China

All posts tagged China

Claims to Environmental-Friendliness

Published September 18, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

eco-friendly

More and more company leaders are embracing a green approach when it comes to running their organizations. Pierre-Louis (2012) explains that we have reached a tipping point where it has become a necessary reality. For instance, because of by-products created from toxic chemicals and fertilizers of industrial agriculture, the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay in Maryland are polluted. Studies reveal that the techno-scientific system that has been implemented in these industries, are working in partnership with the economic and political structures and shifted agriculture, which was once based on an organic ecological method. It is now a system that is dependent upon the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers, and GMOs or genetically modified organisms (Pierre-Louis, 2012). Because of tensions however, between business interests and maximizing profits, consumers do not always receive the complete truth and are even mislead about products they purchase. When a consumer purchases a 10 pound watermelon, for example, they may be unaware that farmers in China have conformed to incorporating uncharted methods to produce these over-sized watermelons. In other words, they may be unaware that in order to accomplish this, the Asian farmers introduced, overused, and misapplied a growth accelerator shown to interfere with the division of human cells in a manner that is linked to neurological diseases and cancer.

CAFO1

Also, when a person goes to their grocers to purchase a pound of ground beef, they have no idea that the animals were part of a system housed in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where cattle, pigs, poultry, and others are jailed into containers so tiny – many are pumped with a steady dose of antibiotics to ward off illnesses and hormones to make them larger. Not only is this practice cruel and barbaric, CAFOs are hazardous for anyone who resides near or even drives passed these facilities. Environmental hazards created from this industry are deadly because traditionally livestock waste is not recycled into the land as fertilizer. Instead, it is stored in giant lagoons where it becomes a health and environmental hazard. In 2009, a hog farmer in Minnesota was thrown over 40 feet in an explosion produced by the methane gas from a manure pit on his farm. In addition, these pits introduce viruses, nitrogen, and other heavy metals into the groundwater and create air that is so toxic it causes respiratory distress (Pierre-Louis, 2012). Farmers need to become educated of these hazards and devise more effective systems to dispose of these deadly materials to prevent events like this from occurring. With respect to the corporate leaders that profit from CAFOs, in my view, this is a practice that should be considered as criminal activity and accountable to the law. What I have come to acknowledge in my own experience as a caretaker of a variety of these animals, including reptiles, that within each of them there exists a level of awareness as sentient beings with personalities, levels of emotion, and that they also bond with their parents and siblings. Therefore, in my view, any company whose operations abuse or mistreat animals and expose them to such horrific conditions should be held liable and accountable for engaging in this deplorable business practice.

green-practice-logo (1)

In spite of examples such as this, it is evident from the current trend, that more and more companies are conforming and implementing programs that embody “green practices.” There are always, unfortunately, those who continue to put profit above everything and seek ways to cut corners or beat the system. Grant (2007) suggests that many companies, however, sincerely want to engage in green marketing because it offers creative ways to entice consumers to buy their products while promoting their brand as an organization that embraces and encourages a greener lifestyle.  There are many challenges though, because it is still a fairly new arena that continues to evolve. Leaders agree that going green is a great strategy, but no one really understands how to do it effectively. The partnership of marketing and green is complicated because of many conflicting interests including: (a) ideological, (b) cultural, (c) economic and (d) practicality (Grant, 2007). For example, a Domino’s Pizza chain will advertise they are going green by including electric vehicles in their delivery fleet. Their position is that although they may not serve the healthiest meals, they believe their consumers will appreciate better quality air and less noise in late night deliveries. Plus, it is an effective way to cut costs from rising fuel prices. This is an example of one way a company can implement greenwashing marketing strategies to support an image that they are environmentally friendly. On the other hand, the ovens or light bulbs Domino’s may use perhaps are not energy efficient. In short, because they incorporate one method that supports green practices, does not mean they qualify as green organization. In addition, companies that engage in greenwashing techniques can risk litigation and costly fines because of misleading marketing tactics.

greenwashing

The 2007, a greenwashing report was submitted by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). They defined greenwashing as behavior that misleads consumers with respect to environmental practices and benefits with respect to their products or services. These marketing strategies are focused on gaining the trust of stakeholders. However, according to the report, the consequences can be quite significant. For instance, consumers who realize they were misled of the potential benefit, view the investment as wasted can create negative publicity. In addition, pressure from bogus environmental claims siphon the market from products that offer real benefits and innovation for further development. Worse of all, greenwashing creates doubt and a lack of trust about environmental claims (The six sins of greenwashing, 2007). For these and many other reasons, as a marketing executive, my recommendations are to implement a green partnership program that includes staff member participation as well as the hiring of an outside agency to ensure greenwashing does not occur. I would also recommend that the company and staff members work in partnership to incorporate mindful practices that support the environment to not only build trust with stakeholders, but also to help create a working environment where employees are proud to be part of an organization that does not engage in practices that contribute to the contamination or destruction of the environment that sustains them.

References:

(2007). The six sins of greenwashing. Underwriter Laboratories. IL: TerraChoice Environmental Marketing. Retrieved Aug 31, 2013, from http://classroom.ashford.edu/re/DotNextLaunch.asp?courseid=8547352&userid=14934244&sessionid=63acca4257&tabid=AaY7Y+AM9t/b9Dtt5O1xxCxuH0nmWdpN+EQIbX65faeMaF1hYHKDQCWLyMHNfbx5TJpB87wlQwkK5oRYjtzwDA==&sessionFirstAuthStore=true&macid=b08L4lGhfDFzpMFJC8elRTk

Grant, J. (2007). The green marketing manifesto. Chichester, West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Pierre-Louis, K. (2012). Green washed: Why we can’t buy our way to a green planet. Brooklyn, NY: Ig Publishing.

Regulation and the Greater Good

Published August 26, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

tech_innovations_2012_01

Innovations in technology and politics have been significant factors for the expansion of government agencies and the administrative laws that govern citizens. Seaquist (2012) suggests these government agencies are also considered the fourth branch of government. Since the 1930s, the federal government has been expanding its regulatory authority on most areas that affect commerce. Congress created these administrative agencies to oversee and manage specific functions. In addition, they are empowered to create agency rules set forth by guidelines provided from the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Furthermore, these agencies have the force of the law to support them (Seaquist, 2012). For example, Federal agencies consist of two separate branches: (a) independent and (b) executive. These agencies manage regulatory control and are powerful entities. Independent agencies (some of which include the EPA, EEOC, FCC, ICC and FTC) are granted the power to create their own rules, enforce them, conduct investigations and arbitrate disputes. In other words, they have been granted the power to act as legislator, law-enforcement, judge and jury. Executive agencies, on the other hand, serve to assist carrying out the responsibilities of the executive branch of the government. These agencies include the Justice Department’s FBI, the Treasury Department’s US Customs Service, the FDA is part of the Health and Human Services Department, and the FAA is an offshoot of the Transportation Department. These agencies, unlike independent agencies, are under the direction and control of the US President, who is also responsible for appointing and removing staff members. These agencies serve to regulate and control laws that govern society.

43230-16x9-340x191

With all these agencies and the government regulations established, how was an event like the credit crisis of 2008 even possible? Blinder (2013) reminds us that as many witnessed the financial crisis unfold, one of the most perplexing issues Americans faced was how very little explanation was offered as to why and how it occurred. During the crisis, President Bush, on his way out of office, was elusive, and although President Obama was more visible, his explanation fell short of what the citizens deserved (Blinder, 2013). For example, the US economy, leading up to the crisis was that of growth and job creation. According to Jarvis (2012) Alan Greenspan, the head of the Federal Reserve governmental agency lowered interest rates which made investors eager to take advantage of (Jarvis, 2013). In other words he created cheap credit and made borrowing money easy which motivated bankers and lenders. The investment bankers in turn used their leverage to control outcomes to make more money by joining banks together with homeowners offering high risk sub-prime loans.

download

So the million dollar question is, if these government agencies were established to oversee and regulate laws, how were Wall Street investors and bankers able to create the credit crisis in the first place? And even more important, why was no one held accountable for their conduct or their part in creating the crisis? Soros (2008) contends that the crisis was slow in coming and that authorities could have anticipated it several years in advance when the “dot com” industry of the internet exploded in 2000.  The Federal Government responded by cutting interest rates. This cheap money helped create a housing explosion because of leveraged buyouts and other excesses. The mind set was that because money was practically free, lenders kept lending until there was no one left to lend to (Soros, 2008). What could have prevented this? Many agree there is no one easy answer. Government agencies are there to help prevent situations like this, but when government officials are also being compensated by big business and are favored by Wall Street, they are more inclined to look the other way and go with the flow, until the situation reaches a tipping point. In other words, until those in places of authority are caught in ethical misconduct, these situations will occur because of issues like greed and power. Until serious reforms are implemented from trusted institutions these events will continue to surface. The first order of business in my view, is to identify the agencies and authorities that have a proven record of trust and ethical behavior including spotless track records. Use those as models to build others. Unfortunately, however, it has been difficult to discern who is trustworthy and truly have the citizen’s best interests at heart.

credit-crisis
The US economy has endured financial crises in the past, but the credit crisis was a new beast that spread like wildfire from one market across many others. One thing is certain, that the financial markets and authorities were very slow to recognize that the global economy would be affected. Perhaps there were those that did not care about the consequences because they were too consumed by the wealth and affluence they enjoyed. What this crisis did reveal however, was that greed and excesses were at the root of the credit crisis. The good news is that the value of the American dollar will continue to grow because of the ongoing expansion of raw materials and energy. For example, biofuel legislation is generating a boom in agricultural products. Economic growth and falling interest rates in countries like China that turn negative, are positive signs that is normally associated with economic growth. This gives hope that the winds of change are making progress.

********

References:

Blinder, A. (2013). After the music stopped: The financial crisis, the response, and the work ahead. New York, NY: The Penguin Press.

Jarvis, J. (2013). The crisis of credit visualized. Pasadena, CA, USA. Retrieved August 11, 2013, from http://vimeo.com/3261363

Seaquist, G. (2012). Business law for managers. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Soros, G. (2008). The new paradigm for financial markets: The credit crisis of 2008 and what it means. New York, NY: PublicAffairs.

Political Economy

Published January 23, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

epps

Some scholars define political economy as the application and practice of formal economics. In other words, it is the so-called rational actor model to all types of human behavior, particularly socio-political behavior. The economic theory of politics, often referred to as public choice, can be used to integrate economic and political studies of international relationships, since public choice is part of a larger endeavor which seeks to apply a rational behavior approach (Talani, 2004).

91471

After World War II, Western European countries invested in the welfare of their citizens through elaborate public policy measures and with expensive public budgets (Hay & Wincott, 2012).  They redistributed wealth in a variety of ways that included: (a) levies on progressive income taxes, (b) authorizing high minimum wages, (c) the encouragement of collective bargaining rights from unions, (d) placing value-added taxes on luxury expenditures, and (e) providing social benefits for health care, housing and other areas (Light & Reynolds, 2011).  The political economy of the continental European model is a system that offers fewer jobs, but the jobs are of more value.  In addition their citizens rely on their governments to redistribute sufficient benefits preserving public peace.  The downside of this methodology is powerful governments, higher taxes, large bureaucratic organizations and a tendency to lean towards authoritarian solutions during times of political unrest.

6a00d8341bf7f753ef00e553ea957b8834-800wi

America, on the other hand, creates a plethora of jobs many however, are low-waged positions. The Anglo-American political economy model constitutes a wide pendulum reflective in the small amount of individuals who control enormous wealth on the one side with a vast amount of people experiencing great levels of poverty on the other.  Making matters worse, the enormous injection of money to stimulate the US economy and bail out failing corporations forced the US to incur the largest debt since the Second World War (Allen, 2011).  The disadvantages of this model are the social costs that stem from these tactics and inequality which in turn stimulates an environment that encourages citizens to experience instability, anxiety, and despair, that then leads to behavior to include gang activity in urban areas, terrorist and other predatory criminal conduct.

European-Economy1

In conclusion, if given a choice between what we call the Anglo-American political economy to that of the continental European model, perhaps with the expansion of globalization, we could instead, choose to find a way to integrate the best of both with the intent to frame a new international political economic system.  By combining the best of both economies in an effort to create a better system, the future could transform into a more flourishing world;  one that includes a plethora of better paying jobs with a political/social system that allows everyone the same opportunities to experience an abundant life that comprise benefits for higher education, housing and health care.

********

References

Allen, M. (2011). The American political economy. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Hay, C., & Wincott, D. (2012). The political economy of European welfare capitalism. London UK: Palgrave Macmillan Publishing.

Light, P., & Reynolds, C. (2011). Driving social change: How to solve the world’s toughest problems. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Talani, L. (2004). European political economy. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company.