themselves, when they contributed nothing in comparison to the west on climate change.[lxiii] Also, CA had gained a lot of media attention for protesting and marching through the Cities of Denmark. This is an extremely different approach than taken by the BK’s. CA appear to focus its attention on criticising the UN, maybe not in a negative sense, more in a way to motivate or to highlight other concerns. Either way, they did it with impact at the Copenhagen summit.

However, again, at this particular summit the CA were reluctant to submit papers or give speeches. Again there is no evidence of CA making any type of formal statement. However this was not the only interaction CA appeared to have at this conference. They also used this time to publicize themselves and the causes of CA. They held a fundraiser where cyclist cycled from Stansted UK, to Copenhagen, Denmark. Here they raised, “40,000 pounds for Christian Aid”[lxiv]. The wording here is very specific that the raised money for their own organisation. This is something which has gone unseen when viewing the BK’s. Altthough, obviously, fundraising takes place in all RNGO’s the BK’s have not been seen to publise its own group, without relation to the UN. If anything CA are very open in their missions and aims. One can see CA working with the UN to reach its goals however I feel the interaction between CA and the UN to be not as strong as the relationship between the BK’s and the UN. It appears as the BK’s take more of a commitment to the UNs work and role.

The first major summit attended by CA was that of the world summit for sustainable development, WSSD in 2002. Also attended by the Bks, CA attended the two preparations for the summit held between January and April 2002, with the summit taking place between August and September 2002. The UN clearly states that previous summits have been largely unsuccessful, “that progress in implementing sustainable development has been extremely disappointing since the 1992 Earth Summit, with poverty deepening and environmental degradation worsening.[lxv]” This is echoed in statements given by CA, after the WSSD. Their statement “forgotten farmers at the WSSD” highlights their concerns with the UN. “The criticism from those of us who are pressing for truly sustainable development – both in terms of the environment and of social justice or equity – must be that the WSSD failed to achieve what was needed.[lxvi]” Within this review of the WSSD, CA delve into their duties at the summit, which “was to lobby on agriculture issues, including agricultural trade, food security and the needs of small farmers in developing countries, armed with our recent report[lxvii]” However again CA appear critical of the UN and of the summit arguing that “It was therefore frustrating to find that, other than on the issue of subsidies, there was little argument about agriculture and the talks move swiftly on to other topics…. issue were therefore effectively blocked.[lxviii]” This shows a negative attitude from CA towards the UN. CA does not appear to agree with their actions and procedures taken by the UN. It also shows that CA, although they do attend meetings with the UN, they tend to voice their opinions afterwards or publicly elsewhere. Within this paper not only does CA take a negative stance against the work of the UN but also at other government agencies such as DIFD, explaining that their views are contradictory. This emphasises their earlier statements about them trying to bring about change within governments. Ultimately it holds a negative view of the UN’s and other governments work towards sustainable development.

From using these conferences as examples of interaction, one can see that it is extremely different to the former RNGO. CA have masses of publications and public statements regarding the works of the UN and as it has shown CA are not always expressing praise for the work done by the UN. Their interaction within the UN also appears to be limited as no submitted documents or statements to the UN from CA have been found. As mentioned, this could be due to a number of reasons such as working with other organisations, lack of commitment or lack of authority as they have a different consultative status. All that is evident is that there is a difference in how CA engage with the UN. CA appear to be fighting and advocating for their own goals, which is mainly to end poverty. These goals are important to the UN and CA do support all work in this area, however the group seriously campaign for CAs work, whereas the BK’s work involves the UN to the highest degree as well as their own organisations goals.

Due to CA’s foundation being religious, its identity can still be viewed as religious. However, at the same time one can see a lack of religiousity. There is little material based on their religion available on their website however again, there may be reason for this, such as CA not wanting to limit their campaigners, workers or its influence in the political world. The papers CA have written have been very useful and extremely technical, usually involving economics and finance and no reference of religion is given in their works of this sort. On the other hand however CA did lie down their theology which is central and can be argued the reason as to why they are this type of organisation. Therefore to assess whether Christianity is integral to CA as an identity is extremely difficult and one would need a lot more research than this paper can do justice. One interpretation could be that CA are not overtly religious due to the public opinion or the secular essence of our society, however, inside the organisation, among its members Christianity is integral. However, this is only an interpretation. Highly religious or not CA still do not draw direct correlation between the two, religion and development works and discussion. The other criterion for assessing RNGO’s as given by Bradley is how far does their faith drive them to their actions. From the theology paper again one can see all aspects of their work being driven by their beliefs. A belief that a community is helpful and that one should “Love thy neighbour”[lxix]. Helping all types of people, regardless of faith, is directly taken from their beliefs.

Conclusion

Before i conclude the two RNGO’s i would like to make known their ever so large difference, which have resulted in such different organisations, albeit them both being classified as a RNGO. From the research above we can observe that the BKs appear, on the whole, more religious. This may because of societal and cultural difference. The difference between their interaction, such as the BKs being fully involved with the UN and the CA being on the sidelines, could stem from their difference in consultative status. CA may not be involved in all aspects, unlike that of the BKs which may therefore drive CA to publicly display their opinion somewhere else, such as the media. This has been observed throughout the research. This also could be as to why the CA appears to have a more negative relationship with the UN compared to that of the BKs. All these difference being so, both the BKs and CA still fit into the earlier given typologies. 1) Faith based representative organisations or apex body, 2) faith based charitable or development organisation. 3) Faith based radical, illegal or terrorist organisation, 4) faith based missionary organisations and finally 5) faith based socio-political organisations.[lxx] Both the BKs and CA could stil be arguably placed into the first, second or the fifth catergory. Hopefully this shows the diverseness and the need for a better definition of RNGO.

As this paper has shown, RNGO’s interactions with the UN can be extremely different. This may be due to their different beliefs, teaching and values or due to their different types of organisations. As a Hindu organisation the BK’s expressed their views on personal spiritual development. Hinduism can be viewed as a very personal religion, and within India and Asia, meditation and yoga are practically a social norm. Within many Indian traditions there is a focus on the mind and its powers. This can be seen everywhere within the BK’s involvement within the UN. Every statement, every event is related somehow to personal development, which will lead the world into development. Religion is key to their identity as an organisation. Not only are they religious themselves but they believe that the practices within their religion, the practising of personal development, meditation and raja yoga will create a better world. Therefore i believe it obvious to conclude that the BKs are most definitely a RNGO and their religious beliefs is what motivates their actions.

CA on the other hand are not as openly religious as the BK’s. Only a few publications could be found regarding their religious beliefs and their membership is not strictly for church attendees. Thus, can one say that religion is vital to CA’s identityPossibly not, however when one observes why they are working on issues such as development then one can see that it derives from their scripture and theology. When comparing to different RNGO’s one has to also accept the two come from different types of cultures. As mentioned throughout the paper, the west is much more of a secular place and therefore this may be a reason as to why they are not openly religious. Religious references and publications can be found on their website, however these are brief and never extremely detailed. They do state, however, that their theology is about community and helping fellow man, therefore due to this essential point, one can see their actions to be motivated by religion. CA is a difficult RNGO to interpret, unlike the BK’s who openly admit their religious beliefs. To gain a definite answer regarding CA i would be inclined to do more research and gain access to their organisation as a member.

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Categories
Free Essays

Environmental factors include technology, government, the economy and societal values and behavior.

INTRODUCTION

According to Daft (1994), managers sense a need for change when they perceive a performance gap, that is, a disparity between existing and desired levels of performance. It seems a somewhat narrow definition in that it implies that all change is planned and positive and seems to ignore the possibility of unplanned and potentially negative change – for example, unexpected budget cuts. This said, most change is planned, is intended to be positive and arises from the need to respond to new challenges and opportunities (Mullins, 1996).

Organizational change may be incremental (linear) or radical (discontinuous). It may be a reactive response to external, environmental factors or generated proactively in anticipation of future trends (Hamel, 1998). Both, however, are a response to how an organization perceives its current or future environment. Indeed, one can detect a Darwinian ‘adapt or die’ thread running though many authors interpretations (Goble, 1997; Hamel, 1998; St Clair, 1996), a concept summed up pithily by Handy (1993, p.291) with “change is a necessary condition of survival”.

Environmental factors include technology, government, the economy and societal values and behavior. For instance, in recent years, LIS have had to adapt to the rapid development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the Labor government’s plans for national computer networks in public libraries and schools. As Goble (1997) notes, they also face competition from external providers in an increasingly commercialized information services market where there is rapid price inflation for both printed and electronic sources, adding pressure to already tight budgets. Further, in a service economy, consumers have become more demanding and, lastly, the composition of the workforce is changing, with an ageing population, more women, plus more part-timers and job sharing (Mullins, 1996).

In response to, or in anticipation of such factors, organizations may initiate change. This can incorporate both structure (hierarchy and division of work) and culture (how things are done – values and norms), and such change may involve, amongst other things, costs, job design, staff development and training, working conditions and new services or products (Cornell, 1996).

Implementing such changes is not easy. Likert, in Cornell, (1996) identifies three styles of managing change: authoritative (imposed by management); consultative (discussed with staff but still decided by management) and participative (involving staff in decision- making). Further, Lewin’s widely cited model breaks the management of change into three phases. First, unfreezing – diagnosing problems and an awareness of the need to change. Second, changing – the breaking of old habits and adoption of new skills and behaviour and third, refreezing – evaluating and consolidating the changes (Daft, 1994; Cava, 1990; Cornell, 1996; Mullins, 1996).

COMPANY OVERVIEW

NetSol Technologies Inc. is the one of the leading corporations which offers business services and enterprise application solutions in the field of IT all over the world. It provides solutions to the customers according to their specifications. NetSol started its operation in 1995 and used BestShoring™ method to analyze the situation, develop high quality plan and implement the plan in a very cost effective manner.

NetSol offers products, services, credit and finance portfolio systems, SAP consultancy, health care programs, integration of networks and global financial service at a minimum possible cost all over the world. As NetSol was granted certificate of ISO 9001, its commitment of the quality has been improved. It possesses such unique assets and capabilities which only very few companies possess in the world.

Fortune 500, financial sectors, technology providers, automakers, public institutes and governments are included in NetSol customer base. It provides services with highest ethical values and uses its top down approach to impart this facility at the door step of the customer. It is known as expert in the field of IT all over the world with a good record it produces a cost effective solutions for the customers. It delivers services beyond expectations.

It became first U.S Company which was dual listed by Nasdaq and Dubai International Financial in June 2008.Recelnty it provides consultancy to operate SAP soft- ware and other additional software to assist customers. All services include follow up training and consultancy to the customers. It is the belief of NetSol to provide excellent solutions not only at present but also in future. It expects growth in the present as well as future and provides state of the art training today to develop leaders of tomorrow.

PRE -CHANGE CONDITIONS

NetSol was an organization with good reputation in the market and it acquired certificate on the CMML level 3 which was a big achievement for this organization. It had a very strong system and a good control over it but the control level improved. Every activity of the organization before and after the change was recoded and analyzed in proper way. Awareness regarding confidentiality of data has risen in this era.

The current trend of change within the organizational culture is getting importance and it is vital for organizations to make changes accordingly. It is very difficult to persuade employees to bring changes because they always resist changes. In changes organization introduce some changes that directly affect on these people. It is the very complex task for the organizations to persuade their employees to accept the change and most of the time organizations receive positive response from them because employees realize the importance of change. NetSol had autocratic culture, tasks were assigned by top level management and bottom level had to follow these tasks according to requirement of the organization and with in the time frame declared by top management. When ISMS system took place it got easier for the employees had to work according to given procedures which were easy so employees got used to the procedures.

AREAS TO BE CHANGED

As information security management system (ISMS) at NetSol was not strong, it was difficult for NetSol to attract and retain customers. NetSol process that was used previously could not provide the better results that customers expected from the service. Especially its security standards were not up to need of foreign and domestic customers. Foreign customers demanded that NetSol should provide service that guarantees security which meant privacy of information must be protected for corporate customer.

NetSol has larger customer base and financial sector accounts for majority of the customers. Therefore, there was extreme need that the financial transactions carried by customers in financial are completely secure. As the world of internet has expanded rapidly and crimes like cyber crime rose to international market so people were very conscious that their data must be protected. NetSol had to embark on providing secure service otherwise, its business would have seen huge decline in customers and eventually revenues. Financial services compete and survive on the promise of their security and reliability, so Net Sol had to take action to be in business and remain competitive.

IMPORTANCE OF CHANGE

Technological corporations such as NetSol dealing in finance services and information must have strong information security management system (ISMS).Otherwise, it will not be possible for them to attract and develop good customer base. In order to market its products and services it is essential for the NetSol to control the issue of information security because this issue of security in these companies can be matter of survival. ISO 27001:2005 also requires that security of customer information must be given utmost consideration and priority. There is clear procedures for employees how to work in information security management system (ISMS) and clear and straight forward methods useful not only for employees currently employed and working with system but also beneficial for future employees which also reduces the training needs of employee

FORCES FOR CHANGE

A few of the Factors that compelled NetSol to introduce and implement change are as follows:

Fast pace growth in the technology of IT

Tough competition observed in this industry

Raising the productivity level of corporation because of the increasing demand and integration of information in the system required in this industry,

Era of customization, customers are requiring products according to their specification

Essential for the NeSol to capture maximum share of the market

Assurance of customers’ information security

CHALLENGES

Data secrecy, ensuring privacy of client, fool proof security at work place and adjusting new employees in company’s working environment were major challenges to the company. Company’s processes previously were not in way to ensure the security of the information. Due to lack of defined processes employees were not trained to meet security standards described by ISO 27001.

MAJOR CHANGES IN SYSTEM

Initially the company took steps to make changes in its each BPO division. NetSol launched a system known as Information Security Management System (ISMS). It was very reliable system meeting the needs of customer and requirement of rapid change in technology occurring with the passage of time. The initiative to introduce the system was taken in 2007 and approved by all top manage including the Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer and directors. The Information Security Management System (ISMS) contains many features such as it is set of policies (how this works and how it manages data, what are the techniques through which you can get better results), procedure (what way you can use it, how efficiently you can handle the data, in what way you can manage the data, how data can easily be accessed and how it can be stored), practices (what are the practical implication of this system, for what type of infrastructure this system has been developed, what is hard ware requirement of the system, what is the software specification of for the system, what type of environment is required to run this type of system, what type of training is required to operate this system), roles (how this system will assist in the organization, how it will add value in the organization), responsibilities (what tasks can be performed with the help of this system, how efficiently they can be performed, how it will facilitate to the employees of the organization), resources (things that are required to run this system, infra structure that is mandatory to run this system smoothly, ways through which this system can give desired results to the organization) and structures (how information flow from one system to other, how securely it flows from one personal computer to other personal computer).

These all things are included in the information Security Management System (ISMS) to ameliorate its performance and to protect data of clients. In this system all those functions are included that are required by the customer as well as it is recommended by the International Standard Organization. According to ISO it contains all those functions that mitigate or eliminate the risks related to controlling and using particular information (ISO 27001:2005).

This system has been developed according to specification provided by ISO and requirement of current market needs as it is made in accordance with ISO 27001 and fulfills all the required things and applicable in following four parts: Security that is directly related with the hard ware component of computer, security of the person using it even organizations that purchase this system and use it in operating their businesses. Information flowing from one computer to other is protected as well. As control of access to limited people to access it easily there must be a password that allows them to log in this system.

RESULTS EXPECTED FROM CHANGE

The ultimate purpose of change introduced by NetSol was providing customer better services and timely delivery and by introducing software which was need of the day to provide ultimate security and efficiency. NetSol is committed to designing such software that is useful to increase their productivity and efficiency which would increase profits of the company. Original target of NetSol is to fully implement the International Standard Organization requirements mentioned in ISO27001 so it was their target to achieve as it can get certification from ISO regarding this implementation. This is a very dynamic and rapidly changing industry, so it has to focus on business requirement, what actually its customers wants and how to improve quality of their system as it can give maximum satisfaction to the customer, so all these areas were targeted to change.

The basic target is to achieve those goals in specified and limited time period and also these measure can be taken to evaluate whether company is attaining its target or not. It was their actual target to protect their system from versus and make a fool proof system that is essential to give a best solution to its customer. In order to ensure this facility they must keep employees up to date they can be aware of the security system and can keep an eye on these measures though this system is capable enough to keep data secure.

IMPACT OF CHANGE

NetSol Technologies introduced Total Quality Management (TQM0 system to deliver the desired results. It implemented pre defined and well defined procedure which the organization has to follow and move towards continuous improvement. It focuses on both professional developments of employees as well as improvement of work environment. Therefore, it has been successful to retain competent professionals in the company and has created such an environment that boosts innovation in products and services. The vision of NetSol Technologies is to be number one IT Solution Company in the mind of customers, employees, stakeholders, partners and competitors. The main focus of the company is to give customers data security assurance which is the first choice of the customers.

RECOMMENDATIONS

NetSol Technologies must continue the change process in their organization because it provides IT solutions to organizations which have automated information systems and their systems are heavily dependent on technology, so NetSol has to provide them with reliable and secure and sophisticated .NetSol faced difficulty because initially the system the provided and used could not perform according to expectations of customers. The main flaw was observed of that system, it could not provide data secrecy which was a big challenge for NetSol. At last it brought change and terraced out its fault, it brought changes in order to keep system secure and reliable.

The main problem of IT technology is that it is volatile, its technology changes rapidly. On every day new and advanced systems and softwares are introduced in the market. It is very hard for the organization to maintain their business in this rapidly changing environment. It changes in both ways not only in hard ware but also in software. New and updated systems have to be introduced to remain competitive and offer customers up-to-date technology for their businesses. On the other hand it is facing some problems regarding the continuous development of new viruses threatening the security of the system. It creates problem for systems and it becomes very difficult to manage system. Though it has terraced out the solution, now its system is providing better results and NetSol capturing its customers but again there is a problem that it can not be the permanent solution because as it is discussed earlier it is rapidly changing industry so NetSol has to be conscious to respond to these issues rapidly and effectively to gain customer confidence and has to respond to other market changes accordingly. As NetSol is struggling in this industry so are its competitors due to the volatile nature of this industry. It is vital that NetSol Technologies keep an eye on the rapidly changing environment and design and offer products and service based on requirement of the technology market.

CONCLUSION

NetSol improved the quality of its services, data security, so its management can now better plan the business continuity, incidents are well managed, all kinds of risk and threats are well assessed and managed, and lots of other benefits which are worthy to consider. The change has an impact on the whole services quality. Changed process has helped management better monitor whether services are smooth and secure enough to make customers satisfy customer demand. Now that the quality of services has improved, the fault rate has dramatically reduced and customer satisfaction has risen, customer loyalty has also risen and service quality has improved whilst cost has greatly reduced and return on investment has risen by 30%.

Management and organizational change is effective only when the planned change has potential to improve companies’ competitiveness in the market and bring more success to the organization and help tackle challenges that organization is faced with. The organization should keep monitoring current situations and make changes only if it is felt necessary, as change in organization is a complex decision and has direct impact on the image of the organization. NetSol survived the toughest competition and challenges because change was properly planned and managed.

Categories
Free Essays

Study of government backed initiatives to promote female participation in Physics and Mathematics

Introduction

This essay aims to explore the UK based initiatives designed to promote female participation within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) disciplines focusing predominately on Physics. The essay will consider the different teaching techniques and styles that have been researched and implemented in order to appeal specifically to a female audience and their relative success in terms of encouraging females to pursue both higher education in STEM based disciplines and careers.

It is noticeable within numerous records and statistics that women in STEM based subjects are under-represented which has lead to an absence of females actively employed within STEM careers. In 2008, women made up only 12.3 per cent of the STEM workforce. This is, however, an increase of 2.0 percentage points since 2003 (Kirkup, et al., 2010. Women and men in science, engineering and technology: the UK statistics guide 2010. Bradford: the UKRC) showing that there has been some successful work towards encouraging females towards STEM careers. This under-representation is no more apparent than within the science discipline of Physics, which displays the persistent problem of a lack of girls continuing to study physics beyond the age of 16 (physics is a compulsory part of the GCSE curriculum). It has been recognised that a significant number of girls actually out perform boys at Key Stage 4 within science, but this is not transferred into the desire to study physics into Key Stage 5 (post-16). In 2005, only 14% of girls who were awarded an A* or A for GCSE Double Award Science or physics progressed to A level physics (Hollins et al., 2006). The Institute of Physics have released figures indicating an incremental yearly increase in the number of A level physics candidates between 2006 and 2008 but there has been little change in the proportion of girls that have taken the subject post-16. In 2008, only 22% of the entries for A-level Physics were female (Institute of Physics, 2008). These statistics can be seen clearly in the appendix where the number of female entries in 2008 actually illustrates a decrease in female uptake in comparison to 2007 of -0.3%. In addition, recruitment to biology has remained relatively stable with more females than males being entered for A-level examinations. Chemistry entries for both male and females are relatively equal and mathematics still sees a top-heavy male count, although less dramatically than physics.

There has been an extensive amount of research into the potential reasons behind the consistently low numbers of females within Physics. The development of institutionalised education in England was based on principles of class and gender differentiation (Purvis, 1981) and many scholars attribute existing gender culture today to their historical roots where it was the norm for middle class girls to undertake roles as wives and mothers of society’s privileged gentlemen. Consequently, physics, with its high mathematical content and often abstract ideas, was a subject thought suitable only to males with girls focusing on the more subjective areas of science such as the moral aspects including religion and how science can be used to improve domestic life. Many still believe connotations of this attitude exist today and while it is important to recognise that although ‘educational policy may change, what students, their parents and their teachers have come to understand as appropriate ways for girls and boys to be, to know and to behave, will continue to reflect the historical roots of the culture’ (Murphy,P.,Whitelegg,E .,2006). In addition, research by Alison Kelly (1987) identifies three factors that appear to account for a lack of interest by women in science, namely women see it as likely to be difficult, masculine, and impersonal. A number of modern day initiatives and specific teaching techniques have been coined to address these misconceptions and will be explored, with their relative success critiqued, in the remaining body of the essay.

Many initiatives to encourage female participation in science try to address the causes of the phenomena known in academia as the ‘leaky pipeline’. The phrase has been devised to illustrate what statistics clearly show, much like a ‘leaky pipeline’, women steadily drop out of the science educational system, which carries students in secondary education through to higher education and then onto a job in STEM.

Figure 1 illustrates the risks that may be experienced by women already in the science pipeline upon commencement of a STEM based career.

Figure 1: An example of The Leaky Pipeline

Source: International federation of university women [image online] Available at:< http://www.ifuw.org/imgs/blog/blog_leaky_pipeline.jpg> [Accessed 16 April 2011].

Pell (1996) acknowledges that much of the selection between men and women has taken place even before academia is entered arguing that critical phases in the selection towards an academic career include early childhood, adolescence, school years and the job entry period. Pell gives development of self-esteem in early life-course, student-teacher interaction in classrooms leading to lower aspirations amongst girls, fewer female role models, and conflicts with family responsibilities, as some of the reasons for the ‘leak’ in the pipeline. Blickenstaff. J (2005) argues alternatively that ‘no one in a position of power along the pipeline has consciously decided to filter women out of the STEM stream, but the cumulative effect of many separate but related factors results in the sex imbalance in STEM that is observed today’. Many believe the ‘leakage’ from the pipeline requires a multi-faceted solution, and time is needed to allow modernisations in teaching and learning to take effect, only then will this be evident within the statistics often used to prove such initiatives have failed. It can be questioned whether the merit of such initiatives can so quickly be analysed and concluded as failures if they have not had sufficient time to evolve. For example, the increase of girls choosing to study physics may only see an increase in numbers once teaching practices, academic relevance of the syllabus and functional support networks are truly aligned together and are sustainable. This issue has been further addressed by Cronin and Roger (1999) who debate the focus of various initiatives aiming to bring women and science together. They conclude that many of these initiatives are flawed as they tend to focus on one of three areas: attracting women to science, supporting women already in science, or changing science to be more inclusive of women and hence the other(s) areas are ignored. A.Phipps (2008) reasons that the ‘important initiatives designed to address the problem are under-researched allowing little opportunity for educational practitioners, activists, policy-makers and scholars to analyse and learn from the practices and policies that were developed over the past decade’.

Outside of the classroom, many initiatives and organizations have been set up to encourage, support and engage women within STEM careers. One of the most well-known and long running initiatives, Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) was founded in 1984. The aim of WISE, as it is more commonly known, is to encourage the understanding of science among young girls and women and achieve an overall impact capable of promoting STEM based careers as both attainable and stimulating for women. WISE deliver a range of different options and initiatives in order to achieve their inherent strategy and openly work with other organisations, where appropriate, in a bid to accomplish this. They provide many resources for girls, teachers and parents. These various resources and much more can be found on their website . It has been noted that there is inadequate work appraising the impact of WISE policies since the organization began. Phipps (2008) suggests that ‘although school visits by WISE did have a positive effect on girls’ opinions of science this was not translated into long term change in their career ambitions’. Alternatively, WISE claim that an increase in female engineering graduates, from 7% in 1984 to 15% today, can be attributed to the success of the campaign believing that the WISE programmes inherent accomplishments can only be measured using the proportions of engineering students and engineers who are female (WISE, 2010). To date, however, there has been no onward tracking of participants from the WISE outlook programme. This leads others to be more critical with Henwood (1996) claiming WISE have ‘inadvertently limited the ways in which girls and women could discuss the challenges they faced’ and with no detailed research evaluating whether various actions and policies by WISE have produced the impact, it can be hard to attribute the growth to WISE without questioning whether these were a result of other elements present at the time. Phipps (2008) echoes this uncertainty stating ‘it is difficult to definitely conclude that WISE policies have been the decisive or contributory factor in encouraging female participation in scientific careers’.

The UK government is committed to remedying the current situation assisting with the launch, in 2004, of the UK Resource Centre (UKRC) for Women in SET (science, engineering and technology). This organisation aims to provide practical support and help in order to encourage more women to take up a career in STEM (UKRC, 2007; Wynarczyk, 2006, 2007a). It must be noted that the UKRC is principally concentrated on the participation of women in STEM careers and its responsibility does not include education. The UKRC is prominent in collecting evaluative data to allow the programmes attainments to be monitored, this includes recording the numbers of women with whom it has engaged in its work, in addition to statistics on the outcomes for returners in its programmes (UKRC, 2010).

Many have criticized the large number of non-governmental organisations and initiatives involved in the STEM sector stating that the process is disjointed and ungainly with the consequence that some policies and initiatives may be unable to reach their full potential. The STEM Cross-Cutting Programme also concluded that ‘at the current time there are far too many schemes, each of which has its own overheads’.(DfES, 2006a: p.3). Despite this, the Government has markedly increased its STEM education budget and the activities in which it supports, in an attempt to reverse the current STEM trends. This includes cash initiatives to encourage more physics trained teachers, (Jha,A,. Guardian online 2005 ‘New incentives for maths and physics teachers’ [Available online] ).

Within the current UK educational system, educators have been promoting programmes like Girls Into Science and Technology (GIST) and Computer Clubs for Girls (CC4G) for many years in an attempt to get more girls into science. The later is and organisation led by employers and it is not run for profit. The government issues its licenses with the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) currently funding it. Furthermore, the UK Government is providing support for schools to encourage more girls to study physics and to help them to become more confident and assertive in the subject. Methodologies for teaching physics with an emphasis on physics as a ‘socially relevant and applied subject has led to higher attainment for both males and females’ conclude Murphy and Whitelegg (2006). Previous research has also indicated that girls are motivated to study physics when they can see it as part of a ‘pathway to desirable careers’ (Murphy and Whitelegg, 2006). Successful approaches to making physics more relevant to girls included, as presented in the government commissioned ‘Girls into physics-Action research’:

Source: Daly.A et al 2009, Girls into physics- Action Research, Research brief. Page 2. [Available online] << http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RB103.pdf>

However, several challenges are related to these approaches. Some students, especially those of a younger age group, struggle to articulate their careers aspirations and there may also be a knowledge deficiency on behalf of the teachers about possible career options suitable for students that partake in physics courses. This could add pressure onto the teacher as they feel the need to research and bring these elements into their lesson planning and schemes of work (SoW). It is already well documented about the time constraints many teachers experience with regards to sufficient planning and marking time. It could be suggested that with the low number of trained physics teachers available within the educational system at this time and their high demand (Institue of Physics, Physics and: teacher numbers, 2010), that additional content beyond that of the curriculum could put viable trainees off this career and potentially push them into other subject areas where there is less additional material to deal with. Availability of school resources could also be a problem.

The ‘Girls into physics action research’ commissioned by the Institue of physics and undertaken by Daly.A., et al (2009) aims to address five key assumptions that girls have about physics identfied in prior research by Murphy,P and Whitelegg,E (2006). This essential practice (figure 2) is deemed to support female participation within physics and it is hoped that it will be adopted as part of the classroom management.

Figure 2: Essential practice that supports girls participation in physics

Source: Daly.A., et al 2009, GIRLS INTO PHYSICS – ACTION RESEARCH, Figure 2, page 6.

[Available online]

< http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RR103.pdf>

The research, also carried out on behalf of the Department for Education (DfES), recommends numerous ‘top tips’ for successful teaching and learning with these suggestions available to view in the appendix. These tips have been identified by teachers who have shown some success in enagaing female students.

Alternatively, B. Ponchaud (2008) conducted a review within schools where the female uptake of physcis was already particularly high. Ponchaud identified several top tips for teachers to use to engage female students.

Figure 2: Essential practice that supports girls participation in physics

Source: Daly.A., et al 2009, GIRLS INTO PHYSICS – ACTION RESEARCH, Figure 2, page 6.

[Available online]

< http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RR103.pdf>

The research, also carried out on behalf of the Department for Education (DfES), recommends numerous ‘top tips’ for successful teaching and learning with these suggestions available to view in the appendix. These tips have been identified by teachers who have shown some success in enagaing female students.

Alternatively, B. Ponchaud (2008) conducted a review within schools where the female uptake of physcis was already particularly high. Ponchaud identified several top tips for teachers to use to engage female students.

Table 2: B.Ponchard’s top tips to engage female students in physics

Source: Ponchaud, B, The Girls into Physics project. School Science Review, March 2008, 89(328)

Antonia Rowlinson from St Anthony’s RC girls’ school implemented the ‘top tips’ without the need to alter the curriculum. Physics was contextualised or illustrated in the areas of interest revealed by Ponchaud’s investigation. For example, within the forces module, questions on friction were set in the context of the then current Strictly Come Dancing television programme. The follow-up survey showed that ‘whilst this new teaching technique had not substantially shifted the students’ perceptions about physics there were improvements. More girls saw physics as relevant to their career aspirations’ (Ponchaud 2008).

In conclusion, evidence clearly shows that an under-representation of females is a cause for concern. Girls perceive themselves to be less capable and less interested, than boys, in science and these attitudes can be attributed to historical views of women that are proving hard to dismiss. Many believe that science educationalists have an obligation to alter those factors under their control. One would hope that within time, individual actions by teachers will help girls to break down the challenges experienced within the STEM pipeline and result in equal participation, benefiting society. Teachers should pay attention to the way they address and present physics, watching out for language and terminology, which has a vast psychological effect for females who may suffer from stereotype threat, where females believe they are not as capable as there male counterparts. I have also explored the idea that girls respond to physics when it is taught in an accessible and socially relevant way but countered this with the argument of teaching time constraints and available school resources.

Research that examines the overall successful impact of initiatives and policies aimed at promoting the cause of women in science has provided a mixture of opinions and outcomes that can be open to critique. It seems apparent that although these initiatives specifically target the thoroughly researched reasons why females may disengage from physics and science as whole, they cannot systematically prove that the apparent incremental growth in participation figures are down to the programmes and measures they have put in place. Only recently, has initiatives such as UKRC began to collect evaluative data on the amount of women that have been effected by their work. Some copies have presumed a positive impact for various policies, stating an increase in the proportions of women choosing certain courses as confirmation for different policies’ success (e.g. WISE, 2010). I have explored such critique on this view including Phipps (2008) who recognises ‘the limited successes and impact of initiatives in general, but tempers this with statements acknowledging the wide range of challenges facing these initiatives’. I believe that when more organisations begin to record and monitor engagement rates as a direct result of exposure to a particular initiative, successful programmes will become more apparent. However, I also realize that many of these organisations have limited funding and capabilities disabling them from doing this as they focus budgets on areas addressing there inherit strategy. Until this is addressed with additional funding, I fear the exact effects of many of these initiatives will never be known and it will remain a subject for academic discussion.

References

Blickenstaff, J C (2005). Women and science careers: leaky pipeline or gender filterGender and Education Vol. 17, No. 4, October 2005, pp. 369–386

Cronin, C. & Roger, A. (1999) Theorizing progress: women in science, engineering, and technology in higher education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(6), 639–661.

Computer Club for Girls. Accessed on 16/04/2011 < http://www.cc4g.net/>

Daly.A ,Laura Grant.L2 and Karen Bultitude. K, GIRLS INTO PHYSICS – ACTION RESEARCH, Research brief. [Available online]

Daly.A ,Laura Grant.L2 and Karen Bultitude. K, GIRLS INTO PHYSICS – ACTION RESEARCH,[Available online]

< http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RR103.pdf>

DfES, (2006a), ‘The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programme Report’, HMSO, ISBN: 978-184478-827-9

Henwood, F. (1996), ‘WISE ChoicesUnderstanding occupational decision-making in a climate of equal opportunities for women in science and technology’, Genderand Education, 8 (2), 119-214.

Hollins, M., Murphy, P., Ponchaud, B. and Whitelegg, E. (2006) Girls in the Physics Classroom: A Teachers’ Guide for Action. London, Institute of Physics

Institute of Physics (2010) Physics and: teacher numbers, An Institute of Physics briefing note:

Institute of Physics (2008) Year on year increase of physics A-level entrants. Available from:

Kelly, A. 1987,Science for girlsPhiladelphia, PA: Open University Press

Kirkup, G., Zalevski, A., Maruyama, T. and Batool, I. (2010). Women and men in science, engineering and technology: the UK statistics guide 2010. Bradford: the UKRC.

Murphy, P. and Whitelegg, E. (2006) Girls in the Physics Classroom: A Review of the Research on the Participation of Girls in Physics. London, Institute of Physics

Murphy., P and Whitelegg., E (2006) ‘Girls and physics: continuing barriers to ‘belonging”, Curriculum Journal, 17: 3, 281 — 305

Pell AN (1996). Fixing the leaky pipeline: women scientists in academia. Journal of animal science, 74 (11),

Phipps, A. (2008). Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology: three decades of UK initiatives. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books

Ponchaud, B, The Girls into Physics project. School Science Review, March 2008, 89(328)

Purvis, J. (1981) The double burden of class and gender in the schooling of working-class girls in nineteenth-century England 1800–1870, in: L. Barton & S. Walker (Eds) Schools, teachers and teaching (Barcombe, Falmer Press).

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). Accessed on 16/04/2011

Women in Science and Engineering Research Project. A publication by The Scottish Government.

Accessed on 16/04/2011

Wynarczyk, P. (2006), “An International Investigation into Gender Inequality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)”, Guest Editor, Journal of Equal Opportunities International, Special Issue, Volume 25, issue 8, December.

Wynarczyk, P., (2007a), ‘Addressing the “Gender Gap” in the Managerial Labour Market: The Case of Scientific Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the North East of England’, Management Research News: Communication of Emergent International Management Research, v.30:11, 12

Wynarczyk, P and Hale 2009, Take up of Science and Technology Subjects in Schools and Colleges: A Synthesis Review. Commissioned by: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)

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How far can the legislation introduced by the UK government be considered as the most influential factor in the decline of trade union membership

Introduction

In the past years and in recent times there have been several factors influencing the decline of trade unions, these are ;Business trends, structural changes to industry and labour market changes which involved a change from manufacturing sector to service sector, increase in self employment and more people taking up part-time jobs and temporary jobs. Other factors include individualism and HRM practices where employee management, development and training becomes the responsibility of HRM, employees having more performance related pay, and appraisal related to pay. The state however has been the most influential factor amongst those stated above in the decline of Trade unions in the UK.This is made evident by the high rate of Trade Union decline between 1979 and 1997 during the conservative Government leadership of which legislation was introduced.

Basically the conservative government, Magaret Thatcher being the prime minister at that time introduced legislation between 1979 and 1983 which involved a series of changes and events that resulted to a very high decline in trade union membership. One of the objectives of the conservative government was to exclude trade unions from any role in national policy making and this was achieved in 1979 and after 1979 was the regulation of the union’s decision making and electoral procedures (Henry 1989). During this period tactics such as secondary picketing which was used by miners (BBC NEWS) was made unlawful shown in the employment act of 1980 and 1982. Furthermore, there was abolition of statutory recognition procedure in 1980.Employment act of 1988 and 1990 ensured removal of immunities protecting closed shop. The abandonment of political commitment to full employment leading to unemployment rate decreasing from 5.2% in 1979 to 11.2% in 1983 and thus a decline in trade union membership.

In conclusion looking at the above stated factors and how they affect the decline of trade union. Government legislation has been proven to be the most comprising factor in the decline, however it is important to note that government intervention by way of legislation was only a reaction to the adverse effects which was perceived by the government.

REFERENCES:

Paul,E.(ed) 2003. Industrial Relations Theory and Practice (2nd ed), Blackwell.

Lee,W. and Rooner,J.(2005).The Rise and Fall of Unionised Labour Market.

Hoque, K. and Bacon, N. (2008) Trade unions, union learning representatives and employer-provided training in Britain. British Journal of Industrial Relations. Vol 46, No 4, December. pp702-731.

Blanchflower, D.G. and Bryson, A. (2008) Union decline in Britain. CEP discussion paper. no 864. London: Centre for Economic Performance.

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What is the importance of government expenditure in determining changes in the level of national income?

Introduction

Government expenditure plays an important role in determining the changes in the level of national income; providing the right needs for potential output and sustaining the welfare of the economy. Government spending can determine the changes in the level of national income to a desired national output or to a new equilibrium of economic growth, however on the contrary, can shift the equilibrium of economic growth lower to one that fulfills the capacity of national income. National income is the “value of income claims generated by production” (Chrystal and Lipsey, 2007) or Gross National Income (GNI), and the value of these goods and services produced can be depicted through government expenditure and consequent results. The impact of government spending on national income can be illustrated through the circular flow of income, the subsequent multiplier effect, and leading examples of government expenditure.

Government spending on goods and services contribute to the productive potential of an economy. One form is through ‘transfer payments’, which include unemployment benefits, state pensions and CAP subsidies in the EU(i.e. agricultural). This alters the distribution of income through transferring the “purchasing power output” (Chrystal and Lipsey, 2007) from higher level to lower income groups. However, transfers of payment do not add to the national income, nevertheless, help distribute the balance of payments and the power to consume goods and services. Another form is spending on public goods such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, which enriches the economy and productive output. Educational expenditure is similar to investing in the quality of labor for future purposes. Educational experiences ensure an enhanced quality of skills and knowledge for young people to enter the labor force (Blink and Dorton, 2007), and through the increased availability of provided education, more people can yield productive output. Another leading contribution in expenditure is investment in capital stock such as improvements made in infrastructure like better transportation links and telecommunications. Capital goods open a pathway to increased efficiency and productive capacity (Carlin and Soskice, 2006), facilitating improved services, as well as new incomes and employment for firms and households. Government expenditure can enhance the ability of the economy to perform through the value of the public goods, and hence influence a change in production level and national income.

The circular flow of income helps identify the key relationship of government expenditure towards household and domestic firms, which is when “income rises, spending rises, and when spending rises, output rises which [then again] gives rises to incomes” (Chrystal and Lispey 2007, p.340)- providing growth in national income. Households, firms, and foreign sectors (on exports) pay taxes with their incomes, which generate overall revenue for government expenditure (Bradford, 2002). A rise in national income is attributed from an injection of government spending on goods and services (e.g. subsidy grants), which enables firms to produce greater output and provide more income to households (i.e.in wages, rent, interest, profit). Firms receive greater propensity to invest in the factors of production through the higher levels of aggregate demand, and households are able to consume at a greater capacity due to rises in income (Bradford, 2002). This circular flow helps illustrate the importance of government expenditure in fostering a positive national output and economic growth.

However, government spending is autonomous, and therefore will spend regardless of the size of revenue, (Cullis and Jones, 2009) emphasizing potential leakages in the circular flow of income and the changing pace of economic growth. For example, tax revenues do not equal government spending in public goods. Some revenue may be set aside for savings or used to pay back bonds to reduce national debt (Carlin and Soskice, 2006). This presents a leakage in the circular flow, as incomes generated do not finance current goods and services. Furthermore, taxes reduce the disposable incomes in households and profit in firms (Cullis and Jones, 2009) presenting a withdrawal in the flow. When leakages are greater than injections, the “national output will fall to a new equilibrium, as there will be less income circulating” (Blink and Dorton 2007, p.150) and change the pace of economic growth. On the other hand, when government injections rise, national output will move to a new equilibrium (Blink and Dorton, 2007). Therefore, injections must equal leakages for an economy to be in equilibrium (Blink and Dorton, 2007), emphasizing the different positions of equilibrium growth and the varying conditions. National income will vary correspond to the pace of the growth and the shift of equilibrium in national output. This highlights the power of government expenditure in manipulating the economic activity level with how they choose to spend relative to tax revenue, and thereby changing the productive capacity of an economy and the corresponding national income.

Moreover, the Multiplier Effect demonstrates the magnitude of these changes in GDP as a result of autonomous government expenditure (Chrystal and Lipsey, 2007). Autonomous spending encourage a rise in aggregate demand, and high levels of aggregate demand lead an economy to achieve higher levels of output (Carline and Soskice, 2006). For example, when the government injects $100 million for a school project, this provides labor for the architecture, plumbers, electricians and more. The sources of raw material for capital also receive income. If 20% of the incomes received are spent on tax, 10% on savings and the other 10% on imports of goods and services, this leaves 60% of spending to domestic goods and services, presenting the marginal propensity to consume as 0.6. According to [1/(1-mpc)], in this example, the multiplier is 2.5. Therefore, the amount of $100 million is now 2.5 times greater, amounting to $250 million of final addition to national income (Blink and Dorton, 2007). Assuming a constant price level, this reveals that an “increase desire of aggregate spending increases equilibrium GPD by a multiple of the initial increase in autonomous spending” (Chrystal and Lipsey 2007,p.376) and illustrates the magnifying change government spending has towards national income.

Therefore, as a result of government expenditure, many opportunities are created to reach the productive potential of an economy and foster growth of national income. Government expenditure is important in stimulating aggregate demand to stimulate productive output, increasing induced consumption spending and providing opportunity for higher disposable incomes. Nevertheless, the balance between injections and leakages in the economy may shift equilibrium to a lower position dependent on the net output and ultimately, what the government decides to do with the revenue. The government expenditure can determine changes in the level of national income through their influence in aggregate demand.

Bibliography
Blink, J. and Dorton, I. Economics: Course Companion. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Bradford, J. (2002) Macroeconomics. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc
Carlin, W. and Soskice, D. Macroeconomics: Imperfection, Institutions & Policies. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Chrystal, A. and Lipsey, R. (2007) Economics. 11th Ed. New York: Oxford University Press Inc.
Cullis, J. and Jones, P. (2009) Public Finance & Public Choice: Analytical Perspectives. 3rd Ed. New York: Oxford University Press Inc.
Parkin, M. (2003). Economics. 6th Ed. United States of America: Pearson Education
Perkins, D., Radelet, S., and Lindaur, D. (2006) Economics of Development. 6th Ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company Inc.

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Government backed initiatives to promote female participation in STEM

Introduction

This essay aims to explore the UK based initiatives designed to promote female participation within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) disciplines focusing predominately on Physics. The essay will consider the different teaching techniques and styles that have been researched and implemented in order to appeal specifically to a female audience and their relative success in terms of encouraging females to pursue both higher education in STEM based disciplines and careers.

It has been well documented that women in STEM based subjects are under-represented which has lead to an absence of females actively employed within STEM careers. Women were only 12.3 per cent of the workforce in all STEM occupations including health and skilled trades in 2008. This is, however, an increase of 2.0 percentage points since 2003 (Kirkup, et al., 2010. Women and men in science, engineering and technology: the UK statistics guide 2010. Bradford: the UKRC) showing that there has been some successful work towards encouraging females towards STEM careers. This under-representation is no more apparent than within the science discipline of Physics, which displays the persistent problem of a lack of girls continuing to study physics after the age of 16 (physics is a compulsory part of the GCSE curriculum). A substantial number of girls do well at Key Stage 4 but do not choose to study physics post-16. In 2005, only 14% of girls who were awarded an A* or A for GCSE Double Award Science or physics progressed to A level physics (Hollins et al., 2006). Whilst there has been a small year-on-year increase in the number of A level physics candidates between 2006 and 2008 (Institute of Physics, 2008), there has been little change in the proportion of girls that have taken the subject post-16. In 2008, only 22% of the entries for A-level Physics were female (Institute of Physics, 2008). These statistics can be seen clearly in the appendix where the number of female entries in 2008 actually illustrates a decrease in female uptake in comparison to 2007 of -0.3%. In addition, recruitment to biology has remained relatively stable with more females than males being entered for A-level examinations. Chemistry entries for both male and females are relatively equal and mathematics still sees a top-heavy male count, although less dramatically than physics.

There has been an extensive amount of research into the potential reasons behind the consistently low numbers of females within Physics. The development of institutionalised education in England was based on principles of class and gender differentiation (Purvis, 1981) and many scholars attribute existing gender culture today to their historical roots where middle-class girls were to be educated to take up roles as wives and mothers of elite men. Consequently, physics, with its high mathematical content and often abstract ideas, was a subject thought suitable only to males with girls focusing on the religious and moral aspects of science and the possibilities it provided for enhancing domestic accomplishments. Many still believe connotations of this attitude exist today and while it is important to recognise that although ‘educational policy may change, what students, their parents and their teachers have come to understand as appropriate ways for girls and boys to be, to know and to behave, will continue to reflect the historical roots of the culture’ (Murphy,P.,Whitelegg,E .,2006). In addition, research by Alison Kelly (1987) identifies three factors that appear to account for a lack of interest by women in science, namely women see it as likely to be difficult, masculine, and impersonal. A number of modern day initiatives and specific teaching techniques have been coined to address these misconceptions and will be explored, with their relative success critiqued, in the remaining body of the essay.

Many initiatives to encourage female participation in science try to address the causes of the phenomena known in academia as the ‘leaky pipeline’. The phrase has been devised to illustrate what statistics clearly show, much like a ‘leaky pipeline’, women steadily drop out of the science educational system, which carries students from secondary school through university and on to a job in STEM. Figure 1 illustrates the risks that may be experienced by women already in the science pipeline upon commencement of a STEM based career.

Source: International federation of university women [image online] Available at:< http://www.ifuw.org/imgs/blog/blog_leaky_pipeline.jpg> [Accessed 16 April 2011].

Pell (1996) acknowledges that much of the selection between men and women has taken place even before academia is entered arguing that critical phases in the selection towards an academic career include early childhood, adolescence, school years and the job entry period. Pell gives development of self-esteem in early life-course, student-teacher interaction in classrooms leading to lower aspirations amongst girls, fewer female role models, and conflicts with family responsibilities, as some of the reasons for the ‘leak’ in the pipeline. Blickenstaff. J (2005) argues alternatively that ‘no one in a position of power along the pipeline has consciously decided to filter women out of the STEM stream, but the cumulative effect of many separate but related factors results in the sex imbalance in STEM that is observed today’. Many believe the ‘leakage’ from the pipeline requires a multi-faceted solution, and time is needed to allow innovations in teaching and learning to take effect, only then will this be evident within the statistics often used to prove such initiatives have failed. It can be questioned whether the merit of such initiatives can so quickly be analysed and concluded as failures if they have not had sufficient time to evolve. For example, the increase of girls choosing to study physics may only see an increase in numbers once teaching practices, academic relevance of the syllabus and functional support networks are truly aligned together and are sustainable. This issue has been further addressed by Cronin and Roger (1999) who point out that initiatives to bring women and science together focus on one of three areas: attracting women to science, supporting women already in science, or changing science to be more inclusive of women, however, some initiatives emphasise one or two of these possibilities and ignored the other(s). A.Phipps (2008) reasons that the important initiatives designed to address the problem are under-researched allowing little opportunity for educational practitioners, activists, policy-makers and scholars to analyse and learn from the practices and policies that were developed over the past decade.

Outside of the classroom, many initiatives and organizations have been set up to encourage, support and engage women within STEM careers. One of the most prominent and long running initiatives, Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) was founded in 1984 with the aim of encouraging understanding of science among young girls and women and to promote choosing it as a career. WISE provide a range of different services and initiatives in order to achieve this aim, and engage with other organisations that provide such services. This includes resources for girls, teachers and parents. More can be found on their website . There is only limited work evaluating the impact of WISE policies since the organization began. Phipps (2008) suggests that although school visits by WISE did have a positive effect on girls’ opinions of science this was not translated into long term change in their career ambitions. Alternatively, WISE claim that the campaign has helped to double the percentage of female engineering graduates from 7% in 1984 to 15% today. They claim the success of the WISE programmes can only be measured using the proportions of engineering students and engineers who are female (WISE, 2010). To date, however, there has been no onward tracking of participants from the WISE outlook programme. This leads others to be more critical with Henwood (1996) claiming WISE have ‘inadvertently limited the ways in which girls and women could discuss the challenges they faced’ and with no detailed research evaluating whether various actions and policies by WISE have produced the impact, it can be hard to attribute the growth to WISE without questioning whether other factors were at play. Phipps (2008) echoes this uncertainty stating ‘it is difficult to definitely conclude that WISE policies have been the decisive or contributory factor in encouraging female participation in scientific careers’.

The UK government made a firm commitment to remedy the current situation assisting with the launch, in 2004, of the UK Resource Centre (UKRC) for Women in SET (science, engineering and technology). This organisation aims to provide practical support and help in order to encourage more women to take up a career in STEM (UKRC, 2007; Wynarczyk, 2006, 2007a). However, the activities of the UKRC are predominantly focused on the participation of women in STEM careers and its responsibility does not include education. With the greater focus on evaluative data, the UKRC holds and actively records the numbers of women with whom it has engaged in its work, and also collects statistics on the outcomes for returners in its programmes (UKRC, 2010).

Many have criticized the large number of non-governmental organisations and initiatives involved in the STEM sector stating that the process is fragmented and uncoordinated to the extent that policy and initiatives may be unable to reach their full potential. The STEM Cross-Cutting Programme also concluded that ‘at the current time there are far too many schemes, each of which has its own overheads’.(DfES, 2006a: p.3). Despite this, the Government has substantially increased its STEM education budget and activities in an attempt to reverse the current STEM trends including cash initiatives to encourage more physics trained teachers, (Jha,A,. Guardian online 2005 ‘New incentives for maths and physics teachers’ [Available online] ).

Within the current UK educational system, educators have been working for many years to encourage more girls to participate in school science through programs like Girls Into Science and Technology (GIST) and Computer Clubs for Girls (CC4G). The later is a not-for profit employer led organisation licensed by the government with the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) currently funding it. Furthermore, the UK Government is providing support for schools to encourage more girls to study physics and to help them to become more confident and assertive in the subject. Approaches to teaching physics with an emphasis on physics as a ‘socially relevant and applied subject has led to higher attainment for both males and females’ (Murphy and Whitelegg, 2006). Previous research has also indicated that girls are motivated to study physics when they can see it as part of a ‘pathway to desirable careers’ (Murphy and Whitelegg, 2006). Successful approaches to making physics more relevant to girls included, as presented in ‘Girls into physics-Action research’:

Integrating physic-related careers in class (e.g. through direct references, set assignments, posters and displays in the classroom).
Creating opportunities in lessons for students to explore the social relevance of physics (including the roles of physicists).
Real life experiences with work experience and role models were also effective in ‘bringing physics to life’.

Source: Daly.A et al 2009, Girls into physics- Action Research, Research brief. Page 2. [Available online] << http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RB103.pdf>

However, several challenges are related to these approaches. Some students, especially those of a younger age group, struggle to articulate their careers aspirations and there may also be a lack of knowledge about career options among teachers. This could add pressure onto the teacher as they feel the need to research and bring these elements into their lesson planning and schemes of work (SoW). It is already well documented about the time constraints many teachers experience with regards to sufficient planning and marking time. It could be suggested that with the low number of trained physics teachers available within the educational system at this time and their high demand (Institue of Physics, Physics and: teacher numbers, 2010), that additional content beyond that of the curriculum could put viable trainees off this career and potentially push them into other subject areas where there is less additional material to deal with. Availability of school resources could also be a problem.

The ‘Girls into physics action research’ commissioned by the Institue of physics and undertaken by Daly.A., et al (2009) aims to address five key assumptions that girls have about physics identfied in prior research by Murphy,P and Whitelegg,E (2006). This essential practice (figure 2) is deemed to support female participation within physics and it is hoped that it will be adopted as part of the classroom management.

Figure 2: Essential practice that supports girls participation in physics

Source: Daly.A., et al 2009, GIRLS INTO PHYSICS – ACTION RESEARCH, Figure 2, page 6.

[Available online]

< http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RR103.pdf>

The research, also carried out on behalf of the Department for Education (DfES), recommends numerous ‘top tips’ for successful teaching and learning with these suggestions available to view in the appendix. These tips have been identified by teachers who have shown some success in enagaing female students.

Alternatively, B. Ponchaud (2008) conducted a review within schools where the female uptake of physcis was already particularly high. Ponchaud identified several top tips for teachers to use to engage female students.

1Encourage collaboration in learning through more group discussion and activities.
2Present the big picture whenever possible rather than just concentrating on individual ideas.
3Give students the privacy and confidence to take risks in their thinking and responses by careful use of formative questions and the use of individual whiteboards for example.
4Vary the grouping in class for practical and other activities to avoid some students dominating and others (often girls) becoming passive.
5Don’t ‘talk equations’; develop ideas before using technical language and then use it in context.
6Use a variety of illustrations based on male and female students’ interests.
7Use a variety of analogies that help the student and accept, for discussion, any they suggest.
8Have an explicit rationale for teaching, which includes social relevance.

Table 1: B.Ponchard’s top tips to engage female students in physics

Source: Ponchaud, B, The Girls into Physics project. School Science Review, March 2008, 89(328)

Antonia Rowlinson from St Anthony’s RC girls’ school implemented the ‘top tips’ without the need to alter the curriculum. Physics was contextualised or illustrated in the areas of interest revealed by Ponchaud’s investigation. For example, within the forces module, questions on friction were set in the context of the then current Strictly Come Dancing television programme. The follow-up survey showed that ‘whilst this new teaching technique had not substantially shifted the students’ perceptions about physics there were improvements. More girls saw physics as relevant to their career aspirations’ (Ponchaud 2008).

In conclusion, evidence clearly shows that an under-representation of females is a cause for concern. Girls perceive themselves to be less capable and less interested, than boys, in science and these attitudes can be attributed to historical views of women that are proving hard to dismiss.

Many believe that science educators have a responsibility to change those factors under their control. Over time, individual actions by teachers will help girls to break down the filter in the STEM pipeline and result in equal participation, benefiting society. Teachers should pay attention to the way they address and present physics, watching out for language and terminology, which has a vast psychological effect for females who may suffer from stereotype threat and believe they are not capable. I have also explored the idea that girls respond to physics when it is taught in an accessible and socially relevant way but countered this with the argument of teaching time constraints and available school resources.

Work that examines the overall successful impact of initiatives and policies aimed at promoting the cause of women in science has provided a mixed verdict and can be open to critique. It seems apparent that although these initiatives specifically target the thoroughly researched reasons why females may disengage from physics and science as whole, they cannot systematically prove that the apparent incremental growth in participation figures are down to the programmes and measures they have put in place. Only recently, has initiatives such as UKRC began to collect evaluative data on the amount of women that have been effected by their work. Some texts have assumed a positive impact for various policies, citing increases in the proportions of women pursuing certain courses as evidence for different policies’ success (e.g. WISE, 2010). I have explored such critique on this view including Phipps (2008) who recognises the limited successes and impact of initiatives in general, but tempers this with statements acknowledging the wide range of challenges facing these initiatives. I believe that when more organisations begin to record and monitor engagement rates as a direct result of exposure to a particular initiative, successful programmes will become more apparent. However, I also realize that many of these organisations have limited funding and capabilities disabling them from doing this as they focus budgets on areas addressing there inherit strategy. Until this is addressed with additional funding, I fear the exact effects of many of these initiatives will never be known and it will remain a subject for academic discussion.

References

Blickenstaff, J C (2005). Women and science careers: leaky pipeline or gender filterGender and Education Vol. 17, No. 4, October 2005, pp. 369–386

Cronin, C. & Roger, A. (1999) Theorizing progress: women in science, engineering, and technology in higher education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(6), 639–661.

Computer Club for Girls. Accessed on 16/04/2011 < http://www.cc4g.net/>

Daly.A ,Laura Grant.L2 and Karen Bultitude. K, GIRLS INTO PHYSICS – ACTION RESEARCH, Research brief. [Available online]

Daly.A ,Laura Grant.L2 and Karen Bultitude. K, GIRLS INTO PHYSICS – ACTION RESEARCH,[Available online]

< http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RR103.pdf>

DfES, (2006a), ‘The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programme Report’, HMSO, ISBN: 978-184478-827-9

Henwood, F. (1996), ‘WISE ChoicesUnderstanding occupational decision-making in a climate of equal opportunities for women in science and technology’, Genderand Education, 8 (2), 119-214.

Hollins, M., Murphy, P., Ponchaud, B. and Whitelegg, E. (2006) Girls in the Physics Classroom: A Teachers’ Guide for Action. London, Institute of Physics

Institute of Physics (2010) Physics and: teacher numbers, An Institute of Physics briefing note:

Institute of Physics (2008) Year on year increase of physics A-level entrants. Available from:

Kelly, A. 1987,Science for girlsPhiladelphia, PA: Open University Press

Kirkup, G., Zalevski, A., Maruyama, T. and Batool, I. (2010). Women and men in science, engineering and technology: the UK statistics guide 2010. Bradford: the UKRC.

Murphy, P. and Whitelegg, E. (2006) Girls in the Physics Classroom: A Review of the Research on the Participation of Girls in Physics. London, Institute of Physics

Murphy., P and Whitelegg., E (2006) ‘Girls and physics: continuing barriers to ‘belonging”, Curriculum Journal, 17: 3, 281 — 305

Pell AN (1996). Fixing the leaky pipeline: women scientists in academia. Journal of animal science, 74 (11),

Phipps, A. (2008). Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology: three decades of UK initiatives. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books

Ponchaud, B, The Girls into Physics project. School Science Review, March 2008, 89(328)

Purvis, J. (1981) The double burden of class and gender in the schooling of working-class girls in nineteenth-century England 1800–1870, in: L. Barton & S. Walker (Eds) Schools, teachers and teaching (Barcombe, Falmer Press).

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). Accessed on 16/04/2011

Women in Science and Engineering Research Project. A publication by The Scottish Government.

Accessed on 16/04/2011

Wynarczyk, P. (2006), “An International Investigation into Gender Inequality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)”, Guest Editor, Journal of Equal Opportunities International, Special Issue, Volume 25, issue 8, December.

Wynarczyk, P., (2007a), ‘Addressing the “Gender Gap” in the Managerial Labour Market: The Case of Scientific Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the North East of England’, Management Research News: Communication of Emergent International Management Research, v.30:11, 12

Wynarczyk, P and Hale 2009, Take up of Science and Technology Subjects in Schools and Colleges: A Synthesis Review. Commissioned by: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)

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Free Essays

What is the importance of government expenditure in determining changes in the level of national income?

Introduction

National income (Y) comprises the value of all goods and services produced over a given year(usually a year) within a country which is representing the standard of living. There are three approaches to measure national income, one of which is the expenditure approach can be measured as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Government expenditure is one of the components of the equation for calculating national income is: Y= C + I + G + (X-M). This essay is going to highlight the importance of government expenditure in raising national income and some other influencing factors.

According to Fiscal policy, government can put the injection in variety of areas such as education, health care, defence and agriculture. Firstly, there is a positive correlation between the investment of education and national income. By improving the level of education, the amount of skilled workforce and products will increase as well which means the productivity is climbing to a higher level. For instance, the injection of skill training from government provides the car company more skilled worker. Hence, manufacture’s productivity will improve which means there are more goods and services are produced to meet customers’ demand, consequently increase national income. Not only in the quantity of products, but also the value of goods and services will increase by education injection. As Joseph(2000) mentioned:”a higher education level of people adds more value on their products”, since then economy is allowed to earns more from every product that they sell. For example, a person with low education level can only work in agriculture like farmer which is low in profit. Assume that the person had skill training and became a skilled worker works in a car manufacture, the goods and services he produced become more expensive, national income will also increased by earning more money.

Besides education, government also inject money in health care which is closely related to workers and productivity as well. It is essential that government put plenty of money in health care to insure the productivity and maintain the living standard. Only by the health condition of workers be guaranteed, can the productivity keeps stable and increases. If the employees always ask for day-off because of sickness, the volume of production and the quality of products will definitely decrease. As Alistair(1994) mentioned:” better nutrition made people healthier and better able to fight disease with their bodies’ own defence mechanisms”. There is no doubt that more goods and services will be produced if workers keep in a great working condition and stable work efficiency. On the other hand, standard of living will be improved by enhancing the level of health care, and the consumption expenditure will raising accordingly. Aggregate demand which is equal to national income is growing with the increasing spending. People always expect a better living standard and more goods and services, their orginal living level is improved by government spending more money in health care which stimulating people consume more to reach a higher level of living. Hence, the national income get increased.

However, government can also invest in defence which is the necessary part of a country. The social security of a country is the condition and foundation of all the economy activities processing, it provides economic growth a peace and stable situation. For instance, no firms willing to invest money in a country always at war due to that their profit have no guarantee. Government put money in defence providing a nice condition, so that firms can invest confidently. National income will increase if the level of economic activity raised. However, there is a limitation on the government expenditure in defence. The more money be used to enhance the building of national defence, the less injection will the civil use and needs. As the increase of import lots of weapons for national defence will reduceing the government spending in some other areas like education and transport. People’s purchasing power is going to be reducing since there is a financial deflation, national income will also get attacked.

Most important of all, will be the multiplier effect which means “an increase in spending produces an increase in national income and consumption greater than the initial amount spent.” ( Dictionary.com, 2005). This is because the original increase in any component of the equation will not only stay in that stage or that amount in terms of national income. Since then a small amount of increase in government expenditure will stimulate a greater increase in the national income which allowed government spending making a big difference in raising national income. However, government injection is not always works efficiently. The implement of Fiscal policy need a period of time, time lag make the expenditure not make sense immediately.

However, expenditure is not the only method of controlling national income. Since the limited money of government expenditure collected from the total taxation, government can also raise the national income by adjusting taxation such as value added tax(VAT), income tax and corporation tax through fiscal policy. Government reduce the income tax means people’s income will increase which be stimulated to consume more, since then the national income will increase. As Simon(2010) mentioned, tax expenditure, as a part of government budget, need to be increased since there is an arising loss on annual revenue. Another factor also affect national income is interest rate which can be controlled by government through the positive monetary policy. According to the Ripple Effects mentioned by Parkin(2003), a lower interest rate can stimulate customers consuming and investing more instead of saving, since then, national income will increase as well.

In conclusion, as a component of national income, the increase in government expenditure in different areas like health care, defence and education will increase the national income in variety of approaches. All these measurements are going to stimulating the consumption, however, in some areas government should be aware of the limitation in case the negative effect. Because of the multiplier effect, change in government spending will make a greater difference effect than the original change. However, spending is not the only way government can control to increase consumption. Through the fiscal policy and monetary policy, government can also raise the national income.

Reference

1.Stuglitz, J. E. (2000) Economics of the Public Sector(3rd ed) USA: W.W.Norton & Company

2.Parkin, M. (2003) Economics (6th ed) USA: Pearson Education

3.James, S. and Nobes, C. (2010) The Economics of Taxation (10th ed) UK: Phillip Allen Publisher

4.McGuire, A. etc.(1994) The Economics of Health Care USA: Routl Edge

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Free Essays

Government Regulatory and Legislative Organs

Introduction

In the previous chapter, the researcher’s interview with Shell’s regional manager for environmental affairs was presented. In this chapter I will firstly present my interviews with representatives of the three regulatory agencies in the Nigerian oil industry, namely; the Department of Petroleum Studies, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency. Secondly, interviews with agencies that collaborate with the three regulatory bodies or conduct oversight functions in the oil industry are presented. The organizations are the Nigerian Senate Committee on Environment and ecology and the Rivers State Ministry of Environment.

National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA)

The researcher was able to gain access to the an official representative of NOSDRA with the help of an introductory letter from the University of Leicester and acting Director General arranged for the researcher to interview a key department head for the purpose of this research.

NOSDRA is the sole agency with federal responsibility for regulating oil related environmental matters and is unique in not having responsibility for non-oil industry related environmental matters as is the case for other environmental agencies in Nigeria. The roles of the organization were presented in Chapter two, so the.

The respondent was first asked to explain the statutory functions of NOSDRA. The official explained that the functions are regulated by the federal Ministry of Environment which has the overall mandate to protect and conserve the Nigerian environment while NOSDRA has responsibility for implementing various aspects of the national environmental policy, specificallywithin the petroleum sector.

The respondent was asked how NOSDRA carried out its responsibilities of regulating the oil industry exactly. He noted that the basic responsibility of NOSDRA is to respond to any oil spill through reporting procedures. He explained further “By law, all oil spills irrespective of the quantity must be reported, and the oil companies usually abide by this requirement. However there are cases where oil companies may not know that they have a spill, and, where such spills occur, they are often reported by the community and then we immediately inform the oil companies concerned who have first responsibility to organize remedial measures ” (t13).

The regulator also explained that his agency works in collaboration with others as part of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT). The team is comprised of the oil companies, the regulatory body and the state counterpart, the State Ministry of Environment and the host communities. The JIT jointly determine the cause of the spill. If the spill is the result of sabotage or third party interference, no compensation will be paid but the oil company concerned must make all reasonable efforts to take remedial action. In cases where there is no third party interference, remedial action must be taken and the JIT will carry out a damage assessment and compensation must be paid accordingly.” (t13).

The respondent also argued that the Joint Investigation Visit is necessary because “we have a peculiar situation in Nigeria. In other parts of the world oil spills would be almost certainly accidental but here we have third party interference, that is oil bunkering, oil theft, sabotage and so on, so a joint investigation visit is necessary to ascertain the cause of the spill and the extent of the spread of the spill because, according section 11(c) of the Oil Pipeline Act of 1969, when a spill is caused by third party interference through vandalism or sabotage, the oil company that is operating in that area does not have to pay compensation but still has to take remedial action ”(t13).

A JIV approach is also necessary because of the poor levels of trust between the oil companies and the community. The community where the spill occurs may sometimes argue that the spill has been caused by equipment failure or human errors in maintenance while the oil company may also argue that it is sabotage or third party interference. The senior official explained that according to the law “there are three ways of reporting oil spills, first by telephone so that we can immediately deploy our staff. Secondly, when it happens the community filled a form called from A when we get there we establish the cause and the extent of the spill and the facility owners are required to put remedial measures in place within the first 14 days, depending on the nature and extent we do remediation especially when the screening shows that it could have negative impact on human health and the environment” (t13).

However, the official explained that in some cases it has not been possible to comply with the legal requirement to respond to a report of a spill within 24 hours and to put in place remedial measures within two weeks because of hostility from the community who sometimes delayed the response because of the belief that a delay would lead to a greater spill and the opportunity to claim morecompensation. “In one instance, where the spill was caused by third party interference, the community took the company to the court to get an injunction restraining the facility owner from gaining access. It took about four meetings before we could persuade the host community to remove the junction in the court before we could gain access to stop the spill. This process took about a month and half, imagine a breach leaking for that period, so those are some of the problems we face in responding to oil spills in Nigeria” (t13).

The local communities the respondent agued consider any oil spill on the environment as something of a bonanza, so they try to delay the response, and, in some cases, the Joint Investigation Team has to pay for ‘permits’ to enter the affected area, to access the facility to stop the source of the spill, resulting in increased environmental damage. He pointed out that Joint investigation visits were therefore very difficult and complicated. The senior NOSDRA official noted that the claim by the community that JIV reports are sometimes ignored or altered under Oil Company’s pressure may not be “entirely correct, the reason being this is if we are part of the joint investigation team that carry out the joint investigation visit, if the diver goes down there and comes up with a report that it is equipment failure, obviously it is of upheld. It is not possible for a manager who sat in the office to say what is there, for instance I am there, am relying more on the report submitted by my officer, I may have the mental impression of what happen could be for instance pipeline licking or manifold under water, two reasons could be, It could be vandals who could divedown to alter the pipelines but it is more probable that it is corrosion because, the pipelines are within an area that is perpetually wet, wet terrain were the rate of erosion will be very high” (t13).

The senior regulator is also of the opinion that it is possible the water which is essentially salty may hasten the level of corrosion couple with the pressure inside and outside the pipelines there could be a pipeline enrapture. According to him this is more of equipment failure than third party interference. However, in some cases NOSDRA experience a situation where during the crisis time some people want to destroy pipeline and detonate dynamite by blowing them up and in such cases large spills are recorded and nobody knows it is sabotage or third party interference.

Another angle according to the NOSDRA representative is that “in many cases where JIV’s are carried out host communities are very hostile and aggressive even when they know the cause is third party interference and may attempt to get the regulators to report that it is equipment failure because that is the only way compensation can be guaranteed. If you refuse, you may be attacked. Our approach in these situations is to remain calm and not release our findings until later from a less intimidating environment” (t13).

I ask the NOSDRA official what are the main cause of oil spills in Nigeria. He cited statistics released by individual oil companies and the official statistics kept by NOSDRA since the inception of the agency in 2006 he claimed that third party interference has been the main cause of oil spills rather than equipment failure. “This was proved by individual companies and by aggregate of all, and of cause when people tell you they are going to blew up your pipelines and indeed they carry out the threat, so all of this is responsible for the high rate of oil spill which in our opinion degraded the environment”(t13).

However, the regulator noted that equipment failure was a cause of some spills; he cited the case of Exxon-Mobil, which operates mainly offshore, and noted the problems they had had with salt water corrosion of pipelines.

The regulator also explained that as well as its major role of responding to oil spills, NOSDRA was also mandated to sanction violations of environmental laws. He said after every JIV a scope is set and his agency follow up to ensure compliance. However, in some cases, he noted that some oil companies do not comply in a timely manner. “Shell was guilty of that and we imposed a fine of one million naira (about $6,600) on it” (t13). The regulator conceded that the amount was relatively small but noted that “NOSDRA cannot raise the amount without amending the law itself” (t13). The Manager also explained that NOSDRA had also previously sanctioned The Pipeline and Production Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The NOSDRA regulator noted that the financial penalties imposed on oil companies (see above) had helped to change the attitude of the oil companies towards environmental issues, because of the global attention on good environmental practices. The official suggested that the penalties imposed on Shell had led to significant changes in their environmental policies and procedures. Before the fine was imposed, Shell had only had a Health, Safety and Environment manager who had to deal with a wide range of issues whereas now they had developed a much more comprehensive structure with a manager for oil response, a Manager for remediation, a manager for compensation issues communications manager who had the task of ‘interfacing’ with government regulatory agencies. The regulator explained that “at least know they have seen that there is need to comply because as an international oil company if anything happens to it, it will affect its shares in the New York stock exchange, just like BP. And when investors noticed you are causing environmental pollution, they will either refuse to invest in your company or de-invest their existing share and the company know what can come out of it, that is why they quickly adjusted”(t13).

The manager admitted that enforcing environmental regulations in the petroleum industry has been a major challenge for NOSDRA. He explained that lack of funding from the government was becoming a major problem for his organization. “Our immediate challenge is lack of funding, we need adequate funding to enable us to purchase technical equipment and to provide effective logistical support, which would mean we could respond more rapidly, because speed is the key to effective oil spill response”(t13).

The researcher asked the respondent whether or not NOSDRA received any other funding besides the government statutory allocation, he replied that “The funding of this agency comes mainly from statutory allocations. At the beginning of each fiscal year the budget is set and we have to work within this budget but we have been exploring other possibilities such as getting some form of assistance from international donors” (t13).

On collaboration between NOSDRA and other regulators, the Manger explained that his agency maintained a good relationship with other stakeholders particularly these in the Joint Investigation Team. However, he observed that there was a problem of overlapping functions among the regulators; some of these problems he argued are created by the human factors.

“There are overlapping responsibilities between the Ministry of Environment and NOSDRA, although the government has tried to reconcile these, there has been an element of territoriality involved a reluctance to give up areas of influence so there is still some overlap in functions with respect to regulating the petroleum sector. But in the last 3 to 4 years the attrition was high but know it is weathering down they are beginning to concede day by day to the fact that environmental issues should aptly be in the environment ministries and its agencies like NOSDRA” (t13).

The next section will present my interview with the second regulatory agency also under the Federal ministry of Environment.

National Environmental Standard Regulatory Agency (NESREA)

This government agency has its head office in the centre of the Federal capital territory. Gaining access to this agency was problematic and the researcher had to apply through the Ministry of Environment. The agency’s Director General arranged for the researcher to interview one of her principal officers a US trained environmentalist.

The senior official made it clear that the interview would only last for only thirty minutes because of prior commitments. He informed the researcher that the primary mandate of his agency is to protect the Nigerian environment and to thus ensure that human health is also protected. He also noted that the agency ensures that all regulations and standards are properly implemented at a national level. While carrying out this function, the agency collaborates with other stake holders.

“We sign a memorandum of understanding with various agencies, organizations, state governments and the private sector. In fact, any agency that has related responsibilities to those of NESREA. We also work closely with state government that’s why we have about 16 state offices across the country in addition to the six zonal Headquarters, which have responsibility for the states within the zone just like the same six geo political structures in the country. The reason is that we work closely with the state and part of that is that interrelationship and cooperation is to let the states have some level of ownership, were ever we go the state government provided us with an office so that they will have some sense of ownership” (t14).

The NESREA official also noted that his agency also collaborates with individuals, civil society, academia and international organizations. He pointed out that one of the major achievements of NESREA has been to develop eleven new regulations already documented and thirteen more are undergoing expert review. According to him “the laws are meant to balance our environmental consideration in every aspect of our development effort” (t14).

The researcher asked the respondent to outline what his agency considered to be source of environmental degradation and the role of his agency in oil related environmental degradation in the Niger Delta. He argued that in Nigeria environmental degradation is not limited to oil related degradation He explained “There are lots of forms of environmental degradation, of course, and particularly land degradation in the North and problems with desertification and in the South with erosion” (t14). However, he noted that oil pollution in the Niger Delta is a major problem for his agency. In relation to this, he noted the agency was also concerned with the level of poverty in Nigeria, the official said “poverty is a problem because it causes indoors pollution the local communities use large quantities of firewood by for cooking and unfortunately even those who do a lot of smoking are creating problem” (t14).

The respondent further explained that another major threat to the environment is the problem of disposal of old electrical goods. According to the senior official Nigeria is becoming a global dumping ground for unserviceable, end of life electronic products. As a government regulatory agency, he explained “we check the influx of e-waste to Nigeria, we have to also deal with those who are bringing them in, and we have to work closely with the Alaba (Lagos) International Electronics Market, because a lot of guys are bringing shipment from there. We also have to work closely with the consumer protection council and standards organizations of Nigeria because part of the problem relates to the standards of equipment coming into Nigeria. There’s no point importing equipment that is waste even before arrival” (t13).

In order to track address the problem of electronic dumping and other related abuses NESREA is also involved in environmental education awareness campaign involving security agencies like Nigeria Police, the immigration and customs services and the road safety commission. The purpose of the education programmes is to give officials of these agencies the tools to identify environmental violations, understand the legal implications of these and the role of these agencies in enforcing environmental legislation. He cited the example of NESREA’s collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Commission to reduce vehicular emissions, with the Nigerian police to report and respond to noise or air pollution. NESREA also work with the immigration authorities to prevent the illegal smuggling of flora and fauna across the Nigerian borders, which in the opinion of the official, is also another source of environmental degradation. There is also close cooperation with the Nigerian customs service to stop the importation of e-waste.

The researcher asked the senior official what specific role his agency is playing in regulating the Nigerian oil industry. He noted that the only function his organization has in regulating the oil sector is in ensuring that whatever terms were reached in public hearings involving oil companies and oil communities are complied with either by the Oil Company or the communities. He also noted that it was the responsibility of NOSDRA. However, the respondent explained that the regional offices conduct inspections of oil facilities on occasion and any environmental violations are reported to head office, and in some cases the agency also encourages the neighborhood watch to report contraventions on environment. When such reports are received NESREA investigates and can prosecute violators if necessary. NESREA also ensures compliance with any actions imposed by the courts in such cases.

Although NESREA has a mandate to protect the environment, the official noted that there was some overlap in responsibility and function with other agencies. However, he maintained that NESREA is doing everything possible to find common ground to work together with other agencies without losing focus on the primary objective of the agency.

Next I will present a similar visit to Department of Petroleum resources, a federal government agency that also played a key role in the petroleum sector.

Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR)

The interview with the DPR differed from the other interviews in that the researcher was given access to, four officials to interviews. However, unlike the previous interviews, these officials refused to be identified or to allow the interview to be recorded. They stated that they belonged to the ethnic groups inhabiting the Niger Delta and did not want to risk being identified through the research as this could jeopardize their personal safety, despite the researcher’s assurance of identity protection. The interview was therefore carried out in a form of focus group and off tape. The officials discussed the official version of the environmental problem from their organizational perspective and at the same time their personal feelings as Nigerians. It is worth pointing out that during the discussions, there was wide disagreement between the participants and various contradictions and inconsistencies emerged. As is discussed further below. The DPR officials agreed to answer only questions that concerned their operational responsibilities and not issues relating to the politics of the Nigerian oil industry. However, the discussion did include some discussion of this more controversial area.

The DPR focus group were asked questions on seven key areas including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), environmental laws, collaborating with other agencies to tackle environmental problems in the petroleum industry, the challenges and constrains, on multiple regulations, the vision of the department and the opinion of the DPR on environmental degradation in the Niger Delta.

According to the respondents, the environmental legislation in place today are effective, unlike in the early 90’s, when there was no specific law specifying who is responsible for environmental issues in the oil sector. However, they noted that the ‘Nigerian factor’ is always a problem. The respondents were asked what they meant by the ‘Nigerian factor’, however, they reminded the researcher that, as a Nigerian, he should understand this concept and that as civil servants they would not want to say more than that.

The respondents all agreed that implementing environmental legislation in Nigeria is difficult because of the resistance from some oil companies, however, the DPR tries to apply sanctions were necessary. According to the respondents “What is also helping us now as a regulatory agency is the general level of environmental awareness, on issues like climate change and global warming. There are now powerful NGO’s raising public awareness of environmental problems and, from our experience, this puts pressure on the oil companies to be environmentally aware. Another forum Are the social networks like ‘Twitter and ‘Face book’, which also heighten public awareness, no company wants to have a bitter experience of BP in the Gulf of Mexico” (FN18). This reason, according to one of the respondents, is now forcing the parent companies to monitor the activities of their subsidiaries worldwide to ensure compliance with good environmental practices. This is unlike before when the subsidiaries is another countries are treated as entities.

I ask my respondents how DPR collaborate with other agencies in the sector. The argued that regulating the oil industry requires close collaboration among the multiple agencies as provided by relevant laws. However, the respondents were of the opinion that the collaboration is not working as it should. This, according to one of them is due to the lack of well defined roles and boundaries for each regulatory agency. One of them cited the example of NOSDRA as one of the agencies that abandon its primary mandate as a third tier regulatory agency to be involved in non-oil spill issues (FN18). They argued that “unless Nigeria adopted a model similar to that used in the United States where the Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) formulates laws, which are widely applicable to the agencies both at state and local levels, in Nigeria the level of ignorance of the laws and greed among the regulators make the problem more severe” (FN18).

As well as the problem of collaboration among the regulatory agencies, the Department of Petroleum resources is also facing some challenges and constrains in respect of funding which in some cases have seriously impacted on the DPR’s effectiveness. The respondents all agreed that funding is a major problem, they claim DPR has the technical know-how however, logistics and security has changed all that, “we can’t get to relevant locations on our own, we don’t have the necessary logistics, the closest we can do on our own is to visit downstream sector, but in upstream sector is impossible we can’t” (FN18). The respondents were asked to explain the logistics problem, and they noted that they were supposed to be provided with helicopters, boats, and operational road vehicles. At present, they only have operational vehicles, and at times due to the topographical nature of the Niger Delta they had to abandon them and trek for several kilometers before reaching sites. One of the respondents explained that they had to rely on oil companies to provide them with logistical support like helicopters and boats. In relation to this, one of them advised me to read the Irekife Report (1991) which suggested ways the DPR should be funded to be more effective.

Another major challenge for the DPR according to the respondents comes from the oil communities themselves “who at times will not allow access by DPR/Joint Investigation Team due to criminality and greed, there are some cases where one of the parties challenged the findings of the Joint Investigation Team report. Sometimes they use threats to change the findings of the report and on occasion warn the JIT not to come otherwise they will attack the team” (FN18).

The officials also noted that certain communities would justify their criminality using cultural reasons, stating that some areas were sacred, and could not be visited by non-indigenes as this would bring calamity on the community. On occasions, they also request to perform traditional rituals before access is granted. The official stated that thought these were often deliberate attempts to delay access to the spill in order to increase the amount of environmental damage and the corresponding amount of compensation. At times we are compelled to do our job by proxy and they believe the more the spill the more the compensation” (FN18). The researcher asked the respondents to explain what exactly he meant ‘by proxy’ but he was prevented by another respondent from providing further explanation, because that will mean compromising their personal safety.

Finally, the respondents were asked for their opinion on the causes of environmental degradation in the Niger Delta. One of the officials explained that “oil theft account for about 90 percent of the oil spills, which is widespread despite the danger to the population and the environment. The attraction of making ‘quick money’ makes it very difficult for some people to resist the temptation of stealing oil from the oil facilities” (FN18).

Other major challenges to both the environment and public health over the last ten years, according to the respondents, include crude oil theft And illegal refining. However, the DPR officials also noted that equipment failure, corrosion, operational error (human error) had also led to oil spills and environmental degradation. On the overall they argued, DPR has zero tolerance approach to oil related environmental degradation, though with the official could not explain if there is any target set to achieve this.

The officials also express their own opinion as Nigerians. They argued that if there were more honesty and integrity over the way both environmental and oil sector is managed in Nigeria, then the environmental problems would be minimal if not eradicated completely “But as long as corruption is widespread, particularly among the government officials and the political class, then our environment will continue to suffer degradation ” (FN18).

In the following section, the interviews with the official of the Nigerian Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology and with the representative of the Rivers State Ministry of Environment are presented.

Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology

The Nigerian senate committee on environment and ecology is one of the standing committees of the Nigerian legislature or the national assembly. The primary responsibility of this committee is to make laws on all issues related to the environment in Nigeria. The committee oversees environmental matters under the standing rules of the Nigerian senate. The committee legislates on issues like environmental pollution, air water, land degradation, and matters relating to marine pollution.

The committee is also responsible for allocating funds to all agencies under the federal Ministry of Environment. Another mandate of this committee is to identify key projects within the environmental sector and ensure the government gave them the priority they deserve. A third main responsibility of this committee is to perform an oversight function for the national environmental sector through monitoring of budgetary allocations and expenditure on the projects that were approved originally in budgets.Nigerian legislature is a bi-cameral and, therefore, the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecologyperforms its legislative duties in tandem with the sister committee in the Federal House of Representative.Before any bill becomes law or budgetary allocations and projects are approved, the two committees must harmonize any differences in their positions before is forwarded to the two chambers for ratification and assent by the Nigerian President.

From the discussion above, it can be seen that the Senate Committee is strategically importance in the environmental sector in Nigeria and, therefore, an essential source of information in the data collection process. Findings from the earlier interviews with agencies regulating the oil sector and from the oil communities suggested that environmental laws in Nigeria are either obsolete or they are not effective enough to enforce any regulation. In addition, it had been suggested that the government was too corrupt to enforce standards or enforce sanctions when the laws were violated.

My original plan was to meet with the two chairs of the Committees in the Senate and House of representatives respectively. However the researcher was unable to interview the House Committee chair despite five separate interviews having been arranged. Therefore, the researcher decided to focus on the senate committee, the superior committee by hierarchy.

The interview covered five major issues. First, the perception of the Nigerian Senate on environmental issues in Nigeria, second, the legislative framework of environmental legislation, third, the politics of environmental legislation in Nigeria, fourth, how the committee regulates the regulators and, finally, theopinion of the Nigerian Senate on global environmental issues .

According to the clerk senate committee the environmental problems in the Niger Delta cannot be treated in isolation because every area in the country is crying for attention “In the Northern part of the country the desert is encroaching at an alarming rate, claiming about five kilometers per annum, and this makes drought increasingly likely as new diseases are emerging, people and animals are dying and there are more and more conflicts between farmers and herdsman over grazing lands. If you take the Southeastern part of the country the erosion, the land slide clearing villages and taking people along with them recoding lot of death, people will wake up and they are buried under the ground. So the focus is not only on the Niger Delta. But agreed there are major problems in the Niger Delta like pollution, unprecedented soil degradation, farmlands, water, everything is polluted, gas flare, public health, their houses roof tops etc. So I would say that no one problem is more important than the other but we must use a holistic approach to tackle all the problems simultaneously, rather than focus on one thing and neglect the other problems”(t15).

The respondent argued that most of the laws regulating the environment in Nigeria are not in line with contemporary environmental challenges. She stated “We have a number of laws dating back to the 1950’s, 60’s and most of these laws are not fit for purpose and are no longer relevant to contemporary realities, or address current environmental issues as set out by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Committee, so a lacuna exists in terms of legislation with respect to the environment sector” (t15).

In addition the respondent noted that one of the major problems in developing effective environmental legislation in the past was the relatively unstable democracy in Nigeria where military coups had interrupted the development of an effective legislative framework. Nevertheless, she was of the opinion that the stable democracy attained since the inception of this political dispensation in 1999 has meant the, legislature had been able develop the legal framework and create, for example, the agencies regulating the environmental sector. She noted that these agencies were already having a positive impact on environmental protection. The Clerk explained that as at now the National assembly had created a number of bills that were presently before the legislature. She noted that these included the Climate Change bill that would lead to the establishment of climate change commission, the Petroleum Industry Bill, the Biodiversity bill, the Bio Safety bill and Gas Flaring bill, which are intended to improve the sector and make operators to comply with acceptable standards.

The researcher asked the respondent to what extent the problem of environmental legislation affect the environmental regulations in Nigeria. The respondent explained that most of the problems are economic and political in nature. She argued that “There is a school of thought that says we don’t have money to keep setting up agencies, that the financial resources required are huge, and that we should strengthen the existing ones and give them more teeth to function instead of duplicating agencies to create jobs for the boys. If you want to give specific task to specific agency, for the purpose of effectiveness and productivity there will be nothing wrong creating it, like setting up the Climate Change Commission which is absolutely necessary in the face of the present environmental trends” (t15). On the other side another group is saying we cannot set it up because we don’t have money instead let us strengthen NESREA or NOSDRA to take care of the demands by the political class. Currently, the national assembly is being asked to create a Desertification Commission by some northern Senators and then the Senators from the eastern part of Nigeria also want erosion commission and according to the committee Clerk the committee is of the opinion that one agency can be established to cater for both desertification and erosion.

The respondent also acknowledged that the roles of the various regulatory agencies in the environmental sector sometimes overlap and leads to clashes of interest. She stated “The Committee has noted that there is some overlap in terms of function and responsibility among the regulating agencies both NOSDRA, NESREA, DPR and parental ministries and some other agencies. The committee is studying the problemto see how we can reduce the overlap and make them more effective and efficient. The senate is currently formulating amendments to strengthen them and also remove areas of duplication in the existing legislation so that they can reflect the provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” (t15).

The Clerk also noted that the Senate Committee has a limited constitutional mandate to drive these changes as the main role of the Committee is purely one of oversight in relation to the regulators. She pointed out that the Ministries of Environment and Petroleum Resources are solely responsible for the activities of these agencies. She stated “We are not responsible for their day to day operations but our role is to see the outcome of the field assignment, how they are doing this particular job that has been budgeted for in the budget how effectively they carry out their role is not in our mandate. We are more concerned with the impact they are having on the environment than how they carry out their duties and we don’t interfere in their internal operations” (t15).

The researcher asked from the respondent if the existing environmental legislation was effective enough to enforce standards in the oil industry. The respondent had doubts as to whether such legislation is effective enough to regulate the oil industry in Nigeria. Though the committee receives series of petitions from the affected oil communities which has been there for over years, but the Committee, according to the respondent, has been making serious efforts to tackle the problems, she noted that the problems are multi faceted and that, on the one hand, the oil companies claim it is sabotage, while, on the other hand, the community claim the causes are mainly operational failures.

According to the respondent the Committee was committed to ensuring that the operators operate within the standards that are globally acceptable, she argued that “Nigeria is not the only country where oil exploration and extraction is taking place and this exploration is mostly governed by set standards. Nigeria should follow the same standards, we know that the we need to strengthen legislation to further enforce compliance in Nigeria, and we are really working hard to achieve this. We are talking with the oil companies and visiting locations to see things for ourselves and, despite the enormity of the problems we are trying to ensure something is done” (t15).

Concerning the use of sanctions and compliance, the senate committee acknowledges it doesn’t enforce any sanctions when there are violations. The Committee has no constitutional mandate to do this. The regulatory agencies have the responsibility to impose sanctions such as shutting down the operations of the companies, taking them to court or fining them. The Senate can only direct the relevant agencies to take action or summon them for investigative purposes or public hearings. The Clerk was also of the opinion that while there was a need for proper enforcement of the law, there was also a need for enlightenment and education. She noted that people and corporations need to understand the dangers of degrading the environment and the future consequences. According to her, Nigeria is now taking the lead in Africa by creating the first national Climate Change Commission to tackle the issues of climate change.

This section will be followed up with a visit and interview with a state politician and a senior official in the Rivers State Ministry of Environment, Port Harcourt.

Rivers State Ministry of Environment

The researcher had initially not been intending to interview key personnel in the Rivers state but it soon became clear that it would be necessary to try and interview representatives of the Rivers State Ministry of the Environment. This was because the ministry represents the environmental interests of the Rivers State government and at the same time has close connections to the communities and the oil companies in the area.

Access to state environmental official who is also a local politician was difficult at the beginning the interview had to be rescheduled more than five times before access was gained to interview the senior government official.

The ‘interview’ was unusual in that it took the form of a groupinterview with journalists who were doing a personality profile interview with the politician. Initially, a separate interview had been requested but this was turned down on the grounds of time pressures. The discussion with the senior official concerned the role of his ministry on matters relating to oil related environmental issues, environmental laws, and relationships with the oil companies, the federal government, and the communities, other regulatory agencies in the sector and the environmental politics in the state.

The major function of the ministry is to safeguard the environment of Rivers State. Its primary mandate is to formulate, execute and review policies on environment and ecological matters within the state, monitor and evaluate environmental and ecological programmes and projects in the state and to protect the physical, biological and chemical environment of the state. Its mission statement is to bequeath to the present and future generations of the state a healthy and sustainable environment.

The Ministry also liaises with other key stake holders in the environmental sector of Rivers state. The ministry is one of the regulators in the sector it works with the DPR, NESREA, and NOSDRA in particular. The ministry is also part of Joint Investigation Team that investigates oil damaged sites, the impact of the spill on the environment and possible claims for compensation. By law, spills have to be reported to the Ministry within 24 hours by the oil companies or the impacted community.

The Ministry is also involved in the payment of compensation, the cleaning and remediation of the sites. The Ministry is also responsible for re-inspecting affected sites after they have been cleaned, and remediated. If the Ministry is satisfied with the remediation efforts, a certificate is issued to that effect, and if it is deemed unsatisfactory, the facility owner is urged to go back to site. As a key stake holder in the regulatory process, the senior government official was asked his opinion on the relationship between his organisation and the oil corporations in the state.

In relation to this, he noted “it has been problematic dealing with them because they do not apply the same standards in Nigeria as they do elsewhere. You will also find out that they also exhibit a high level of ignorance here, because when you have a polluted environment, it also affects you because that is where you work, that is where your family exist so I don’t see any reason why somebody who is very well enlighten and who understands this problems will want to allow a polluted environment to remain for the purposes of making profit. We have to be alive to enjoy the money we are making” (t21).

The respondent was also of the opinion that the responses to the cases of spills by the oil companies were dictated more by the economic value or its importance to them than making good the environment. “I don’t think they feel sorry that they are polluting the environment, they are more concerned with the cost of the oil spilled. If it is possible not to lose money and continue polluting the environment; you won’t get any reaction from them” (t.21). The official explained that the Ministry had organized a corporate forum to consider ways to minimize the emission of green gases and to combat climate change, which none of the oil companies had attended. He further explained that the oil companies had different set of policies of paying compensation to impacted communities. In Nigeria the responsibility of determining compensation rests with the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) The senior official noted that the OPTS “is made up of only the facility owners, how can you be the polluter and at the same time also determine how much you pay for polluting The proximate sufferers are not members of the OPTS. So what it means is that there is a line you cannot exceed in terms of compensation” (t21). Again on compensation, if it is discovered that the spill was the result of sabotage, you don’t pay compensation, the Ministry of Environment is also of the opinion that this policy is not fair it is completely against the interest of the people who suffer such spills. The respondent sighted example as follows:

“If a spill occurs in community ‘A’ and affects innocent and innocent man in community ‘D’ far away from community ‘A’ got his fishing pond or farm affected by that spill, from community ‘D’ that innocent man in community ‘D’ even though loses his source of livelihood completely and if it is discovered that the spill in community ‘A’ was as a result of sabotage the man impacted in community ‘D’ who was not part of the sabotage who did not contribute in any way is entitled to nothing” (t21).

The senior official argued there is this high level of negligence on the part of the facilities owners and the third party is made to suffer. The innocent person should not have to suffer from the negligence of the people who are supposed to secure the pipes against sabotage. He also claimed that when a spill occurs the oil companies do not make serious efforts to contain or clean the spill as stipulated by law nor in the time period specified. He cited several spills that had not been cleaned for two to three years in which time the spill had spread and affected a much wider area than it should have. According to him the Rivers state government was introducing new laws as a result to address certain aspects of compensation procedures. He noted that in the new bill “If there is a spill there, it must be contained and cleaned up, within a given time. If it is not done within this time, the the facility owner will be fined. If there is an impact on the property of the third party and it is clearly discovered that he was not part of the sabotage he should be entitled to compensation. Whoever is responsible for safeguarding that facility should pay compensation for being negligent; whether it is the government or the facility owner” (t21).

The respondent was asked if the oil companies are above the law based on his earlier claims. He explained that the companies are not really above the law but the Nigerian government has a major snag and that is why it is unable to take proactive step just like the USA did in the case of Gulf of Mexico spill incidence. He noted that “This is because the relationship that exists between government organisations and the facility owners in Nigeria is not the same type of relationship that exist between the US government and the oil companies that operates in the USA. It is not that they are above the law but because the contractual basis on which the oil companies operate is that of a joint venture between the oil companies and Nigerian government. In a joint venture situation if your partner is in default it means you are part of it, too. We are of the opinion that we don’t need to run a joint venture or review the venture but to cancel the contract. Let the companies operate pay what they ought to pay to the Nigerian government and be fully responsible for whatever misconduct that arises from their operations, that way the government will be able to stand up and say we cannot tolerate this in our environment” (t21).

Having discussed the nature of relationship between his ministry and the oil companies in Rivers state, my respondent was asked about the kind of relationship that exist between the Ministry and the oil communities. He stated that “There is also high level of ignorance on the part of the communities, which is hinged on the literacy level. Here you find that in a community that is supposed to care about its environment, some elements of the community are actively responsible for pollution of the environment. Of course, we have very high levels of sabotage in this part of the world, people sabotage oil facilities to make money and it is unfortunate situation. Aside the issue of sabotage even third party sometimes they try to prevent the containment of the spill because they also want the spill to extend to their own area so they can make compensation claims and there is little concern about the impact of this on the immediate environment”(t21). Though the senior official blamed the communities for this, he is also of the opinion the system for paying compensation, as explained previously, played a key role in inciting people to sabotage as the people felt exploited by the facility owners. He cited an example of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, where funds were immediately set aside for compensation, but it never happened here in Nigeria. As a result of this shortcoming, the senior government official said the Rivers state government was implementing new environmental legislation in the state which will guarantee justice to both parties. The newly propose law stipulates that “Whereas if there is a spill there must be a time line within which facility owner must curve the spill, within which you must contain it, you must clean it, within a particular period which you must carry out remediation, if you don’t do it within this time line, then the facility owner is also committing an offence and will be finalised. Again if there is an impact on the property of the third party and it is clearly discovered that he was not part of the sabotage he should be entitled to compensation”(t21).

The official also added that “The state government is also determined to discourage people from sabotaging the facilities, so we have also included in the new bill penalties for sabotage should be long term imprisonment or death sentence” (t21). Despite the efforts of the state government, the official claimed that people don’t understand the technicalities and so they don’t appreciate what the government is doing, to protect them.

The respondent was asked how effective the present environmental laws were. He noted that existing environmental laws are either difficult to enforce or not in line with contemporary realities as some of the laws were made over twenty years ago. He cited the example with one of the environmental laws in Rivers state which is on environmental litter. The law forbids littering and street hawking. It is a criminal offence and the penalty on conviction carries a fine of five hundred naira (?1.90). This, according to him is not realistic because “you have to carry out the arrest, have a trial and the outcome of all this is a five hundred naira fine” (t21). According to him in most cases “people ask us why you wasted your time to go through legal process instead of just asking me to pay five hundred naira (?1.90) and continue my business” (t21). The respondent said a new compendium of all environmental legislations in Nigeria is planned so that the country will have a one stop shop for environmental laws.

Another major feature of the proposed environmental laws is that it addresses the issue of multiple regulatory agencies in the petroleum sector. The respondent stated that multiple regulations “we are not desirable omen because in this sector you need specialisation. The agencies presently carry out virtually the same assignments and it does not make sense. But it is better if you have specialised agencies carrying out specialised tasks. Presently, because of our level of development, you find out that most of these agencies overlap, most of them virtually do the same thing” (t21).

I ask the respondent his opinion about the politics of environment in the Niger Delta. He noted that environmental problems were not the result of political issues. But that they had become politicised. According to him “Today, President Jonathan is from the south-south and he has to be a president, if not there will be no Nigeria, because the oil money comes from this part of the country, because we now agitated that this place has been polluted we must be given opportunity to also hold that office, that is political” (t21).

The respondent also claimed that some environmental problems in the Delta were the result of “ past bad administrations in that sector, it started as a result of greed by the operators in that sector, the race for profit has resulted negligence over issues that ordinarily will not have been neglected Some of the pipelines that criss-cross the Niger Delta are over 50 years but they are still being used. In other places they would have been changed” (t21). The respondent is also of the opinion that the environmental problems are not only hinged on political issues, it is also hinged on problems that has made people over years to see themselves as helpless, being denied of their source of livelihood, being deprived of existence and of course being very hungry, there is an abject poverty in the Niger Delta region. He equates the situation to that of a goose that lay the golden egg but without anything to eat.

The respondent also claimed that “In some places the oil heads are so close to people’s homes that they literally hang their clothes on, yet they don’t have food to eat, there is no portable water, no clinics, and yet every other day wealth is leaving that place. This is taking place while yields on farmlands are going down all the time oil pollution is affecting the livelihoods of fishermen etc” (t21). According to him when people are exposed to such situations, definitely you will expect a reaction because they are rendered jobless “an idle mind is a devils workshop” (t21).

The researcher reminded the respondent that the communities had claimed that politicians at all levels were responsible for their predicament, and they ignored them until election periods As a politician, he agreed to some extent but he also blamed the behaviour of the people during elections “when they come back to them they demand money before voting and when they give them money what do you expect?” (t21). He also stated that people should not be blamed for demanding money before voting, “if you want to balance it you will also find out that the people are hungry, and so we come back to them with little food rather than stay back and die they will prefer to chase that little food and allow you take the vote (t21).

Finally, the senior official of the Rivers State Ministry of Environment was asked to describe the relationship between his ministry and the federal Ministry of Environment. His explained that, by law, his ministry was supposed to work in conjunction with the federal Ministry of Environment, but it is only recently we started having some positive romance with the federal ministry of environment on two projects the integrated waste management scheme and the proposed plastic recycling plant. Besides these two projects we have not felt the presence of the federal government. Being as it may this projects are yet to pick up” (t21).

Conclusion

This chapter presented the researcher’s interviews with the five regulatory agencies in the Nigerian oil industry. The interviews have been presented almost verbatim with little explanatory commentary to better represent the views of the respondents.In the next chapter, three interviews are presented. The first is with the representative of the United Nations Environmental Programme in Ogoniland and a senior security official in one of the security outfits in the Niger Delta and lastly the ‘founding father’ of the Nigerian oil industry. It is hoped this will provide a rich source of information and opinion to inform the thesis from the perspective of those outside the Nigerian oil industry.

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How does Mill’s conception of representative government attempt to prevent the ‘tyranny of the majority’ and dull the radical implications of utilitarianism?

Introduction

With any essay on a political thinker it is probably a necessity to start with a brief introduction to their personal history and upbringing, not only to give a historical introduction to the thinker but the story of their early and later days of life give shape to just what events and conflicts fixed them into their political concepts and ways of thinking. John Mill was born on the 20th of May 1806. From an early age he was already in a political arena as his father James Mill was a politically focused man, James had been [1] “raised and educated to be the champion of the utilitarian philosophy worked out by his father and Jeremy Bentham [1]. With his father’s philosophical up bringing he was intent to bring his son up to also be well educated, James sought to make John have a diverse sphere of knowledge and so John [2] “was taught Greek from the age of three, Latin from eight and began the study of logic and political economy at ten” [2]. Mill’s exceptionally broad knowledge led to a sense of uncertainty in his thinking. He began to query Bethamite beliefs that his father had brought him up to believe. In his confusion and thirst to find himself and form his own, and in his mind, right philosophical outlook on life many options were taken into consideration to help form the man we study today. Despite his lust for representative democracy, he feared the tyranny of the majority occurring. Mills was determined to ensure tyranny did not manifest itself.

So before we can properly delve into understanding Mill and his concepts to prevent tyranny and help dull down the radical implications of utilitarianism we need to first have a look at what utilitarianism actually is. Utilitarianism is a concept which attempts to use good utilities in life for the good of society. In the eyes of James Mill the thoughts of all in society were equal. He believed that happiness was a concept that was for all of society. John Mill however was under the view that the views of the lower classes may not, in the longer term of things be good for their better interests. Despite being a utilitarian Mill was also very critical of the beliefs, he was intent on making his own form of utilitarianism keeping the ideas he admired and removing those that he disagreed with. He was under the opinion that utilitarianism as a concept could possibly obstruct the people academically, in his mind knowledge may not encourage as much good as other possible things, but in the long run could create a better future. Mill feared tyranny attacking the upper classes of society due to lack of education and envy of the working classes. Mill saw the humanity as progressive and was under the opinion that in life our actions should be ones that would benefit human progression in society currently and for future generations. He saw education as a key part of life; education enables us to better ourselves, we need to work to be able to achieve the best lives for ourselves. Despite the fact that the uneducated and jobless in life have less stress and concerns in life, they do not have the benefits of a broad mind and the joys of the arts and the finer things in life. Mill had intense fear of tyranny of the majority. Mill’s saw the elite as the citizens that provided furthered intellectual thinking and who advanced society. Mill saw an unbalance within society; the lower classes would be content and happy to live life in a selfishly happy manner, their stubbornness preventing the elite from improving society for all. Mill’s had a great appreciation for education and thought little of the uneducated.

With this fear of tyranny occurring Mill’s had to think what methods in his new way of thinking could help to prevent his biggest fear manifesting itself. As is already obvious Mill had an unmoving admiration for the educated elite, in his thinking it should only be the elite in control, they knew what was best and therefore should have the power over society in order to guide society in the best direction. He had somewhat, at least for the time, radical views on the roles in society. He did not think that the ignorant and uneducated should have the right to vote, they would be of no benefit to the society in which they lived, the educated should be the only ones who should have the ability to vote as they were higher in his opinion. Another view he had on the voting system, which is rather surprising of the time, was that he wanted woman to have an equal share in the votes and power, the women had to be educated of course, but he saw no difference in the social status of males and females.

He wanted a representative form of government, he saw this as the most effective and stable way to achieve the best for society. Some of his radical ideas, which were viewed as taboo for the time led to distrust of him by certain people and probably lead to him losing his seat in parliament. Despite his open mindedness on the female aspect of politics he did not have the view that all opinions with in society were equal, he thought that the higher up in society a person was the more votes and say in politics one should receive, [3] “‘unskilled workers would have a single vote, skilled workers two votes, and graduates and members of the learned professions five or six votes.”[3], notably absent from that list is the uneducated and illiterate, he didn’t think that they should be given the right to vote, in Mill’s eyes the advantages and benefits in life for them, and future generations that the elite would provide would be more beneficial for them than letting them have a direct input in the decision making. The elite with their highly educated minds could provide a safe and efficient life for society, one that that could evolve and develop to better itself as time progressed for future generations, Mill used this idea to back up his theory that the lower classes should not be allowed to have a say, he thought that they would be likely to make idiotic and short term lasting decisions that would in the long run be destructive to them, although the illiterate and unintelligent may not like the decisions forced upon them by the elite, the ideas would be better for them and future generations, the future generations being more educated and highbrow, he cared more for the feeling of the elite than that of lower society,[4] ”some kinds of pleasures are more desirable and more valuable than others.[4] Mill’s form of democracy was very advanced for the time, and one that wanted to assure an effective and developed society. His distaste for the uneducated however is somewhat flawed by his belief that through political interaction people could be further educated, have general sense of well being and common sense, if he had such a belief and like of the elite and educated, could the uneducated not be improved and transformed to become part of the elite through political interactionIt appears to be due to his upbringing and father’s interests that his distaste for the lower classes was formed; throughout history it has been proven that upbringing can have an immense effect on the progression of key figures in history and their beliefs.

Mill attempts to prevent the tyranny of the majority and dull the radical implications of utilitarianism with his version of representative government. He rejected the old utilitarianism, the idea of the free market and allowing the uneducated and illiterate from participating in any political events. He had a view completely opposite to that of excluding the lower classes from a lot of things political or not. It is fairly obvious that Mill has a very high opinion of the well educated and intelligent within society, enough so to allow them to take on all political processes and to guide and shape the lives of themselves and the lowers within society, they could decide who they wanted to join their elite, who was educated enough to join them in their campaign and reject anyone they didn’t feel was worthy to join them. Mill’s new view on utilitarianism turned it from quantitative utilitarianism, which relied on the size and strength of social groups, into qualitative utilitarianism, that viewed the quality of society rather than the quantity as vital. To attack the dull implications of utilitarianism representative democracy promotes the development and progress of society. The elite of society with their higher intelligence and knowledge, enables them to make the best decisions for progressive development for society as whole, beneficial decisions that will not only work for current generations but also for future ones. Mill did not side with Bentham’s utilitarianism; he viewed it as motionless and stale. Under Bentham’s utilitarianism Mill did not see any chance of progression or beneficial development for society, Mill did not like the idea of the free market, he preferred the conceptual idea of poetic government, despite it did not seem to offer equal input and benefits to all of society, from high to low society alike; Mill disliked it for its acceptance of the unintelligent and lack of respect for higher society. He envisioned the future generations being driven to further themselves and their education, the qualitative template been passed down from generation to generation. The children of today’s uneducated being the opposite of their parents, the thirst to further themselves built into them from the ruling elite. Mill had a very romantic and poetic view of politics and life in general, with his upbringing and encouragement by his father, he developed a love of knowledge, he looked down upon the uneducated within society, did not see them as equal or able to make the right decisions for themselves. It was these factors in his life that encouraged his questioning of political life; he developed a passion to better society and thought that it would be impossible to achieve this under quantitative utilitarianism, so this lead to his way of thinking that would later form his theory of representative utilitarianism. His radical ideas of an iron elite that would represent society as a whole, whether or not they wanted their guidance, and would promote furthering intellectual exploration and develop a better future for the people, were born in his mind to try and prevent the tyranny of the majority and limit the dull implications of utilitarianism.

Bibliography

[1] Hampsher-Monk, I. (2001). A history of modern political thought: major political thinkers from Hobbes to Marx. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

[2] Leach, R. R. (2008). The Politics Companion. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

[3] Heywood, A. (2007). Political Ideologies an Introduction. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan.

[4] Heywood, A. (2007). Political Ideologies an Introduction. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan.

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Free Essays

Government Policies to Control Consumption Patterns

Abstract:

This report aims to examine two government policy options regarding couples, families with male heads, and families with female heads and their consumption of a basket of food and beverages. The government aims to encourage couples to have children in the future by increasing their standard of living. While this report examines both policy options using the utility maximization technique and the expenditure minimization technique and concepts of consumer theory and price elasticity of demand, this report concludes that neither of the options are optimal in increasing the welfare of the couples and families. Thus, the report suggests that the government should encourage couples and households to save by offering a higher interest rate.

Introduction:

In order to encourage and discourage consumption patterns of various products and to manage consumer policies effectively, governments often design macro and micro economic policies to facilitate the performance of certain behaviour. This report seeks to examine the consumption patterns of different types of households, the first being a household consisting of a couple, and the other households of families with children. The report seeks to analyze the expenditure patterns of a household with a male head and compare it with a household with a female head, along with making comparisons between these families and couples without any children (Nishumura & Shimomura, 2012).

The government’s main aim in the scenario described in the case study is to encourage single couples without any children to begin families and they believe this would be possible if the government encouraged the consumption of other products besides food and beverages. Hence, the government has devised two different policy options to facilitate the performance of such behaviour. The first policy aims to increase the disposable income of all households in order to encourage the consumption of products other than food and beverages. Moreover, the government also wishes to provide monetary benefit to households with children which will also increase their disposable income. The second policy option is to discourage the consumption of food by taxing food products. Thus, this will potentially encourage households to purchase other products except for food. However, the government also wishes to ensure that the households do not become worse off and are as happy as they were previously.

In order to examine this situation in detail, it is important to use the aid of various economic and scientific models. Thus, this report will commence with a methodology which describes the methods used to analyze and solve this situation by choosing the best policy option. The report will then commence with an examination of each of the policies and their consecutive impact upon the welfare of these households in detail. The report will then analyze the different policy options and their social context, thereby arriving at a conclusion regarding whether either of the policy options are suitable or suggesting other policy options which may be more suitable for this scenario.

Methodology:

2.1 Numerical and Theoretical Methodology

In order to analyze the situation described in this scenario, this report will make use of various economic models and theories. The first economic theory and numeric economic model that will be used to analyze these policy options is the Utility Maximization Models and the Expenditure Minimization Models. The first step will be to find the optimal utility bundles of both the goods and the associate level of utility of goods and make comparisons between them in order to determine which bundle is offering the most utility.

The Utility Maximization technique using the Cobb Douglass function will be used in order to find the combination of goods that provide optimal utility for the households. This will then be followed by the expenditure minimization technique to determine which combination of goods will facilitate minimum expenditure and be an optimum and attractive choice for each of the three households. It is also essential to calculate the effect of policy upon the demand for products and to also calculate the demand for the basket of goods without policy. This will be done with the aid of the optimal demand function for each of the households without policy and with policy. Thus the various budget points for each of the options will be determined and the welfare functions of each of the options for the three households will be constructed.

The concepts of consumer theory and price elasticity of demand will also be considered in determining the effectiveness of both policies and determining which policy is the best policy to use in order to encourage the consumption of other goods besides food and beverages.

Graphical Methodology:

The report will make use of the budget points derived in the numerical calculations of the analysis conducted and then construct budget lines and indifference curves in order to determine which options are optimal for the government and provide maximum utility to consumers without decreasing their welfare.

The report will also make use of demand curves and Engel curves to appropriately arrive at a conclusion regarding the two policies mentioned. If neither of the policies seem suitable, the report will offer an alternative policy and provide an explanation of why this policy is more suitable than the ones mentioned in the scenario.

Analysis of Both Policy Options:

3.1 Price Elasticity of Demand:

The concept of price elasticity of demand measures the extent to which the quantity demanded changes with a change in price. There are basically two types of elasticity which includes elastic demand and inelastic demand. It is essential for governments to know the price elasticity of demand to determine whether the implication of taxes will result in the discouragement or encouragement of purchasing certain products. Thus, in order to determine whether policy option 1 or policy option 2 would prove to be more effective, it is essential for the government to know the price elasticity of demand of food and whether imposing a tax upon food products will result in the discouragement of the purchase of food products and encourage consumers to purchase other products (Andreyeva,, Long,, & Brownell,2010).

If the demand for food products is elastic, this means that policy option 2 which is the imposition of a tax upon food products may prove to be effective in encouraging households to purchase other products besides food. However, if the price elasticity of demand for food products is inelastic, this means that policy option 2 may be ineffective in encouraging consumers to demand other products besides food products. However, the government must ensure that the imposition of a tax upon the various households will not decrease their respective welfare and will leave them as happy as they previously were. The imposition of a tax may reduce the welfare of the respective households and may thus prove not to be an optimum policy. Moreover, the demand for food and beverages is likely to be more or less inelastic as food and beverages are necessities which must be consumed (Starr, 2011).

Thus, the concept of price elasticity of demand is applicable in the case of policy option 2 but may not prove to be effective with a 10% tax and possibly not even with the imposition of a 15% tax as if the demand for food and beverages is inelastic, the imposition of a tax will not affect demand to a large extent but may slightly affect demand for all households. However, it will decrease the welfare of male-headed households as they spend a maximum amount of their money upon food and beverages and may also decrease welfare of female headed households. However, the tax may not be as effective upon the expenditure patterns of couples (Bhargava, 2013).

Utility Maximization Principle:

The utility maximizing principle states that consumers should purchase the combination of goods that maximizes utility and ensures that every dollar spent on that good increases their utility instead of resulting in diminishing utility. Consumers are encouraged to purchase a combination of goods which increases their utility in all respects (Chor, 2010). Hence, in order to find the utility maximization function, it is essential to first find the budget constraint of each good. If the income of each household is approximately $600 and a basket of food and beverages costs $15 while a unit of all other products costs $20. The budget constraint for consumers with $600 for a basket of food and beverages is equal to 40 baskets of goods and services (See Appendix A).The budget constraint for purchasing all other products with an income of $600 is 30 units of other items (See Appendix A). Thus, assuming that consumers are currently purchasing at maximum utility, the utility function for the combination of these two products for couples is:

U(x1, x2)= 12/25(x1) 11/4 (x2)

The subsequent utility functions for the other families are shown in the appendix. While plotting the budget constraints and the maximum utility points on the indifference curves, it is obvious that couples are maximizing their utility with their current combination of food and beverages but male headed families can maximize their utility by purchasing more of other products and less of food and beverages (Gertler & Karadi, 2011). Female headed households can also maximize their utility by purchasing other products besides food and beverages. However, looking at this scenario, it is obvious that while increasing the disposable income of families with children by offering them extra benefits, this will consecutively increase their standard of living and may encourage couples to have children in the future. Moreover, increasing the disposable income of couples by $40 will only allow them to purchase two additional units of other products. However, the purchase of two of these additional units may increase their standard of living and may allow the government to achieve their target of encouraging couples to have children (Stavins, 2010).

By taxing food and beverages and adopting policy option 2, the government is decreasing utility for all households as most of the households spend a major proportion of their income upon food and beverages. Thus, policy option 2 is not advisable when considering keeping welfare constant for couples and possibly increasing it for families.

Expenditure Minimization Problem:

The government has two motives when deciding upon a policy option, the first being to maximize or improve welfare and to also minimize their own expenditure upon the policy option that they choose (Refer to Appendix B). Under policy option 1, the government is incurring a heavy expenditure upon offering both families child benefits and also offering an income tax benefit to increase disposable income. This will cause the government sufficient expenditure and will not minimize the government’s expenditure. However, policy option two is increasing the government’s revenue as the government will be imposing a tax upon food and beverages which is a necessity and will thus be reaping revenue from the sale of food and beverages. The government is not incurring expenditure in policy option 2 but is incurring a lot of expenditure in policy option 1 (Tsai et al, 2010).

Thus, according to the expenditure minimization model, policy option 2 is more ideal than policy option 1 as policy option 2 offers the government additional revenue and policy option 1 is incurring the government sufficient costs.

Looking at the scenarios, of utility maximization and expenditure minimization and price elasticity of demand, both policy options do not seem to be optimal as they are both going in opposite directions and are not coinciding in achieving the government’s objectives. Thus, there is a need to look at an alternative policy option to achieve the government’s objectives. The third policy option to encourage couples to have children and to increase their standard of living may be to encourage savings and encourage couples to save some of their income for the future. By doing so, the government will be encouraging higher amounts of investment in businesses and also increasing the income levels of the couples and households by offering them extra income from the gaining of interest payments. This will also make the future for couples more secure and will encourage them to possibly think of beginning their own family. Thus, the government must increase the interest rate on saving in order to encourage couples to save or the government may also offer a decreased interest rate on borrowing which would increase the money supply and encourage further consumption by households and which could be spent upon other goods and services besides food and beverages (Andreyeva, Long, & Brownell, 2010). Thus, the government should decide upon an interest rate which would encourage couples to save and a lower interest rate which would encourage them to borrow and increase their consumption (Mytton, Clarke, & Rayner, 2012). However, the optimal policy is to encourage couples and households to save as it would make their future more secure, the money put in banks could be invested elsewhere and the government would not be incurring unnecessary expenditure. Moreover, it would increase the welfare of the couples and households in the long run (Zheng, McLaughlin, & Kaiser, 2013).

References
Andreyeva, T., Long, M. W., & Brownell, K. D. (2010). The impact of food prices on consumption: a systematic review of research on the price elasticity of demand for food.American journal of public health, 100(2), 216-222.
Bhargava, H. K. (2013). Mixed Bundling of Two Independently Valued Goods.Management Science.
Chor, D. (2010). Unpacking sources of comparative advantage: A quantitative approach.Journal of International Economics, 82(2), 152-167.
Gertler, M., & Karadi, P. (2011). A model of unconventional monetary policy.Journal of Monetary Economics,58(1), 17-34.
Mytton, O. T., Clarke, D., & Rayner, M. (2012). Taxing unhealthy food and drinks to improve health.BMJ: British Medical Journal, 344.
Nishimura, K., & Shimomura, K. (2012). Trade and indeterminacy in a dynamic general equilibrium model. InNonlinear Dynamics in Equilibrium Models (pp. 347-361). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Starr, R. M. (2011).General equilibrium theory: An introduction. Cambridge University Press.
Stavins, R. N. (2010).The problem of the commons: still unsettled after 100 years (No. w16403). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Tsai, W. H., Kuo, L., Lin, T. W., Kuo, Y. C., & Shen, Y. S. (2010). Price elasticity of demand and capacity expansion features in an enhanced ABC product-mix decision model.International Journal of Production Research,48(21), 6387-6416.

Zheng, Y., McLaughlin, E. W., & Kaiser, H. M. (2013). Taxing Food and Beverages: Theory, Evidence, and Policy. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 95(3), 705-723.

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Free Essays

Analysing the Role of Government Intervention in Resolving the Financial Crisis

Abstract

This paper examines the role of government interventions in resolving the financial crisis. This paper supports the argument that government interventions had helped to lessen the impacts of the crisis and that policy measures are important in ensuring sustainable economic growth (as espoused by Keynesian macroeconomic theories). Evidence is presented to support the arguments of this report. Some recommendations on how the government can improve its policies are also given based on the lessons learned from the crisis.

Introduction

The 2007-2008 global financial and economic crisis and the interventions of various governments to stabilize their economies have generated fierce debates and controversies regarding the benefits of the free market system and the function of government in the economy. Many economists and business experts contend that government intervention had caused and prolonged the recent financial crisis; however, supporters of Keynesian macroeconomics argue that active government intervention in the marketplace and monetary policies were necessary to survive the crisis. Moreover, supporters of the free market system assert that without government intervention, the forces of demand and supply will help the economy to adapt to the financial crisis and inevitably correct the imbalances. On the other hand, proponents of intervention contend that the financial crisis and subsequent recession are evidence of market failure; therefore, the government had to step in to mitigate the adverse consequences of such failure (Aikins, 2009).

This short paper examines the 2007-2008 global financial and economic crisis based upon the perspective that government policy interventions had helped to reduce the riskof making the financial crisis even worse. This paper supports the argument that the role of the government had contributed to stabilizing the economy during the crisis. Evidence is presented in this paper supporting this claim. Moreover, this paper argues that the market and the government must mutually co-exist for the benefit of society. Some recommendations are also provided on how governments should act to avoid future crisis.

The purpose of government interventions

The ultimate objective of government interventions was to normalize credit conditions and resume sustainable economic growth. These interventions had three main objectives: (Psalida, et al., 2009)

Containing and reversing the strain in financial markets by providing liquidity and funding guarantees
Removing impaired assets from banks’ balance sheets
Recapitalizing and restructuring viable illiquid financial institutions

To reach these objectives, government authorities implemented several policy measures. These include: (Psalida, et al., 2009)

Unparalleled sums of liquidity injections, available to a widened set of counter-parties
Reducing credit through the purchase of credit instruments (e.g. commercial paper and corporate bonds); or using these as guarantee for non-recourse cash endowment
Providing guarantees to bank liabilities
Capital injection/recapitalization of financial institutions
Relieving banks of impaired assets

Figure 1. Time Pattern of Crisis Measures

Despite the criticism that the interventions have intensified the weight of public debt and the extent of government dependent accountabilities, it cannot be denied that these interventionist policies have lessened the real effect of the financial crisis (Laeven & Valencia, 2012). The main objective of the interventions, which was to stop the financial panic and bring back normality to the financial markets, was achieved. The intervention programmes were successful in helping financial markets to return to their normal functions (Webel & Labonte, 2010).

A more realistic way of evaluating whether the government had succeeded in its intervention efforts is to determine if financial normality was reinstated at the least cost to taxpayers. At the height of the crisis, non-intervention would have likely resulted in more costly losses for the national economy in terms of productivity and this would have worsened the government’s finances (Webel & Labonte, 2010). Non-intervention could also prolong the crisis as successive bankruptcies may contract the economy.

The government receives assets in return for interventions (i.e. recapitalization, guarantees, etc.). These assets provide the government with legal entitlement to the potential revenues of the companies it had assisted (Webel & Labonte, 2010). Therefore, the interventions do not actually cause permanent losses to the government’s finances. These arguments put to rest the claim that the interventions should have not been made at the cost of taxpayers’ money.

In defence of bailout packages

Due to fears that the financial crisis would spiral out of control in September 2008, the leaders of western developed countries undertook radical measures to rescue financial institutions, which were in danger of collapsing. The US, in particular, embarked on the most extensive government economic interventions with the doling out of huge bailout packages for its beleaguered financial institutions. It was estimated that the US government spent USD $1.3 trillion on bailout packages; while European countries spent an aggregate amount of USD $2.8 trillion to rescue their financial institutions. This amounts to a combined total of USD $4.1 trillion (Aikins, 2009).

The popular sentiment towards these government sponsored bailout packages is that it created a moral hazard because it only served to increase the risk-taking of banks. The argument is that by failing to penalize banks for their improper practices, banks may make riskier investments because their leaders believe that the government will always bail them out during the crisis (Poctzer, 2010; Norberg, 2009). Although this sentiment is understandable (and may even prove to be true in some cases), the primary purpose of the bailout packages was to restore confidence in the financial system in the short-term (Psalida, et al., (2009).

From this standpoint it is apparent that government intervention had worked to stop or, at the very least slowdown, the crisis from escalating. More importantly, the public wanted to see that their government was doing something to resolve the crisis. Leaving the market to run free, in anticipation that it would inherently fix the imbalances by itself, might be difficult for most ordinary citizens to understand. At that point in the crisis, the lack of action by the government would be met with even more criticism by the public. (Aikins, 2009)

Table 1. US Commitment to Financial Sector Bailout in USD $ billions (as of Nov 13, 2008)

ProgramAmountDescription
Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)700.00Intended for purchasing troubled mortgage-related assets; later on was used for cash injections on banks
Commercial Paper Funding Facility243.00The Fed purchases commercial paper (short-term debts) from banks to help fund daily operations
Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac200.00The Fed took control of mortgage firms; cash injections are used to keep them afloat
AIG112.50Excludes $40 billion taken out from TARP; AIG successfully negotiated a bigger bailout package with easier terms
Bear Sterns29.00Special lending facility that guarantees losses on portfolios of investment banks
FDIC (Federal Bank Insurance Corporation) Bank Takeovers13.20The FDIC put up this fund to cover deposits on failed banks
TotalUSD $1.3. trillion

Source: (Aikins, 2010)

Table 2. Western European Nations’ Commitment to Financial Sector Bailout in USD $ billions (as of Nov 13 2008)

CountryAmountDescription
United Kingdom743.00Half of the package is used to guarantee bank to bank borrowing; 40% was allocated for interim loans; and 10% is used for recapitalization
Germany636.50Most of the amount is for undertaking medium-term bank borrowing; 20% is for recapitalization
France458.30Majority of the fund is to secure bank debts; $50 billion is for recapitalization
Netherlands346.00For guaranteeing bank to bank borrowing
Sweden200.00For credit warranties
Austria127.30For bank acquisitions, inter-bank borrowing, bank bond insurance guarantees
Spain127.3For bank acquisitions; inter-bank borrowing; bank bond insurance guarantees
Italy51.00Purchasing of bank debts
Other countries110.60
Total EuropeanUSD $ 2.8 trillion

Source: (Aikins, 2010)

Poctzer (2010) also found that despite the possibility of increased risk-taking by banks after being bailed out, there are indications that recapitalization is an effective tool for stimulating lending, but it is most helpful for bigger banks and when implemented in combination with an asset purchase program. Figure 2 shows the comparison of risk taking by recapitalized and non-recapitalized firms. It can be observed that recapitalized firms tend to be more risk-taking compared to non-recapitalized firms. On the other hand, Figure 3 shows that recapitalized firms tend to increase their lending activities compared to non-recapitalized firms. Figure 4 illustrates that asset transfer firms have the most lending volume compared to recapitalized and non-recapitalized firms.

Figure 2. Time Series of Risk Measure between Recapitalized and Non-Recapitalized Banks

Figure 3. Time Series of Average Lending Volume between Recapitalized and Non-Recapitalized Banks

Figure 4. Time Series of Average Lending Volume between Recapitalized Banks, Non-Recapitalized Banks, and Asset Transfer Firms

Lessons learned

The bailout packages served their purpose at the height of the crisis. However, the government cannot always employ capital injections to rescue financial institutions as this have implications not only on the issue of moral hazard (Poctzer, 2010), but more importantly, these have major impacts on the national budget and taxpayers’ trust (Webel & Labonte, 2010). Breitenfellner & Wagner (2010) recommend that only financial institutions that are non-liquid but solvent should be saved and the institution must pay significantly for the bailout. The authors also argue for stricter regulation, enhanced risk awareness, more advanced risk management, and a more effective alignment of interests among stakeholders.

Gertler, Kiyotaki & Queralto (2011) argues that a bank’s decision over its balance sheet is highly dependent on its risk perceptions, which in turn are dependent on major disruptions to the economy and their expectations on government policies. The authors also found that the incentive effects of risk taking may potentially diminish the benefits of credit policies that are intended to stabilize financial markets. It is therefore important to design appropriate and efficient macroeconomic policies to mitigate moral hazard costs.

The role of the government in managing the economy cannot be overlooked. The lack of a suitable economic policy and regulatory structure will make the financial system vulnerable to recession and may jeopardize the stability of the whole economy. The government therefore should establish appropriate economic and regulatory policies: (a) to defend against market failure; (b) avoid political and institutional intrusions in the regulation of financial institutions; and (c) avert supervisory tolerance, arbitrage, and capture (Aikins, 2009).

References

Aikins, S. (2009). Global Financial Crisis and Government Intervention: A Case for Effective Regulatory Governance. International Public Management Review. 10(2), p.23-43.

Breitenfellner, B & Wagner, N. (2010). Government intervention in response to the subprime financial crisis: The good into the pot, the bad into the crop. International Review of Financial Analysis. 19(4), p.289-297.

Gertler, M, Kiyotaki, N & Queralto, A. (2011). Financial Crises, Bank Risk Exposure, and Government Policy. NYU and Princeton. Available: http://www.princeton.edu/~kiyotaki/papers/GertlerKiyotakiQueraltoJune7wp.pdf. Last accessed 23rd May 2013.

Canova, T. (2009). Financial Market Failure as a Crisis in the Rule of Law: From Market Fundamentalism to a New Keynesian Regulatory Model. Harvard Law & Policy Review. 3(1)

Hodson, D & Mabbett, D. (2009). UK Economic Policy and the Global Financial Crisis: Paradigm Lost. Journal of Common Market Studies. 47(5), p.1041-1061.

Laeven, L & Valencia, F. (2012). Resolution of Banking Crises: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. International Monetary Fund. Available: http://www.imf.org/external/np/seminars/eng/2012/fincrises/pdf/ch13.pdf. Last accessed 23rd May 2013.

Norberg, J. (2009). Financial Fiasco: How America’s infatuation with homeownership and easy money created the economic crisis. Washington, DC: Cato Institute

Psalida, LE, Elsenburg, W, Jobst, A, Masaki, K, & Nowak, S. (2009). Market interventions during the financial crisis: How effective and how to disengage. International Monetary Fund. Available: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/gfsr/2009/02/pdf/chap3.pdf. Last accessed 23rd May 2013.

Webel, B & Labonte, M. (2010). Government Interventions in Response to Financial Turmoil. Congressional Research Service. Available: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41073.pdf. Last accessed 23rd May 2013.

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Free Essays

How has Thatcher and the legacy left by her government changed class mobility in the UK?

INTRODUCTION

Although in the early twentieth century, social mobility in Britain was a seemingly dubious and slow process, as time went on, more drastic change put it into play.

In previous centuries, attempts of social mobility in Britain seemed to move backwards for some classes, such as the working and middle classes, these were times when it looked like a doubtful notion. As maintained by David Cannadine in his analysis of Class In Britain, through attempts of mobility in British society during those times, “the stable, oligarchic world of early Georgian politics gave little opportunity for the middle class to improve its position in what remained a pre-eminently partisan society”. (Cannadine, 2000)

The struggle with class kept society separate and it seemed each class had their own role to play. According to Cannadine, society was seen in Karl Marx‘s view, which was three categories, “landowners, who drew their unearned income from their estates as rents; bourgeois capitalists, who obtained their earned income from their businesses in the form of profits; and proletarian workers, who made their money by selling their labour to their employers in exchange for weekly wages.” (sited in Cannadine, 2000. Pg.4). Through these set roles for society it seemed social mobility was an unwelcome concept. Marx‘s solution was to “classify individuals in collective groupings, according to their different relation to the means of production.” (sited in Cannadine, 2000. Pg.4) With that said, it is not to say that social mobility would only be defined by moving from lower to higher pay, it was the progression of many aspects of society as a whole that defined it rather than the individuals and their own progression. One aspect of the growth of society as a whole that saw social mobility was the Industrial Revolution, Cannadine maintained that as it gathered momentum from the 1770’s and 1780’s, Britain’s social and political structure was more drastically and more permanently transformed. (Cannadine, 2000)

This was a time when the middle class was becoming more vigorous, numerous and ambitious. Additionally, Cannadine also pointed out that this progression began, “changing Britain into the first industrial nation and the workshop of the world,” (Cannadine, 2000) From there on, although there was still a lot of struggle pertaining to class along the way, social and class mobility in Britain was more present.

However, the social history of Britain is not that basic, as pointed out by theorist Arthur Marwick, there is more than one factor that defines the study of British society, there are factors such as family, population, housing, social class and so on. Thus, “social history can be written as a relatively neutral account of the main changes and developments in these areas”. (Marwick, 2003) It is not just moving from low to higher pay or more skilled work. Hence, class and social mobility can be measured through the analysis of the changes and progression made in other aspects of the growth society.

All the same, after the Second World War from 1945, conditions were, as to be expected, at a low in Britain. There were a lot of aspects of British life that were affected, exports from Britain had fallen to one third of pre-war level, (Marwick, 2003) and Britain was surviving post war living conditions. Britain was in debt, unemployment was at a high and the nation was slowly being re-built. Conversely, according to Alexandra Dienst’s theories, there were some positive aspects to the development and mobility of Post-War Britain. Dienst pointed out that the “domestic economy was recovering as agricultural production grew by 160 per cent between 1945 and 1957, its share of world exports was back at pre-war levels of 25 per cent, industrial products and GDP grew, and inflation and unemployment were low.” (Dienst, 2005) In essence the state in which the war left Britain meant there was room for progression for society. For some, the expansion of these sectors had been linked to social mobility and access to a middle class lifestyle. A higher percentage of people with degree-level qualifications, compared with those workers with no qualifications, for example, are employed in the service sector in the UK, and almost a third of these graduates work in the financial and business services sector, where rates of pay are high (Erdem and Glyn 2001). But at the bottom end, prospectors for mobility and security are minimal. (cited in McDowell Pg.32)

Moreover, as Cannadine asserted, there was a “class-based orthodoxy which held sway in Britain and elsewhere from the Second World War until the mid 1970’s.” (Cannadine, 2000)

However as Marwick suggested, there are elements that make up class, to name a few, ‘class is shaped by history’; it originates with the Industrial Revolution, which steadily replaced an older society of estates and orders by one made up of the more fluid and imprecise social classes’.(Marwick, 2003) Through Industrial Revolution progression was inevitable, be that as it may, according to Marwick, “Industrialization proceeded at different speeds in different parts of the country.” (Marwick, 2003) Resulting in social mobility moving at different speeds depending on where one happened to live in the country. Consequential to an inevitable separation of class due to circumstances still, this entire struggle showed social mobility in Britain.

Furthermore, it was said that “political events, traditions, national characteristics, and more recent upheavals of war all affected the forms of class as they were after 1945”. (Marwick, 2003) In the early 1970’s, before the reign of Margaret Thatcher, Sir Edward Heath was the leader of the Conservative party. However, Heath’s government had become increasingly criticized after the collapse of a brief economic ‘boom’. As maintained by Eric, J. Evans (2004) “this was followed by the imposition of wage controls, industrial unrest and, in response to the latter, the imposition of a power-saving three-day week.” (Evans, 2004) Such aspects can be barriers to social mobility, more so at a time of progression.

Following Heath’s time in office was Margaret Thatcher, who as written by Evans was an ‘extraordinary phenomenon‘. He acknowledged that “She is the only woman Prime Minister in British history. She was Prime Minister from May 1979 to November 1990, and eleven and half years was a comfortably longer stint than anyone else achieved in the twentieth century”. (Evans, 2004) In this essay I will analyse how she and her legacy changed and affected social mobility in Britain, I will look at different aspects of British society since her time in power and explore how they have contributed to social mobility in Britain.

ECONOMIC POLICY AND THE WORKFORCE

Before the Thatcher government, employment and the economy were already changing. Manufacturing was starting to decline in the 1970’s with companies choosing to move abroad where production costs and unions were not much of an issue.

In their analysis of unemployment before, during and after Thatcher’s time in power, Suborto Roy and John Clarke (2006) pointed out that “the Thatcher government brought to end innumerable props to the manufacturing sector’s demand for labour. Thus companies laid off man-power in the thousands; essentially what was going on was a coming-to-terms with the market forces facing manufacturing. Hence much of the rise of unemployment was the response to these forces, delayed by a decade or so of government intervention.” (Roy and Clarke, 2006. Pg.53) With the new policies that were put in place, such as unemployment benefits, people that were made redundant felt less inclined to find jobs. Furthermore, it was argued that unions would create barriers to the return of such workers by preventing the reduction in wage their competition would create. (Roy and Clarke, 2006. Pg.54) Thatcher saw unions and civil servants as the main cause for economic issues in the UK. She could be said to have produced one of the most drastic changes in the economy in the UK. Through her drive and determination she was determined to reduce their power and increase the productivity of the workforce. Due to this vision we have the society we live in today.

During the 1980’s a lot of effort was made by the government to tackle unemployment. However according to Roy and Clarke, “it seemed to many that all the efforts of the 1980’s had been in vain, a mirage even; the economy was back to high unemployment (no cure there apparently) and inflation was on the rise again.” (Roy and Clarke, 2006. Pg. 55)

According to Evans’ analysis of the UK’s economy and employment at this time, the productivity of those who remained in work during this period increased sharply. This was a key element in the government’s drive towards greater international competitiveness. Inflation also began to come down; by spring of 1982, it was back in single figures. However, this had little to do with monetarism, at least directly. The value of the pound sterling in international markets had appreciated so much in a suddenly oil rich nation that manufacturers were finding it ever more difficult to sell abroad. The price of imports, which those British who could afford them were still avid to consume, was commensurately low, while the huge rise in unemployment was reducing workers’ bargaining power and reducing the rate of wage rises. (Evans, 2006. Pg.21)

Chancellor Geoffrey Howe, actually raised taxes, shifts from direct to indirect taxation. The top rate of income tax was, therefore, reduced from 83 per cent to 60 per cent to give wealth creators what was deemed the necessary incentive to chase markets and engender elusive economic growth: at the same time, the standard rate went down from 33per cent to 30 per cent. (Evans 2004. Pg.19-20)

Fortunately, the John Major government was finally seeing a change in the economy. Roy and Clarke maintained that the years since 1992 had been something of a golden era, “inflation came down and stayed down, while unemployment steadily fell”. (Roy and Clarke, 2006. Pg.56)

EDUCATION

John Major, it was said, thought “late twentieth-century Britain to be a class-bound and class-obsessed nation.” (Cannadine, 2000. Pg.1) This was part of the reason why he sought to achieve a government at ease with itself.

In the labour force as a whole since 1977 there has been an astonishing decline in proportion of the population with no education qualification and credentials. In 1979, for example, 47 per cent of adult men and 61 per cent of adult women were without any qualification; by 1999 the proportions had declined to 15 per cent and 21 per cent respectively (Erdem and Glyn 2001). In addition, the expansion of university places by 154 per cent since 1977 has increased participation rates among 18-years-olds to over a third of the age cohort. However, the benefits of this increase have accrued, mainly to middle class students, further exacerbating the barriers excluding working class young people from high-status service occupations, where the possession of a degree is a prerequisite for entry. The prospects of upward career mobility, through ‘working one’s way up’, have declined in post-war Britain, a trend that was especially noticeable from 1990 onwards. Although Britain is now a more middle class society, the prospects of sons of working class fathers moving into the middle class have actually declined in recent decades (Aldridge 2001; Walker 2001; Webb 1996). (cited in McDowell 2003. Pg. 34) Even though the aim of the Education Act 1944 was to provide equal education for children of all backgrounds by providing free secondary education to pupils, there were still some struggles with class.

However as the UK government became less obsessed with focussing on Marxist views of separating society, everyone was awarded opportunity to improve, and thereafter social mobility became faster growing with time.

Although Thatcher cannot take full responsibility for the recession and trend towards services rather than manufacturing, her policies and beliefs on areas such as privatisation, unions and taxation have had a huge impact on the ability of poorer households to remove themselves from poverty. The increase in VAT less social housing and inflation and closure of manufacturing all created an impossible boundary to class mobility. The result of which saw education as the only exit for poorer families, if they could secure funding for it.

Through a lesser emphasis on separating society based on class, which many theorists believed to be far more complex than Marx appreciated, Britain had evolved and developed.

CONCLUSION

Through the analysis of Thatcher’s time in power, with careful consideration into the different aspects of modern society that her government was responsible for changing or shaping in some ways, the impact of her government on Britain is distinguished. The changes she was able to achieve taking on power at a time when Britain’s government was struggling meant a New Britain was able to emerge. Thus social mobility in the UK was notable. With new economic policies, evolving ways of viewing different classes, new policies pertaining to employment there was drastic movement in the way that the government was run during and after Thatcher’s time in power. As said by Cannadine “all these economic changes turn out, on closer inspection to have been extremely complex, varied and gradual developments.” (Cannadine, 2000) Thus it can be said that Thatcher and the legacy left by her government saw social mobility moving faster than it had been when past parties had been in power.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cannadine, D., 2000. Class In Britain. London: Penguin Books

Dienst, A., 2005. To What Extent Did Thatcher and Thatcherism Change Britain[e-boo] essay. Available at:

Evans, E. J., 2004. Thatcher and Thatcherism 2nd ed. New York: Routledge

Friedman, L. D., 2006. Fires Were Started: British Cinema 2nd ed. London: Wallflower Press

Living Heritage. The Education Act 1944 [online] available at:

Marwick, A., 2003. British Society Since 1945: The Penguin Social History of Britain. 4th ed. London: Penguin Books

McDowell, L., 2003. Redundant Masculinities: Employment Change and White Working Class Youth. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Roy, S., and Clarke, J., 2005. Margaret Thatcher’s Revolution: How it Happened and What it Meant. London: Continuum

Toynbee. P.,2003. Hard work: life in low-pay Britain London: Bloomsbury Publishing

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Free Essays

An analysis of the trends affecting homeless lone parents under the Labour Government

Research Question

This research question is an assessment of the impact which the Labour policy relating to homelessness has had, in particular, on lone parents. By looking at the trends associated with homelessness of lone parents, a more detailed policy analysis can be completed with a view to gaining an understanding of how policies could be used in the future to achieve a more effective regime for homeless or potentially homeless lone parents.

Objectives of Research

The key objective of this research is to gain a detailed understanding of how the Labour Government between 1997 and 2010 dealt with the issue of homelessness, with particular reference to lone parents and how the various different policies established by the Labour Government have impacted on this group of society. By exploring the broader issues relating to housing services and encompassing not only the provision of basic housing, but also looking at the policies which would potentially impact on the long-term situation such as employability this research aims to identify those policy areas which would be most relevant in the future as a means of dealing with the long-term issue of homelessness, rather than simply plastering over the current crisis.

Although the focus of this dissertation is on the period during which the Labour Government was in control, the latter part of the dissertation will also consider the ways in which the policy has changed since 2010 and what the future may hold for this policy area, with recommendations being offered based on the information gathered.

Literature Review

The issue of homelessness has gained considerable attention over the years, most notably from those involved in government policy setting; however, several other papers provide useful background understanding.

For example, the paper by Bromley et al., in 2010 looked at the demographic issues which are likely to underlie the demands of the housing system, This paper discussed issues such as the increase of lone parents and considered how this might increase the demand for smaller housing units.

Another paper which is considered to be relevant is that established by Fitzpatrick et al., 2000, where the issue of single adults who suffer from homelessness is focussed on recognising that many of the supplemental policies such as those surrounding supporting lone parents back into work are also crucially significant. This recognises the importance of not simply focussing on providing housing, but also on looking at the issues that create or deepen the homeless crisis in the first place.

Finally, the other area of literature looks at the central issue of how social housing is allocated. This is because although it is recognised that wider issues are likely to be relevant, there is also an important body of research which needs to look more closely at the allocation of social housing and how this impacts on lone parents, specifically (Fitzpatrick & Stephens, 1999).

Methodology

In order to undertake this research, it is planned that the focus will be on the use of a detailed literature review, drawing on trends and any surrounding discussion relating to these trends. Care will need to be taken to remove bias, as many of the documents which are produced by the government are likely to support the effectiveness of its own policies, regardless of the true figures.

For this reason, the figures will be looked at, in detail, and an analysis of the data will be undertaken in a rounded way. As well as the literature review, case studies will also be drawn upon, to ensure that the practical operation of the policies is understood, something which is perceived to be highly relevant when it comes to undertaking a detailed policy analysis.

Indicative Bibliography

Bradshaw, J., Chzhen, Y. & Stephens, M. (2008) ’Housing: the saving grace in the British welfare state’, in Fitzpatrick, S. & Stephens, M. (eds.) The Future of Social Housing. London: Shelter.

Bramley, G., Pawson, H., White, M., Watkins, D. & Pleace, N. (2010) Estimating Housing Need. London: DCLG.

Brien, S. (2009) Dynamic Benefits: Toward welfare that works. London: Centre for Social Justice

Fitzpatrick, S., Kemp, P. A., & Klinker, S. (2000) Single Homelessness: An Overview of Research in Britain. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Fitzpatrick, S. & Stephens, M. (1999) ‘Homelessness, need and desert in the allocation of council housing’, Housing Studies, 14(4), 413–3

Greater London Authority (2009) Housing in London: the Evidence Base for the London Housing Strategy. London: GLA http://legacy.london.gov.uk/mayor/housing/strategy/docs/housing-in-london2009.pdf

Pleace, N. (2000). ‘The new consensus, the old consensus and the provision of services for people sleeping rough’, Housing Studies, 15: 581-594.

Shinn, M. (2007) ‘International homelessness: policy, socio-cultural, and individual perspectives’, Journal of Social Issues, 63(3): 657-677

Stafford, B. & Duffy, D. (2009) Review of Evidence on the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Disadvantaged Groups. London: DWP.

Witherspoon, C., Whyley, C. & Kempson, E. (1996) Paying for Rented Housing: Non-dependent Deductions from Housing Benefit. London: Department of Social Security.

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Free Essays

Critique the responses of the following agents: Public Health, Health Promotion, the government and the general public, ensuring that you focus on the public health and health promotion responses by these agents (using UK centred examples from 2007-2013 for your chosen topic).

Introduction

This essay aims to critically analyse how the chosen topic, measles, a highly infectious virus, has been dealt with by a number of specific groups, these being Public Health England (PHE), Health Promotion, the Government, and the general public, between 2007 – 2013. Evidence and the literature will be reviewed in order to determine what changes and improvements, if any, to public health with regards to measles, have been made, as a direct result of activities carried out by the groups mentioned, in addition to analysing whether lessons have been learned along the way.

The Agents

The groups included in this critique with varying levels of responsibility for public health are:
Public Health England (PHE)
Health Promotion
The Government
The general public

Public Health England (PHE) has a mission to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities. It aims to make the public healthier by encouraging dialogue, and advising the Government, the NHS and other relevant groups including the public, with a responsibility to research and analyse data to improve our understanding of health (Department of Health, 2012). The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a focus on health promotion in relation to education, community development, policy, legislation and regulation, to control and prevent disease (World Health Organisation, 2009). The Department of Health is a ministerial department led by a Government minister, the Secretary of State for Health. It is responsible for government policy on health and social care matters in England, and it oversees the English NHS, aiming to improve the quality of care and meet patient expectations. The Department often links some of its work with arms-length bodies including PHE (Department of Health, 2014). Increasing patient and public involvement is at the heart of many medical research and health organisations, to ensure that issues relevant to patients, service users, carers and the public, reflect their views, and meet their health and social care needs.

The chosen topic: Measles

Measles is one of the most contagious viral diseases and can sometimes result in serious complications. The disease spreads easily via droplets resulting from cold symptoms. Following an incubation period of 1-2 weeks, symptoms of measles include a fever, cold symptoms such as a cough and sore throat with swollen lymph nodes, conjunctivitis, a sensitivity to light, and greyish spots around the mouth and teeth known as Koplik’s spots which appear before the red rash appears. These symptoms and the rash remain for a few days before disappearing, and full health is often achieved. However complications can occur, especially in children or vulnerable patients, including febrile convulsions, pneumonia, inflammation of the middle ear, and inflammation of the nervous system (de Swart RL, 2008). Anyone can get measles if they have not been vaccinated or have not had it previously, although it is most common in children aged 1-4 years. Once a person has had measles, it is extremely rare to develop the infection again as the disease gives lifelong immunity. It is labelled as a notifiable disease in the UK, which means that by law, all cases of the disease must be reported to a health officer or local government authority. However it is now uncommon in the UK because of the effectiveness of a vaccine, to be discussed (Health Protection Agency, 2010).

Management and Prevention

Measles is easily prevented by vaccination in childhood. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is part of the routine childhood vaccination programme. One dose is given to a child at 12-13 months old, with a second dose given between 3-5 yrs old. Other groups (e.g. adults, babies under 6 months) may be considered for the vaccine if there is a need for protection.
History
Evidence of cases of measles in England and Wales began in 1940 with hundreds of thousands of cases reported and approximately 100 deaths annually. Following the introduction of a measles vaccination in 1968, cases remained high due to the vaccine not reaching sufficient numbers to make a difference. The MMR vaccine, introduced in 1988, and of equal importance, coverage levels exceeding 90%, reported cases fell significantly (Public Health England, 2013). However, those children not immunised remained susceptible at an older age, and indeed, small outbreaks occurred in England and Wales in 1993 predominantly affecting secondary school children. A measles epidemic also occurred in Scotland in 1993-94, with 138 teenagers admitted to a single hospital (Ramsey et al., 1994). As a result of these outbreaks, and in order to prevent further epidemics, a UK vaccination campaign was implemented towards the end of 1994, with millions of children vaccinated (Vyse et al., 2002). To maintain this control, following the campaign, the two-dose MMR schedule mentioned was introduced in 1996, resulting in a significantly reduced incidence of measles.

Adverse reactions / Other Conditions

A number of adverse reactions following the MMR vaccine are known, most commonly fever and a rash. More serious, rarer reactions include febrile seizures and arthritis (Miller et al., 1989). Systems are in place to deal with all suspected adverse reactions, involving the Commission on Human Medicines. A number of conditions have been linked to the vaccine, including Guillain-Barre syndrome, gait disturbance and bowel disease, although research suggests no evidence to link the vaccine to these conditions (Patja et al., 2001; Miller et al., 1995; Seagroatt, 2005). The most well-known condition that received huge news coverage in recent years is autism, where it was claimed there was a direct link between MMR and this condition. However this was widely disputed, and there is now overwhelming evidence to conclude that MMR does not cause autism (Farrington et al., 2001).

Current Information

Outbreaks of measles in England have been increasing in the last two years with a total of 1,920 confirmed cases in 2012, the highest annual figure since 1994. In early 2013, 587 cases were already confirmed in England, and although these were spread across the country, higher numbers were seen in the North West and North East. Those most affected have been teenagers, a pattern of incidence not seen in previous years. Secondary schools provide an opportunity for rapid spread of infection, and this was observed in Swansea, where Public Health Wales received 1,202 notifications of measles, with 88 hospital admissions and one death (Public Health Wales, 2013). The increase of measles during 2012 and 2013 mainly in teenagers (and young adults) has been linked to a decrease in the uptake of the MMR vaccine in the late 1990s, when extensive and adverse media coverage reported claims of links between the vaccine, autism and bowel cancer (as previously mentioned). Indeed such was the extent of the media ‘scare’, not only did it cause large rises in the number of measles cases in the UK, but the seriously flawed and eventually discredited research brought the medical professional into disrepute.
MMR Action Plan

Although work was undertaken immediately by health services to restore confidence in the MMR vaccine, following the formal withdrawal of the research papers, significant numbers of children remained unvaccinated, with no protection against measles (and mumps and rubella). This demonstrated that reduced uptake of the vaccine, whatever the reasons, immediately impact negatively on the health of the public, which in turn has a knock-on effect on health services in general. For this reason, an MMR Action Plan (also referred to as a national catch-up campaign) was implemented, with an overall aim to ‘urgently get the right people vaccinated in the right place by the right providers’ (Public Health England, 2013). Key elements of the plan included:
Raising awareness of the dangers of not being vaccinated, aiming to increase those unvaccinated or under-vaccinated (not receiving both doses) via their GP.
GP practices proactively identifying those at risk who require the vaccine, and making it available to them.
Support and intervention where required by Screening and Immunisation Leads (SILS) to track GP Practices and ensure action is occurring.
Additional plans in place to target particularly vulnerable or low coverage groups, with methods in place to encourage good uptake of the vaccine.
Ongoing tracking and reporting to monitor the success of the plan, in addition to ongoing communications and campaigning to highlight the necessity of the plan.

The overall target was that at least 95% of young people aged 10 – 16 years would have received at least one dose of MMR by the end of September 2013, with the knowledge that if this was achieved, this would be enough to provide significant immunity in the population, thereby reducing transmission and spread of measles. Bodies including Public Health England, the Department of Health, and the NHS all took organisational responsibility, with support from Directors of Public Health in local government. Communication was key, ensuring appropriate campaigning designed to engage with stakeholders including patients and the public, and Local Authorities. Posters and flyers entitled ‘Measles: Don’t let your child catch it’ were disseminated across the country, targeting schools, head teachers, school governors, school nurses, health visitors, GPs, and paediatricians, to name a few.

The Outcome

An evaluation of the MMR Action Plan/Catch-up Campaign in England was published in February this year (Public Health England, 2014), reporting on results obtained at the midway point. Taking limitations into account, including inaccurate GP records, the report estimates that approximately 95% of those children targeted received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. However evidence of variation in vaccine coverage across local areas was identified, with London having an estimated coverage of 88%. This significantly lower percentage is believed to be an underestimate due to less accurate GP records and a higher mobility in the London population making it more challenging to track people. It was recognised further studies would be required to assess areas such as London. However, overall, the campaign appeared to be successful at the midway point, and where lower coverage was reported, this enabled identification of a need to ensure further work to increase coverage in such areas, and to reach specific groups.

Conclusion

Only 8 confirmed cases of measles were reported in England in November and December 2013, a very significant decline in cases since a peak number was reported in April 2013 of nearly 300 cases (Health Protection Report, 2013). Therefore based on the most recent data and published reports, these findings provide evidence of a successful campaign led by Public Health England, with a focus on working with other health bodies, to both promote a campaign and implement its messages swiftly and practically. Coverage of the vaccine following the campaign was higher than before the catch-up plan was launched, and the 95% coverage target was achieved overall in England. Given the aim of the campaign, targeting children and young people and their parents and guardians with transparent and accessible information was key to ensuring an effective partnership. In addition, the sensitivities linked to the choice not to be vaccinated in the majority of cases (as a result of media coverage) meant it was essential that a balance was achieved to positively influence people that the MMR vaccine is necessary without causing further fear or uncertainty. The partnership demonstrated between Public Health England, Local Authorities, NHS England and GPs appears to have had a hugely beneficial impact on the success of this campaign. In addition GPs have not only accurately and proactively identified those patients requiring the vaccine, but messages reached those targeted too, with parents and young people encouraged to contact their GP even if not contacted. Further work is required to update evidence on the campaign’s effectiveness, identify factors associated with those that chose to accept the vaccine, understand better the barriers to vaccination for those that chose to decline, and to ensure the highest coverage of the vaccine is maintained to ensure prevention of further outbreaks of measles.
Word Count: 1995

Bibliography

de Swart RL (2008). The pathogenesis of measles revisited. Paediatric Infectious Diseases Journal; 27(10 Supplement):S84-8.

Department of Health (2012). Structure of Public Health England. Public Health England Transition Team; Report No. 17957.

Department of Health (2014). Department of Health corporate plan 2013 to 2014. Accessed at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/department-of-health-corporate-plan-2013-14/

Farrington CP, Miller E and Taylor B (2001). MMR and autism: further evidence against a casual association. Vaccine 19: 3632-5.

Health Protection Agency (2010). HPA National Measles Guidelines: Local & Regional Services. Version 1.2.

Miller C, Miller E, Rowe K et al. (1989). Surveillance of symptoms following MMR vaccine in children. Practitioner 233(1461): 69-73.

Miller E, Andrews N, Grant A et al. (2005). No evidence of an association between MMR vaccine and gait disturbance. Archives of Disease in Childhood 90(3): 292-6.

Public Health England (2013). Measles: the green book, chapter 21. Accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/measles-the-green-book-chapter-21

Public Health England (2013). MMR Action Plan. Immunisation Department, Public Health England.

Public Health England (2014). Evaluation of vaccine uptake during the 2013 MMR catch-up campaign in England: Report for the national measles oversight group. Accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evaluation-of-vaccine-uptake-during-the-2013-mmr-catch-up-campaign-in-england.

Public Health England 2014). Laboratory confirmed cases of measles, mumps and rubella (England): October to December 2013. Health Protection Report 8(8).

Public Health Wales (2013). Outbreak of Measles in Wales Nov 2012 – July 2013: Report of the agencies which responded to the outbreak. Accessed at: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/66389

Patja A, Paunio M, Kinnunen E et al. (2001). Risk of Guillaine-Barre syndrome after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Journal of Paediatrics 138: 250-4.

Ramsey M, Gay N, Miller E et al. (1994). The epidemiology of measles in England and Wales; rationale for the 1994 vaccination campaign. Communicable Disease Report Review 4(12): R141-6.

Seagroatt V (2005). MMR vaccine and Crohn’s disease: ecological study of hospital admissions in England, 1991 to 2002. British Medical Journal 330(7500): 1120-1.

Vyse AJ, Gay NJ, White JM, et al. (2002). Evolution of surveillance of measles, mumps and rubella in England and Wales: providing the platform for evidence based vaccination policy. Epidemiology Review 24(2): 125-36.

World Health Organisation (2009). Milestones in Health Promotion: Statements from Global Conferences. Accessed at: http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/Milestones_Health_Promotion_05022010

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Free Essays

A Critical Analysis of the Procurement Policy for a Local Government

Executive Summary

This paper analyses the recent changes to the procurement strategy of Leeds City Council and how such changes are comparable to the procurement strategy of Staffordshire County Council. Important parameters of the procurement strategy of Leeds City Council are discussed, such as category management, whole lifecycle approach, skills and capacity of procurement professionals, and openness and transparency. These dimensions are compared to the principles and objectives listed in Staffordshire County Council’s procurement strategy. In addition, the paper provides recommendations to improve procurement practices available at Leeds City Council. Eventually, a tender specification sheet is provided to invite bids from private players to run the woodhouse car park in front of the University. Key performance indicators to evaluate tenders are included.

Introduction

Leeds City Council has made certain changes to its procurement strategy recently. The council emphasised specific elements indicating the importance placed on ensuring high quality procurement services. Such elements refer to category management, whole lifecycle approach, skills and capacity of procurement professionals, and openness and transparency (Leeds City Council Procurement Strategy 2013). These dimensions are similar to the principles and objectives set in Staffordshire County Council’s procurement strategy. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to analyse the recent changes to the procurement strategy of Leeds City Council and how they compare to Staffordshire County Council’s procurement strategy.

Leeds City Council’s Procurement Strategy Compared to the Procurement Strategy of Staffordshire County Council

Leeds City Council demonstrates a primary objective to improve outcomes and value for money obtained from a wide range of goods and services it purchases. Therefore, the council’s procurement strategy is based on essential principles to include whole lifecycle approach, accountability to the public, openness and transparency (Hawkins et al. 2011). The strategy indicates the council’s concerns to rely on expertise in the field as well as utilise relevant examples of adequate practices maintained at local and national levels. The common expectation presented with the enforcement of the council’s new strategy is to realise its full potential within two years. The council extensively supports not only its ambitions but also the ambitions of its partners in the process of delivering quality outcomes for service users (Leeds City Council Procurement Strategy 2013). A relevant part of Leeds City Council’s procurement strategy is the adoption of a category management approach, where procurement professionals tend to group together related purchasing. Such approach is entirely focused on exploring variances in buying needs and provider offerings (Iyer and Pazgal 2008). In this way, the council is concerned with maintaining high quality of services along with savings. Similarly, the procurement strategy of Staffordshire County Council presents diverse orientation in terms of proper identification of the goods and services purchased by activity and function. Staffordshire County Council also states the importance of achieving value for money.

Another recent change to the procurement strategy of Leeds City Council is associated with the adoption of a whole lifecycle approach. It is essential to point out that such approach starts from ongoing evaluation of buying needs as well as analysing different options. In fact, the mentioned approach receives optimal application through careful preparation and procurement (Niezen and Weller 2006). Mobilising the council’s resources is a significant priority to the professionals responsible for the implementation of the procurement strategy. Such principle corresponds to Staffordshire County Council’s strategy of relying on the voice of all people of Staffordshire on specific issues that matter to them (Staffordshire County Council 2014). This shows a strong sense of collaboration with residents and communities in order to identify proper solutions to any emerging problems. Staffordshire County Council places importance on leading and influencing as well as sharing knowledge with representatives from the public sector in Staffordshire (Kennekae 2012). Early engagement is crucial in maintaining savings and improvements that further reflect in transformational changes in the council’s procurement strategy. The whole lifecycle approach adopted by Leeds City Council regarding its procurement strategy assumes that service delivery should not be compromised. Other significant dimensions of this approach relate to contact management and exit which contribute to achieving extensive value for many.

In addition, the recent changes observed in the procurement strategy of Leeds City Council and that of Staffordshire County Council reflect the importance of the skills and capacity of procurement professionals. They are mostly responsible for ensuring the maintenance of a relevant procurement process based on supporting the council’s business continuity needs (Niezen and Weller 2006). The latter is extensively manifested in the procurement strategy of Staffordshire County Council. Procurement professionals structure arrangements with key providers in an attempt to manage the risks pertaining to the process of supplying goods and services. Thus, professionals in the respective field are expected to set high quality processes through cross-functional strategic activities that are evident in both Leeds City Council and Staffordshire County Council (Loppacher et al. 2006). Leeds City Council’s procurement strategy considers the significance of employing common principles and rules which are properly designed to correspond to the needs of all included categories. Emphasis is on reflecting the needs of the specific service areas along with stakeholder needs. This recent change in the procurement strategy of Leeds City Council is in line with ensuring quality outcomes (Leeds City Council Procurement Strategy 2013). Such procurement strategy is comparable to the one of Staffordshire County Council due to the process of aligning delivery of goods and services with the corporate needs identified by Staffordshire County Council (Staffordshire County Council 2014). The respective council utilises the expertise of procurement professionals to ensure social values outcomes as well as sufficient savings achieved through a balanced scorecard used for procurement.

The focus on the skills and capacity of procurement professionals is among the improved areas of Leeds City Council’s procurement strategy. Having skilled and experienced staff is important in delivering high quality outcomes to local communities. Moreover, Leeds City Council manifests its responsibility to support the development and training of procurement professionals in order to maintain high standards across the profession (Loppacher et al. 2006). There is a solid sense of accountability evident in the practice of each procurement professional working at Leeds City Council. In comparison, Staffordshire County Council emphasises the capacity of its procurement staff in terms of providing legal training packages. This indicates an ongoing process of developing the knowledge and expertise of all professionals involved in the procurement practice (Arora et al. 2007). In this way, procurement professionals can work together with other experts in the field to implement the specific objectives listed in the procurement strategy of both Leeds City Council and Staffordshire County Council.

One of the observable recent changes in the procurement strategy of Leeds City Council is that the central procurement function is projected to serve as a flexible source of excellence and thus is accountable for providing a substantial source of expertise. Procurement professionals working in Leeds City Council and Staffordshire County Council are extensively trained to demonstrate ownership and accountability to the public in their respective communities (Kennekae 2012). Elements of structured governance and assurance make Leeds City Council’s procurement strategy rather effective. However, the procurement strategy of Staffordshire County Council is oriented towards indicating a ‘customer of choice’ model of delivering services. This implies that procurement professionals working in Staffordshire County Council are responsible for the creation of greater visibility of the council’s requirements for goods, services and provider performance (Staffordshire County Council 2014). Therefore, professionals are determined to ensure proper communications and organising skills that help them in the establishment and implementation of linkage. Similarly, procurement professionals in Leeds City Council are devoted to research good practice documents and toolkits while trying to reinforce their skills and capacity.

Furthermore, the procurement strategy of Leeds City Council is comparable to the one of Staffordshire County Council in the aspect of openness and transparency. Both councils indicate an ambition of being open and transparent which reflects in providing visible contracts as well as constantly updated management information (Kim and Netessine 2012). Leeds City Council places importance on presenting clear and accessible tender processes and documentation. Openness and transparency ensure the formation of a positive relationship between the council and its procurement partners. Likewise, such aspects are closely linked with instilling confidence in the public regarding the adopted procurement approach (McLean 2008). In comparison, the procurement strategy implemented by Staffordshire County Council indicates its staff’s commitment to ensure compliance and probity which may be associated with the principles of openness and transparency manifested by Leeds City Council.

Recommendations

The recent changes to the procurement strategy of Leeds City Council indicate that the respective council’s approach is comparable to the strategy of Staffordshire County Council. Yet certain recommendations are listed below to achieve further improvements in Leeds City Council’s procurement strategy:

Procurement professionals should work on creating an inclusive procurement strategy in which smaller providers are presented with an opportunity to participate (McLean 2008);
The council should constantly research and update its available procurement tools to guarantee competitively established standards in the field;
The council should consider the removal of unnecessary restrictions which would allow the institution to evaluate suppliers in an objective manner rather than focus on limiting business criteria such as revenue (Loppacher et al. 2006);
Professionals need to demonstrate sensitivity to financing issues to include established payment policies;
It is fundamental to indicate potential hidden costs in terms of providing clear information on the actual insurance, liability as well as regulatory requirements; this practice would allow innovative suppliers to compete (Hawkins et al. 2011)
Conclusion

The paper indicated an analysis of Leeds City Council’s procurement strategy with special focus on its recent changes and how they are comparable to the procurement strategy outlined by Staffordshire County Council (Leeds City Council Procurement Strategy 2013). Thus, significant aspects of both procurement strategies have been discussed in order to identify the focus of procurement professionals working in the two councils. Certain aspects of the two procurement strategies were found similar especially with regards to category management and lifecycle approach. Moreover, the efforts of procurement professionals are equally important to the work of either Leeds City Council or Staffordshire County Council (Staffordshire County Council 2014). In this way, the paper ensured adequate arguments about the effectiveness of the procurement strategies adopted by these institutions.

Tender Specification Sheet

Leeds City Council is seeking tenders from various private providers for the maintenance and operation of the woodhouse car park in front of the University. The intention is that the car park will operate as a proper public amenity. There are certain standards of services that will be followed. The respective parking services are set at prices identified at proper market levels. Prices are competitive in order to encourage visitor parking regarding close distance to local businesses. Discouraging the practice of day-long parking is essential for the maintenance of the woodhouse car park. The park will be open 24 hours a day, seven days/ week.

Personal security will be ensured to customers and visitors. They need to feel secure in the identified car park area. The integration of area security is a priority to the Council.

All tenderers are invited to submit their applications by providing the following documentation:

-Financial Proposal for a period of 3 years;

-Details on the percentage of the turnover expected to be paid annually to the Council;

-Evidence indicating previous experience in the area of car park projects;

-Providing details of the resources available to complete the project;

In order to evaluate the bids from the private players, it is important to provide a set of key performance indicators that will be consistently used (Iyer and Pazgal 2008). The first performance indicator is that the selected tender should provide the best value for money at reasonable cost. This may result from balancing cost and quality. Another key performance indicator that will be used to assess the bids is that of prequalification. Such indicator is implemented to make sure that only those who meet specific criteria will be considered for inclusion to bid (Loppacher et al. 2006). In addition, prequalification is associated with responses to a set of questions provided by the Council. Major questions should include elements of quality, capacity to supply and financial competence. The indicator of open and flexible communication is fundamental as no private player should be given preference. Even though meetings with tenderers who have placed their bids may be necessary at a certain point, they should take place solely for clarifying specific aspects regarding the tender (Hawkins et al. 2011). It is important to use recognised channels of communication in order to avoid confusion of private players or any misunderstanding of presented information.

References

Arora, P., Garg, A. K. and Vaidya, S. C. (2007), ‘Efficacy of Integrating Corporate Social Responsibility and Procurement Strategy’, South Asian Journal of Management, Vol. 14(1) pp105-119

Hawkins, T., Gravier, M. and Powley, E. (2011), ‘Public versus Private Sector Procurement Ethics and Strategy: What Each Sector Can Learn from the Other’, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 103(4) pp567-586

Iyer, G. and Pazgal, A. (2008), ‘Procurement Bidding with Restrictions’, Quantitative Marketing & Economics, Vol. 6(2) pp177-204

Kennekae, L. (2012), ‘Procurement Strategies to Serve the Public Good,’ International Trade Forum, 2 pp11-111

Kim, S. H. and Netessine, S. (2011), ‘Collaborative Cost Reduction and Component Procurement under Information Asymmetry’, INSEAD Working Papers Collections, 33 pp1-40

Leeds City Council Procurement Strategy (2013), Leeds City Council [Online]. Available at: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/Procurement%20Strategy%20V1.0%20PUBLISH%2030.09.2013.pdf [Accessed: 29 April 2014].

Loppacher, J. S., Luchi, R., Cagliano, R. and Spina, G. (2006), ‘Global Sourcing and Procurement Strategy: A Model of Interrelated Decisions’, Supply Chain Forum: International Journal, Vol. 7(1) pp34-46

McLean, S. (2008), ‘Choice in Government Software Procurement: A Winning Strategy’, Journal of Public Procurement, Vol.8(1) pp70-97

Niezen, C. and Weller, W. (2006), ‘Procurement as Strategy’, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 84(9) pp22-24

Staffordshire County Council (2014), Staffordshire Procurement [Online]. Available at: https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/business/procurement/homepage.aspx [Accessed: 29 April 2014].

Categories
Free Essays

Does the government do enough to punish cyber-attacks & criminals?

1.0 Introduction

Cyber-attacks have become a significant problem for information systems (IS) worldwide. When referring to information systems, the term cyber-attack is used for denoting a malicious action that aims to result to specific benefit, usually financial, and which is developed through online routes as available in the Internet (Vacca, 2009). In the UK, the expansion of cyber-crime has been quite rapid the last few years leading to severe financial losses for the victims, individuals and businesses (Cabinet Office, 2011). The graph in Figure 1 shows the cost of the various types of cyber – crime to the UK economy. This paper explores the effectiveness of measures taken by the UK government in regard to the punishment of cyber-crime, aiming to show whether the current initiatives for the UK government for punishing the cyber-crime are sufficient or not. The paper also explains the key characteristics and the value of information systems (IS) security so that the potential of the UK government to secure safety from cyber-crimes is evaluated. I will argue that the UK government does not enough to punish cyber-attacks and criminals. Moreover, the introduction by the government of stricter punishment for cyber-attacks has not resulted to the limitation of this type of crime, as explained below.

Figure 1 – Cost of different types of cyber – crime to the UK economy (Cabinet Office, 2011, p.2)

2.0 Security of IS – characteristics and importance

Security, as a term, can be related to different fields. In the context of information technology, the term security is used for describing ‘a power system’s degree of risk in its ability to survive imminent disturbances without interruption of customer service’ (Cuzzocrea et al., 2013, p.244). As for the term ‘IT security’, this term refers to three values/ characteristics of an IT system, such as: ‘confidentiality, integrity and availability’ (Katsikas, 2016, p.28). According to Mehdi (2014), the term IS security denotes ‘the protection of IS against unauthorized access’ (p.4310). It is explained that a secure IS can ensure that its data will not be modified or lost (Mehdi, 2014). Also, such system is able to detect early any security threat activating appropriate protection mechanisms (Merkow, 2010). At organizational level, IS security is ensured by using an IS security policy, i.e. a set of rules referring to the security standards that would apply in all IS of the organisation involved (Kim and Solomon, 2016). However, the demands of such policy can be many, a fact which is justified if considering the several types of IS threats (Cabinet Office, 2011; Figure 1). Organisations often need to hire an Information System Security Officer (ISSO) for ensuring IS security (Kovachich, 2016).

3.0 The punishment of cyber-attacks and criminals – government initiatives and effects

3.1 Laws and policies focusing on IS security

In the UK, the first law addressing cyber – crimes appeared in 1990 and aimed to cover the gaps of existing legislation in regard to the protection of IT systems from cyber-attacks (Emm, 2009). This was the 1990 Computer Misuse Act. The introduction in the UK of a legislative text focusing on cyber-attacks has been highly related to a cyber-attack incident: the unauthorized access, by two cyber-attackers, to BT’s Prestel service in 1984 (Emm, 2009). When dealing with the above case, the court used the 1981 Forgery and Counterfeiting Act, due to the lack of a legislative text focusing on computer-related crimes (Emm, 2009). In May of 2015, the Serious Crime Act 2015 came into action (Eversheds-Sutherland, 2015). The articles 41 up to 44 of the above law introduced stricter punishment for cyber-crimes. More specifically, in the context of the 1990 Computer Misuse Act the imprisonment for serious cyber-crimes could not exceed the 10 years. With the 2015 Act, the imprisonment for cyber-crimes has been significantly increased, reaching the 14 years and even, the life sentence in cases of cyber-crimes threatening national security (Eversheds-Sutherland, 2015). This, stricter, punishment for cyber-crimes could discourage cyber-criminals but only if the enforcement of the law was appropriately supported, so that all cases of cyber-crimes are brought before the courts (White, 2016).

The National Cyber Security Strategy (CSS) of 2011 has been an effort of the British government to control cyber-crime (Shefford, 2015). The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a national team that was established in 2014 for helping towards the achievement of the objectives of CSS (Cabinet Office, 2014, p.13). The CERT team provides to organisations in the private and the public sector critical information for the protection from cyber-attacks (Cabinet Office, 2014). Additionally, in the context of CSS, educational initiatives focusing on cyber security are developed by institutions across the UK; these initiatives are funded by the government and aim to achieve two targets: First, to increase the awareness of the public in regard to cyber security. Second, to help individuals to acquire skills which are necessary for supporting cyber security and for facing cyber-attacks (Cabinet Office, 2014; Figure 2). The Cyber Security Challenge (CSC) is a programme developed by the UK government for helping young people to understand the risks from using their cyber skills in the wrong way; the programme includes competitions and other schemes that can motivate young people to use their cyber skills in a proactive way and not for the commitment of cyber – crimes (National Crime Agency, 2017).

Figure 1 – Initiatives/ measures of the National CSS for facing cyber-crime (Cabinet Office, 2014, p.22)

3.2 Cyber-attack incidents in governmental and non-governmental organisations

The number of cyber-attacks against governmental and non-governmental organisations in the UK is continuously increased (White, 2016). From January to October of 2016, 75 cyber-attacks have been reported against banks in the UK, while in 2014 these attacks were just five (White, 2016). In 2013, three individuals in Britain were convicted to jail, from 6 months up to 22 months, for unauthorised access of sensitive private data stored in ‘PayPal, Visa and Mastercard’ (McTague, 2014). The above punishment was considered as too soft compared to the seriousness of the crime. In 2014, the government decided to initiate the modification of existing punishment for cyber-crimes, so that future perpetrators are discouraged from committing a cyber-crime (McTague, 2014). Pultarova (2016) argued that banks in the UK face cyber-attacks quite regularly but they avoid reporting the specific incidents trying to protect their market image. In November of 2016, Chancellor P. Hammond noted that critical infrastructure units of the UK, such as airports and gas facilities, are threatened by ‘cyber-attacking techniques developed by other countries’ (BBC News, 2016). It was noted that the protection from such attacks would be a priority for the UK in order for the country’s security, at national level, to be ensured (BBC News, 2016). In 2011 the general police officer in the e-crime department of Scotland-Yard argued that the punishment of cyber – crimes in the UK is too soft if considering the actual damage that these crimes cause (BBC News, 2011). It was explained that the annual damage on the UK economy from cyber-crimes reaches the ?27bn (BBC News, 2011). In 2016, the National Crime Agency of the UK published a report for showing the status of cyber-crimes, in terms of occurrence/ rate of appearance. According to the above report, the cyber – crime represents a major part of criminal activity in the UK, reaching the 36% among all crimes developed in the UK. At the same time, the crimes related to computer misuse reached the 17% among the country’s total crimes (National Crime Agency, 2016). The above figures and facts indicate the inability of the UK government to control cyber-crime. The introduction in 2015 of stricter punishment for cyber-crimes has been an important initiative by the UK government for controlling cyber-crime. However, this initiative should be combined with other measures, at national and at community level.

In a speech in mid-February of 2017, Chancellor P. Hammond noted that in the previous three months a total of 188 severe cyber-attacks had been reported; these attacks aimed to cause severe damage to governmental services, infrastructure and businesses (Cole, 2017). A similar issue has been raised by Lord West of Spithead who noted in 2010 that in 2009 the UK had to face ‘300 significant attacks’ on the IS of the government (Doward, 2010). According to Lord West, this problem had become quite serious, denoting that the UK had been targeted by cyber criminals worldwide, as these attacks seemed to be supported by foreign governments, as Lord West noted (Doward, 2010). The above arguments verify the existence of gaps in the existing national framework for the protection from cyber-attacks, as this framework constitutes the national legislation and national policy for the control of cyber – crime. The facts presented above further verify the inability of the UK’s policy to reduce the occurrence of cyber-crime.

Guitton (2012) developed an experiment, using data related to cyber-attacks that occurred between 2003 and 2010 in businesses located in three European countries: Germany, UK and France. It was revealed that the relationship between attribution and deterrence is strong only in cases of individuals of individuals who are aware of the existing legislation for cyber-crime and who can realise the actual effects of their actions. These individuals represented the 1/3 of the cases reviewed by Guitton (2012). In opposition, it was found that most individuals involved in cyber-crimes are not fully aware of the relevant legislation and they tend to ignore the effects of their actions. For these individuals, the control theory which emphasises on the power of attribution, as held by the state, to ensure deterrence is not applied, as Guitton (2012) argued. In the context of the above study, the potential of the British government to control cyber-crime is limited. This fact, even it would be accepted, could not affect the view on the government’s efforts to confront cyber-crime. The update of the terms of punishment of cyber-crimes just in 2015 and the lack of effective control mechanisms for identifying and reporting cyber – attacks verify the failure of the government to ensure the punishment of cyber-attacks and criminals.

4.0 Conclusion and Recommendations

It is concluded that the UK government does not make enough to punish cyber-attacks and criminals. First, a significant delay has been identified in the introduction of appropriate/ fair penalties. Indeed, the introduction of strict punishment for cyber-crimes took place just in 2015, as explained above. The facts and views presented in this paper lead to the assumption that for many years, the government has avoided confronting cyber-attacks as a criminal activity, a fact that led to the radical increase of cyber-attacks against IS systems in governmental services and in financial institutions. At the same time, IS security has several aspects, meaning that eliminating cyber – crime is rather impossible. The soft punishment framework for cyber-crimes, as used in the past, has led to the severe deterioration of the problem across the UK. The increase of effectiveness of current legislation, as from May 2015, on cyber-attacks could be achieved through certain practices, such as: First, events and seminars would be organized at community level for informing individuals on the characteristics of cyber-attacks and the available measures for protection; these seminars would also provide guidelines to entrepreneurs in regard to the value of IS security policy, as part of business strategy. Second, incentives would be provided to entrepreneurs for pursuing the certification of their business according to the information security management standards, such as the ISO/IEC 27000 standards. Third, an independent authority would be established for controlling the performance of governmental and non-governmental organisations in regard to IS safety. Finally, the investment on IS security in governmental and non-governmental organisations would be increased. Security frameworks, such as the ‘Intrusion Detection System’ (IDS), could be employed in these organisations for ensuring IS security in IS systems that manage and store high volume of private data (Stair and Reynolds, 2015, p.460).

5.0 Personal reflections

This project has been related to a critical issue: the findings in regard to the study’s subject have been contradictory. More specifically, the UK government has tried to confront cyber-attacks through legislation and relevant policies but the punishment for these crimes has been characterised as soft, at least up to 2015, while the number of cyber-attacks in the UK is continuously increased. Under these terms, I had to face a dilemma: how should the performance of the UK government in facing cyber-crime would be evaluatedBy referring to the initiatives taken or by emphasising on the actual results of these initiativesReflection has helped me to face the above problem. Indeed, reflection can help the researcher to have ‘an objective sense of things’ (Gillett et al., 2013, 85). Moreover, using reflection I tried to estimate the balance between the positive and negative aspects of government’s efforts to punish cyber-crime and to understand which aspect of the government’s strategy against cyber-crime is more related to the research question: this paper aims to explain whether the government has done enough on the punishment of cyber-crime. Through reflection, I understood that the occurrence of cyber-attacks in the UK should be preferred as the criterion for answering the research question. Ventola and Mauranen (1996) explained that reflection can help the researcher to identify the research findings that are closer to the research question, a fact that allows the researcher to use the right material for answering the research question. Additionally, I used reflection during the development of the study for managing time and for tracking research gaps, which have been covered after the completion of the project. The above tasks have been supported by a research diary (Day, 2013), in the form of notes, where daily progress in regard to research and writing was reported. Thus, the use of reflection while developing this project helped me to control risks, in regard to the project’s structure and content, and to manage time more effectively, covering all aspects of the research question.

6.0 References

BBC News (2016) UK must retaliate against cyber-attacks says chancellor. Available from: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-37821867 [Accessed 15 March 2017].

BBC News (2011) Cyber criminals ‘should get tough sentences’ say police. Available from: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-15680466 [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Cabinet Office (2011) The cost of cabinet crime. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/60943/the-cost-of-cyber-crime-full-report.pdf [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Cabinet Office (2014) The UK Cyber Security Strategy. Report on Progress and Forward Plans. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/386093/The_UK_Cyber_Security_Strategy_Report_on_Progress_and_Forward_Plans_-_De___.pdf [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Cole, H. (2017) UK Government and businesses are hit by two ‘serious’ cyber-attacks a day. The Sun. Available from: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2857508/uk-government-and-businesses-are-hit-by-two-serious-cyber-attacks-a-day/ [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Cuzzocrea, A., Kittl, C., Simos, D., Weippl, E. and Xu, L. (2013) Availability, Reliability, and Security in Information Systems and HCI: IFIP WG 8.4, 8.9, TC 5 International Cross-Domain Conference, CD-ARES 2013, Regensburg, Germany, September 2-6, 2013, Proceedings. New York: Springer.

Day, T. (2013) Success in Academic Writing. Oxford: Palgrave Macmillan

Doward, J. (2010) Britain fends off flood of foreign cyber-attacks. The Guardian. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/mar/07/britain-fends-off-cyber-attacks [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Emm, D. (2009) Cybercrime and the law: a review of UK computer crime legislation. SecureList. Available from: https://securelist.com/analysis/publications/36253/cybercrime-and-the-law-a-review-of-uk-computer-crime-legislation/ [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Eversheds-Sutherland (2015) Will the Serious Crime Act 2015 toughen the UK’s cybercrime regimeAvailable from: http://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/tmt/Serious_Crime_Act_2015_May2015 [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Gillett, A., Hammond, A. and Martala, M. (2013) Inside Track to Successful Academic Writing. Essex: Pearson Education.

Guitton, C. (2012) Criminals and Cyber Attacks: The Missing Link between Attribution and Deterrence. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 6(2), pp.1030-1043.

Katsikas, S. (2016) Information Systems Security: Facing the information society of the 21st century. New York: Springer.

Kim, D. and Solomon, M. (2016) Fundamentals of Information Systems Security. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Kovachich, G. (2016) The Information Systems Security Officer’s Guide: Establishing and Managing a Cyber Security Program. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

McTague, T. (2014) Computer hackers face life in prison under new Government crackdown on cyber terrorism. Mail Online. Available from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2649452/Computer-hackers-face-life-prison-new-Government-crackdown-cyber-terrorism.html [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Mehdi, K. (2014) Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology. Hershey: IGI Global.

Merkow, M. (2010) Security Policies and Implementation Issues. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

National Crime Agency (2017) Cyber – crime: preventing young people from being involved. Available from: http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/crime-threats/cyber-crime/cyber-crime-preventing-young-people-from-getting-involved [Accessed 15 March 2017].

National Crime Agency (2016) Cyber – Crime Assessment 2016. Available from: http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/publications/709-cyber-crime-assessment-2016/file [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Pultarova, T. (2016) UK banks under constant cyber-attack but don’t report incidents. Engineering & Technology. Available from: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2016/10/uk-banks-under-constant-cyber-attack-but-dont-report-incidents/ [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Shefford, M. (2015) What is the UK government doing about cybersecurityDatonomy. Available from: http://datonomy.eu/2015/04/01/what-is-the-uk-government-doing-about-cybersecurity/ [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Stair, R. and Reynolds, G. (2015) Fundamentals of Information Systems. 8th ed. Belmont: Cengage Learning.

Vacca, J. (2009) Computer and Information Security Handbook. Burlington: Morgan Kaufmann.

Ventola, E. and Mauranen, A. (1996) Academic Writing: Intercultural and textual issues. John Benjamins Publishing.

White, L. (2016) British banks keep cyber-attacks under wraps to protect image. Reuters. Available from: http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-britain-banks-cyber-idUKKBN12E0NQ [Accessed 15 March 2017].

Categories
Free Essays

How the Constitution Limits the Power of Government

The Founding Father of America believed that freedom is a cornerstone of the nation. Therefore freedom had to be protected from any kinds of abuse including abuse by the Government. In order to achieve this purpose the Constitution has been designed in a manner that allowed to limit the powers of governing authorities and protect human rights. This paper shall investigate some of related constitutional provisions and demonstrate how the Constitution limits powers of the Government.

First and foremost powers of the Government are limited by the American Bill of Rights which includes inalienable rights of every citizen which under no circumstances can be terminated. These rights include a right of free speech, right to carry arms, right to privacy etc. In fact the Bill of Rights does not limit the Government, yet it provides abilities for individuals to protect themselves from abuse by the Government [1].

The second feature that allows to limit power is principle of separation of powers. There are three branches of power: legislative power represented by the Congress, executive power headed by the President and judicial power vested by the Supreme Court. Neither of the branches has absolute power and each of them has certain rights and obligations together forming the checks and balances system – a second guarantee against abuse of powers[2].

The third opportunity to limit the Government is federalism. The principle of federalism means separation of powers between the central power and the states. Federalism restricts exercising absolute power by the Government because some powers can be exercised exclusively by the States. On the other hands, some powers can be exercised exclusively by the central government, so power of the Government and power of the States are mutually limited[2].

The fourth opportunity to limit powers is a right of citizens to elect their governments (both Federal and State). The Government which abuses human rights and misuses it’s powers would simply not be elected for the next term, thusly being deprived of opportunity to further infringe it’s powers[3].

Works Cited:

1. Constitution of the United States of America. Amendments 1-10 (American Bill of Rights). Available at: http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html (last viewed: May 3, 2008)

2. Cooray Mark The Australian Achievement: From Bondage To Freedom. Available at: http://www.ourcivilisation.com/cooray/btof/chap174.htm  (last viewed: May 3, 2008)

3. Jacob G. Hornberger (2000) The Constitution: Liberties of the People and Powers of Government. Available at:  http://www.fff.org/freedom/0900a.asp  (last viewed: May 3, 2008)

 

Categories
Free Essays

Government & Public Administration

Assistant Planner – Entitlement Division

City of Irvine, Irvine, California, Oct. 2005 – Present

Duties:

Managing discretionary cases including, but not limited to: conditional-use permits, master plans, and tentative parcel/tract maps.

Working with applicants to ensure projects comply with the General Plan, Subdivision Map Act, Design Guidelines, Subdivision and Zoning Ordinances.

Writing staff reports and resolutions for projects.

Creating charts & graphs and using PowerPoint for presentations.

Presenting projects to approval bodies, supervisors, and the public.

Assisting in managing the development of Environmental Impact Reports (EIR), including: reviewing Request for Proposals (RFP) and selecting environmental consultant to produce the document; gathering technical studies and reports for the draft document; coordinating the distribution of the document to departments, agencies, and all relevant parties for review; reviewing the draft document to ensure the analysis conforms with city, state, and federal guidelines and policies; ensuring the responses to comments satisfy all issues that are of concern.

Notable projects where I served or currently serving as Project Manager:

Du Pont Lofts – Tentative Parcel Map Extension, a 115-unit residential condominium project,  proposed by West Millenniums Homes.

Irvine Spectrum Center – Master Plan Modification, addition of a 20,000 square-foot wing to the 2-million square foot retail and entertainment center proposed by The Irvine Company.

Koll Center II – Tentative Parcel Map, a 185,000 square-foot office park on 22 acres, proposed by The Koll Companies.

Park Place – Master Plan Modification – a 110-acre mixed-use project consisting of office, retail, and residential uses, proposed by Maguire Properties

Notable projects where I am currently serving as Assistant Project Manager:

2802 Kelvin, 176-unit apartment project, proposed by The Irvine Company.

2500 Michelson, 200-room hotel/200-unit condominium project, proposed by  Starpointe Communities.

Metropolis, 500-unit apartment & condominium project, proposed by Sares-Regis Group.

Assistant Planner – Planning & Development Services

City of La Quinta, La Quinta, California, Nov. 2004 – Sept. 2005

Duties:

Managing various discretionary cases such as Use Permits applications, and assisting principal planners on projects.

Reviewing projects in the planning and code compliance stages.

Providing customer service to the general public; and conducting various research projects.

Planning Intern – Planning

City of Westminster, Westminster, California,  June 2002 – Aug. 2003

Duties:

Working on applications such as preliminary plan reviews, sign programs, and minor use permits.

Conducting various research projects.

Participating in weekly design review sessions.

Providing planning-related information to the public via the counter or telephone.

Translating planning and non-planning related inquires for the public.

Assisting planners on projects.

Conducting site visits.

Assisting senior staff with GIS applications.
Entrepreneurship and Business Management

Partner – Director of Business Development

Maui Maui San Diego, California, Sept. 2006 – Present

Duties:

Overseeing all aspects of business development, including exploring various advertising and marketing opportunities and performing due diligence.

Presenting ideas and solutions to partners on how to improve business operations and sales.

Building relationships with the community (e.g., sponsoring community events, sport leagues, and youth organizations).

Managing the development and distribution of printed menus and fliers.

Developing and updating website.

Assisting the general manager with business accounting.

Working with government agencies to obtain licenses and permits such as ABC, signs, etc.

Interviewing and hiring staff for the business.

Working with county health officials, property management, and contractors to improve business operations.

Interviewing and hiring staff for the business.

Involved in the negotiation process for the purchase of the restaurant business from previous owner.

Co-Founder & Managing Partner

X.O. Entertainment San Diego, California Aug 2003 – Present

Duties:

Securing venues for events.

Negotiating terms and finalizing contracts with venue management.

Hiring and determining compensation for talents, designers, sponsors, media, promoters, etc.

Overseeing planning, marketing, and operating teams.

Collaborating with various companies and venue management to present innovative shows and a better product

Under my direction, the company has been the lead or a partner in the production of 42 events that generated over $800,000 in revenue and attracted a total of over 25,000 people.
Campaign & Political Activities

Assistant Campaign Manager
John Duong – Mayor, Irvine, California Aug. 2006 – Nov 2006

Duties: Managing the main campaign office, leading a staff that had up to 20 volunteers, setting schedules, attending fundraising functions, interacting with business and community groups, and delegating tasks such as making phone calls, walking precincts, posting signs.

Campaign Coordinator

Van Tran – State Assembly, Westminster, California Sept. 2004 – Nov. 2004
Duties: Using fluency in Vietnamese to translate to the public, creating charts and maps to keep track of the team’s progress, organizing databases, coordinating media press conferences and voter registration drive efforts, and putting together small teams to walk precincts and post signs.

Non-Profit

Executive Committee

VANG,  San Jose, California, Jan. 2007 – Present

Duties: Contacting and meeting representatives from companies to discuss sponsorship opportunities;, coordinating events such as `Women in Leadership` and `Vietnamese Americans in Media”- forums that allow interaction between students and successful professionals,  and working with business, financial, medical, media, and student associations/groups to increase visibility of the organization on a national and international level.

ULI Young Leaders

Urban Land Institute Washington D.C. March 2008 – Present

Organization Information: Active member of the Orange County Chapter of the Washington D.C-based non-profit research and education organization supported by its members that now has more than 40,000 members worldwide representing the entire spectrum of land use and real estate development disciplines, working in private enterprise and public service. As the preeminent, multidisciplinary real estate forum, ULI facilitates the open exchange of ideas, information and experience among local, national and international industry leaders and policy makers dedicated to creating better places.

Education

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California, Jan. 2002 – June 2004

Bachelor of Science Urban & Regional Planning

Relevant Courses included:

Applied Demography — Land Use & Theory — CEQA  — Planning Law
Community Development — Real Estate Principles — Urban Development Process
North China University of Technology, Beijing, China, June 2004 – July 2004

(Study Abroad)

Courses Included:

China and the United States: Cross-Cultural Analysis — China as a Cultural Entity
Politics, Economics, Law, and Business Practice in International Destination
University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA April 2008
Write it Right Business Writing Courses

Certificate of Completion
Languages

English, fluent, native speaker

Vietnamese, fluent
?City of Irvine
www.cityofirvine.org

?City of La Quinta
www.la-quinta.org

?City of Westminster
www.ci.westminster.ca.us

?North China University of Technology
http://www.ncut.edu.cn/

http://202.204.24.37/waiban/waiban-English/index.htm

?John Q. Duong
www.johnqduong.com

?Van Tran
www.vantran68.com

?VANG Organization
www.vangusa.org

?Urban Land Institute
www.uli.org

*See separate cover for a full list of professional references and contacts.

 

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Free Essays

Should the Chinese Government Ban the Internet Censorship?

Qing Yuan ESL114 Section G Ryan Salvador May 3, 2012 Should the Chinese government ban the internet censorship? Since the birth of internet, people have been bombarded with different kind of information every day. Internet is a network that connects the data of different private computer networks and organizational computer groups from people or organizations around the world (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). As a result, people are looking forward to having access to any kind of websites of their interest, and receiving the latest information about what is happening around their countries or around the world.

However, things cannot be as perfect as expected. It is noticed by many people that many countries have set barriers to the internet in their own areas. China, which has the largest population of web users among the world, has created the most advanced surveillance system for internet monitoring (Rohde, 2011). The system is known as “Great Firewall”—also called “the Golden Shield Project”, and is designed to sift out pornography and commercial frauds, but simultaneously blocks certain search terms for the government’s own purposes (McDonald, 2012).

However, nobody is satisfied to be a frog in a well which can only perceive scenario above the wellhead but nothing beyond. So the internet censorship has provoked a fierce controversy in the society. Many people including some groups of experts argue for humans’ equal rights to know true and latest resources of information around them. The Chinese government should no longer conduct their censorship program because every person has the right and freedom to know what is going on around them.

If the Chinese government insists on this project, people would be trapped in a vicious cycle because the continuity of information blocks would affect the next generation which doubles its effect on people’s ignorance and it would do nothing but fool its own people. First, in China, people’s words online are carefully inspected which means people do not have the freedom to say what they want, but rather only what are permitted by the Chinese government.

According to a study by the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, more than 16 percent of all messages which are posted by web users in China are considered “unqualified” and get deleted (McDonald, 2012). The Chinese government explained to the media that the “Great Firewall” sifted out words or names that it evaluates as politically odorous. However, due to the matter of fact, it is not that reasonable, but rather private contains emotions of the government.

For example, Sina Weibo, a most popular micro blogging site in China whose users surpassed 300 million, is required to inspect those bloggers whose have more than 100,000 followers (McDonald, 2012). If there are any posts that disobey the government’s rules must be deleted within five minutes. “295 terms with a high probability of being censored,” said the Carnegie Mellon team. So words like “Tibet”, “Dalai Lama”, “Ai Weiwei” (outspoken artist), “Liu Xiaobo” (imprisoned Nobel laureate), and even “Egypt”, “Jon Huntsman” (the former American ambassador), and “Playboy” (the magazine), etc. are banned (McDonald, 2012).

As a result, some people have invented some subversive lexicons to refer to the words prohibited such as using “grass-mud horse” to replace a four-letter word of obscenity, using “river crab” to replace “harmony” which is also banned because it was used to refer to websites deletion by the government, and using phrase “Buying soy sauce” to indicate someone who is involved in scandals like embezzlement and bribery. The phrase “Buying soy sauce” came from the mouth of a government official who was involved in a political scandal and wanted to show his innocence through the TV interview (McDonald, 2012).

So if the government insists on such obvious and self-deceiving procedures, people would finally uncover the truth and thus lose trust in the government because many insightful people like who use VPN to “scale the wall (also a subversive word which means to browse foreign websites)” and have known some truth of some political issues or more people who are studying abroad where has no such internet-defending programs know the truth as well. Maybe this kind of methods worked before, but it would not work anymore as people are familiar and proficient in computer science.

If the government stops their unacceptable programs right now, the status of the society will be much more stable, or the controversial would be more serious and finally trigger something unimaginable. Second, the Chinese government censors some websites which are considered vicious and unbeneficial to them, so they block websites just because they are not in government’s whitelist. In 2009, The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology posted new regulations on domain management institutions and internet services providers because them want to have a deeper control over domain name registration (Hornby and Le, 2009).

The Chinese government explained this is beneficial for an on-going anti-pornography program by creating a list of so called “whitelist. ” However, this policy did not mention the treatment of overseas websites. In fact, foreign sites that have not registered could also be blocked such as Google’s YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. The reason is these sites are thought politically sensitive and containing unreasonable schemes by the Chinese government (Hornby and Le, 2009).

However, as many web users who used VPN to get access to foreign websites have already known that the websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are highly recognized in the U. S. Many popular stars like NBA players often update their newest progress in preparing for the play-off on Twitter, which is often referred to as a trustworthy resource by sports channels like ABC and ESPN. Also, YouTube is even a normal educational tool in some world-famous universities as its sources are updated frequently and carefully (Hornby and Le, 2009).

Many of the videos like the videos on cultural diversities and new-born social phenomena etc. are authoritative. They are often in the forms of a real interview with famous experts in the places where the issues happened like the case of Trayvon Martin, people can find many videos on YouTube which are interviews hold by some sociologists. As a result, blocking websites that the Chinese government considered vicious is detrimental to people’s development in learning advanced thoughts and real educational resources from foreign countries some of which are recognized as much more better in high-level education than that of China.

If the government continues to do things arbitrarily like this, people would lose trust in their government because they do have the ability to consider what kind of information is true and what kind of information is of plot. In conclusion, the Chinese government should stop their internet censorship because it really affects people’s common lives both in freedom of communication and education. The importance of relieve the inspection on internet is obvious and necessary. If the Chinese government moderates the censorship, people can obtain easier access to foreign resources.

As people’s educational levels are higher and higher along with the rapidly-developing status of China’s economy, people are getting more insightful in absorbing more advanced technologies and methods. For instance, teachers can use foreign websites such as YouTube which has huge amount of authoritative resources in college education. Many people have realized that students in China’s colleges know little about realities about some big issues around the world and also have big obstacles in English skills which are not beneficial to students’ development.

Also, if students get such progress in education, there will be more opportunities for them to get jobs abroad which can not only enhance Chinese people’s skills in international business but also relieve the pressure in competition for jobs. Finally, stopping the internet censorship helps the Chinese government to win people’s trust and is also educationally, economically beneficial to a large number of Chinese people. References: Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (n. d. ). Internet. Retrieved from http://www. merriam-webster. com/dictionary/internet Hornby L. and Le, Y. 2009, December 22). China to require internet domain name registration. Retrieved from http://www. reuters. com/article/2009/12/22/us-china-internet-idUSTRE5BL19620091222 McDonald, M. (2012, March 13). Watch your language! (in china, they really do). New York Times. Retrieved from http://rendezvous. blogs. nytimes. com/2012/03/13/watch-your-language-and-in-china-they-do/? ref=internetcensorship Rohde, D. (2011, November 18). China’s newest export: Internet censorship. Retrieved from http://blogs. reuters. com/david-rohde/2011/11/17/chinas-newest-export-internet-censorship/

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Should the Government Regulate the Internet More Strictly

Tittle: Should the government regulate the Internet more strictly Should the government regulate the Internet more strictly? It is no exaggeration to say that the Internet has changed the world. Today, we can get all kinds of information from around the world through the Internet and life in the world easy to communicate with others. Therefore, the Internet seems to be at first glance dream tool. However, the Internet is not always a bright side. It can be harmful, when we use it and little care. Therefore, it should be better for the government to control the Internet.

From my opinion, there are few ways here that government should regulate the internet more strictly. Firstly, the number of crimes on the Internet at breakneck speed is increase in the past few years. For example, we sometimes encounter some fraud when we do some shopping on the Internet. In this case, we are doing procurement and they do not sent to the buyer, although the money has been sent to the seller. This is very difficult to track down criminals, because we have almost no criminals, who they are, what they do, even where they live we also don’t know.

If we use the Internet for online shopping, our credit card number is stolen, then the money in our bank account may be used up. Using the Internet to do our personal information is not safe, especially those important document. In fact, when we surf the Web, reading e-mail, download software, even with our friends, is called a hidden program, Trojan chat, can send to our computer without our knowing. It will steal and transfer all the information that we already save. After that, this person may make use of it to others. Nguyen Long Quoc, 2008) Secondly, the Government should review the information on the Internet that is more stringent. In reality, we can find out a lot of illegal work, such as music, movies, or books on the Internet. Shall be strictly controlled, or who owns the copyright and intellectual property rights because of this serious damage. Between that, pornography is a drawback of the Internet also. This is a very serious problem, especially when it comes to children. There are thousands of pornographic sites on the Internet can easily be found.

This kind of site is very harmful to the child, and likely to incite them to take action, on the other sex. According to researchers Jennings Bryant about 600 junior high school aged men and women, 31% male and 18% of women admitted to actually do some things that they see pornography. In addition, a recent study shows that, often exposed to pornography may lead to children’s participation in disease, addiction and unplanned pregnancy, the adverse effects of the mental life of children. (Nguyen Long Quoc, 2008) Lastly, we must be careful to computer viruses when we on the Internet.

Some people do the purpose of computer viruses; they spread out on the Internet. Once these viruses infect our computers, they destroy some of the information or even the computer itself. These kind of criminals also difficult to find out, so we must rely on government help to prevent these viruses. The virus is just a program; it would disrupt the normal operation of our computer system. Computer connected to the Internet is more vulnerable to virus attacks; they can go to our computer slowing down, destruction of data and our entire hard drive crashes to an end.

Maybe we here at least, no matter how hard we tried to stop them to use some anti-virus program on infected computers from viruses. Therefore, we should clearly know that they cause bad damage, but also inevitable. In conclusion, the Internet can have some bad effects toward us, such as unsafe personal information, the impact of pornography on children’s mental life, and virus threats. However, this does not mean that we should not use the Internet. It is difficult to imagine without the internet in our lives. We should only need to be more careful, every time we use the internet.

Nowadays, although internet is good or convenient to us but we still have to beware of it because sometimes it will bring harms to us. There should be more government control of the Internet. Although the Internet has made that we might live a better life, it can be bad for us, unless it is properly controlled. SOURCES Grace Smith. (2007). More government control of the internet? Available: http://sky. geocities. jp/c1304015takeshi/C3_56. htm. Last accessed 17th July 2012. Nguyen Long Quoc. (2008). disadvantages of the Internet. Available:

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The American System of Government

Chapter 4 We – the People Dividing Power: The American System of Government The Basics •Americans have distrusted any concentration of political power ever since its founding •American form of government was written down in a Constitution o1787, after thirteen colonies gained independence from Great Britain •“Tyranny” of King George III – the Americans wanted to make sure no person was allowed to have too much power •Representative democracy Elected representatives who could be regularly shifted out oPower rested with the people •Federal system oIndividual states which give only certain specific powers to a central government oFederalism •The separation of powers oDivided the power into three oNo one is too powerful Federalism •The federal government can only do what it has specifically been given the power to do in the Constitution oDelegated powers by the states •Reserved powers are for the states and the people oState rights The states gave the federal government power over the following areas oForeign affairs (treaties and relations with other countries) oDefense (defending the nation and declaring war) oMonetary policy oTrade (among states, between states and government, between the nation and other countries) Separation of powers •Breaking power into three oThe Executive (the President) oThe Legislative (Congress) oThe Judicial (Supreme Court) •Main idea – power could never be combined under one man oThreaten people and democracy The Founding Fathers created the system of checks and balances oEach of the branches can limit the power of two The Congress – legislative powers •Two “chambers” – the House of Representatives and the Senate •The smaller states were afraid of being controlled of the larger states •The number of representatives each state got in the House of Representatives was based on the population of the state •In the Senate, each state was given two representatives no matter how small or large •Congress has the power to: Pass laws (legislation) oLevy taxes oDecide how federal money is used •No one in the federal government gets paid nothing gets funded unless Congress has passed a “bill” approving the use of money •Members of the House of Representatives – Congressmen o435 members, all its members are elected every two years (democratic) •Members of the Senate – Senators o100 members, two from each state, elected for six years of the time (stable) •Checks on Congress oThe President can veto a bill by refusing to sign it The Supreme Court can declare laws “unconstitutional” The President – executive powers •The President is Head of State and represents the people of the US at home and abroad •The President is Chief Executive oHeads all federal organizations, has a “cabinet” with political advisors •The President is Commander-in-Chief oHe is head of the armed forces of the only superpower in the world. Only Congress can declare war, but the President can ask Congress for the power to use “necessary force” •The President is Chief Diplomat Decides foreign and defense policy, appoints ambassadors, sets up embassies and negotiates treaties (only become law if two-thirds of the Senate approves) •The power of the President has increased since 1787, he leads three million people who work for this branch of the government •Checks on the President oThe Supreme Court can declare his actions unconstitutional oCongress can change or refuse to pass the legislation suggested by him oCongress can override a presidential veto with a two-third majority oCongress and Supreme Court can “impeach” the President (remove him) The Supreme Court – judicial powers Highest court in the land, all courts must accept its interpretation of the law •States have their own laws and their own supreme courts, but if there is a conflict, the federal law overrides the state law (to make sure the law is applied the same way everywhere) •Decides what laws are in compliance and what laws are unconstitutional •A law that is unconstitutional is “null and void”, no longer valid •Nine members of the Supreme Court oNine to make sure it can’t split evenly o“Justices” are appointed for life •Checks on the Supreme Court oCongress can change the Constitution Congress and the Supreme Court can “impeach” a Supreme Court Justice Checks and balances in action •Every year the President must submit a bill for federal budget to Congress •Congress never passes it as it is, both the House and the Senate make changes •If president gets a majority, he may then accept a compromise. He can refuse to sign the bill, and send it back to the Congress, both must a compromise Appointing a Supreme Court Justice •When a justice dies, the President nominates a judge to fill the seat •Since the President can choose someone he finds beneficial for the job, he Senate must first approve “ratify” the choice before the President can appoint a nominee •If it does not, the President must find someone else (checks and balances) Separation of powers – advantages and disadvantages •It has worked as intended •It has kept government under democratic control •When Richard Nixon broke the law (Watergate scandal) he was forced from office •On the other hand, when the President is a Democrat and Congress has a majority of Republicans (or vice versa), the division of powers can paralyze the political system •Some say it would’ve been better with a parliamentary democracy (the Congress chooses the President).

In that way, the budget would always pass in congress •However, this would give the President a lot more power State government •American states are “real states” oThey make their own laws, collect their own taxes, have their own welfare systems, police forces, educational systems and so on •Most “governing” goes on at the state and local levels •Any American is bound to respect federal law, state law and local city and county law •Most states use the federal government as a model for their state government oAll have a written constitution All practice the separation of powers into three branches •The executive branch is headed by a Governor •The legislative branch is divided into two chambers (except Nebraska) •All states have a state supreme court and separate court systems •The 50 states are all different, and are looked at as 50 “laboratories of democracy”, which means that they come with new solutions to new and old problems •The US is proud to have an extremely large degree of local democracy and variation

Advantages and disadvantages •Local democracy > source of strength and innovation, but hard to govern •E. g. the school system. The President and Congress can have an opinion on what is best for the school systems, but they can’t order the states to adopt these measures, because education is a “state right” and not a federal responsibility •Variety > inequality. Some states are rich, some are poor Political Parties in the United States The electoral system There are two basic things to keep in mind about the electoral system in America oAll federal and state elections are in single-seat election districts •Only one representative from each district will be elected oA candidate can win an election with either a majority of votes, or a plurality of votes •The winner is candidate C, because that candidate has a plurality of votes. “The winner takes it all”. The other votes are “wasted”. 85306 •If A and B goes together and supports one candidate, that candidate could easily win with 60% of the votes •Problems: finding someone they both support The US only has two parties: The Democrats and the Republicans. Both are giant coalitions of wildly different political groups. Shooting for the center •Both parties are coalitions > neither party presents a very clear political profile •A clear ideology would send away some interest groups, weakening the party •Both parties are vague about what they stand for •No one wants to come out with strong ideological statements that might scare away any voters, because to win you have to win the votes of the electorate, which basically is divided into two

The Democratic Party (donkey) •Supports stronger federal authority, more liberal, willing to use government in the service of the people at the expense of “states’ rights” •Wants to involve the federal government in shaping American society (more than the Republicans), reducing the gap between rich/poor •Support welfare programs more strongly than Republicans •Taxes are a resource that can be wisely used •Have support in large cities and states on the coasts The Republican Party (GOP, the elephant) More conservative party, support state rights and resist a large role for the federal government •Wants to give a great deal of free play to market economy and are opposed to government regulations of the economy •Lower level of taxation •Every-man-for-himself tradition, are suspicious of welfare systems •Have support in the Midwest and the south and among businesspeople Democrats and Republicans •Some Democrats are more conservative than Republicans and some Republicans are more liberal than Democrats. •Different histories and tradition Serious political consequences > the Republicans have grown more powerful because conservative southerners have left the democrats Advantages and disadvantages of a two-party system •Gives a stable foundation to build on •Forces the parties to look for voter support from the center of American politics, encouraging moderation, an agreement, a “consensus” •The two-party system helps create such broad agreement •Wastes votes of millions who vote for candidates who are not elected oUndermines democracy •No directions other than leading the country Blocks new ideas and movements (they are drawn into the coalitions) Interest Groups and Lobbyists •Joining or supporting a political party is not the only way to influence the political process in America •A more direct route > INTEREST GROUPS oPolitical organizations which seek to influence government policy about one specific issue or related set of issues oCompromise without being part of one of the great party coalitions oCan be more straightforward, aggressive and ideological PACs •Political Action Committee Organized specifically to elect (or defeat) politicians or to promote legislation •Collects contributions and use them to support or oppose candidates oHard money > goes directly to the candidates oSoft money > pays for campaigns in various ways Lobbyists •Interest groups make use of lobbyists who try to persuade individual politicians to support the interests they represent. They have recently become more active (16 000>34000) •Can be done in many ways: Taking them out for dinner, paying their way to conferences and seminars, finding jobs for their relatives and so on •Lobbyists are found near the centers of power.

Spent 2. 4 billion in 2005 Advantages and disadvantages •Make the citizens politically active •They show that the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are being put to good use •Some worry about the increasing role of interest groups oWeakened political parties? oSplits the electorate up in warring groups? •Another reason for concern is the skyrocketing expense of getting elected •Senate campaigns costs minimum 3 million dollars, rising to 10 million in big states •House of Representatives: 1 million dollars every two years oA great deal of the money comes from lobbyists

Electing a President •To major stages in the election process oDeciding nominees for candidates for President and Vice President oElecting President and Vice President •Primaries > winner > national convention > nomination > Vice President/platform > campaign > election (people) > election (electoral college) > President The nomination race •Exhausting process •January > June: Primaries are held in most states oChoosing a party nominee •Earlier they were chosen by state party conventions Not good, because they ended up being controlled by a party elite •Decided to choose nominees by a special state-wide election •Protects the public from the leadership of its own political parties •Primaries are held at different times in different states and often with different rules •Each party emerges with a man or a woman as winner in each of the states holding a primary oWinner is the state’s delegates at the party’s national convention •As the primaries proceed, the number of persons running for the nomination is gradually reduced to two or three per party •Failure > losing support •Succeed > momentum and fresh funding Earlier the primary season was longer, and that gave relatively unknown candidates the chance to gain support oExample: Jimmy Carter •Recently, primaries are held earlier and earlier oNo point in holding a state primary after other primary elections have already determined which candidate has a majority of delegates at the national party convention •Held as early as possible, on the same day in several states •This favors well-known candidates with a lot of money who can campaign in several states •Ironically, the money comes from powerful special interests, forces primaries were created to avoid Tickets and platforms Late August/early September, a national convention is held in a major city •A party chooses its final candidate for President •Used to be an exciting event (unknown who would become candidate) •These days, the results are almost always already decided from the primaries •The nomination is “ritual”, with balloons and speeches and cheering crowds •However, a good deal of interest is still connected to the choosing of a party “ticket” and the creation of a party “platform”. •The party ticket is the team of candidates running for President and Vice President •The choice of Vice President is up to the President Often a secret until the presidential nomination is accepted •A BALANCED TICKET, to reach a broad section of the electorate oCandidate from South, other one from North/West oCandidate is woman, other one is a man oCandidate is conservative, other one is liberal oCandidate is inexperienced, other one is a seasoned politician or statesman •All interests can’t be balanced in two people, but an effort is made •Once the ticket is clear, the two sit down with the party leadership and write a party platform oThe team will run for election Party platform > closest thing to an ideological statement •It consists of political statements or promises which together make the party’s political program •They differ from year to year and election to election, addresses the different issues of the day and incorporate with new political trends •They want to meet the expectations of as wide a group of voters as possible oFuzzy and broad, both parties promise the same things

The election and the Electoral College •Finally there is the actual election •Serious campaigning starts in September and lasts until voting day, the first Tuesday in November •The candidates travel all over the country, speaks at meetings, takes part in official debates, appears on TV, gaining recommendations from important people, TV-ads, press releases, e-mails, books, pamphlets and etc •Expensive, in 1996 it amounted together 448. million dollars. In 2008 it doubled to over 1 billion dollars, 500 million dollars on each. •The President and Vice President are not elected directly by the popular vote •They are elected indirectly by a majority of the electoral votes cast by the nation’s fifty states system •The 41 days comes from the old days (1787), when it was a lot harder to travel around. Most people didn’t know who the candidates were, but they trusted someone in town.

Votes were cast for these men as electors from each state. They assembled, discussed the candidates, and sent their decision to Washington D. C. •The candidate who had won a majority of the popular vote in a state got all the electoral votes in the state (Winner takes it all) The Electoral College •Each state is given a number of electors equal to its presentation in Congress oTwo Senators + a varied number of Congress man •D. C. , which belongs to no state has three electors The number of electoral votes is equal to: o435 congressmen o100 senators o3 from the District of Columbia •538 electoral votes •To win the Presidential election a candidate must have a majority of these votes, that is 269+1 = 270 votes. •It is possible for a President to be elected with a majority of the votes in the Electoral College while having a minority of the popular vote nationwide. oSmall states are over-represented in the Electoral College

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More Government Assistance for College

The importance of college education is undeniably evident in today’s economy and society.  What makes college education a very important factor is because it provides greater opportunity, to an individual, especially when it comes to making career and financial-related decisions.

As opposed to generations of the past, high school graduates today are unable to obtain the number of high-paying jobs that were once available.

The world is continuously being been transformed from a manufacturing-based economy to an economy based on knowledge. In fact, experts predict that in the near future, around 90 percent of the fastest-growing jobs and careers would require college education.

Moreover, it is also evident that in the present society, the major benefit of having college education is that college graduates receive salaries that are twice as much as those of undergraduates, aside from this, college graduates are also twice as much likely to be accepted in a job application, as compared to an undergraduate.

With the continuously increasing importance of a post secondary education, the cost of it also continuously escalates. At present, the cost of college, in most countries, has been so expensive, that many would wonder whether, the high cost of tuition fees and school fees, the years to be spent in college instead of choosing to be in full-time employment, and the anxieties of keeping up with college life and financial constraints for a couple of years, in the long run, would still be worth the investment. The risk is especially large for those that belong to low-income families that already have difficulties in making ends meet, as tuition fees would definitely be an additional financial burden.

Due to these constraints and various others, countries from all over the world are in grave danger of facing a societal phenomenon known as brain drain. Brain drain will arise when majority of the citizens of the society will lack education. This will happen then people, would focus on only obtaining secondary education and basic skills.

The best form of remedy for this type of situation is for the government to provide greater support for College education especially in financial terms.

The aim of this project is to be able to request the government to provide more assistance for college education.

If the government makes a financial investment in College education, for sure that in the long run, the country’s citizens will feel be the ones to feel the benefit that will impact in the near future. Good education is beneficial in many view points.

Increased government support in college education will result to a country with a higher number of educated and globally competitive professionals. This would automatically correspond to an increase in the economic status of the country. Also, it can be expected that the overall crime rate, in the country would decrease correspondingly.

Background Information

According to a recent study made in the U.S., about 76 percent of students that finish education would pursue a college degree, of the remaining 24 percent, 75 percent would not pursue college due to financial constraints.

The goal should not be to determine whether college education is worth the investment or not, for there should be no question to this, college education is definitely of great value. The goal should be to answer on how to make college education more affordable.

Post secondary education will provide students and individuals with the great opportunity to read books and listen to the lectures of top experts in their field of study, and from this they can pick-up vital ideas in choosing their careers.

This form of stimulation would encourage students to think, ask questions, try out and explore new ideas, which consequently provides additional growth and development in their well-being as a person, and provides the college graduates with an edge in the job market over those who were not fortunate enough to have experienced a college education.

The importance of a college education is also emphasized because of the opportunity to gain valuable resources during your tenure. During college life, students will be able to make relevant connections and affiliations with people and organizations that will later help them in the career which they would pursue. The more connections which are collected during your college years, the more options you will have when you begin your job search.

Once the job search has ended, and a good and steady career has been obtained, however, the importance and benefits of a college education has not yet been exhausted. Having a college degree often provides for greater and faster opportunity for promotions.

A good education is beneficial from many different viewpoints, and while the importance of a college education is quite evident for many high school students, what is often not as clear is how they will pay for that education.

Although most of the colleges and universities at present would carry a very heavy price tag, it is of great importance not to let that discourage prospective college students from obtaining a college education. While the cost of tuition continues to rise, so should government support and financial aid continue to rise along with it.

From local and federal options, to categorical and corporate options, college-bound students have variety opportunities worth exploring when attempting to obtain financial aid. A common misrepresentation of financial aid packages (e.g. scholarships, grants, loans, work study programs) is that they would be sufficient enough to provide funding for an entire college education. The reality is that most of these packages are smaller and it may take several of them to add up.

If you are still asking yourself why you should go to college, it is important to remember the significant amount of opportunity available for college graduates compared to the minimal opportunity available for college undergraduates.

The global economy is becoming increasingly more competitive, and in order to give yourself the best chance for a well-paying job, you must first understand the importance of college education.

Attending college provides students with the knowledge and experience they are unable to receive from a secondary education, and finding a way to fund a higher education now can pay off in a huge way in the years to come.

During their high school career, students may begin to question the importance of a college education. They might find themselves asking, “Why is it important to go to college?” The answer is that, more than ever, attending college provides opportunities for graduates which are not as widespread to those who have not received a higher education.

For many students that attended high school, being able to immediately generate an income after graduation is an appealing thought, that most often, the importance of obtaining a college degree may be disregarded. Most often, they may also be repelled by the rising cost of tuition fees. This is exactly what the country should try to avoid.

While it is true that a higher education may be one of the largest expenses, the importance of a college education has become quite evident in terms of earning potential and financial independence, within today’s economy.

Research and Methods

As a starting point, it will be relevant to review the statistics of the trend in the number of college enrollees at about ten years ago and up to the present. This will provide relevant data on whether college enrollment has increase or decrease within the past decade. Taking into consideration the obtained information, solutions would be drawn on as to how to increase or further increase college enrollments.

Interviews on college students should also be conducted, from this, data as to what constraints are being most common to college students can be achieved. From this gathered data, solutions on how to minimize the constraints being faced by college students should be drawn.

Questionnaires should also be prepared and distributed to Colleges and Universities; this will serve as a wide-scale data gathering procedure.

Data should also be gathered from secondary students. Likewise, questionnaires should also be distributed and interviews should also be conducted. The goal would be to gather data and draw a conclusion as to determine the major factor on why most secondary school students would choose to immediately enter corporate life or employment, rather than pursue a college degree.

In gathering data it is important to handle, personal information from responders especially from interviews, with at most care and confidentiality.

Based on the data and information which will be gathered, solutions should be formulated.

Formulated solutions should be formally presented to the government. Data and results should have high credibility and integrity for it will the major basis for the support, projects, and resolutions, which will be provided by the government.

A formal proposal would be presented to the government, indicating the nature and relevance of the project, the present problem, a detailed and well-presented data analysis and results, Cited possible solutions and a feasibility study on how likely the proposed solutions to the problem would be effective.

For this study, a budget of about $250.00 would be sufficient enough as for the data gathering materials, travel expenses, research expenses, printing, and other miscellaneous expenses.

It is expected that the success of this study would lead to a significantly higher number of people that would be taking college education; and likewise there would be an increase in the number of college students that would finish their college degree.

In the long run, it is expected that these results would correspond to an increase in the economical, social, ethical, moral, and cultural growth of the country, and its citizens as a whole.

References

Boesel, D., ; Fredland, E. (1999). College for all? Is there too much emphasis on getting a 4-year college degree? Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Library of Education.

Cohn, E., ; Geske, T.G. (1992). Private Nonmonetary Returns to Investment in Higher Education. In Becker, W. ; Lewis, D. The Economics of American Higher Education. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Day, J.C., ; Newburger, E.C. (2002). The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings. (Current Population Reports, Special Studies, P23-210). Washington, DC: Commerce Dept., Economics and Statistics Administration, Census Bureau. [On-Line]. Available: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p23-210.pdf

Institute for Higher Education Policy (1998). Reaping the Benefits: Defining the Public and Private Value of Going to College. The New Millennium Project on Higher Education Costs, Pricing, and Productivity. Washington, DC: Author.

U.S. Department of Education (2001). Digest of Education Statistics 2001. [On-Line].

U.S. Department of Education (2000). Think College Early: Average College Costs.

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Essay on Government Spending

Fall 12 Fall 12 Brigham Young University Brigham Young University 08 Fall 08 Fall Essay #3 Nguyen Bui A HTG 100, # 103 Essay #3 Nguyen Bui A HTG 100, # 103 People should be treated indifferently regardless of their wealth and social standings. Yet, in reality, societies have experienced economical inequalities due to pay scales, tax brackets, and education level. A research study on 23 developed countries and 50 states of the US has shown that countries with higher degree of inequality tend to have higher rates of health, social problems and lower rates of social welfare.

To resolve such inequality, the U. S government has consistently intervened by alleviating poverty and redistributing income in different forms of transfer payments such as welfare, Medicare, Social Security and employer-provided health insurance. Despite the good intentions, these programs, which involved large spending, haven’t been entirely effective in helping the poor. Therefore, even though the poor might suffer from an extensive economic inequality, the government cannot intervene by levying these transfer payments to focus on the equal outcome rather than personal freedom.

Many studies have shown that transfer payments didn’t help to redistribute income. According to Dwight R. Lee, only 25% of $500 billion spent yearly on public assistance and social insurance programs were distributed through Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security, etc and 75% were allocated regardless of need. This suggests that a large portion of financial aid from the government went to those who were not in need. These programs were therefore proven ineffective since their means were to help the poor but the poor didn’t actually receive the exact benefits the taxpayers gave up.

One of the reasons was that these transfer payments’ policy wasn’t specific enough, so their main purpose of feeding only the poor hasn’t been accomplished. In addition, when taxpayers were taken money away to help the poor, their personal freedom was constrained because they couldn’t do whatever they want on their earnings completely, even in helping the poor themselves. More importantly, many poor people receive no more than the average income people and the transfers they get are worth less to them.

Out of the 25% payment transferred that were means-tested, only about 30% was in cash and the remaining 70% came in the form of in-kind transfers such as food stamps, housing, and medical care. These in-kind transfers are less preferable to the poor as cash provides more spending flexibility. For every dollar the government spends, only 25 cents are transferred to the poor. Out of those 25 cents, only 75% or 19 cents is the actual cash the poor can receive and use for whatever they need. Even though the poor still receive a cash portion through these transfer payments, the cash amount is not enough to satisfy their daily need.

Those programs don’t help the poor as much as expected and as a result, the poor are still poor and the income inequality still remains unresolved. Also, it is disappointing to taxpayers because they can no longer use their own money to help the poor, and the money they give up doesn’t maximize the poor’s utility either. Some of the basic supporting arguments for transfer programs are that they help to reduce income inequality and social stratification. Particularly, the mathematical function explains this argument: W= min (Y1, Y2, …, Yn).

This function states that society’s utility (W) is dependent on the least of individual utility, which is the poorest in terms of income. Thus, the poor have to be prioritized when income is distributed until all are equal. This is totally reasonable since a society would be fair only if the bottom individuals were also well taken care of. The advocates of these transfer payments also argue that transfer payments even though can’t help to redistribute income equally, at least they help the poor become better and thus, social welfare would increase as a whole.

However, they probably never pay attention to the result. They probably haven’t asked themselves this question: is the money actually transferred from the rich to the poor? Many studies have shown a striking fact that most government transfers are not from the rich to the poor. Instead, government takes from the relatively unorganized parties, like tax payers and consumers, and gives to elderly, sugar farmers, and steel producers, considered as the relatively organized parties.

As mentioned above, only 25% of all the money spent yearly on public assistance and social insurance programs were distributed through Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security, and 75% were allocated regardless of need. People tend to believe that whatever tax amount they pay, either federal or state or social security tax, the money would be fully transferred to the poor. But they have failed to recognize whether the transfer payments go to the poor or people who don’t need it. They end up losing their spending flexibility to only help the poor a little.

Would people still see the necessity of these programs if they realize that the poor don’t get as much as they really need? Overall, the redistribution of income is important because inequality can only cause complex issues for society as a whole. But the most effective way of income redistribution remains controversial. While most people believe transfer programs are helpful because they help to balance income between the rich and the poor, I believe this is not an ultimate solution for such a long-standing issue.

The statistics are self-explanatory; these programs didn’t result in a good outcome for the poor and the poor were still unsatisfied after all. It’s the time for us to make changes, whether to alternate these programs or totally get rid of them so that taxpayers no longer have to pay a large sum of money to help only a little to those in need. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better [ 2 ]. Dwight R. Lee, Redistribution of Income

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Mixed Member Proportional Government for Canada

Canada’s government system was drafted at the Quebec conference by the so-called “Fathers of Confederation.” In this system, the Queen of Great Britain has the formal executive power. This in effect made the Canadian government system loosely based on the system being used by the United Kingdom (One Stop Canada, n.d.).

Up to now, the Queen is still the head of the state, but just like any other parliamentary democracy, her powers are extremely limited. It is still the Parliament that drafts and approves the country’s laws, and then the Queen would give the final approval, so to speak, known as the “Royal Assent.” Whenever the Queen is not in Canada, the Governor General acts as her representative and performs all her ceremonial and administrative duties. The Governor General is always chosen by the Queen by virtue of the Prime Minister’s recommendation. The Governor General normally stays in office for 5 years (One Stop Canada, n.d.).

The seat of power lies in the House of Parliament, but specifically, in the House of Commons. It is them who make laws for “make laws for the peace, order and good government of Canada”, and this includes defence, international policies, criminal law, immigration, border control and customs. They are being elected every 5 years.

The present system in the Canada is the single member representation, commonly known also as first past the post or plurality system, wherein the whole country is divided into constituencies (total of 308) and during elections, whoever gets the most number of votes in any particular constituency represents the constituency, and take a single seat in the Parliament (One Stop Canada, n.d.).

This system is now being challenged by many because of the presumed “lack of real representation” of this system.

Challenges on the current system and call for a change

Statistics from last year’s election show that in British Columbia, the Liberal Party gained 77 of the 79 seats for that province with only 58% of the votes, compared to the former ruling Democratic Party who only gained 2 seats despite getting 22% of the vote. (The Democratic Party held 52 seats during the elections before last year, with only 39.5% of the vote.)

The Green Party, although they have won 12.5% of the total votes, got no seats at all. This recent election has proven to many that there is a need for a change in their electoral system. Adriane Carr, the British Columbia Green Party leader, leads the initiative to change the existing first-past-the-post system of Canada. Carr launched this initiative to encourage the government to consider her drafted legislation on the mixed member proportional government (Caron, 1999; Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, 2002).

In this proposed system, the benefits both electoral schemes will be combined. A voter will choose a candidate that he or she likes, and at the same time, vote for a party also. In this way, all constituencies will be represented, and at the same time, a proportionate number of seats will also be given to parties receiving a certain percentage of votes, thus, ensuring the representation on the interest or cause that it represents.

It was also argued that this new system will maximize voter turnout as all votes will be taken into consideration, unlike the case of a first-past-the-post system where only the winning votes, so to speak, are represented in the parliament. This means that in this system, it would not only mean that the leading party would have seats in the Parliament, but also the minority party or parties, depending on the percentage of votes that they have won (Caron, 1999).

This scheme is also said to increase the representation of women in the Parliament. In many countries in the Europe, proportional representation increased women representation by more than 10% (Caron, 1999). Such condition is something being advocated by parties like the Democratic Party in Canada. If proportional representation will be adopted by the Canadian political system, it is forecasted to increase the voter turnout from all levels of election, and at the same time, also increase the representation of other interests in the Parliament. Theoretically, this scheme will make all votes count.

The ultimate question: Will this work in Canada?

Many advocates of first-past-the-post system believe that if the system is not broken, then, do not fix it. But it appears that while it is not broken, there is a better way of doing it. Even cynics do not disagree with having a need for electoral reform.

The current system of electoral process in Canada is based on a winner-take-all principle, which means that the only representation happening is the winning vote, i.e., the popular partisan viewpoint. This also means that the other vote, the losing view, lose their right to political representation. This system has produced a government with a winning party winning majority of seats, without really wining majority of the votes (Gordon, 2003).

Canadians have only enjoyed true majority governments, elected by a majority of voters, four times since World War I (Gordon, 2003). The recent election show how “unrepresented” the voters are. And with the idea that they really have not attained a true majority government yet, still, they are using the first-past-the-post system despite the theoretically good outcome of a proportional representation system, or at least, the mixed member proportion. In all aspects of the theory, from the idea of being truly representative, to the idea of increasing voters’ turnout, we know that this mixed member proportion will work.

Since World War 1, only four times have the Canadian people attained a true representative majority, which means for only four times have the people been truly represented. This new system will in almost all certainty, reduce the control of the reigning party in the parliament. The system has worked or is still showing potential benefits in all countries which have tried this. Canada will not be an exemption. So, more than just asking if this system will work in Canada, the ultimate question is: Will the existing government give this a chance to work?

Works cited:

Caron, Jean-François. “The end of the first-past-the post electoral system?” Canadian Parliamentary Review, 22.3 (Autumn 1999): 19-22.

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, 2002. Rod Donald exports MMP to Canada. Press release (28th March 2002).

Gordon, Larry. “It’s time for fair voting in Canada.” Economics at About.com (15 October 2003).

One Stop Canada, n.d. Canadian Political System. http://www.onestopimmigration-canada.com/canadian_political_system.html

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The Government

Governments should spend more money on education than on recreation and sports. Do you agree or disagree? Do you believe that government should focus on education rather than recreation? Education is a learning process for every citizen composing a nation . Perhap, a nation cannot produce a good citizen for giving full attention to education without recreation. I believe the children is our future, the pride of our nation, teach them well and give the way they must possess inside.

The amount of education can give us a good medium to the success of our land for they will be a better man in next generation. Furthermore, an educated man can properly lead the country with full dignity and confidence to himself, thereby he can be able to protect the nation and lifts up the lives of the people. On the other hand, we can’t be on education alone but to give way to all the stress and be physically fitted by all means , we also need recreation to be fully motivated in all the task . It’s one way of releasing all the tensions and burnouts in anyhow.

A physically fitted man learned to be having a good sense of ego. Recreations helps the family bonding more closer to each other, thereby , energize our mind speed. In conclusion, In order for a nation to provide a better citizen, the government should focus on giving proper education , in such a way that it will be balance with recreation. A nation will not be nation if the citizen itself were dull and weak. Therefore , for a nation to be successful , citizen should be competent and will generates a well trusted individual .

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Democratic Government and Monarchy

Democratic Government and Monarchy The types of system of government Democracy and Monarchy are different from each other. The actual founder of the modern democracy was John Locke, who argued with Thomas Hobbes, the one who believed that one person king or queen should rule. Government has been an issue throughout time. Many different governments have been established, demolished and replaced over the time, but the question is which one is better?

In democracy they give the people more freedom, and more voice to choose what is best for them, however in absolute power the ruler gets to choose what is good for the people or not. It’s becoming hard to decide the type of government system is best suitable for the society we live in. Monarchy and democracy both have advantages, and disadvantages, indeed; government is never established without them. Let’s first look at Monarchy. Monarchy is a system of government ruled by king or queen. People follow the throne; members of the ruling family.

The ruler decides, and gets to choose the best for country. Otherwise, there are some punishments given to the people. The system of monarchy is been established in many places throughout the time in different places. One of the big places is England where this system is still accepted even in this postmodern twenty first century. England has had good and bad kings, queens and both. One of the kings that England had was by the name of Henry the VIII, who comes in the bad category of the rulers.

Henry the VIII was a good king, however his secretive, acquisitive, and untrusting qualities lead to downfall. He went against the church in order to execute one of the sixth wives “Anne Boleyn” for not producing a male heir to his throne. When Henry VIII died his only son Henry IX succeeded him. When his son died, Henry the VIII’s first daughter Mary, ascended the throne. She was raised as a catholic and was intent to make the entire country of Catholic, and then she earned the title of “Bloody Mary”. Elizabeth succeeded her, and she was one of the good rulers that England had.

Elizabeth was a beloved queen to England and ruled for forty four years. There are some advantages and disadvantages of Monarchy. History is witness that monarchy came out ahead of democracy, however the economists call it “time Preference”. The best advantage of having a monarchy is that there is always someone higher up than the peoples elected Representative like the prime minister. The monarch has no political preference so is balanced and is able to guide the PM in running the country. Let’s pretend that king or queen is so fair that everything in the country runs smoothly.

Then not only government, but also society would be willing to have monarchy in that country. And if king and queen govern so cruelly, then the citizens would be unhappy to live in that country and there will be revolutionary war or civil war that ruin prosperity of the country like how this happened in Nepal from 1996 to 2006. The problem with any hereditary absolute ruler is the possibility of too much power in the hands of a person unsuitable for maintaining it. History is witnessed with examples. The great roman emperor Augustus was succeeded by the likes of Caligula and Nero.

The warrior king Edward I followed by the useless Edward II. The list goes on. It was great if the monarch was a ‘good’ king or queen. But if you had an incompetent tyrant on your hands it could be disastrous. Also, an advantage is that less people in charge means less arguing, and it becomes easy to take action, instead of wasting time. Now let’s start with democratic system. The other government system is Democracy, is a form of government in which people freely elect their representatives to govern them. In democratic countries, what majority wants is established.

The good example of the Democratic government is Rome in early renaissance. Rome had the best democratic government at this time. The element of that system of government can be found in United States. The veto system used today by the president of the United States was also used in Rome’s democratic system. As we can see from the government used in the United States today, where all people have right to say in the issues of country, is better for all and much better than a monarchy. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of democratic government.

The democratic system can be established for changes in government without violence. In a democratic system, authority can be transferred from one leader to another by the jurisdiction of citizens of the country determines their ruling authority. This makes the ruling authority grateful to the citizen, and this serves as their motivation of freedom towards citizen, which maintains peace. The most important advantage of the democracy is that by claiming the leader citizens gain a sense of participation in the elections to choose their government.

Citizens of the country feel free to voice their opinions in the process of choosing the authoritarian, and this gives rise to a feeling of nationalism in their mind. Disadvantages In a democratic nation, people have all the right to elect their leader, however mostly people do not vote due to the lack of knowledge the political scenario in their country, and this results making people wrong choices. The leaders rule for a short period of time, and this results them to focus on winning the election rather than working of their people.

Every form of government system is guaranteed to have some drawbacks. There are different views about both political systems. Whether a government system is democratic or monarchy, they both serve the same purpose that is run its country. Their similarities, advantages, and disadvantages have to be evaluated carefully in order to have a good conclusion. Both governments are considerable on both sides. When Thomas Hobbes looked out of his window, he saw the entire bad things that could happen in a democratic government and he decided to believe that there should be an absolute power.

On the other hand, John Locke saw the society in a good way and he believed that society should have more rights than they do. Two philosophers are so good in their work yet so opposite their beliefs helped to decide the criteria of society. World is coming into a new era, and countries with monarchy type of government are hard to establish, however it’s not impossible to see this system. It depends on the society we are living in and the type of government will establish which fits within the society, and this concludes that both Democratic and monarchy system of government are efficient.

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Branches of Government

Branches of Government Paper Brandy N. Serrano HIS 301 May 28, 2012 Bruce Franklin Branches of Government Paper This paper will discuss the three branches of government Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. This paper will first cover the history of the three branches how did it start and what each branch controls. The second piece will cover how the branches interact with each other and the success and balance of each of the three branches. The last two parts of the paper will cover conflict between state and federal power then and now and how the branches could be more efficient.

History of the 3 Branches of Government The reason our founding father created the three Branches of Government was not to allow one person or one group of people to have too much power or control by having a series of “checks and balances”. The framers wrote the Constitution to provide a separation of powers, or three separate branches of government. Each branch has its own responsibilities while at the same time work together to make the country run smoothly and to assure that the rights of citizens are not ignored (Ben’s Guide to U.

S. Government, August 2011). In 1789 the forefathers ratified the constitution that outline the three Branches of Government in Articles I, II, and III. Article I of the constitution covers the Legislative Branch, Article II gives details of the Executive Branch, and Article III covers the Judicial Branch. The articles define in detail the authority, the compilation, the rules of engagement, the interaction, and various other aspects of how these three specific branches of government should be divided (Hub Pages, 2012).

The Executive Branch consists of the president, vice president and 15 Cabinet- level departments such as State, Defense, Interior, Transportation and Education (Trethan, 2012). The president controls the Executive Branch and chooses the vice president and the cabinet members who lead their departments. A crucial function of the executive branch is to ensure that laws are carried out and enforced to facilitate such day-to-day responsibilities of the federal government as collecting taxes, safeguarding the homeland and representing the United States’ political and economic interests around the world (Trethan, 2012).

The Legislative Branch consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives that is known as the Congress. There are 100 Senators and 435 members of the House, each state has two Senators and House members are determined based on the population of the state. The legislative branch, as a whole, is charged with passing the nation’s laws and allocating funds for the running of the federal government and providing assistance to the 50 U. S. states (Trethan, 2012). The Judicial Branch is the United States Supreme Court and lower federal courts.

The Supreme Court has nine justices that are appointed by the president and is confirmed by the Senate and once appointed they hold the position for a lifetime and are replaced when the person dies or retires. The primary function is to hear cases that challenge legislation or require interpretation of that legislation (Trethan, 2012). Interaction of the Branches As previously discussed there are three branches of government that were designed for a balance of “checks and balances”. The bases for the three branches of government in the U.

S. are the, legislative, judicial, and executive, that will interact in a way that if one branch were to go outside the boundary set by the constitution the other branches would step in and pronounce the act unconstitutional (Vera, 2012). The Executive power which is the President has the power to approve or vetoes federal bills, carries out federal laws, appoints judges and other high officials, and makes foreign treaties, grant pardons and reprieves to federal offenders and acts as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Checks that are done on Executive powers are; Congress can override vetoes by a two-thirds vote, the Senate can refuse to confirm appointments or ratify treaties and Congress can impeach and remove the President. The Congress can also declare war; while the Supreme Court can declare executive acts unconstitutional. The Legislative Powers also known as Congress have the authority to; pass federal laws, establishes lower federal courts and the number of federal judges.

The following checks are in place for the Legislative powers; the Presidential veto of federal bills, Supreme Court can rule laws unconstitutional, and both houses of Congress must vote to pass laws by checking power within the Legislature. The checks on the Judicial power are; Congress can propose constitutional amendments to overturn judicial decisions (These require two-thirds majority in both houses, and ratifications by three-quarters of states. ) Congress can impeach and remove federal judges, and the President appoints judges (who must be confirmed by the Senate) (Hawk, 2008).

Successful and Balanced When asking if the three Branches of Government are successful the question can have mixed answers. In one way yes it is successful because the system has lasted for over 200 years and continues on to this day. A better question to ask is does the current system continue to exhibit the characteristics and goals the founding fathers had envisioned. The answer to this question is not as clear in one hand the system seems to work as designed by our founding fathers laws are being passed, carried out, and enforced.

On the other hand the level of involvement of the public is not what our founding fathers hoped it would be. The Anti-Federalists envisaged representatives returning home frequently to districts small enough to enable them to instruct constituents about the events taking place at the national capital and to receive instruction about how best to represent their constituents (Hub Pages, 2012). Even though this concept is alive today it is rare or even non-existing that a representative returns back to their state to ask their constituents for their instructions on events at the capital.

Citizens due have tools in place that allow them to share their ideas and thoughts with their representatives such as phone, email, and the internet. The reality is many representatives are voting on issues that influence their special interest groups and party affiliations. We are also seeing a grid lock in Congress right now that is causing the Supreme Court to interfere more on issues that should be settled between Congress and the President. This is causing an imbalance between the three branches of the government.

This is causing people to question if their representatives are fighting for their freedom, liberty, and property and this is showing in how people are voting. So for the question of success and balance the answer will always be different for everyone. Federal and State Right’s The Articles of Confederation were week and had no money or way of getting money through taxation. Under the Articles the States had more power than the nation government. For this reason our forefathers brought forth the idea of federalism, a division of sovereignty between a national government and regional government (Trethan, 2012).

The federal powers under the constitution include the right to collect taxes, declare war, and regulate interstate and foreign trade. The federal government also has implied powers enable the government to respond to the changing needs of the nation. The states powers under the constitution include the right to legislate on divorce, marriage, and public schools. Powers reserved for the people include the right to own property and to be tried by a jury (Almanac of Policy Issues, 2004).

Even though the Constitution had been made there were still several struggles between political struggles and between advocates of strong state powers versus proponents of federal supremacy ensued. In today’s modern world there are still arguments between states and federal government for example the U. S. federal government is sue the state of Arizona for their new immigration law saying that the law is unconstitutional. It comes down to having a balance of power between states and federal government this was the vision of our founding fathers. Efficiently

Our founding fathers had great ideas on how to make this one nation and how to have a fair balance of state and federal governance. Their ideas have lasted for several years and as times change there are changes that are made to the three branches but for the most part it is still what the founding fathers had originally started. Some changes that could be made to the Legislative Branch is the removal of lobbyist and special interest groups this would help to get representatives to listen to the citizens they represent instead of the most influential or financially sound group.

Also there needs to be a better balance between the numbers of representatives in the house that each state has, there should be a limit of 2 per state. This could help prevent the grid lock that we are seeing in Congress today and create a better balance. In the Judicial Branch a change would be to have term limits on how long a justices could serve this could help prevent corruption and the “social class” like system that there is today. In the Executive Branch the president should have more control over the Legislative

Branch with the creation of laws. The Congress should not be allowed to pass a law without the president’s approval and if there is a disagreement then a compromise should try to be reached and if still blocked then it should go to the Supreme Court. Conclusion Our forefathers created a system to have a balance of power between state and federal government this system is the three branches of government. They did not know that 200 years later that system would still be in place and working much like they created it.

The three branches help to keep balance between state and federal government and work to up hold the U. S. Constitution. Each branch was design to control different powers of government this keeps one group from having total control or power over another group. For the most part the branches are successful and balanced in power and control. State and federal government work together for the most part but there are still some conflict that arise between the two. Overall the developments of the three branches have been successful and like all good things there is room for improvements and change.

We will have to wait and see what the next 200 years bring for the Government. References Almanac of Policy Issues. (2004). The Constitution of The United States of America. Retrieved from http://www. policyalmanac. org/government/archive/constitution. shtml Ben’s Guide to U. S. Government. (August 2011). Branches of Government. Retrieved from http://bensguide. gpo. gov/3-5/government/branches. html Hawk, R. (2008). Checks and Balances in the Three Branches of Government. Retrieved from http://socyberty. om/government/checks-and-balances-in-the-three-branches-of-government Hub Pages. (2012). A Look at the Three Branches of the United States Government 79. Retrieved from http://scsiv. hubpages. com/hub/A-Look-at-the-Branches=of-the-United-States-Government Trethan, P. (2012). The Branches of Government. Retrieved from http://usgovinfo. about. com/od/usconstituton/a/branches. htm Vera, L. (2012). Why Three Branches of Government. Retrieved from http://lovera13. hubpages. com/hub/Why-Thre-Branches-of-Government