Friday, October 4, 2013

Conceptual Framework Research Paper

The conceptual framework in this research is to identify some of my semester problems. In identifying the semester problems, the article will identify some of the variables, which will be used in testing my hypothesis. Generally, the conceptual framework for my semester problems describes shared vision that is essential in providing coherence for advanced and initial programs for preparing the students and other professional personnel. Using the conceptual framework in this type of research is beneficial in outlining possible courses of action in solving some of my semester problems. The conceptual framework will also be beneficial in presenting the necessary approach, which helps me in understanding my semester problems (Andrew, et al 2011).

Problem Statement
While the time spent in Campus is full of happy experiences, and fond memories, university life is sometimes full of problems and rough patches. Most of our problems were unique depending on our current circumstances. However, most of our semester problems and challenges were mainly due to education and monitory issues. Other general problems during that I experienced during the semester were depression and homesickness issues, choosing a major and relationship issues.
Campus is always challenging. Generally, campus requires enough effort than colleges and high school did. As campus students, we take more than 15 credit semester, which seems impossible for most of the students to be on top for long. Homesickness and depression are also one of the challenging issues during the semester. However, homesickness was worse during my years as a freshman. Every problem during the semester seems quite dismal hence leading to stress levels among the students.
In a situation where depression and stress levels are an issue, the best solution is to seek professional advice. Alternatively, to avoid homesickness, the Campus can organize that its student visits there home at least monthly.

This type of research will use various variables depending on the type of semester problem. Some of the variables, which will ideally fit in this type of research, are the moderator variables and the dependent variables. The moderator variables are the types of variables that can be manipulated. An individual can also measure some of these variables (Hauenstein, et al 1998).
In most cases, the moderator variables can be selected by some of the experimenters to discover if it can modify the existing relationship of an independent variable to a phenomenon that an individual can observe. In this case, the student’s methods of reading and teaching can easily change. The methods of reading and teaching are independent variables while reading achievement are the dependent variable. Gender in this case is the moderator variables. In this case, gender changes or moderates the relationship that exists between the dependent variable and the independent variable (Saunders, et al 1997).
The dependent variables are some of the factors, which an individual can observe and measure to determine independent variables effects. In most cases, they are factors that disappear and appear. 

Alternatively, an experimenter can introduce, vary or even remove. In relation to the semester problems, some of the semester problem variables will include the achievement of a particular reading by the students at the end of the semester. However, this type of variable has close relation with the independent variable, which defines the principal research focus (Saunders, et al 1997).
This is a free research paper on Conceptual Framework topic. Keep in mind that all free research project samples and research paper examples are taken from open sources – they are plagiarized and cannot be used as your own research project. If you need a qualitative custom research project on Conceptual Framework for college, university, Master's or PhD degree – you are welcome to contact professional research writing company to have your paper written online by academic research writers.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

B2B Research Paper

BP VS Shell: A Business to Business Financial Comparison

Can you imagine two of the largest oil companies in the world competing for the top spot with all the financial, physical, and responsibility factors that become encumbrances along the race? BP and Shell – together -  have been in business for decades, but with close examination of their financial records spanning over the last half of a decade, one can not only see why, but can also begin to financial analyze and examine their strengths, weaknesses, and shortcomings. They are two companies in the same line of work with completely different values and completely different environmental mistakes. BP, on their company website claims to be “one of the world’s leading international oil and gas companies”, but with a quick evaluation of their company site, mission statements, and vision statements it is not a difficult task to realize that they are more intimately involved with their shareholders than they are the environment (BP 2013). Shell Dutch – also a foreign enterprise - boasts that they are environmentally friendly and sustainable to the natural realm that they affect; their pride and joy is in providing an elite service to the petrochemical industry, while still exercising much consideration for the world around them (Shell 20103). This report will be an intricate comparison of not only the separate company’s business practices, but also what they do with the money that affords those practices.

BP Overview
BP – in fact – one of the largest oil refinery companies in the world, operating in over eighty countries, employing 85,900 persons, operating sixteen refineries and 20,700 retail locations, and grossing an average of $375, 765 million per year they are in operation (BP 2013). Originally named British Petroleum Company, from a shareholders’ viewpoint, may have been the picturesque company for a financial portfolio as their stock prices rose and they acquired many smaller firms since their start in 1909 – until the major oil spill they were responsible for at the peak of 2010. Scientists revealed that an estimated 170 million gallons of oil was released into the Gulf coast, because of the explosion and collapse of one of BP’s underwater oil rigs. The explosion killed and harmed over 8,000 marine animals and completely damaged all the waters the oil encountered. The explosion endangered many fisherman of the area and dented their profit margins until, just recently quotes the National Wildlife Federation in an article about the tragic happenings (National Wildlife Federation 2013). Because of the massive damage done by this freak accident, British Petroleum was forced into an enormous shadow of debt with company finances being heavily splurged on positive advertising, federal and personal lawsuits, and “reparation” of the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the accident and attempting to shield the public from the actual damages done to the Gulf initially, BP was faced with the death of eleven workers, the injuries of seventeen workers, a guilty plea to fourteen felony charges made by U.S. Congress, and a $4.5 billion fine – deemed the highest fine to a corporation in U.S. history (Newsweek 2013).

Although, previously known as almost the picture-perfect company to its shareholders, BP was faced with major punishments that not only affected their reputation, but their cash flow in the year 2010. As will be outlined below, their balance sheets and income statements confirmed the heavy “clean-up” financing. Pleading guilty to the charges and the incident proved their lack of responsibility to the public and the environment, which in turn affected their bottom line for their U.S. financial reports?

Shell Overview
As previously stated, Shell and BP may as well be polar opposites of one another, in respect to business practices and standards. Born as a Malaysian company in September of 1960, Shell must have always been the model oil corporation in regard to the human public as well as their shareholders. They are still a hefty competitor for the British-born BP with a turnover of RM 7.5 billion ( 2,471,580,000 American Dollars), employing over two hundred natural-born Malaysians, and harvesting Malaysia’s first Long Residue Catalytic Cracking system in 1999 – just without all of the damage to the environment around them (Shell 2013). Shell focuses more on the elimination of waste and the health and temperament of their employees, which they believe is the perfect equation for a more successful, clean, and responsible company. They believe that these practices warrant positive bottom lines without all of the negative aftermath and decisions. The following financial reports reflect these sentiments:

Financial Health: BP
Based on the mass of ratios and calculations presented above, BP’s most dramatic change in capital structure occurred in 2010 when the massive oil spill occurred. Pertaining to current events and the collection of financial statements from that year (especially the cash flow statement), BP was making egregious payments to the government and individual persons to cover the damages they did the environment and workers that were involved in the incident (BP 2010). Based on the profitability ranges from 2008 to 2012, their long-term ratios proved to be normal and reflecting their average of above-average profitability and amazing company performance. Return on Equity in the years 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012 reflected a high percentages of money that generated by the company feeding back into the well-kept and closely watched equity invested in the company, reflecting a healthy capital structure, on its own. To compliment these facts, one may examine the remainder of the calculations to further analyze the operations and business decisions that affected the company’s financial data.

BP maintained excellent performance in respect to their return on assets percentages demonstrating that they do have a stronghold on the income that is generated by the company in relation to the assets that they maintain within the firm. Again, the only troublesome data that appeared via calculations using their financial records is the year 2010 when they had a -1.77% return on assets (BP, 2010). Regardless of this year, they more stabilized data for return on assets as well as fixed asset turnover, which showcased their ability to utilize their assets to further advance company operation. The company’s most impressive exhibition of their ability to do the aforementioned was in the year 2011, when they managed to manufacture a turnover ratio of 1.28 – just one year after the effects of the major oil spill (BP, 2011). This out rightly clarifying that they had major cash reserves, assets, revenue and easily liquidated equity to properly handle the freak accident; by fiscal year end 2012, they had an available working capital fourteen billion nine hundred and twenty-six million dollars, meaning that the company beheld an available total current asset amount to cover their liabilities many times over (BP, 2012). Lastly, until the year 2010, they were able to turn their accounts payable over in less than an third of a year, with the exception of 2010; based on most company financial records; this is a remarkable and dependable attribute to possess.

Cost of capital is a noteworthy detail to be examined when analyzes the financial documentation and health of a corporation, because if too much money that the money possesses is owed to creditors, banks, and other businesses, the assets of the company can be completely lost at any moment. Based on the calculations mentioned above and BP fixed asset turnover, cost of capital is not a problem for the corporation. According to the financial leverage ratios, again, their worst year for debt to equity ratio as well as debt to cash flow ratios, which are based on long term liabilities, total equity, and EBITDA, was 2008 and 2010. The company reflects amazing ability to leverage their equity against their liabilities and their equity against their liabilities, as well. This makes recovery from tremendous financial costs or shortages in cash flow easier to cover; BP has no issue with this because of the “free money cash reserves” they have available at any given time.

Financial Health: Shell
Less can be said about the financial health of Shell, because they are a moderate, conservative, and consistent company. Their financial records reflect an accumulation of balanced financial performances, as well as company performance that very seldom meanders or “goes against the grain”. They exercise safer investments, fewer large capital expenditure spending, and have more impressive data because of these factors mentioned.

With the exception of the years 2009 and 2012, Shell’s return on equity data reflected that they exercise above average management of their income over their equity. As noted, in the year 2008, their percentage was 33.59%, demonstrating that they turned their income into solid equity at an above-average percentage. These notions are constantly visible within their statements as their total working capital fluctuates sparingly and their accounts receivable turnover was as low as 1.38 in 2008 (Shell, 2008). Their debt to equity and debt to cash flow ratios are relatively healthy with regard to the years 2008 and 2009, reflecting that capital management is just as much as a problem as sustainability for the company: not a problem at all.

With respect to their profitability ratios, their operating profit margin was only troubled in the years 2008 and 2009, but after this point, they had somewhat stable numbers that unfortunately presented that they have only minimal flexibility in respect to the profit and sales. In 2010 the percentage was 7.56%; in 2011 it was a mere 1.46%; and in 2012 it was also a mere estimated 1.46%. This reflects that their sales are not translated to a high level of available cash flow; this could be an indication that revenues are not as high as BP and the operating activities may be stifled because of it. When compared to the current ratio (total current assets over current liabilities), the data presented above (within the text box exhibits) introduces the fact that their established company assets are much higher than their liabilities with record percentages, such as 334.22% in 2009. But again, in 2002, we see a calculated strata that read -8.83%, offering the inclination that this company has little room for mistake because the year before (2011)  the percentage was 284.96%. This demonstrates also  - though – that the company has substantial assets to liquidate as their cash reserve. Regardless of their weaker profit margin, they have suitable assets to substantiate for potential company losses or major capital expenditures – which they have very few, with quick reference to their financial statements.

Reviewing their liquidity ratios, Shell has extremely long accounts payable days records; the longest amount of time it took them to process accounts payable within the last five years was 894.32 days in 2010 (Shell 2010). On average – for the last five years – is 363.32 days which is close to an entire year. This is not a frightening figure, but it is significant enough to suppose that it is their other company assets (such as property, plant, and equipment, machinery, etc.) that are keeping them afloat during these harsher financial periods. The recession may have played a role in these happenings as we are dating back to the peak of the most major recession in decades (2008), but this may also be because the company has documented that their major expenses are accumulated by their practices of being a “green” company. Sustainability is an expensive procedure for any company to bring to fruition; and judging by Shell’s debt to equity  ratio (total liabilities divided by total equity) in 2009 and 2010 ( ratios of 0.61:1 and 0.48:1), some years it is more difficult than others to fulfill the accountable promises the company has made to their employees, their board of directors, and their consumers (Shell 2009,2010). For this reason, we see the clear difference between BP and Shell: accountability and moralistic standard.

In conclusion, when comparing two remarkably outstanding businesses in the same industry, one can only derive from the information presented in this short dissertation that BP would win the financial race between Shell and BP. Although, Shell proves to be more stable, sustainable, and responsible – qualities which in the long run – judging by their financial data – make for a consistent flow of income without interruptive capital draining incidences, BP does not practice business operations that are proactive, but more so reactive – and yet they still prevail financially. Shell practices operations in a manner that are proactive, pro-community, and pro-safety, but their bottom lines sometimes suffer because of them, placing them behind their competition in regard to pure, liquidated money. The bottom lines of both companies may reflect substantial differences but surely a company may want to make less money with fewer hazardous contingencies, rather than make an abundance of revenue and wind up spending it on freak accidents caused by outright negligence and irresponsibility. On the same note, in the corporate field, the most important factor is the money that the company generates and the dividends available to its stockholders, and as demonstrated in the introduction and body of this dissertation, one principle that BP does possess is the ability and priority of ensuring that their shareholders are well taken care of. Based on five years of financial research, BP  “takes the cake” financially but in regard to responsibility, humane-oriented business practices, and care for the environment and society, Shell is a more reputable and novel corporation. This dissertation presents a crossroads between money and humanity. Depending on the reader and the elements considered for a decision, either party could be considered the better candidate for an all-around “good company”. In a beauty pageant, BP would win the crown, but Shell would win the everlasting, never forgotten Ms. Congeniality Award.
This is a free research paper on B2B topic. Keep in mind that all free research project samples and research paper examples are taken from open sources – they are plagiarized and cannot be used as your own research project. If you need a qualitative custom research project on Business-to-Business for college, university, Master's or PhD degree – you are welcome to contact professional research writing company to have your paper written online by academic research writers.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Latin History Research Paper

Research Paper on Latin American History

Apocalypto (2006)
In the movie, Mel Gibson depicts the ancient life of the Mayan civilization that existed in Yucatan, Mexico. Gibson uses both historical accuracy and the Mayan language to portray the community’s history. The storyline revolves around Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), a young Mesoamerican who runs away from the threat of human sacrifice. He also attempts to save his family from the same. The movie portrays the violence that existed in the Mayan community before the arrival of the Spanish. The movie shows how the Mayan community collapsed from within. The conflict in the movie is between a small group that leads a decent life and a more powerful one that is full of bloodlust and greed.

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Missing (1982)
The movie depicts the history of the South American Continent during the 1970s when different nations experienced political upheaval such as bloody military coups. The movie also shows how economic strife and influence from the US caused conflicts and corruption in other nations. The movie is based on a true story ad is directed by Costa-Gravas, with Jack Lemmonand Sissy Spacek as the main characters. The movie is an illustration of Latin American politics in the past years.

Frida (2002)
The movie is based on life in Mexico after the Mexican revolution. The Mexican society at the time possessed revitalization in politics and painting. The society generally appreciated the Amerindian culture. The director, Julie Taymor, uses the biography of Frida Khaloto portray the conflicts of the historical times. The movie shows how the society recovered from the Mexican revolution and the activities they carried out to prosper. 

The Alamo (2004)
In this film, the director, John Lee Hancock, avoids stereotypes as he explains the Texas-Mexico conflict that had a toll on many Americans. The director gives an account of the contribution of the two sides and illustrates the effect of the conflict to the local people. The main characters are Sam Houston and Davy Crocket. The war described in the movie occurred in 1836. General Santa Anna leads an army to sweep across Texas and General Sam Houston attempts to stop them. The movie illustrates how the conflict progresses, and how it ends. 

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
This documentary is based on the life of Hugo Chavez. He was elected to the office of president in Venezuela in 1998. The U.S contributed to the coup that overthrew him. The president is depicted as a popular person among the country’s working class. However, he is a tough leader who opposes foreign policies. He opposes the power structure, and the same structure sees him deposed. Two independent filmmakers film the documentary. They are forcibly evicted from office in the presidential palace, and are present when the president returns to power. The film, therefore, covers the Venezuelan coup d’├ętat. 

Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)
The movie is based in mid-16th century in Peru. This is after the collapse of the Ican Empire. The movie shows how a greedy Spaniard led native Indians in hunt for gold and silver. The director, Werner Herzog, illustrates the insanity and corruption in the community. The movie shows some of the vices that were present in Latin America in the 16th and 17th centuries. The movie shows how the efforts of Don Agguire come to naught, as his army is defeated. 
This is a free research paper on Latin American History topic. Keep in mind that all free research project samples and research paper examples are taken from open sources – they are plagiarized and cannot be used as your own research project. If you need a qualitative custom research project on Latin American History for college, university, Master's or PhD degree – you are welcome to contact professional research writing company to have your paper written online by academic research writers.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Research Paper on Ergonomic Design

Chair designs involve making chairs that are comfortable for the human person to sit on and have been improving since they were first built and in today’s modern world, designers consider a number of factors some being the intended place of use, the intended users through simulation and how the future will be seeing to it that the world changes rapidly.

Problem Statement
With the ever changing work environment, new jobs have come up and development in these new fields has unearthed new technology to help hasten the various work related processes.

Dentistry, for instance, is a field that has been there since time immemorial but with the various forms of services incorporated into the practice, machines have been brought in to help out with the enormous amount of tasks involved. Among the equipment developed for this field includes the patient’s chair. The chair for this practice is particularly special as it has in-built functionality to stand upright and to incline to a position whereby the dentist will be comfortable to work on the patient. 

The angle of inclination greatly depends on the height of the patient and that of the dentist among other factors. Ergonomics demand that the seat be comfortable enough to redistribute the patient’s weight so that he/she can relax and focus on the problematic tooth/teeth and the dentist be in a position to see the patient’s teeth and work on it accordingly. The seat should be strong enough to support the weight of different patients and also last for a longer period of time.

Literature Review
Independent studies commissioned by employers on the state and health of their employees returned shocking revelations with most companies recording high levels of employee absenteeism occasioned by on-the-job injuries. With respect to the injuries obtained while working, companies as well as other independent employers are losing billions of dollars in compensation claims by employees on grounds that they sustained injuries while working and that their health was in dis-array., for instance, deals with offering services and computer related products to its customers and its employees work for long hours seated in front of a computer and for this reason, the company recons that a chair/seat is perhaps one of the most important tools that are essential for a healthy working environment.

To further stress out the importance of an ergonomic chair, research commissioned in 2003 indicates that employee productivity and output increased substantially (17.7% rise) after they received ergonomic seats. A study carried out earlier (1990) indicates that there was a 17.5% increase in employee performance who worked in an ergonomic environment compared to their counterparts who worked in an environment that paid little attention to ergonomics.

From research, it has become evident that seat/chair makers take into account a lot of aspects.

Ergonomic design starts right from the intended purpose of use to the place where the seat is actually used. Designers and seat makers in most countries work hand in hand to ensure the safety and health of the people who use these seats to perform their daily duties. Office seats and dining table seats, for instance, are made to lean slightly back such that the user of the seat will not be far from his/her desk and most importantly will be comfortably while working. Seats used in movie theaters are made to lean back a little bit more and a softer cushion is used such that weight is distributed to the back and pressure released from the seating area as it is presumed that such people seat for long hours.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to Write a Research Paper in MLA Style

How to Write a Research Paper in MLA Style

MLA is the well-known style of writing, which is used in paper writing at high school, college and university. The Modern Language Association style is quite widely used for writing papers in humanity disciplines, like literature, arts and language. Very often writing a research paper in MLA style causes big troubles for students and they start looking for professional writing help in the web. Here students can take advantage of the well-analyzed logical tips for research paper writing in MLA style.

Create a Good Title:
Remember that you have to complete the whole research paper in MLA style, so start writing and formatting it from the very beginning, from the very first page. Organize the first page according to the requirements of your educational institution or personal requirements of the professor. Set the margins of the page equal to 1 inch from all sides. The top margin will be equal to ½ inches. From the left margin organize tab in ½ inches. Write your name, the name of your teacher, class title and on the top of the page do not forget to insert the date. Below leave enough space for the title of the topic you are going to research. It is up to you what title to create, but it will be a plus if you manage to brainstorm a short but catchy title, which will emphasize the importance of the topic and will reflect the content of the paper.

Write a Good Introduction:
Any research paper can not be started without a sound introductory part. The section should not be very long; a page will completely be enough for it. It is important to make the part logical and mention every essential point you are going to investigate. Mention the title, the problem, purpose of the research, explain why it is urgent and interesting and persuade the reader in the importance of the chosen topic. Focus on the methodology section, because it is the favourite part of every teacher. On the basis of the methods used for research teachers value student’s knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Research the Topic:
In order to complete the paper successfully, it is required to collect data and analyze it well. The aim of MLA style is to help students cite the ideas of the famous writers professionally. When one wants to make a citation, he should do it carefully and insert a citation only in a logical place of the sentence. Every source should be registered with the date, day-month-year, to show the teacher when you have cited it.

Organize a Works Cited Page:
In order to arrange all the cited sources create a Works Cited section in the end of the whole paper and organize the sources in the logical alphabetical order.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Religion Research Paper Sample

Research Paper on Religion

Religion in Marx’s view was believed to be an unnecessary thing and opium of the people (as will be discussed in question #2) and thus should be removed completely from the society.

Marx in his different works attempted to trace religion to the point of man’s inception and stated that its presence is justified yet should be and will be removed by the communist society.  Marx believed that religion was created by man as an attempt to control the nature and others. When people were primitive they were powerless before the elements, and tried to use magic and rituals to somehow influence them and gain control over the elements. When a first society was created, religion was used to maintain order and the status quo of that society and thus enabled the ruling classes to maintain the division in the society as well as create more alienation.
Religion, in Marx’s view was also used effectively to keep people from taking action to change the society and overthrow the ruling class. In other words, religion was perfectly making people to resign rather than to act and achieve some changes. From reading the text I understood that  it was man who created God and not vice versa. Thus, religion that stated that people were below some supernatural being (God) was indeed a reserve of the reality in which people lived.
Marx noted that in virtually any society it is the view of the ruling class that is given the most credit and recognition. Since religion allows the upper class to rule/govern the lower classes, it was in best interests of the ruling class to have religion as one of the tools of manipulation. Since the upper class have the most power in the society, they would be the greatest supporters of religion preventing the lower classes from abandoning religion. In order for religion to be removed from the society, thus, one needed to change completely the social structure that naturally supported religion and had a place for it.

From the reading materials I infer that communism, in Marx’s view was the only ideology that would be able to help people abandon religion and concentrate on prosperity and personal happiness. Once the social stratification is removed from the society and the need to rule the lower classes will cease to exist (in communism everyone would be equal), religion would find little to no place and will also cease to exist.

2.   From what I have read as written by Marx and Feuerbach I made a conclusion that indeed religion was opium of the people. Religion according to Marx indeed was used by the ruling classes to soothe the pain the lower classes experienced when realizing the inequality, injustice and division in the society. Religion, according to the text provided people with fake reality and the social structure that supported existing rulers and governors. In order to keep people under control, religion promised people some benefits in the future should these people do what religion tells them to do. In other words, religion prevented people from acting in a way beneficial to them and provided them with some temporary illusory solution which indeed had little benefit for people. Drugs like alcohol when consumed allow people to forget about their problems for the moment and let them believe that in the future all will turn out just fine. Once intoxication disappears, people start to realize that drugs in no way benefit them. Religion, on the other hand appears to have a permanent impact on people by giving them a continuous promise and hope should they agree to experience some injustice and difficulties that the ruling class imposes on them. So indeed it appears that religion is an opium of the people since it just gives them conditional promises of good life and in return demands them to stay the way they are and not strive for the things they could and deserve to possess.

3. In my personal opinion, I believe that Amish society reflects false consciousness since they base all their decision strictly on the bible and refuse to adapt to the changes that the modern time demands.

As one can observe when reading the text, Amish society certainly expresses social resignation, i.e. the desire to resign from the existing societal problems that exist in the USA and lead lives they believe are true and right. I learnt that Amish families prefer to live away from what they call “worldly” and that means that they live from everything that constitutes a modern US society.  These families live away from the cities and urban districts and reject all modern utilities that people across the USA have a chance to enjoy. The Amish society does not even possess high school since it provides people with more than required for leading a godly life that Amishmen strive to lead.

The resignation is seen in the fact that the Amish community does not attempt to participate in politics and although it is never mentioned in the text, I believe that they do not engage in voting or presidential election campaigns. In other words, they find peace in their families and communities and let others rule them. Still, I learnt that the Amish do not pay taxes and in turn do not receive social security benefits which makes them exempt from the outsiders’ influence. The text spoke of some communities building hospitals and other facilities, yet these facilities were built with Amish money and are used exclusively by the community.

Amish do not work for others (upper class) and prefer to work for themselves on their farms. Religious beliefs allow Amish to ignore the US society as a whole and thus probably made them invulnerable to the social problems that a typical American experiences. In the recent years the growing prices of land, nevertheless, require Amish to abandon their homes and farms and go to the big cities in search of jobs to earn enough money to procure a farm or a new house in the community.
Amish religion appears to support the status quo in the community and obliges Amish to ignore anything else that takes place outside the community, since Amish are the chosen people who need to be kept separated from the rest. This separation as caused by religion already creates certain alienation and the fact that no Amish takes action to change the society means that Amish religion is “opium of the people” just like any religion.

4. In what ways do the Old Order Amish suggest an affinity with Marx’s ideal of a classless, economically equal society? In what ways does this group not fit his model? If Marx were observing an Amish district, what do you think he would say about its lifestyle, both in general and as reflected through its religious beliefs and practices?

Old Order Amish society to a certain degree appears to reflect a classless economically equal society as described in Marx’s utopian society. 

The following things make the Amish community similar to the ideal society as described by Marx:
  1. All people in the society have similar occupation. As noted earlier most Amish work only on their farms trying to feed their families. Since all people in the society have the same occupation, one assumes that virtually all of them have grow similar crops in similar quantities which provides them with similar amount of resources. The fact that Amish hardly ever use modern technology (tractors, sows, fertilizers, genetically modified crops, etc), the most they can earn depends on their physical ability to work. While in other societies the use of modern technology provides some time and effort-savings for some people and thus gives them an advantage over others, in Amish society the only advantage one can exert is to work more than others. Since physical ability to work is limited, one assumes that most Amish are able to yield the same amount of resources and thus remain equal.
  2. All people in the society obey the same restrictions and rules. No one is permitted to use technology that would give one person advantage (to produce more, grow more, earn more) over other people in the community. People in the society have the same simple clothes and similar agendas (work-sleep-work). There are no rulers to govern them and to advise them.  Whenever something bad happens all people in the society come and remedy the problem. The text illustrated a situation when a barn that burnt down would be built by the whole community within few days. Reliance on community and God makes all people in Amish society equal.
  3. All people in the society strive for similarity. As noted in text, all men wear hats and suspenders. All women and girls have almost identical haircuts and dresses. Thus, one can hardly observe any physical difference among Amish. In other societies physical difference (clothes, make-up, toys, watches, jewelry) is what oftentimes creates class distinction or at least shows its existence. Since in Amish society everyone looks the same and strives to look similar, one can conclude that people indeed are equal at least in appearance. 
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    Sunday, December 30, 2012

    IMF Research Paper

    Historical background of IMF
    After the American Great Depression of 1930s, in the 1944 at a United Nations conference held at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United, States the IMF was conceived. The purpose of it was to develop a framework for economic cooperation to avoid the duplication of parents that caused the Great Depression. But the actual establishment was a little bit later, in the year 1945 on December 27. At that day another organization also started its work - it was International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The purpose for establishment of these organizations was to oversee stability in the international monetary affairs, to promote an international monetary cooperation, to facilitate and develop the world trade, and what has become the major purpose of IMF, to lend money to member countries that cannot make loan payments. Now IMF has 184 member countries. Since the establishment of IMF its purpose stayed unchanged but its operations have been developed to arrange its abilities for changing needs of member countries. These operations are the following: surveillance (maintaining a policy dialog with the members), financial assistance (providing credits and loans to member countries which have balance-of-payment problems), technical assistance (helping member countries to strengthen their human and institutional capacity by offering technical assistance and training, plus designing and implementing effective macroeconomic and structural policies).
    Basic policies/procedures of the IMF in order to grant funds to other countries
    There are special stipulated conditions or member country which wants to receive the financial assistance from IMF. First of all the member country should agree to implement changes in its fiscal and monetary policies that IMF experts suggested. The conditions usually involve detailed changes in national policies. After the country agrees through the “letter of intense” the INF distributes funds in phases to ensure that the country is moving in the right direction and all reforms are implemented correctly. (CSIC 2002) Each phase has a specific evaluation process that corresponds to the conditionality in the IMF. The first conditionality is a performance criteria. This criteria consists of two parts: quantitative and structural. A quantitative performance criterion refers to the quantitative targets that agree with key macroeconomic variables that are expected to be reached during the member’s program. A structural performance criterion refers to the structural measures that are very important to the success of the program and that should be implemented in the progress. This condition often involves legislative reforms in the country. In order to receive the financial assistance the country has to demonstrate that the appropriate performance criteria have been met. It can also happen that performance criteria won’t be met and that payments will be interrupted. In this case Executive Board decides whether to continue the program. If non-observance will be minor and essentially self correcting the payment normally will be granted. On the other hand, the member will be prepared to take additional measures to bring the program back on track. The next condition for receiving funds is a program review by Executive Board in which the Board evaluates the implementation of the program more generally. This review normally involves the examination of observance of the conditions that were specified in the arrangement. Until the evaluation is completed, the member can’t make any purchases, and the Broad will complete the review only then when it will be satisfied with the results and will see that the program is on track. Then there is a third important feature of conditionality. It is called the prior action. During the prior action the Board decides whether to release further purchases. In this phase it may ask a member to take special structural measures without which the further financing is impossible. Prior actions are relied on the points where the performance of the member wasn’t good and where the Fund doubts the member’s bond to its program. If the necessary measures were made and the Board is sure in the good implementation of the problem then the country continues to receive the financial assistance. If not, then the board grants waiver for non-observance of the program. (Leckow, 2005)
    IMF also grants assistance through several lending programs. Stand-by arrangements are granted over 12 to 18 months for specific amounts to deal with short term problems. The Extended Funds Facility deals with the member-countries who have “structural” economic problems which have historical context. To receive this assistance the country must agree on strong conditions which IMF attaches to this facility. The loan is usually given for 3-4 year terms. The Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility programs are granted to the poor countries with a low interest rate. There is also the Supplement Reverse Facility is given during crises for a short term, but it also discourages too much borrowings by adding a surcharge. Contingent Credit Lines are also granted during crises but only for those who can be spread from one country to another. And the last type is Emergency Assistance with is granted to the countries that have military conflicts of other unexpected disasters. If the member-country wants to take a loan the IMF will decide which program is more appropriate. For each program there are special policies, conditions and procedures that the country will have to follow to receive a grant. (CSIC 2002)                       
    Historical background of Asian Financial Crisis
    The economy of Asian region, which include Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia for many years, was considered a miracle. The average growth rate in these countries was really big since 1970, Indonesia- 6.9%, Korea- 8.4% annually. But in the middle of 1997s the region entered economic crises. Because of inability to defend the currency, the Bank of Thailand allowed the baht to float. The recession that has been already obvious by the year 1998 was the deepest since World War 2. In Indonesia GDP declined by 13.7%, in Thailand – by 9.4%, in Malaysia – by 6.7%, and in Korea – by 5.8%. First of all crises hurt the financial system of the region, then the economical. (Berg 1999) The country became very risky for foreign investors and they started to pull money out of the region, which led to even worth consequences and faster decline. Economists believe that the crises happened because of the hard competition with Mainland China. Since 1990s, after implementing a number of export-oriented reforms, China started to effectively compete with Asian exports. China also became the more favorable country for western importers because it had a depreciated domestic currency, which made their products and labor force cheaper. In the Asian region, on the contrary, the currency of Thailand and Indonesia was closely tied to dollar, which was at that time appreciated. Therefore the situation for Asia was unfavorable. It has a strong competitor, which offered better conditions for customers and good quality of the products. In addition the Asian region had big current account deficit, which led to big external borrowings and made the country risky. (CSI 2000) According to the IMF causes, which led to the crises, were the following: macroeconomic weaknesses, domestic financial vulnerabilities, external vulnerability, and changes in the external environment. Indonesia, South Korea, and Thailand were the countries that suffered the most because of the crises. The Asian Financial Crises affected currencies, stock markets, and other asset prices not only Asian countries but of many others. Japan, for example, suffered a big decline in GDP and in the 1998 sank into recession. Because big part of Japanese export went into Asia (40%), after the crises country suffered from bankruptcies. But not only bad consequences can be outlined. For example Asian governments have understood that the expansion of investment and trade was a basic element for economic recovery. The financial crises should also speed up the reforms in the financial sector. The crises revealed many weaknesses of the financial system in the region, which now are hardly analyzed. Governments make necessary changes to prevent the crises in the future, which will make the region less risky and give a hope for the faster recovery.
    Policy response of IMF                    
    In such critical situation when the country floated its currency and in the same way suffered from big capital outflow, it was the hardest part for IMF to decide what policies should be adjusted. The decision was to provide a region with official external finance, to make a fundamental systemic reform, and to adjust monetary and fiscal policies.  The purpose of the external finance was to take up shock of the blow of the rapid capitals. As the weaknesses of financial and corporate sectors were the main problems that caused the crises, the fundamental systematic reforms in the financial sector were a necessity. In different countries the different measures took place. In Thailand, Korea, and Indonesia the heart of the program were the closure of an insolvent banks, recapitalization of financial system, the close supervision of weak institutions and increase in potential for foreign participation in domestic financial system. The result was that banks became stronger or in Indonesia they moved from weak institutions to the currency for foreign exchange. IMF also implemented such policies which were intended to establish a clear mechanism by which the authorities could inject recourses to take over, manage and sell the bad assets of the banking system. And finally, the last component to strengthen the financial system in the region has been a composition of reforms to provide the basis for the strong performance in the future. There were also other policies that were intended to set a new direction to the economy. As for the macroeconomic policies, we can divide them in two parts, monetary and fiscal. They are intended to decrease inflation and to make the region less risky, to stable its economy. Generally, IMF responded quickly to the crises. First of all it provided assistance for the countries that were most affected by the crises (Indonesia, Thailand, and Korea) and arranged programs that are described above. IMF provided a financial support of total about $118.3 bill and enhanced consultations with the countries in the region as well as with those who also suffered from the crises.
    The results of IMF policies/procedures
    The IMF reached several positive results in the Asian region due to its program. The exchange rates of the countries in the region have strengthened from their lows and now ensure more stability to these economies. Although in Indonesia the currency still stayed deeply depreciated, it too has recovered significantly. Korea and Thailand have made a significant progress in the macroeconomic stabilization, their interest rates apparently declined and the currency pressure have eased. The current account position changed from debit to surplus and equity price rose significantly. So generally we see that the situation in Asian countries stabilized. The governments already started to allocate part of the budgets for social programs and to care not only about the macro economical situation. But there are also opinions, which stay that IMF didn’t help to resolve the problem but even worsen a situation. It is argued that IMF had made three key mistakes. The first one is that it imposed excessively contractionary monetary and fiscal policies. Then it encouraged unnecessary changes in the economic structure of countries that suffered from the crises. The changes were really radical and lead to political instability. The criticism on the general operations of IMF is that it wants to remove every weakness in the economy of afflicted country all at once. And the last mistake was that IMF undermined the confidence of global lenders in their financial stability. While the currencies in the region were under speculative prices, IMF ordered to removal of price control, which lead to the increase in prices on food and fuel, causing the malnutrition and suffering of people. Although IMF admitted that the financial crises became even worth it didn’t scale back its operations. (Keith 2005)
    Role of IMF toward Asian Financial Crises                     
    The basic role that the IMF played in the resolving of this crisis was a financial assistance and the inflow of money in the economy of afflicted countries. When foreign investors started to draw money back the situation in the region became worsen. IMF financial assistance helped to support the economies of the region and to stabilize them. The technical and assistance and consultation made the process of recovery to be faster and more efficient. IMF’s specialists lead the process of recovery and assisted the countries with the point of view of macroeconomic science, which made the recovery not very painful. By helping to stabilize the financial system in the Asian region the IMF helped to ensure safety and less risks to the foreign investors who then started to invest their money again in the economies of afflicted countries. IMF also pointed out the mistakes that were made and how they can be prevented in order to avoid such crisis again. The development of program for the future periods for the Asian region countries can ensure the stable and long tern positive development in the region that make the country stable.
    Other aspects and concerns 
    By analyzing the work of the IMF we could conclude that several improvements still should be made. Some policies, for example monetary and fiscal, are not always appropriate and lead not always to good consequences. For some countries the conditions that should be applied and the changes that should be made in the economy are to radical and require long period of time. As we read the critics of the IMF it is seen that the changes that IMF suggests to implement are not always rational and can cause bad results. But still the conditions to receive the grant are quite strict and could be changed in order not to make a big pressure on the country that is in need. In future the Fund conditionality will probably be focused only on areas within the Fund’s core mandate such as monetary, fiscal, and exchange rate policies, or a design of social safety net and privatization.
    Nevertheless, there are still a lot of countries that need the help of IMF and its financial and technical assistance. The consultations that IMF provides are also very important so this international organization is a real need in the global economical system.    

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