Can Urban Agriculture Eradicate Food Deserts?

The existence of food deserts, areas with low-income populations who have low access to healthy food options, has become a problem in United States, affecting major cities within the country. Food deserts are mainly created by the closure of large supermarket chains in poor areas, which forces the people in that community to shop at convenience stores and gas stations, which in contrast to vegetables and fruits, offer packaged foods that are low in nutrition and high in calories.

These food deserts negatively impact the community in various ways. One is the negative effects on health of the people and the increase in nutrition related health problems such as obesity and diabetes. The second effect of food deserts is the racial segregation that goes along with it. According to multiple studies that were done regarding food deserts and their relation to race, areas that have a mostly African Americans have fewer supermarkets per person than areas that have a dominant white population. This segregation also extend to socio-economic status, since low income neighborhoods within urban communities, the people who need access to fresh and healthy food the most, have less supermarkets than affluent of middle level income neighborhoods. Continue reading Can Urban Agriculture Eradicate Food Deserts?


Ending Chronic-Homelessness in the United States

On any given night in the United States, more than 600,000 people are experiencing homelessness. How can we empower governments and non-government organizations to solve their homelessness problems in the face of varying constraints? By analyzing practices for serving and eliminating the homeless population in nations around the world, breaking down the homeless population into groups that can be best served using similar practices, and teaching cities to utilize the best strategy to serve their most prevalent types of homeless populations, we can end homelessness in the United States. Homeless people in the United States generally can be described as “chronically homeless,” “episodically homeless,” and homeless and in need of assisted living. In addition, there are two main schools of thought when it comes to serving the homeless: rehabilitation, or subsidized housing. By analyzing best practice implementations of both ideals and matching these plans with homeless populations, cities can efficiently and effectively end their homelessness problem and save money while they do it.

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The Church that Needs Reforming

FIFA, the world’s soccer governing body, was established in 1904 to regulate the game of soccer. Most of you know FIFA by the prestigious soccer tournament that they organize every four years. The World Cup is supposed to be an event to unite all nations. It is a time where people take pride in their countries and enjoy the spirited camaraderie of watching games with each other. What most of you probably do not know is that FIFA has become an increasingly corrupt organization since 1974.

Continue reading The Church that Needs Reforming

Chipotle and its quest for sustainable food

Chipotle opened its first store in 1993 and has seen astonishing growth and financial success since going public in 2006. Chipotle has been one of the industry’s leaders in serving and promoting sustainable food. Its high-quality natural food has given it a competitive advantage over competitors in a market that is increasingly becoming more conscious about what they eat. Chipotle has a mission of serving “Food with Integrity” to its customers. Chipotle is committed to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for animals, the environment, and farmers. Chipotle brands its meats as naturally, or “Responsibly“ raised, which entails treating animals humanely without the use of antibiotics or added hormones. Many of its other ingredients are organic and do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Chipotle has been considered a pioneer in creating and promoting sustainable food chains. Despite its measured success in its food sourcing, Chipotle has been unethical within some of the social aspects of the supply chain, most notably its policies towards its employees. Chipotle has had problems with its hiring process as it is still being investigated over hiring illegal and undocumented workers. They also have several pending class action lawsuits from employees who are systematically unpaid for overtime hours as a result of Chipotle’s policies and practices. Chipotle needs to address these policies in order to have a sustainable food chain, which not only involves the food it serves, but the people serving it. Chipotle has an opportunity to change the industry to become more sustainable. Chipotle raises awareness about the problems within the food industry through advertisement campaigns. These advertisements can help change consumer behaviors to demand more sustainable foods, which will in turn force other restaurants to provide sustainable foods in order to meet this demand. Chipotle and sustainable suppliers can also use their relative competitive advantage to further influence competitors to become sustainable. This will create a market in which more sustainable suppliers are available, which will drive food prices down and quality standards higher. This will create a cycle in which sustainable food chains take over the existing marketplace.

Continue reading Chipotle and its quest for sustainable food

Why ALEC Needs to Change: A Message to the IRS

Since the formation of the United States constitution, lobbying has been a vital part of our political system. The rise of the interest group has helped fill in gaps in representation of diverse interests in ways that the system of party politics cannot. However, there is one group that bypasses this organized system of interest group lobbying. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) takes the corporate entity and places them on the fast-track. Under ALEC, members of the private and public sector co-draft model legislation, which is then paid for by state legislatures and passed into law. There is no other nonprofit organization like them in American politics today.

Continue reading Why ALEC Needs to Change: A Message to the IRS

Solving the Real Problems of the Homeless

Growing up in a suburb of our nation’s capital, I experienced the homeless nearly every day. My hometown city made Money Magazine’s list of the “100 Best Places to Live” in the U.S.,[1] yet homeless individuals asked my bus driver for money each day on my ride to and from school. How has the richest country on earth continued to allow such public misery, even on the streets of, and near, the very city that is supposed to create policy to help these homeless individuals? Continue reading Solving the Real Problems of the Homeless

“You Never Give Me Your Money, You Only Give Me Your Funny Paper”: A Case for the Revision of Internet Radio’s Compensation Practices

Four papers and hours of Pandora and Spotify later, finals week is over. For all of the time I spent listening to music for free through Internet streaming services, the artists who helped me through a tough week are receiving mere cents from me and the digital music streaming services I’ve used.

The current copyright regulations governing the music industry haven’t been updated since 2001. Since then,  the iPod has debuted, parents use “iPad time” to incentivize their toddlers to use the toilet, flip phones are a rarity, and Spotify and Pandora exist. The drastic changes in technology have resulted in patterns of consumption that allow consumers to pick and choose songs instead of buying entire albums, and listen to stream music through numerous devices for free. Despite the shifts in revenue streams, the policies governing the compensation of songwriters, composers, and other creatives have not. These creative forces driving the music industry are facing unfair compensation from these new services, a problem that has the potential to bring down the entire industry. Was Taylor Swift on to something?

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Change Financial Regulatory Goals to Save the Future of the United States Economy

In February of this year the S&P 500 closed above 2,100 for the first time in history. If you bought the S&P 500 same index on January 1st of last year you would have made 12% by the time you rang in the new year and if you had listened to Warren Buffet when he wrote his op-ed titled “Buy American. I am” in October of 2008, you would have more than doubled your money by now. It is safe to say that we have left the Great Recession behind and good times are ahead, but in 2006 many were saying the same thing. The market has a way of fooling even the brightest minds in Washington and on Wall Street, and it has made that fact clear countless times in the past. The only thing we can do is to pay attention and be prepared to take action if crisis occurs.

The best way to prepare ourselves is to learn from past mistakes. Every economic environment is unique in its own ways but there are also always similarities. Right now the Federal Reserve is dealing with the low interest rates created by the subprime mortgage crisis recover efforts. Now that the financial markets have recovered it is time to change our mindset from recovery to sustainability. The financial crisis hurt everyone, but the recovery left low and middle-income individuals behind as the income inequality gap continued to grow. In order to achieve a truly sustainable economy the Federal Reserve needs to stop giving Wall Street preferential treatment and help the masses. Now that quantitative easing is over, the Federal Reserve needs to use its monetary stimulus powers to create real wage growth on Main Street. At the same time, regulatory measures need to be taken to keep history from repeating itself in the form of another government bailout. Americans deserve to believe in the American Dream, and it is time to take steps to make that happen.

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Our society’s modern mobility started off with public transportation in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Urban and intercity railways became the regular mode of transportation for the growing middle class. The twentieth century was when investments in the improvements of roads increased allowing motor buses to serve less affluent and smaller communities off of main routes. Continue reading LEARNING TO LOVE MASS TRANSIT IN A CAR OBSESSESD SOCIETY

Do the Benefits of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 Outweigh its Many Costs?

There is a general pattern seen in the world of finance: giant corporate fraud or scandal, resulting government investigation that inevitably is unable to prosecute those responsible, followed by lengthy governmental legislation attempting to prevent the fraud/scandal from ever happening again. In the early 2000’s this pattern played out in the form of multiple scandals such as Enron and WorldCom with resulting legislation in the form of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
SOX is said to be the most sweeping piece of legislature regarding financial reform since FDR’s Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It attempted to restore confidence and transparency to companies’ financial statements and therefor the market as a whole. SOX was for the most part able to accomplish this goal, but not without substantial costs to public companies and the market. Compliance costs were grossly underestimated by Congress and the regulatory agencies leaving public companies with no choice but to take the hit. Additionally, there have been substantial declines in the United States’ competitive edge in the global capital markets.
This report is concluded with three suggestions to help accomplish several goals of SOX that have not yet been achieved as well as an overall answer to the question of whether or not the costs of SOX outweigh its benefits.

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