Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Essay on Somatoform Disorders

Essay on Somatoform Disorders

The somatoform disorders consist of “physical symptoms suggesting physical disorder for which there are no demonstrable organic findings or known physiologic mechanisms, and for which there is positive evidence, or a strong presumption, that the symptoms are linked to psychological factors or conflicts” (Qtd in Stoudemire 1988:533). A patient’s emotional problems are expressed not as such but in physical terms, as a medical disorder, like gastritis, or as a neurological disorder, like a weakness of the muscles of the hand. This condition is often misdiagnosed even by the experienced clinicians: emotional problems are treated as the result of the physical condition, when, in reality, they are the primary cause of a disease a hand.

Although somatoform symptoms are extremely common in the workplace and create much unnecessary suffering for workers and unnecessary expense for their employers, the workers themselves, the companies that employ them, and the therapists that treat them tend either to overlook them entirely or to misdiagnose them and then mistreat them accordingly.
Somatoform disorder can be the result of endogenous or exogenous psychological factors. A conflict or some stressful situation may result in the somatoform problem. In this case the somatoform disorder is a symbolic expression, in body language, of the patient’s conflicts and their attempted resolution. Or it may be the result of stress, in which case the somatoform disorder is in effect a primitive reaction, like developing gooseflesh or passing out when danger looms.

In both cases there is what Felix Deutsch called in the title of his book a “mysterious leap from the mind to the body.” (Deutsch 1959:1) This leap, in turn, has the effect of hiding what patients are really thinking and feeling both from themselves and others, with two main consequences, one for the patient and one for the patient’s therapist. For the patient, insight is compromised, so the patient cannot connect emotional cause with physical effect and then disavows a personal contribution to the disorder, which ultimately gives the disorder a not-me quality.

The following are DSM-IV somatoform disorders (American Psychiatric Association 1994:471-475).

1. Somatization disorder, such as gastric reflux.
2. Conversion disorder, such as emotionally induced paresis of the hand that is part of carpal tunnel syndrome.
3. Pain disorder, such as some cases of emotionally induced low back pain.
4. Hypochondriasis, such as constant worrying about health.

Somatization disorder is characterized by multiple persistent somatic complaints that express general emotional distress more than specific psychological conflict. As a result, somatization symptoms seem empty of idea, and the patients themselves seem nonverbal.

According to Martin Kantor patients with somatization symptoms tend to present their symptoms in dramatic terms, underscoring what they say with charade or pantomime to catch their audience’s eye, keep their interest, and impress them with how much they are suffering. Often they soon become annoying (Kantor 1988:23). They seem insensitive to the reactions their listeners are having to them. Such people tend to concentrate on their own feelings. They employ numerous means designed to illustrate others that their feelings and the way of life are the most important matters in the universe and no one can have the freedom to spoil them.

Conversion disorder is responsible for many of such emotionally caused physical blocks as depression. Descriptively, in conversion normal body function may be quantitatively diminished, as in numbness; quantitatively increased, as in tremor; or qualitatively altered (American Psychiatric Association 1994:478). Conversion signs, differing from somatization indicators, often appear as single ones. They may be acute and transient, or may persist and become chronic. In the acute stage, organic end-stage pathology, such as contractures, is unusual. But it is prevalent in the unceasing stage and is likely to turn into the irreversible if the symptoms endure for a considerable period of time. As a point of comparison to somatization symptoms, that tend to favor an autonomic pathway for appearance and expulsion, adaptation indicators tend to prefer a sensorimotor trail for appearance and expulsion.

Somatoform pain disorder is illustrated by harsh or continuous pain with the effect surpassing ordinary physical pain, if present, so that psychological determinants are considered to play a significant role (Condrau 1988:215). An example is a dull ache in the back, attributed to arthritis, in the absence of significant arthritic changes, as demonstrated by X-ray findings. Another example would be a continuous tooth pain, resulting in a number of dental surgeries upon patient’s strong demands, even though the doctor may not see the direct or immediate need for such operations.

According to Kantor hypochondriacs are obsessive worriers (Kantor 1988:342-357). Such individuals tend to be overprotective about their health condition, which, in turn, makes them wear very heavy clothes even in hot weather because of their fear to catch cold. They hold onto the railing as they walk because they are afraid they will fall and break a brittle, decalcified bone. On the job they may be observed avoiding the onslaught of germs by carefully checking the rim of their water glass for smudges or lipstick prints, taking pills from a bottle, or sipping sugar fluids from a vial. Such individuals prefer to wear an austere black suit, as if they were getting ready to die. These people prefer to hold a fixed corpselike posture (often leading to muscle strain), only because of their determination to behave in a certain, strained way (Kantor 1988:342-357).

According to Stoudemire, developmentally speaking an infant originally expresses ideation and affect nonverbally, for example in autonomic responses. These nonverbal cues can become the exclusive basis of communication when the environment suppresses more direct expression of ideas and feelings. This leaves the “individual developmentally fixated at a predominately somatic level of experience, conceptualizing...communicating” and resolving conflicts, leading to a “reliance on somatic complaints to express oneself and to get attention and support” (Stoudemire 1988:534).

According to Stoudemire 1988 most somatoform disorders are “multifactorily determined” and have to be evaluated from several theoretical perspectives. While psychodynamic perspectives are valuable, to provide a complete causal picture clinicians must also study “linguistic development, family dynamics, cultural factors, and behavioral conditioning” (Stoudemire 1988:534). Stoudemire emphasizes how the somatoform disorders are reinforced by the attitudes and reactions of others. Parents who “respond more readily to physical complaints than [to] signs of emotional distress in their children” fix the somatic mode of expression as do cultural attitudes and educational limitations which can account for whether or not the individual “welcomes the sick role” and uses it for gain (Stoudemire 1988:535). Educational barriers and limited learning abilities can impose additional strain on the student’s willingness to express him or herself verbally in the classroom (Stoudemire 1988:535).

According to Stoudemire, masked expression of forbidden impulses, punishment for guilty wishes, a desire for removal from an overwhelming threatening life situation at times of stress, a need to assume the sick role, and a “communication of helplessness, which facilitates an environment in which attention and support are gained and aggression impulses avoided” are dynamic aspects of many, and probably all, the somatoform symptoms/somatoform occupational disorders (Stoudemire 1988:537). There are three possible causes for a given so-called physical disorder: a somatoform disorder, a physical disorder, or a combination of physical and emotional disorder. For example, in writer’s cramp, a given cramp may be a conversion disorder, a physical dystonia, or a true dystonia made worse when the patient tenses for emotional reasons. Although causally distinct, these symptoms look alike clinically -- that is, they present in rather similar ways, but the structural and dynamic differences between them are not always immediately apparent.

Today’s clinicians, however, usually do not see it that way. Instead they take a one-or-the-other view, lining up in two camps. Some are anti-psychiatric and will not admit that disorders like RSI can be emotionally caused; that emotions can contribute to symptoms that are physically caused, as when a hand tensed for emotional reasons becomes more vulnerable to physical injury because of the position in which it is held. They do not have to have new headaches. The old ones they already have will, unfortunately, do. Other clinicians are excessively pro-psychiatric (Kantor 1992:45-49). They see emotional causation everywhere; overlook the possibility that somatoform physical symptoms can actually be physically caused; and buttress their view by denying that physical disorder can occur in the absence of actual physical evidence, such as X-ray changes or abnormal laboratory tests. Such clinicians forget that it is not very difficult to produce wrist pain experimentally (Kantor 1992:89).

In making the diagnosis of a somatoform disorder, it is not enough to rule out physical disorder; one must also rule in emotional disorder. In order to achieve a desired result, health professionals are to very carefully and painstakingly evaluate the patient’s condition. The hint is to find the similarity between the patient’s symptoms and the ones depicted in the medical books or articles on similar diseases. For instance, a disease characterized by the uncontrolled movements of the hand may be RSI and not conversion as conversion usually influences the proximal part of the extremity in a greater way than distal, the arm more than the hand.

Examining the patient’s mental condition or susceptibility to certain types of mental diseases comes as a next step. The mental status evaluation is the equivalent of the physical examination of psychiatry. For example, both Stoudemire (988:540) and Wilfred Abse (1959:23-35) stress that in evaluating possible somatoform symptoms, clinicians have to evaluate the patient’s concurrent mood and degree of anxiety. Conversions, in particular, are associated with a specific affective state called striking indifference, in which the predominant affect is detached and there is a certain removed attitude about even the most serious paralyses or sensory loss, without the anxious affect one would expect given the degree of impairment.

The mental status evaluation should include specific questions of proven diagnostic value, like “What do you think is causing your problem?”; “Do you think your problem is physical or mental?”; and “What do you think will happen to your job because of your problem?” (Stoudemire 1988:540) Abse states that the examination of a conversion symptom must not rely on descriptive clinical illustration alone (Abse 1959:279). On the contrary, it should be based as well on dynamic and developmental characteristics.

One goal of understanding a patient’s individual dynamics is to understand the interplay between the patient’s psychological problems and his or her on-the-job stress. Stress is itself traumatic, but it is more likely to cause symptoms when today’s stress reminds the patient of yesterday’s trauma. Another goal is to understand the psychodynamics of a given somatoform symptom.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Essay on Desire

Essay on Desire

1. Desire and Love
Freud and Plato have the similar idea that love is the search of something that cannot be left behind. But their understanding regarding is being seek and cannot be left are completely different.

Freud’s conception of love is very much connected with the choice that is made by each person when choosing the partner for life. He claims that love-preferences are formulated in the early childhood and are influencing each person’s mate choice. His conception of love is tied to sexual attraction, and he insists that from the early childhood people are influenced by the behavior of their parents towards them. Freud argues that men and women are looking for partners that look like one of their parent (boys are looking for girl-friends who are like their mothers, girls- like fathers), have similar characters, etc. According to Freud, age also plays a great role in choosing the time when to get married. Boys with young mothers tend to choose women that are much younger, for example. But there is still the light at the end of the tunnel, as with each new relationship, that connection becomes weaker, as emotional tied with the family decreases. The idea is that love is tightly connected with sexual attraction, and the goal of growing up is seeking to eliminate any emotional family ties in order to be able to make conscious independent choices.

In Plato’s “Symposium” the totally another concept of love is presented. This is what Socrates was speaking with Diotema about: “What then is Love? I asked; Is he mortal? No. What then? As in the former instance, he is neither mortal nor immortal, but in a mean between the two. What is he, Diotima? He is a great spirit (daimon), and like all spirits he is intermediate between the divine and the mortal.”

Plato differentiates between the world of Being and the world of Becoming. The world of Being is the one of ideas and forms- transcendent, absolute and independent, and the world of Becoming is that of movement and changes. Understanding of these two worlds is essential in understanding Plato’s idea of love. Plato considers love to be the powerful and mysterious medium of arriving to the Highest Good, which is intuitive state of consciousness. It is that human-beings should be looking for and it is said to be the ultimate goal. In the dialogue with Socrates, Diotema presents the conception of love in three parts. In the first part she introduces the concept of the duality to differentiate between divine and mortal, and presents love as the informing spirit and the bridge between two worlds. She argues that love cannot be divine, as one cannot pursue something that he already possesses, and gods already have good things and beauty. Diotema says that love is a great achievement and has dual nature, as it springs from need and lack to plentitude of feelings. In the second part of the dialogue, Diotema says that only pursuing of good by means of love can bring absolute happiness, the point when the needs and desires are completely satisfied. Diotema associates the idea of love with the process of creation through both body and soul. Love is a gateway to obtain immorality and the means of giving birth to beautiful things. And in the final part, Diotema associates love with Beauty and says that it is the only thing that makes life meaningful. Love is a human being’s helper, the bridge, the tool to identify hereditary connections, as well as the mean of getting from the world of Becoming to the world of Being. Love provides an opportunity to create, which is divine thing, and people are able to create new lives through physical connections, as well as music, poems and other works of art through spiritual one.

2. Desire, Flesh and Soul
When the young lady of age 14-15 listens to pop-music, she thinks that on order to be happy she needs to be in a relationship with the boy, suffer and be obsessed with physical contact with him, and there is nothing beyond such state of things. It is terrible and sad, as young people in the process of their personalities formations are not always able to differentiate right from wrong and true values from wrong ones.

Augustine was fighting obsession during all his life. He was associating desires of sexual origin with the Adam’s sin, and even though it was made the part of human nature, it is still sinful. This is how he describes his experiences in “Confessions”: “There seethed all around me a cauldron of lawless loves. I loved not yet, yet I loved to love, and out of a deep-seated want, I hated myself for wanting not. I sought what I might love, in love with loving, and I hated safety... To love then, and to be beloved, was sweet to me; but more, when I obtained to enjoy the person I loved. I defiled, therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I beclouded its brightness with the hell of lustfulness”. Augustine didn’t view the actual sexual act as being evil, but thoughts and emotions that person experiences. He argues that the intention of sin in thoughts, even unperformed, an obsession of having someone, is a sin.

Freud is more rational about his opinion regarding the sexual obsession. He considered obsession to be the symptom of the bigger clinical picture. He envisioned obsession as the blame which is addressed by the person to himself only in the anticipating of the sexual pleasure, but finally these blames are disfigured by “an unconscious psychic process of transformation and substitution”. Freud investigates in the idea of the obsessional neurosis by introducing the notion of Zwang (compulsion).

3. Desire and Pride
Augustine considered the pride to be the beginning of sin. He noted that when the person is looking for self-satisfaction, he ruins his soul. Augustine considered that it was pride that forced Eve and Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. The fruit was evil, because the tree was evil, but the tree is the nature that is created by God, and therefore it is no longer divine and should be separated from God.

In the “Scriptures” Augustine called proud people self-pleasers and said that it is very good to have the heart lifted up, but not towards oneself, and have the heart full of pride, but to God, so that the pride is obedient, as people should humble themselves in the sight of the Lord, in the first turn. When the person is proud with himself, it destroys his heart, and when he is proud with God- it exalts it. Augustine considered human pride to be the nature’s defect, and therefore promoted humility being practiced in the city of God for attaining the most virtue.

Plato considered that when people are proud of themselves they are not able to love, and therefore they lost the essential part of their being- divine constituent. In Plato’s understanding, pride is very much connected with the person’s ability to love, and therefore a person will loose all benefits from love, which are discussed in the first essay and will not be able to achieve the highest happiness and live with the present moment.

I agree with authors that pride is the downfall for humanity, as proud person acknowledges his own successes in the first turn and denies his environment, which also participated in his success. And it was not he, who created that environment, but God, and therefore, proud person just denies his divine origin and is left with his physical and material things. And I am sure that it is impossible to exist without spiritual life constituent.

4. Desire and Contentment
Ataraxia is referred to as the Greek term used by Epicurus for characterizing the state of freedom from preoccupations and worries, and it was the greatest pleasure, according to Epicurus. He considered ataraxia to be the only real happiness possible for the human-being. Ataraxia encompasses the balanced and detached state of mind, and it presumes that they person transcended the material world and is more in divine one preoccupied only with philosophical ideas.

In psychology, ataraxia is defined as the state when the person has difficulties in connecting the emotions about the effects of the action with the action itself.

David Byrne has his own opinion regarding ataraxia issue, and considered it to be the sin, along with many other modern things. He provided the rewritten modern version of Bile with the introduction of contemporary characters, actions, values and sins. He replaced Biblical whores and money-lenders with website managers, graphic designers and women who married stupid men, etc. He also introduced new sins, such a beauty (for creating an illusions that everything goes well), charity (for an attempt to control one’s life), hope (for coward mistaking the reality), etc. The same is with ataraxia. Of course, he is being satirical in his ideas, but there is always the piece of truth in any satirical essay.

To my opinion ataraxia is still the key to our happiness, as preoccupation with day-to-day routine things takes a lot of energy, which is difficult to restore. Spiritual development and striving to protect himself from worries is good for the person, as worries and preoccupations are meaningless and add nothing valuable to person’s life. Worries take away person’s divine origin, as they are not created by God, and trying to cope with them, a person might just forget that he has some divine tasks to fulfill on this Earth. And he might forget that he was not created for solving problems, but to create something new.

5. Desire and Materialism
Most people consider that things that they surround themselves with define their personalities. And if to buy everything expensive and rich, then their personalities and characters will be considered better. Such world materialistic idea is very common, unfortunately. And it appears that things are more powerful then people are and are able to change our characters and our images in the eyes of other people. There is neither spiritual constituent in such conclusion, nor intellectual one. When care about things only, they are not real, as it their egos involved in the process of choosing.

Hegel had his own opinion upon the ego and consciousness issue: “Consciousness constitutes the reflected or correlation grade of mind: the grade of mind as appearance.

Ego is infinite self-relation of mind, but as subjective or as self-certainty. The immediate identity of the natural soul has been raised to this pure ‘ideal’ self­ identity; and what the former contained is for this self­ subsistent reflection set forth as an object. The pure abstract freedom of mind lets go from it its specific qualities,--the soul’s natural life - to an equal freedom as an independent object”.

Hegel argues that self-consciousness is the desire, but the statement seems to be rather paradoxical. And the question arises about how sub-consciousness can claim to exist in life when it certify that the sphere of life have importance just through projects that are motivated by personal desires and that its dependent life attachments are not important to such projects. Hegel answers the question that the existence is only possible with other mode of self-consciousness. Those self-consciousness modes are servile and lordly ones. And as self-consciousness is predominantly characterized by the desire, each mode appears to be independent from other. As each mode presents itself to another as independent unity to the life of the other, each makes life completely issue to the actions each has set self-consciously for itself in life not taking into consideration life constraints, including and especially each other. Each is a living constraint to another, but not like something else in life, because each envisions another as a living constraint intuitively, but self-consciously. Each presents itself to another as the denial of another’s life, for instance death. But death here is not the line of that negation distinctive of the life process; it is, which is even more essential, the life denial as what self-consciousness designs for itself in life. So each does not just support its “biological” existence, but supports its existence as designed and ordered independently by itself and self-consciously for itself. Two consequences can be followed from this situation— both modes can simply die, in which case the experience of self-consciousness as desire ends, or one suppresses another or one can surrender to the other in life risking fear, in which case the winner receives from the loser acknowledgement of its independence, certainty, and projects, while the suppressed accepts the fact that life is as important to it as pure-self-consciousness.

There can be also other modes that are evolutionary ones. In general, Hegel considered emergence of self-consciousness in people’s minds is the evolutionary step, and it is constantly evolving through moments and situations.

I consider Hegel idea about self-consciousness as the desire is very complicated and difficult to understand, but still I agree with his basic issues and after observation of my environment, I can say that he is absolutely right. It is our self- consciousness that define things around us and it is only our perception to consider things and events to have positive or negative impression on us. The relationships between people are also in the greatest extent stipulated with playing master and slave roles, and it remains people’s self-conscious desire. There are people who think and position themselves as they like to obey and suffer, and there are some that like to dominate. The other question is that those roles are not their true desires, but still as a result those two modes of self-consciousness consume for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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School-Based Management Essay

School-Based Management Essay

Organizing for Successful School-Based Management
The improvement of school performance has for decades been the dream of most people involved in the complex process of education. The book “Organizing for successful School-Based Management” by Wohlstetter, Van Kirk, Robertson, and Mohrman provides a refreshing view on the topic of school-based management.

Why can the ideas presented in this book be perceived as refreshing? Because the way things are arranged, the book is quite an inspiration for the reader. Acquiring the information of the issue provides food for thought as well as a desire to actually improve the school-based processes and the level of performance.

The overall impression of the book may be covered in few words: school-based management is not all about the change in the principles of school governance. To be truly successful, an SBM should include the change of processes in all basic aspects: structures, roles, schedules, skills and knowledge of those involved in the processes of education, the new HRM practices, and exchange of opinions and much more.
A successful school-based management practice implies the active participation of all the school stakeholders, so it is not simply an addition to the existing practices.

Let us now take a closer look at what the authors mean by the SBM-related improvement processes.

According to Van Kirk, Robertson, and Mohrman, new curriculum content, instructional practices and assessment procedures are not substantial to the efficient change. To improve the school performance, they believe, the struggling school should introduce principally new approaches like teaching for understanding, using technology, educating all students and providing integration services. The positive effect of the school-based management is that the school management has local (on-site) mechanisms to change and improve the current situation. The important thing is that although most decentralized schools had means of improving the performance (power, knowledge and skills, rewards and information), some used it properly, while others concentrated on fighting for power and making win-lose decisions, trying to impress the local community. Such myopia resulted in failing to develop and implement clear values and purposes that are mandatory for the successful school-based management. The book provides real-life cases with examples of various school-based management structures, activities and issues. Such cases enable the reader to realize the most effective ways of introducing a truly successful school-based management, and even predict activities might jeopardize the whole project.

The examples presented help to see the issue clearer, becoming a sort of a judge for the existing cases.

The problems discussed in the book cases include the issue of power, when the dispersion of responsibility among the wide variety of stakeholders involved in the decision-making process turned out to be more efficient than concentrating power in the school-site council. With the first approach in action, the decision-making authority focused on the improvement of the teaching and learning processes, which in turn positively influenced the central office behavior making it less mandate- and more service-oriented.

The case of skills and knowledge sharing provides an efficient mechanism of improving the overall level of school performance, because of the principally different approach introduced by the reforming schools – the creation of knowledge base, where every teacher could participate and share the relevant information and experience with the colleagues. The strategically linked professional development common in actively restructuring schools is often limited by the central office, but such limitations only broaden the outlook of the program participants making them look for extra (non-traditional) sources of training.

A successful school also uses information available within the processes more actively and efficiently. Such schools benefit from the decision-making structures that help planning and implementing the performance-improvement steps. Other possible ways of using information for improvement includes annual internal surveys and reports, informal communication and learning about innovative practices to avoid “reinventing the wheel”. Using all the information mentioned above to improve the educational and teaching practices was an extremely beneficial practice for successful schools.

Actively restructuring schools used innovative techniques of communicating information to all the stakeholders, making the process persistent and proactive. Sharing of information increased the mutual trust and increased the overall level of awareness and involvement between the stakeholders.

The other case dealing with the issue of reward showed that the successfully restructuring schools were using both monetary and non-monetary rewards to support those individuals (or groups) that made their positive impact on the process of improvement, making the school goals become reality. In fact the issue of compensation is one of the most neglected issues for the existing school-based management; the issue of rewarding is simply overlooked in many schools, while the teachers believe this issue to be of great significance.

Another (and maybe core) issue for successful restructuring is the development of a clear vision, values, and goals in terms of student performance. Firm position on these principles will ease the decision-making process and become a basis for curriculum and teaching reform. The key issues for consideration might include the school vision, curriculum frameworks and materials, learning goals, and the accountability assessment.

The authors also consider the issue of leadership in terms of the principal’s role in the successful restructuring processes. The findings state that a good principal assumed the role of manager and facilitator if change. Still, there was more to add to the issue of leadership within the school-based management process, because in successfully reorganizing schools leadership is shared among the leading teachers involved.

Another important issue for the schools determined to succeed in school-based management is the allocation of resources. According to the example in the book, the most efficient approach was cultivating resources from outside the school (through entrepreneurial activity in the local business community and involvement in the professional networks).

There certainly are serious limitations to the development and successful implementation of the efficient school-based management techniques. Among the most crucial ones is the issue of financing – the schools are based on the district-driven finance systems. A new system is needed to add to the flexibility of the school funds.

Wohlstetter, Van Kirk, Robertson, and Mohrman provided the tips for successful restructuring. They included the dialog about purpose (discussing needs and goals of the school), connectedness among the stakeholders (including practice-based learning involving all participants) and connection to external environment, holistic thinking (general, not partial), learning from experience (sources for improvement are within the school), and personal mastery.

Therefore, school-based management is not all about the change in the principles of school management – it is rather a combination of carefully considered renewal of the whole process. An effective SBM should include the change of structures, schedules, roles, knowledge and skills, and much more. Successful school-based management structures vary greatly because of the differences in vision, principles, approaches, management style. And I believe such practice is righteous as long as the goals of the school and the purposes of the restructuring are kept in minds of the individuals involved. The role of the participants can hardly be underestimated: improved performance results depend on the level if involvement and the ability of every participant to cooperate and supplement the general effort.

The key to successful school-based management is in the thoughtful implementation of the best practices based on a clearly stated vision and goals. Certainly a truly successful restructuring largely depends on the level on involvement among the participants and the desire to improve the existing level of performance. Still, the process of school-based management requires combined efforts on all levels of decision-making and implementation. The examples from the book show nothing is impossible for a successful school-based management.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Essay on Economics

Essay on Economics

Economics as any other science has its own history of development, which started during ancient times. However, more distinct outline as a separate field of study economics received in the 18th century, when the works of the first and famous economists appeared. Indeed, the fathers of economics are considered Adam Smith, the author of the famous work “Wealth of Nations”, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Jean-Baptiste Say and other followers of the Classical school of economics. Despite of the fact that Classical theories are not very much applied in the modern economy, the importance of them cannot be underestimated as they mark the beginning of the economic theory. These scientists established one of the two main branches of economics – macroeconomics. They studied the interrelation of supply and demand, the reasons of unemployment, the role and functioning of money in economy, the role of government and etc.

In the Middle Ages, there began to be two more or less separate but overlapping trade regions in Europ: the traditional southern one, dominated by the Arabs but also involving Italy, and a northern one, centered on the Baltic Sea and involving trade with England, Scandinavia, Poland and Russia. Cities began to grow again, and gradually self-sufficiency decreased in favor of the beginnings of an urban economy. The rise of the guilds, or associations of craftsmen, helped to move power from the country to the city. Still, even at the very end of the Middle Ages, the great majority of people still lived on small farms and in small villages, out in the country, and got most of their food by growing or herding it themselves.

Economic thought developed from feudalism in the Middle Ages to mercantilist theory in the renaissance, when the prevailing wisdom advocated that trade policy be structured in order to further the national interest. Britain had gone through some of its most troubling times through the 17th century, enduring not only political and religious division in the English Civil War, King Charles I's execution and the Cromwellian dictatorship, but also the plagues and fires. All these events have reflected on the economical thought of the time. During British enlightenment many economic views have changed. Unlike the mercantilist thinkers, wealth was found not in trade but in human labor. The first person to tie these ideas into a political framework was John Locke. The decline of influence of Catholic church in Europe and growth of the cities have significantly influences politics and economic thought of the time.

Classical economic school is represented by Adam Smith, David Ricardo, J.B. Say, Thomas Robert Malthus, John Stuart Mill and other economists. The work by Adam Smith, “father of economics”, which was written in 1774 and received the name “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” indicated the birth of Classical economic theory. Since that period of time and until Adam Smith’s writings have been enormously influential. Mentioned for the first by Adam Smith in his book, the expression “invisible hand” has been widely used to describe free market, meaning a market that is free from intervention of government, a market that is guided by self-interest and competition. However, idea that “invisible hand” means competition developed not during the period when Classical Economists lived and worked, but much later. That is why it is fair to conjecture that Adam Smith did not quite understand the whole mechanism of the free market, but only some parts of it. In the book “Wealth of Nations” Smith rights “he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention”. This citation evidences the importance of self-interest, which makes all economic agents be engaged into economic activity. Another prominent representative of Classical economic theory is David Ricardo, the author of the book “On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation” (1817).

It wasn’t until Ricardo read the book by Smith when he started writing down his own thoughts. For several years Ricardo was engaged into the correspondence with another notable figure in Classical economic theory – Thomas Robert Malthus, the author of the book “An Essay on the Principle of Population” (1798). As well as Smith and Ricardo Malthus also imported his contribution to economics. The main idea of his works was that the population grows faster than food supply necessary to satisfy people’s needs.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"O Captain! My Captain!" Essay

O Captain! My Captain! Essay

O Captain! My Captain! 
“The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it,” – this is one of the most famous phases of Walt Whitman, the outstanding American poet. These words fully apply to Whitman himself, as he was the true patriot of his country, sincerely loving America and devoting many works to it. Walt Whitman was born in 1819 on Long Island, and his interest in literature was discovered rather early. However, he tried himself in many different professions, working as a clerk, a teacher, a journalist, a compositor, an editor, a publisher, and even as a nurse during the Civil War. At the same time Whitman was writing poems and essays. His works gained popularity and acceptance due to unique authentic style and context of the author. Walt Whitman combined the best features of transcendentalism and realism, the literary styles of the period, in order to create the beautiful but simple masterpieces. Oftentimes called the father of free verse, Whitman made a huge impact on development of American literature. He is considered the first real poet of American democracy, a true patriot of his land, as he was always very straight and open in his poems. Using sometimes unusual symbols and images, the poet created an art of historical significance.

“O Captain! My Captain!” is one of the most famous poems of Walt Whitman. This work was created after assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Being the major moment of the Civil War, this event caused a significant impact on society. Walt Whitman was impressed soundly with Lincoln’s murderer, and the poem “O Captain! My Captain!” was written as a response to it, becoming one of the hundreds songs and poems devoted to this event. The four yeas of Civil War Whitman spent in Washington, working as a volunteer, and Abraham Lincoln was a person he admired most of all. The poet considered Lincoln as an embodiment of courage, dignity, and braveness. Like many other American citizens, Whitman saw the President Lincoln as a personification of American democracy, freedom, and patriotism. That is why the poet was impressed soundly with this death, and he expressed his feelings just like every artist would – through his art. The poem “O Captain! My Captain!” was written in the non-standard manner for Whitman, becoming his most conventional writing. In this three-stanza work the author grieves about Abraham Lincoln’s death, expressing the sorrow of entire nation.

The poem is about the brave captain of the ship that came home with victory. The ship represents the United States of America, while the captain is the President Abraham Lincoln. The ship has finished its dangerous journey and returns to peaceful port, which implies the end of Civil War. The people on the shore meet the winner, celebrating the victory, while the speaker finds the captain lying dead on the deck. The speaker mourns the loss of leader, at the same time feeling very happy for the ship’s victory. It is obvious that the captain lead the ship through every milestone of its difficult dangerous trip, taking the right decisions in crucial moments, supporting the team, and heading to the victory. The brave captain reached his goal – the ship is back home as a winner. However, he had to give his life for this victory in order to bring peace to his people. The image in this poem is obvious – at the end of Civil War, the fair and brave leader, the “captain” of the United States Abraham Lincoln dies.

The language of the poem “O Captain! My Captain!” is very simple and beautiful. Walt Whitman uses a wide range of literary techniques to portray the image of a captain and his ship. He expresses various emotions, starting from joy: “O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done; The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won…” From the beginning of the poem Whitman makes the reader feel excitement and happiness using appropriate words and images – bells ringing, public exulting, peaceful port. However, the refrain is less joyful – the narrator looks at the deck and sees the captain dead. The words in the poem are changed accordingly – like “the bleeding drops of red…” or “he has no pulse no will…”. The author emphasizes the ambivalent feeling in the poem, expressing both excitement of the victory and grief of the captain’s death. Whitman finishes every stanza with repetitive line “fallen cold and dead…” in order to pay the readers’ attention to the significance of loss and tragedy.

“O Captain! My Captain!” is the only poem of Walt Whitman that was anthologized during his lifetime. This masterpiece is considered the best work of author, due to the talented language of Walt Whitman, the father of American democracy poetry.

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Essay on Automobile

Essay on Automobile

If an Automobile Had Never Been Invented 
I get up at four o’clock in the morning. I have breakfast and get ready for work. I have to leave at five o’clock, as the company I work in is situated 7 kilometers from my apartment. I like to have a walk in the morning along with other people, we talk and smile to each other, and the roads for pedestrians are very wide. I am very healthy and slim. You bet! I walk for fourteen kilometers everyday, and when I want to go to the cinema in the evening- even more! This is not the nightmare. It is the situation without a car.

In reality it I think that it is meaningless to discuss the question whether the society be better if the automobiles never been invented. I would like to receive the clarification for the series of supporting questions: what is meant by society? Is the cities and their allocation are just the same, as they are now? Do we have the subway for our disposal? Anyway, there is an impression that society could be better. There would have been no carbon dioxide released in the air, there would be no traffic jams, and people’s nervous systems would have been much stable and healthier. But on the other hand it is impossible to deny the progress and the process of evolution. If people decide to build huge conglomerates, establish numerous companies and teach their children in schools, they are presuming that they will have the automobile to reach all those places. The society without automobiles will not be better, it will be just different. People will live completely different lives, have different values and the appearance of our cities, towns and villages will be completely different. An it is not known whether the natural resources would be more secure if there were no automobiles, there is a high probability that people would just cut more forests and take more crop lands to make their settlements not very big, but numerous.

For many people the automobile is not the luxury, but the means of transportation, as they just have to use the car to do business, and not to be late for business appointments. And what about deliveries of food, medicaments, and other essential stuff in each person’s everyday life? Should people suffer if there is no diary factory near their house? Automobiles offer comfort to our society, as well as the freedom of choice. If the person is willing to live downtown and he is proposed the good careers opportunities in the center of the city, or let’s say, far from his house, why he should refuse doing what he wants, just for the reason that he has no transportation mean to get to the work.

I will be able to leave in any world- with automobiles or without them, but the technological advancements and technical advancement leave no choice to the society rather then keep up with changes and enjoy what it has.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Essay on Hong Kong

Essay on Hong Kong

In this paper I will present description of the economy of Hong Kong as well as explain why it is generally referred to as the center of economic life of Asia and is undividable part of the international economy. I will mention Hong Kong’s macroeconomic trends, history of the economic freedom, resource base, the process of the economical transformation, currency, real estate, stock market, and also present other economic indicators, including prospects for the future.

1. Introduction 
“Hong Kong brims with energy, glitter, and excitement. From the heights of Victoria Peak, the cityscape of skyscrapers, apartment towers, forested hills, and harbor forms a spectacular panorama, and at night the sparkling light­ show of the soaring buildings is second to none in the world. This glamorous city houses an extraordinarily talented people that made this research project a sheer delight. The citizens on the street, the storeowners, clerks, taxi-drivers, and my tailor graciously offered assistance whenever requested, provided directions, and gave me their opinions on the economy and politics…” (Meyer 1)
Hong Kong is officially called the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The economy of Hong Kong is usually refereed as being the most free from the economic standpoint in the world, according to the Index of Economic Freedom for the last fourteen years, as well as to the Economic Freedom of the World report. But in regard to Hong Kong free doesn’t mean unregulated, as there are many paths by which the government is involved in economic life. Government participated in the creation of such economic institution as Hong Kong Stock Market and also participated in projects of public works and social welfare spending. All land in Hong Kong belongs to the state and private users rent it. Hong Kong in general has many positive cultural, geographical, political prerequisites to be called the center of East Asia economic life. The main sourced of profit for the government of Hong Kong is the revenues from taxation and the land leasing, as government institutions are not involved in the industry and commerce.

2. Hong Kong –Center of Asian Economy 
It was so historically stipulated that government authorities stood away from owning and running business companies, and were predominantly engaged with the protection trade issues, imposing regulatory control. This is what Meyer writes regarding this issue (7): “To control the exchange of commodity and financial capital, intermediaries must acquire public and specialized business information about their inter­national demand and supply. Because intermediary profitability often depends on being the first to make exchanges, delays in receipt and transmis­sion of information are costly. Printed and electronic mass media, unrestricted spoken information, and official government sources provide public informa­tion, but all intermediaries have similar access to this information”.

For the last few decades, Hong Kong authorities had been very successful in running up substantial budget deficits by means of public borrowing restrains, expansion of credits and inflation control. The Hong Kong economy can be characterized by freedom, prosperity and constant growth. As Hong Kong has the free market economy, there is no political production planning and import price control. Hong Kong has a very valuable geographical location for trade, as it is the seventh biggest port in the world and the second largest in terms of container throughput. The container complex in Hong Kong is called the Kwai Chung, and it is the largest one in the whole Asia.

Along with the favorable geographic location, Hong Kong is also famous for having valuable human resources. The population of the area is more than seven million people and from year to year it is growing. Hong Kong labor force is very adaptable, skilled and hard-working and on practice it adopted the Western business models of work and uses all modern methods and opportunities for flourishing business. The most part of the Hong Kong population is the first and the second generation of the immigrants, and it becomes obvious that population is relatively new in the region.

Speaking about macro-economic trends of Hong Kong, it is necessary to mention that GDP was not officially measured by the government authorities until 1971. To find out the GDP before 1971, it is helpful to address the international trade statistics. In 2006 Hong Kong’s GDP level was the 38th largest in the world with the index of 263.1 billion of US dollars, and GDP per capita took the 6th place with the index of 38.127 US dollars.

In order to understand origins of the economy of Hong Kong, it is necessary to know its historical prerequisites. The economy of Hong Kong has been transformed during the different time periods. In the 19th century, before the World War I, he dominating sector of Hong Kong was trade, and the city was the 4th largest trading port in the world (1895) and the economy basically revolved around international trade. After the World War II, from early 1950s to 1970s, manufacturing became the dominating sector of economy and it was the largest part of the economy and city’s revenues, and was led by textiles. The second largest sector was business service, such as retailing, wholesaling, hotels and the foreign trade. For the decade started in 1980s, finance became the dominating sector of economy. And since 1997, business and financial services dominate the economy, and together they constitute the half of economic revenues of Hong Kong.

The heart of the region’s economic freedom is based upon the government’s hand-off policy. This governmental model was developed also in Taiwan as the reaction to the effect of Cultural Revolution in China and its profound analysis. During the era of Mao, the government was attempting to forecast the steel production, and as it was not able to meet the prediction, the economy of China collapsed. Economic model of Hong Kong then and now allows renovation and flexibility for each industry. It is the main reason for the growth of GDP per capita rates of Hong Kong (for 6.5% in 25%), which is the remarkable event for the economic analysis. In the 1990s, that index finally appeared to be higher even that of the United Kingdom. The great influence upon the economy of Hong Kong had the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the IT bubble of the second half of the 2000, terrorist attacks upon the United States in 2001 and the SARS outbreak of 2003. Asian financial crisis had the great influence upon Hong Kong’s unemployment rate, which increases for about 4% in a year (from 2.2% to 6.3%).

There is no much cultivated land in Hong Kong and there is a shortage of natural resources, and therefore the region had to import most food and raw materials from other countries. But still Hong Kong remains on the largest trading entities of the world. There are 114 (as of 2006) countries that maintain consulates in Hong Kong, which is more than any other city in the world. The most export from Hong Kong is not the domestic goods, but re-export of the products that are manufactured outside the region, primarily in mainland China. Since the territory of Hong Kong is autonomous, this status allows the city to be the entry point for all investments and resources before they reach the mainland China.

Speaking about the differences between rich and poor population in Hong Kong, I must note that the gap between them continues to grow.

The currency that is used in Hong Kong is Hong Kong dollar and since 1983 it can be changed to United States dollar at the fixed rate (due to Black Saturday), the allowed range of exchange rate is between 7.75 and 7.85 the fiscal year of the government is from April, 1 to March, 31 of the next year.

Real estate in Hong Kong is very expensive, and has the 3rd place in the world, leaving far behind prices for real estate of London and Monaco. Anyone who has money is able to buy real estate in the city, and therefore real estate remains one of the greatest contributors to the city’s economy, as many foreigners prefer to invest in real estate.

Banking system in Hong Kong is three-tier, and includes deposit-taking institutions, restricted license banks, licensed banks, as well as deposit-taking companies. There is also Hong Kong Monetary Authority that is responsible for bank regulation. Hong Kong is obviously the financial center of East Asia, ad has one of the greatest concentration level o banking institutions in the world. There are 100 largest banks in the world and 71 of them have an operation in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the main exchange in Hong Kong where shares of the listed companies are traded. It is the second largest stock exchange in Asia, left behind by Tokyo Stock Exchange. The holding company of the exchange is Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Company. The history of the securities exchange market began at the end of the 19th century and was established in 1891, but the securities trade was taking place since 1861. Established in 1981 exchange was called the Association of Stock brokers in Hong Kong, in 1914 it was renamed to Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The exchange system was computerized in 1986, which assisted in system modernization. In 1993, the “Automatic Order Matching and Execution System” was launched and later on it was replaces by the system of the third generation (2000).

General economic indices of Hong Kong are very high compared to other developed cities in Asia. Inflation rate in 2007 was 2%, unemployment rate- 3.6% for the same year, nominal GDP is 208. 7 billion of US dollars, real growth rate of GDP is 6.8%, GDP rate per capita is 30.157 US dollars. Export in 2007 was 344.9 billion US dollars. The main Hong Kong export partners are Mainland China, USA, Japan and Germany. The main products that are exported (and re-exported) are footwear, clothing, textiles, toys, plastics, watches, precious stones, etc. Import in 2007 was 368.4 billions of US dollars. The main import partners of Hong Kong are Mainland China, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. The imported commodities are transport equipment, food, raw materials, petroleum, semi manufactures, etc.

The head of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) is the Chief Executive Donald Tsang from 2005. The Election Committee that votes on the Chief Executive (CE) contains about 800 Hong Kong residents from four constituency groups: industrial, commercial, and financial interests; professionals; social and labor services representatives, as well as religious authorities; and the legislature, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and the P.R.C. National People’s Congress. In 2002, the Hong Kong Government institutions introduced the Principal Officials Accountability System that was created to make the government more responsive to the concerns of people. There are twelve policy bureaus that are run by twelve political appointees, which are directly responsible to the Chief Executive. In general, Hong Kong has the free and open society in which human rights are respected, courts are independent, and there is well-structures respect for the rule of law, residents still are limited in their ability to change their government, and the legislative authorities are limited in their power to influence government policies. On September 12, 2004 elections to Legislative Council were considered to be open, free, and widely contested, even though Hong Kong groups have claimed occurrences of voter manipulation, intimidation, and overall pressure.

3. Conclusion 
 Hong Kong is the very developed city from each standpoint of economic analysis. It remains to have the freest economy in the world. Government doesn’t own business enterprises in Hong Kong, preferring to exercise just regulatory function. It is one of the largest ports in the world and in general has all prerequisites to be called the center of economy of Asia and to have the great importance to the international economy.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Essay on Presidential Candidates

Essay on Presidential Candidates

Marketing Campaign Details for Presidential Candidates 
Almost every political event in the United States of America is accompanied by a certain type of marketing strategies to attract certain audience. Presidential elections present, probably, the most demonstrative example of marketing campaigns in the country. Presidential candidates and their marketing specialists use diverse methods and media to attract people in their marketing strategies. Let us look at two of the U.S. Presidential candidate’s campaigns and analyze them.
First marketing campaign we will observe is the strategy of presidential candidate Barack Obama. This Democratic Party nominee has reached outstanding results in his campaign due to non-standard strategy. Obama became famous for his innovative approach to marketing campaign. It involved all contemporary methods and media, which made the campaign extremely effective. To my mind, it contained two major components. First element of Barack Obama’s strategy was branding – professional art-directors have created Obama’s identity according to major rules of branding, including logotype, font, sign, slogan, and individual colors. It worked very good and eye-catching, making Obama a real brand. Second key element of Barack Obama marketing campaign was media. He used the most universal and effective modern medium – Internet, and he used it professionally. Obama’s website is a good example of modern trends in web-design – interactive web 2.0 resource with intuitive usability and very good search engine optimization. These approaches of Barack Obama’s campaign addressed, rather young audience that is aware of modern trends in contemporary informational technologies.

The other marketing strategy we will look at is the one of the USA presidential candidate John McCain, the representative of Republican Party. Due to lack of investment, his campaign was not as high-end as Obama’s. However, McCain has his own authentic image of experienced military activist that attracts certain audience. His campaign included recognition of national authority, initiating finance reforms, major fundraising. Being the second oldest president candidate (after Ronald Reagan), the figure of John McCain attracts the older audience that supports conservative political views, like he does.

The marketing campaigns of presidential candidates usually diverse soundly, as every candidate is different, having individual goals and methods. The strategies of Barack Obama and John McCain differ from the standpoint of target audience and perspectives offered. While Obama used innovative technologies and modern branding techniques headed to younger audience, John McCain addressed older and more experienced audience emphasizing more conservative media and views.

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Ottoman History Essay

Ottoman History Essay

We all are familiar with a principal in life that one may never know what may happen to him/her in the next couple of moments. Many of us have many times experienced unexpected joy, or, on the contrary, got stroked by a trouble that they did not expect. When it comes to lives it takes a moment to bring one’s life to a positive or negative change. Though, when it comes to the lives of states and empires for the change to occur it usually takes years. It is incontrovertible that the power of the Turks was once dreadful to their neighbors. The Ottoman Empire was a powerful giant on the world arena, holding its composing countries in awe. Everyone trembled at the name of the Turks. They, in their turn procured by their constant successes, treated the Christians and other religious representatives with the disdain, peculiar to proud and vainglorious conquerors. Though, the time has passed, and at the beginning of the 19th century the former almighty Ottoman Empire did not simply suffer territory losses but simply stopped its existence. In my paper I would like to describe what the reasons for the collapse of the Ottoman Empire were. Nevertheless, the primary purpose of this paper is not only present the reasons for the empire’s failure.
The goal is to prove with the support of facts that the European countries brought the Ottoman Empire to failure. The Ottoman Empire was the one of the largest and longest lasting Empires in history, moved and sustained by Islam and Islamic institutions. The actual rise of the empire was gradual, and for half a century their own forces were enough to gain more land and then keep it. At the peak of its glory it included: Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Hungary, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Parts of Arabia, and much of the coastal strip of North Africa (Wittek).

However, the glorious years of the Empire also came to an end. It all started in the 18th century when the Ottoman Empire was struggling with internal difficulties: the tax reforms were not applicable, corruption was prevailing, banditry became common in the provinces and the government found it difficult to maintain order (World Civilisations). It was at that time of internal troubles and distress when the Ottoman Empire drew closer to Germany, which had economic interests in the empire and became its leading supplier of weapons(Zürcher).

The reasons for decline I have mentioned above of course step by step led to the downfall of the empire. However, what is important to acknowledge and what will be elaborated in the paper is that the interference of the Great Powers in the Empire brought it to decline (Johnson). The 19th century was a century of territorial expansion for European countries. The Europeans madly raced for territory at that period of time. Of course, some of this was European territory, but mostly it was simply the territory that they desired and that was not theirs (Zürcher).

The first crisis to bring about European intervention in the Ottoman Empire was the Greek War of Independence in years 1821-32. At the Battle of Navarino in 1827 the Ottoman fleet was destroyed by the Europeans. By year 1829 the Russian army advanced as far as Edirne before a cease-fire was called in 1829. After the war, under the London Convention of 1832, the Europeans forced the accord to recognize Greece to be independent (History of Ottoman Empire).

Recovering after the Greek War the country was hit again. In 1854 started the first major war of the Empire - Crimean War (1854-1856) with the Russian Empire. What is important to notice is that this conflict as well as other conflicts with the European powers was initiated not by the Ottomans, but by the Europeans. The reason for Crimea War was Russia’s interest in territories. Restless to take possession of territories of Moldavia and Romania, the Russians went to war with the Ottomans. The official reason for the war was the fact that “the Ottomans had granted Catholic France the right to protect Christian sites in the Holy Land rather than Orthodox Russia” (History of Ottoman Empire) .

The war ended badly for the Russians, though, it had important consequences for the Ottoman Empire, as well. After that war the way the Ottomans perceived themselves changed. They realized that they were heavily controlled by Europeans, because they assisted them in the Crimean War. Europeans, in their turn, no longer saw the Ottomans as a force to consider, but as a tool to be used in bigger European concerns.

Twenty years later the Empire was hit again by the Balkan Rebellion. In 1875, the people from Bosnia and Herzegovina led an uprising against the Ottomans in order to gain their independence. The two neighboring independent Slavic states, Montenegro and Serbia managed to aid the rebellion. A year later the rebellion spread to Bulgaria. The rebellion was part of a larger political movement called the Pan-Slavic movement, which had as its goal to unite all Slavic people under the rule of Russia. The war went very badly for the Ottomans, and in 1878 peace had to be declared. The outcome of the war was that the Ottomans had to free all the Balkan provinces, and give Russia considerable amounts of Ottoman territory “to pay” for the war (Eton). Three decades later in 1911, Italy and France were in competition over Libya. Italians were afraid that France might attack the Ottoman Empire and get Libya, so they attacked first. They beat the ottomans and gained control of the Dodacanese Islands and Libya. At the same time the states Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro also attacked the Ottomans. The reason for their attack was hoping to gain all of the Ottoman provinces in the north of Greece, Thrace, and the southern European coast of the Black Sea. They also managed to defeat the previously mighty empire. This was known as a first Balkan War. The Second Balkan War started just two years later in 1913. The states of Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro did not agree with the amount of territory Bulgaria had gained. The countries joined the Ottomans and managed to roll back Bulgarian territorial gains. This was the last military victory in Ottoman history (Eton).

The continued military and political weakness of the Ottoman Empire was very apparent to the European policy makers of the day. The terms “Eastern Question” and “the Sick Man of Europe” were used throughout Europe. It was considered that the weakness of the Ottoman Empire “would create a power vacuum for competing European great powers to fill”, thus leading to the stability of Europe (Brown). The reasons why the Ottoman Empire failed are easy: it lacked the manpower, the money and the industrial base to contend successfully with European powers. What was also deadly for the Ottoman Empire was a mistake of entering the WWI on the side of the Central Powers (particularly Germany).

The Ottoman Empire had existed for 600 years that is longer than the empire of Rome or the British Empire. The time of the downfall of the empire was in the history of Europe the time of territory grabbing and conflict among European states. The Ottoman Empire, approaching its decease, was dragged into these conflicts and beaten till death. The end result for the Ottomans was the loss of Empire, and, finally, the loss of the Ottoman dynasty itself (Lewis). In 1922, Ottoman rule officially came to an end and Turkey was declared to be a republic.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Essay on Street Food

Essay on Street Food

The speed of life seems to double every decade, and the citizens of developed countries are determined to deal with this intensification in every possible way. We try to manage our time as properly as we can – work, studying, family, friends, hobbies, travels – all this takes time, and we run desperately trying to do as much as we can. That is probably why quick snack has become so popular in recent decades. Family dinners in urban areas are as rare as gramophone records. We eat anywhere and anytime we can. Street food is one of the most common and moderate ways of outdoor snacking.

Of course this type of food is subjected to criticism more than any other type. Some highbrows consider it unhygienic or even violating etiquette. Still, street food has its fans, because it is cheap and easy-to-access, and even delicious sometimes. I believe street food could be a good way of snacking as long as you know the vendor and are a patron. Visiting a street food vendor should not be a daily habit of course, cooking or visiting a café or a restaurant may be as rewarding, and even more pleasant, but there is nothing reprehensible is you drop in for a bite of soft taco from time to time.

The latter has gained popularity since street food became available. Some street vendors even tend to have patrons from the vast surrounding area. Soft tacos are great when made by an expert.

Tacos came to the United States from Mexico, just like many other street quick snacks. The Southern part of the U.S. has been influenced by the Mexican cuisine more than any other, so one can find hundreds of places selling nachos, burritos and tacos con carne y salsa. The Mexican food has gained popularity due to the increase of offer as well, especially taking into consideration the influx of Mexican immigrants to the U.S. in the course of the XXI century.

The word taco originally means "plug" and refers to rolled paper or cloth patches for musket balls, Wikipedia claims [1]. When one uses imagination, a food called taco becomes exactly what it means: a typical taco consists of a rolled, folded, pliable maize tortilla with a tasty filling and dressed with savory condiments. The filling may vary from traditional meat (beef, pork, chicken - Tripa, Asada, Lengua, Cabeza, Pollo), seafood or even spicy vegetables for the vegetarians.

A great taco has a soft flour tortilla, crunch and tender meat with plenty of juice, a salsa roja, cheese, lettuce, cilantro and a squirt of lime. You will never forget the taste of it. And you will certainly be back for more. There even are quests for the best tacos in town among the street food lovers, especially in L.A. You can find tacos in small restaurants, fast food chains like Taco Bell, and on the streets from a street vendor. It is usually eaten out of hand, and the most common toppings are already included into the meal (sour cream, salsa, etc). A juicy taco does not need any supplements, except for maybe a soft drink or a pint of beer with lime, when you have time to sit and enjoy it in a cozy restaurant serving Mexican food.

I was delighted to find great lines by Jorge Ibargüengoitia Antillón, Mexican novelist and playwright, because these lines define what a taco really is: "I would like to invent something that will be at the same time dish, spoon, napkin and tablecloth, that it does not need to be washed but at the same time will assure the person who is about to put it in his mouth that it is clean and has not been touched by other lips. Something that could be eaten so at the end of the banquet nobody has anything to wash and not leftovers be seen on the table."[2]

The popularity of tacos has increased due to the nationwide promotion by the fast food chains such as Taco Bell, Mighty Taco, Del Taco, Taco Bueno, etc. So it is not a street food as such. It is equally good in the restaurants and will good street vendors – the latter are cheaper that is all. It can be eaten any time you feel hungry or your tongue longs for a mix of palatable tastes. It is also sold at a reasonable price and in various combinations of filling, so you can hardly be jaded with a taco. Prepared quickly and eaten accordingly, taco wins the favor of most quick snack lovers.

It is also loved by the tourists, especially younger or less well-to-do ones. A taco might save your time and money for the sightseeing and other entertainments found in abundance in the L.A. area. The tourist version does not really vary from the original – it is found in the same restaurants, so the food is just the same. Delicious.

Certainly, the type of taco (soft or hard-shell) and the filling depends on locale. The tacos from the fast food chains are more universal, while the street food has a touch of original Mexican food with impressive combinations of tastes and flours. Of course, there are opinions that tacos and the rest of the Mexican food, especially street food are for the low-income people, and that is unhealthy, just like any other quick snack is. But we already are a fast-food nation, aren’t we? So why not taste the best the market can offer and enjoy a unique opportunity to indulge our gustatory receptors and manage to save time and money at the same moment.

If there was a friend or a relative visiting me, I would certainly take him to taste the tacos and let him decide which he or she likes most. Why tacos? Because they have already become a part of U.S. history and food tradition. Do not be highbrowed, try it. This plain and easy-to-get meal has already won the hearts (tongues and stomachs) of millions. There must be something special about the tacos, if they continue being the top choice of numerous people. Try and find out!

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Essay on Social Business

Essay on Social Business

In this paper we are going to study the issues of social responsibility, related to USA companies and corporations. We will try to give precise answers to the questions, whether business leaders should be concerned of the local and international social problems, and if their approach to solving these problems should be rather professional or personal.

The general definition of the notion social responsibility is usually given like follows: “an ethical or ideological theory that an entity whether it is a government, corporation, organization or individual has a responsibility to society” (Friend, 12). Very often mostly activist groups and other communities are associated with social responsibility, but in fact business groups can also pay attention to it.
Social responsibility is not identified by laws, it is a free-will responsibility. The responsibility for the customers is not a new idea in the business ethics. Long ago it was proved, that the way of treating a customer with attention and politeness has direct impact upon the results of sales or other commercial activities. The question whether business in general and business in the United States can be socially responsible seems to be rather important at the moment. In case it can – there should be special criteria worked out for estimating this. All types of business, however, have different aims and thus the measures of social responsibility would be various.

On the other hand there is a number of social problems, which should be taken into consideration by all business leaders. Speaking about local social problems, it is important to start from the workers of the company itself; this means, that their social rights for appropriate health care, workplace safety, family –friendly policies and so on should be developed and guaranteed. There are other local problems, related not directly to the company and its workers and not only non-government organizations can provide support for weak sides of the social sphere. According to the U.S. Council for International Business U.S. companies and corporations show nowadays more interest in the issues of social responsibilities (Roddick, 13). Around 89 % of the companies in America are working out the plans for management of their corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Speaking about international processes, it is necessary to mention, that within the last decades the flow of goods and services between different countries is growing. Globalization can serve as an important source for new economic and cultural opportunities, on the other hand however it demands a kind of interference of business leaders of one country into the social sides of business of other countries. The government in America worked out a number of policies and programs with the major goal of better recognition of worker rights in all countries. “For example, U.S. laws governing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) include provisions promoting worker rights” (Montgomery, 25).

This seems difficult to demand from the business leaders to play personal role in addressing and copying with social problems, this would be already great if all of them could follow such problems professionally, as already their professional effort would be enough to bring positive results for workers, for society and certainly for the development of their business.

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