1-React to Past Blog


https://stakeholder11.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/the-nfl-did-it-withhold-and-lie-about-head-injuries/

This blog post is about the NFL potentially withholding information about head injuries from its players.  I found this topic interesting because I have followed this issue relatively closely over the years and I am still not exactly sure where I stand.

Of course I think it is terrible for the NFL to hide information from former players, but then again it has been known for quite some time that repeated hard hits to the head cannot be good for someone. The NFL has taken many actions in the form of rule changes of which drastically change the game so as to improve the numbers on head injuries and concussions.  In addition to this, most players love to play the game so much, that they openly accept the negative health effects of the game.

For this reason, I think this blog post should most likely be rephrased in order to create a situation in which you imagine yourself getting an offer for your dream job but you know it will have significant negative effects on your health for the rest of your retired life; however you want the job so much that this may be worth it to you. What would you do?

Who is Accountable for Child Labor: A Response


In her blog, Kelly Pont addresses the issue of child labor. She points to the problem of third world poverty needing to rely on their children to work to provide adequate sustenance juxtaposed with the first world demand for cheap products and consumer ignorance. She sees transparency as a huge step in the right direction to fix this problem.

I completely agree. I believe that our culture is a major factor in foreign child labor. While most Americans would not knowingly purchase products made by children, children provide the cheapest labor and a lot of American companies knowingly or unknowingly purchase raw materials from operations that exploit children. I am definitely not an expert in this issue. However, it stands to reason that a significant part of the problem can be alleviated through knowledge and transparency. US companies must be held accountable for their supply chains and US consumers must be more informed about the products that they are purchasing.

US regulations that mandate companies know the processes by which the materials they need are collected could be a foreseeable solution. More mandates for companies to post this information in a public forum would decrease first world demand for these products. Maybe demand would even increase for more sustainable products that pay third world adults a living wage. That’s idyllic, but not impossible.

The problem with this solution is the timeframe. Big government pact ion such as this is not likely to come any time soon. So for the short-term rather than putting blind faith in companies consumers should look for companies that are sustainable leaders in their sectors. There are responsible options out there. Research into companies before buying a product. Look for companies that are benefitting the universe. Until the government swoops in, we have to act as smart consumers and do our part to decrease demand for products that utilize child labor.

https://bizgovsoc9.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/who-is-accountable-for-child-labor/#more-1884

The Prison Wage Problem


Talk about equal labor rights often centers around large multinational corporations exploiting cheap labor in poor countries in Southeast Asia. However, the issue of injustice in prison wages here in the United States is starting to make headlines. From a blog titled “Injustice In Justice,” Colleen examines the issues surrounding labor rights in prisons and makes the argument that low prison wages are the root of a much larger societal problem.

Here are the numbers: about half of the 1.6 million Americans serving time in prison have full-time jobs. The vast majority of these workers, almost 700,000, still do “institutional maintenance” work such as mopping cell block floors, preparing and serving food in the dining hall, mowing the lawns, filing papers in the warden’s office, and doing laundry. Compensation varies from state to state and facility to facility, but the median wage in state and federal prisons is 20 and 31 cents an hour, respectively.

After reading this post, I decided to do some research before making an informed opinion on the topic. What piqued my interest was whether or not prisons are stealing business from private manufacturers on the basis of low wages. I found an article that talked about how certain government-run enterprises that employ inmates are stealing business from private companies. One such enterprise, Unicor, employs over 13,000 inmates with an average wage of 23 cents an hour. With some exceptions, Unicor gets first dibs on federal contracts over private companies as long as its bid is comparable in price, quantity and delivery. This is making private companies like American Apparel very angry, given that the popular clothing brand pays its employees an average of $9 an hour plus benefits. Should Unicor be required to pay prisoners more in order to lower the cost discrepancy between it and private companies? Colleen would argue that this would not only be better for business but help better prepare inmates for life after prison. But as a taxpayer, do we want our taxes to go up because the government has decided to pay prisoners higher wages? For now, it appears that Unicor’s low wages are a very competitive advantage in certain industries.

What the Future Could Hold


From the various themes of past blog posts, I found one in the Ted Talks section that stood out to me the most. Leah Garden wrote “Times, They are A’Changin” about Lord Nicholas Stern’s discussion about climate change and what countries are and are not doing about it. After reading her blog, I watched the Ted Talk so that I could have a greater understanding of what she wrote about in her post. Stern discussed climate change in relation to cities, energy, and land and how all three are interconnected. Both Stern’s presentation and Leah’s post interested me, because I am interested in being a real estate developer with a focus on sustainability. While building buildings has always been an interest of mine, when I went to Copenhagen in the fall of 2013, I took a sustainable design class and my desire to build sustainable buildings became more than an interest, it became a passion.

Both Stern and Leah wrote about their experiences with the smog in Beijing, and how this experience showed them where the world could be heading. While I have never been to a city surrounded by smog, my experience with learning about sustainability in Denmark made me much more knowledgable about the changing climate around the world. In 1973, Denmark had an oil crisis that transformed their entire country into the place it is now: a country entirely dependent on the oil from the Middle East to a country with a goal to be using 100% renewable energy by 2050 (they are already above 40% renewable power). Along with this energy goal, Copenhagen is striving to be the best biking city in the world (it is currently ranked 2nd behind Amsterdam) and they have a 180% tax on cars. With simple goals and new policies, Denmark completely transformed itself into one of the leading countries in sustainability.

Leah mentions in her post some of Stern’s examples of model countries for more sustainable living. However, they both acknowledge that even with several countries taken steps in being more sustainable, the world is moving to slowly to keep up with climate change. I agree with this statement. This is one of the reasons why I have set my life on being a sustainable real estate developer; I want to do my part in creating some incremental level of change in the way we live our lives here in the U.S.

The Misunderstood Millennial


“Your generation doesn’t communicate properly”, “Your generation this”, “Your generation that”… I’m tired of hearing the same phrases whenever alumni come to speak in a class or whenever I go to meetings with people who have joined the workforce 20-30 years ago, and have now reached to successful positions in their careers.

Nowadays, the term millennial carries a negative connotation, especially within the workplace, since managers, who belong to “different” generations than us, seem to think that millennials are not prepared enough to enter the workforce. Some statements that are pulled from Bentley University’s preparedness study, such as “68% of corporate recruiters say that it is difficult for their organizations to manage millennials” or “59% of business decision makers and 62% of higher education influentials give recent college graduates a C grade or lower for preparedness in their first jobs”, summarize the opinions of managers about hiring millennials. These facts may have held true 20 years ago, when the rules were rigid, but the world, as well as the work force and its rules are now changing at a faster pace. As the Forbes articlsuggests, millennials might not be prepared for the 9 to 5 work hours, or the red tape and hierarchical work structures, but that doesn’t mean that we are not “prepared” overall. We are more creative, tech savvy and fast, all of which are characteristics that add value to the workplace. This positive side of the millennials hardly ever surface, and usually is left behind the shadow of all the “lazy”, “unprepared” characteristics. Knowing this, maybe it’s not the millennials who are not prepared to enter to the workforce, but the workforce which is not prepared for the millennials with their new and innovative ideas. Maybe the workforce needs to adapt to the changing generation and get rid of its rigid rules before putting the blame onto this booming generation.

After reading the More Similar Than You Think” blog post, I was curious to find out how millennial I was. I got a score of 91, and I have got to say that I am proud to be a millennial. Even though, on the surface our generation is seen as the lazy and sloppy ones, I believe that we are a very misunderstood generation, which has a lot of potential and positive characteristics that can improve the world we live in. I hope that in time the corporate recruiters and managers will see these better characteristics, which will help to lift the negative connotation from the word “millennials”. In a world where the change is constant, I believe that the rules and norms of the society should be made more malleable and adapt to the changing generations.

Work Before Play…or Just Before Relationships?


In looking over the past blogs, “Blog 6 – Relationships?” caught my eye. By simply reading the introductory words from many of the students’ posts, I was able to get an overall impression of an assigned video the class viewed. It dealt with a decrease in meaningful relationships in Japan, resulting in a decreasing population. One post, by Matt, connected the video to our current culture at Bucknell. As a senior, I found I completely agreed with his statement that “it’s pretty common to experience a transition from having lots of free time, to having seemingly no free time by senior year”. He argues that we learn to take on more and be as efficient as possible in order to obtain a job after college. There is a force that pushes us to become “more and more efficient without taking into account whether that is what [we] actually need”.

While I didn’t agree with all of his arguments, I do find that there’s a pressure and desire to take on more and more extracurriculars and activities while at Bucknell, which adds up to less and less time for friends or close relationships. There’s a social norm for both men and women to avoid a full-blown relationship while at college, instead focusing on relieving the stress of academics and extracurriculars through nights out and casual hook-ups. When my parents attended Bucknell, long-term, serious relationships were not viewed as striking or unique as they are now; in fact, engagements were commonplace senior year and highly celebrated in the Greek community. A comment on Matt’s post notes, “Almost universally…women said they did not plan to marry until their late 20s or early 30s”.

What was most interesting about this assignment was, in the days after reading Matt’s post, I took note of many instances when my friends’ conversations highlighted opinions about relationships at Bucknell. Though their comments were often formed as jokes, I realized there truly has been a shift in our values as students. A few of my friends observed that many guys at school would never dream of a serious relationship while in college, and that only when they settle down and have a career might they consider a significant other. Another is in the beginnings of a relationship with a Bucknell alumnus who has done just that – he now has a steady job in New York and is finally considering a long-term commitment. Collectively, the friends agreed they would only marry around 27, if that. I hadn’t given relationships much thought until reading the past blog posts, and now I realize we may truly be a society that devalues relationships in exchange for busy lives that will ensure us an impressive resume for an interview, job offer, and eventual career. Is this beneficial? Or could it lead more of us to be unhappily married to our jobs, rather than spouses?

BedZED Logic


After reviewing past blogs, I discovered the post in regards to a “Pledge for Better Public Transportation.” The reason this article resonated with me was because recently, in my sustainable building design course, the topics of transportation, pollution, and ethics have been frequently discussed amongst peers in my environmental connections class. The “Pledge for Better Public Transportation” blog brought up the point that “we opt to waste our own time and gas rather than to save energy and time”. After discussing this issue, my sustainable design class was tasked to research sustainable options for reducing pollution; one of the main ways to reduce pollution and transportation issues is to better support and improve public transport, such as buses and subways. Furthermore, supporting healthier means of transport such as walking or biking is an additional way to help improve our current pollution problem.

So, how can we design communities to promote transportation and living styles that positively impact our environment? One of the most unique ways to address our negative impacts on the environment is by developing eco-communities that are close to reaching a net zero impact. The United Kingdom built an ideal sustainable community called BedZed in 2002. This BedZed community is well known for their innovative design in regards to sustainable and affordable car use as well as promoting healthier transport. The community reduces the need to commute by providing residents with the opportunity to live and work on site. Additionally, the community promotes alternative methods of transport like walking, bicycling, and public transport. For those residents who wish to still have their own car, BedZed encourages the use of electric cars, a car pool system, and reduce the amount of parking spaces available on the site.

Our society needs to work on our footprint in order to help create a better world for future generations. Sustainable design can help create better public transport and living styles to help reduce our impact on the environment. I determined that if every person were to live like me, then we would need 6.6 planets to provide enough resources. What’s your ecological footprint? To find out, click here.

Sarbanes-Oxley and the Independent Audit: A Misguided Democratic Travesty


After exploring the blogosphere for the first time, I came across this article about independent audits. As an accounting major soon to be working for an accounting firm, I was intrigued by the authors viewpoint. While the travesty of situations like that of Enron and Worldcom certainly rocked the financial world, I do not believe the repercussions were at all effective– Specifically the Sarbanes Oxley Corporate Reform act of 2002, or SOX. SOX’s overarching goal was to boost shareholder confidence in their investments and set new standards for the financial reporting of publicly traded companies. The author seemed to believe that while SOX was a good first step, it “did not take measures far enough.” Personally, I could not disagree more.

Sarbanes Oxley was little more than a full employment act for the accounting and legal industries that did very little to prevent fraud or misrepresentation. Even the smallest publicly traded companies such as pharmaceuticals/drug discovery and tech firms looking to raise capital through an IPO would be immediately exposed to minimum seven figure costs to set up systems to become SOX compliant. It was and is a democratic travesty that is nothing more than a regulatory hit that raises cost of doing business, conceived into being by socialist democrat and career politician Paul Sarbanes. In fact, upon its inception, many publicly traded firms left the market and were privatized. It hurts small businesses looking to go public to raise capital, and is largely inefficient at its main goal of preventing fraud.

While I do agree that legislation and regulation is needed to address the common issues plaguing corporate America, I think some of the most effective ways of doing so are also the simplest. Some of SOX’s most effective requirements, such as maintaining a certain level of independence on a company’s Board of Directors and Audit committees are also the least expensive. While regulation is needed, the ends must justify the means so that companies aren’t forced to spend absurd amounts of their capital to remain publicly traded.

The Ethics of Flopping


Upon searching through past blogs, I eventually came across one entitled “Strategy or Ethics”. In it, Kaitlyn discusses ethics and their place in sports, specifically soccer. She struggles with the question of tripping someone on a breakaway before they are in the box. On one hand, it is a proven and widely used strategy. The result is a difficult free kick, as opposed to alternatives, which range from a 1 on 0 with the goalie to ejection from the game via red card. With soccer and ethics in mind, I immediately thought of an ethical issue with tight ties to the sport- flopping. However, due to my lack of knowledge in soccer history, and a thrilling overtime Bulls’ win Tuesday night, I decided to approach flopping from the sport it seems to have affected to a similar extent, basketball.

Forty years ago, before the term “flopping” had been used in the NBA, Dave Cowens was so enraged after an opponent drew a charge on him that he chased the player down the court and tackled him! Cowens viewed the flop as dishonorable, unethical. The public shared a similar mentality. Today, watching five minutes of an NBA game without seeing an embellished fall is less likely than the Patriots getting through a season without a cheating scandal. It has become a part of the game. So, I ask you, is flopping unethical?

LeBron James is the best basketball player alive today. He will likely be remembered as one of the greatest of all time. He is paid incredible amounts of money to entertain the public through his sport. LeBron, the entertainer, also has a tendency to dramatize his performance. Not only is he following an important rule of the industry (no one wants to watch a lazy performance), he is being a competitor. Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cavaliers, brought LeBron to his team because he thought it gave them the best chance of winning. It is here that LeBron must make a choice. Does he unethically “destroy the sanctity of the game” by flopping, or unethically accept Dan Gilbert’s contract offer knowing he won’t employ one of the most effective point-accruing strategies in the league?

I dislike flopping and wish it wasn’t a part of the game, basketball or soccer, but my dislike does not stem from an ethical dilemma. In my opinion, flopping slows down the game and isn’t as impressive as solid defense. I do not find it, however, to be unethical. Over the course of time, societal views shift and ethical boundaries shift with them. Forty years ago, I may have considered it unethical to flop. Today, I have begrudgingly accepted it as part of the game. Because it has become so normal, it is my opinion that players no longer view flopping as a decision of ethics, but instead as just another regulation of the game. Referees are trained to watch for and penalize flops just as they are for any other rule breaking. Nobody accuses a player who receives a reach-in foul of playing unethically, but what is different about a flopping foul when both are clearly defined in the rules and regulations of the sport?

 

Here is a LeBron James flopping compilation. What do you think? Is this unethical? Just a part of the game? An Oscar worthy performance?

A Liberal Arts Education?


After looking through the wide range of blogs from past semesters, I came across a blog post titled, “Class Options at Bucknell” from the second semester of 2013. The post was an expression of what seemed to be a widespread feeling of frustration among upper class management majors at that time that could not take the classes offered in the new curriculum that interested them. The author explained that while he or she appreciated a liberal arts education, he or she would rather take a marketing class that he or she was interested in over a “random religion class that [he/she] was not very interested in.” While my situation is completely different than the author’s, I found the post relatable and thought I would comment on my view on class options at Bucknell.

I understand that there are challenges in having an accredited business school as part of a liberal arts university. There are many requirements that must be satisfied in order to earn a BSBA. I accept that I hold the responsibility for choosing my major. This is a choice that I do not regret. However, over my four years at Bucknell, some of my favorite classes have been the liberal arts classes that I have taken, including my freshman seminar, Blue Highways: Life as a Journey, and Religion and American Politics. Both these classes influenced my thinking and my values incredibly.

After I took those classes I wanted to take more classes in those areas. Unfortunately, I had already filled up the requirements for those areas and did not have enough electives left. While I continued to follow these interests in work and reading outside of class, it was frustrating to not be able to take classes I was interested in taking. As a finance major, I would argue that taking two separate math courses was somewhat redundant to the math I was doing in some management courses. I would have much preferred to take a creative writing class, a film class or an additional language course. I truly appreciate the liberal arts education that Bucknell stands for; I only wish that I were able to take full advantage of it.