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Life as a Factory Worker

May 24, 2013 Leave a comment

bf1Do you ever wonder where and who produces your the favorite phone, IPad or computer?  The Foxconn City is a complex of factories that house persons working for them producing Apple, Microsoft, Dell and Hewlett Packard project.  Foxconn Technology Group, who owns the complex of factories, and employs 235,000 workers, has a reputation of tough tactics and sweatshop condition for their workers producing these in demand products. According to the Daily Mail, Apple Corporation uses sweatshop environments to produce the products that are sent to the west. Apple, for example, sold 93 million IPhones, 40 million IPads, 38 million IPods and 17 million computers, yet they are involved with a company that is paying the Chinese workers far below United States minimum wage earning a whopping $1.75 per hour or $273 per month, which would require months of work in order to be able to purchase one the products they make.  Reports have indicated that workers were recorded doing 24 hours shifts at a time, while others were forced to stand up during their entire shift.  These people are producing the phones and apple products that are craved all over the world, while working in a monotonous, tedious, assembly line environment under what looks clean, but horrible conditions.  Many workers have committed suicide because of the harsh conditions in the factories; many factories have been forced to install suicide nets around their facilities.

bf2Even though abuses continue, Apple contends that they have sent 60,000 workers to college for free and have informed one million staff of their legal rights. Chief-executive Tim Cook claims that they are working hard to improve the conditions for workers and are trying to improve the lives of employees. He is working with Foxconn to fix the problems. However, there are still reports of 150 Foxconn employees threatening to leap from the facilities because of poor working conditions and low wages.  Given the rise in Apple stock it seems that something could be done to improve the conditions of the low wages.

A Company’s main goal is to make as large of a profit as possible. These sweatshops are the most efficient way to make large gains. But do the cost outweigh the benefits?  Many major companies like Apple believe in improving the working conditions of their employees.   These companies are only left to wonder whether consumers would be willing to pay a higher price for their product in exchange of knowing these products are being produced the right way.  According to basic economics and the law of demand, if a company raises the price of their product demand will decrease.  When a product price rises, many consumers will be tempted to look at a substitute at a cheaper price, so therefore, when a company raises its price their demand will decrease.

How to Change Government

March 2, 2013 Leave a comment

The United States is built around freedom, equality and individual rights. These basic rights include the right to vote, express religion, due process and many more. The United States is a democracy, meaning that all citizens have the right to participate in government actions.  Although the United States is considered a democracy, it is not a pure democracy, but actually a republic.  Within a republic there are still government positions, each possessing specific powers and even rank.  These officials are still elected by the citizens of the United States, but they often possess powers that cannot be altered or motivated by the common individual.  There are many different routes that can be taken in order to achieve change in the government in the United States.  These methods include a variety of pathways of action including elections pathway, lobbying pathway, court pathway, cultural pathway and grassroots mobilization pathway.

The first pathway for change is the elections pathway.  In our form of government, officials are always looking to please and satisfy the citizens so they will be re-elected.  The elections pathway relies on similar minded individuals joining together in order to strategize for winning elections.  People raise money and provide public information in order to get their ideas into the governments plans.  This is a great pathway for individuals, joined by others, who are looking for change.

The lobbying pathway takes a somewhat similar approach as the elections pathway.  The lobbying pathway involves a group of individuals joining together in order to achieve change.  In this pathway the group of people will create convincing arguments and propose plans and information to government officials.  The government officials will often listen and support the group’s cause if enough individuals are behind it.  Although the lobbying pathway is generally more time-efficient than the other pathways, it usually requires a decent sum of cash in order to be effective.

In the United States, the court is extremely powerful.   Sometimes the court possesses the decision between of life and death.  The court pathway relies on citizens’ rights in the United States. Most cases in the court pathway require the use of litigation. This approach is used when people believe officials are interpreting the law incorrectly.  The court pathway is also an expensive approach for change because lawyers are needed to argue your case.

The cultural pathway is more of a long-term method of change.  In the cultural change pathway the whole culture must be altered in order for the change to occur and be successful. Organized groups of people gather in order to present their opinions on issues to the public.  By continuously changing minds of the common individuals, more people will support the cause.  Eventually by altering the minds of individuals, government will change to satisfy the majority.

My favorite of these pathways is the grassroots mobilization pathway.  This pathway is used by motivated individuals that aim to catch the attention of the government leaders.  These individuals will often join others to plan events to reach their goal.  A common tactic used is boycotting.  The goal of a boycott is to avoid purchasing or using a specific item to the point where government is forced to notice.  This method has been extremely effective over the past few centuries.

Although each pathway takes a separate path in attempt for change of government, the most efficient pathway for change is tragedy.  My parents have always told me the most effective way of learning is through experience.  From my experience in life I have only been forced to notice that the most influential factor in change, unfortunately, is tragedy.  In order to improve we must suffer.  This form of a pathway will often require the use of another pathway in order to support it.  The most recent case involving gun control.  The right of gun possession has been a heavily debated topic for many years, and many have attempted to use a pathway for change.  Sandy Hook was an absolute tragedy that will most likely benefit activist aiming to change gun control.  Many now understand and have experienced the harm of these weapons, which will motivate these people to support change in this law.  This tragedy is is providing the support for a change in the current law.  Government class has taught me, through the different pathways, that I can have an effect on our government even if I am not in office.  If I feel strongly for something, there are different ways to support it.  I can make a difference.

Still Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff

February 22, 2013 3 comments

Boehner and Obama disagreements

Even though the Fiscal Cliff deadline has passed, questions are still being raised about the spending cuts.  Previous arguments of both parties are still in the forefront of political debate.  The parties are blaming each other and nothing is getting done even though there is an impending deadline of March 1st.  America may be on the brink of a fiscal catastrophe and it appears that John Boehner and President Obama cannot shake hands and come to an agreement.

Looking back at our great nation, one must cite the Concord Coalition, where “brave Americans kept at it against overwhelming odds because they had a vision of the grand nation they wanted for their future and for generations to come”. The citizens of our nation feel that the government today is losing sight of what is fiscally right for the people.

America faces deep fiscal challenges threatening the sacrifices made by our forefathers to make our nation great.  The idea that the government borrows hundreds of billions of dollars annually to pay for huge consumption is outrageous. This consumption forces our citizens to bear the burden of carrying the massive debt that continous to only get worse for the generations to come.   Our elected officials are afraid to cut back on spending and don’t dare to raise taxes to pay the debt. They continue to cut taxes while increasing spending to support special interests in Washington.

Outrageous Spending

According to CNN, “Congress, which isn’t even in session this week, doesn’t appear close to taking action on the $85 billion in forced cuts, which take March 1”.  Massive military spending cuts which were meant to be drastic and help the budget have yet to be put into effect.  This is just one example of Boehner and Obama’s disagreement.  Boehner blames Obama for the stalemate and calls Obama a failed leader.  Obama urges the Republicans to compromise. There is a concern to protect investments in education, healthcare and national security. Securing these investments impact jobs. It is possible that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be affected by the Congress dragging their heels. Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked Republicans to listen to the American people and work in a bipartisan way to reduce the deficit.

Even though President Obama proposed an idea for spending cuts that was approved by congress, they were still allowed to borrow from the treasury to pay the nation’s bills. What is amazing is that citizens are expected to pay their debts monthly, while our government fails to do the same.  It appears that our congress believes that they have the right to borrow and spend at will, where average citizens are told to live within their budget.  Americans want a balanced budget, but it doesn’t seem like our leaders do.  These adults, who are supposedly our nation’s leaders, need to learn to compromise as they teach their children to do.  The Republicans and the Democrats must budge on their opposition to closing tax loopholes and make the fiscal challenge right for all Americans.

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