How might interest groups use their money to influence policy outcomes in Congress? What effect does the timing and targeting of money have on their effectiveness? How exactly might we go about measuring such influence, in both contributions and results?
It is an open secret that private interest groups wield enormous influence over the Congress. Indeed, political lobbying and the Public Relations efforts that it entails is a multi-billion dollar industry. This state of affairs suggests that far from the principles enshrined in the Constitution, the Congress has now become a market place. Each law or amendment has a bunch of monetary transactions behind it. While a conventional market place sells commodities and services, the Congress sells legislative favors. It is a pitiable condition, but nevertheless true.
Numerous empirical studies have been conducted on understanding the nature of influence of interest groups. As far as studies on interest groups’ . . . Read More
DVD rental business is coming to the end of its life-cycle. While Netflix made a name for itself by excelling in this domain, the technological landscape and consumer preferences are constantly in a flux.
Netflix’ leadership position in streaming video is somewhat secure for the moment. But rapidly changing technology and competition from niche players pose numerous challenges that require anticipation and proactive implementation.
The major themes w.r.t. the Netflix study are ‘emergent technology’, ‘supply-chain innovation’, ‘precision logistics’, ‘saturated market’, ‘key product strategies’, ‘marketing strategy’, ‘customer relations’, and ‘value creation’. To elaborate on a few, let us consider first the theme of emergent technology. Netflix was a pioneer in supply-chain innovation and distribution. Hence its precision logistics was a pivotal factor in its success . . . Read More
The Civil War is a cornerstone event in American history. Beyond its obvious political relevance, the culmination of the war influenced American society, economy and culture. This essay will argue that the rapid industrialization following the war gave rise to two major features of national identity: American capitalism and American culture.
One could identify 3 major aspects of industrialization during and after the era of Reconstruction. In terms of geography, the North-South divide that politically and culturally separated the country had ceased to exist. This is not to say, however, that there were no misgivings between the two groups of citizens under auspices of the united nation. The era also saw more frequent waves of immigration and settlement on the mid-west and eastern states of the union. This reconfigured the population distribution, which erstwhile was concentrated on New England and its environs.
The exhaustion of the war, ironically, created an . . . Read More
The first video is Google employee Chade Mang Tan’s short presentation titled ‘Everyday Compassion at Google’. It was an insightful and philosophically informed speech. Tan draws upon the wisdom of famous Buddhist monks like the Dalai Lama and Mathieu Ricard in decoding the keys to happiness. Based on FMRI scans on these long term meditators’ brains, Tan is able to show the neurobiological basis for happiness. More importantly, he illustrates that the practice of compassion meditation can effect such changes to the brain. Far from being an esoteric spiritual practice, compassion can actually prove to be an effective business tool. Using his first hand experiences from Google, Tan shows how the quality of compassion can help build strong team ethic and trust. In terms of effective leadership, too, compassion is of paramount importance. Many inspirational leaders across the world possess two important qualities – ambition for greater good and humility. Acquiring compassion . . . Read More
Concentration of media ownership is a serious problem across the world. Since the media is considered the ‘Fourth Pillar’ of democracy, it is imperative that it remains diverse and free of commercialization. Unfortunately, the reality is quite the opposite. In this context, Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, stands as a symbol of this dire imbalance. News Corporation, under the leadership of Rupert Murdoch, has unparalleled power and reach in the news media industry. The Murdoch Empire spans several continents, with significant footholds in Australia, United States and the United Kingdom. Founded and headquartered in Australia, the company now boasts of being the number one newspaper publisher in the world, with a cumulative daily readership of 14 million in these three countries alone. Murdoch has a near monopoly in the media space in Australia, owning two-thirds of all newspaper circulation in the country. Across the Tasman Sea, in New Zealand, he owns nearly half. Further, he . . . Read More
What is the difference between descriptive ethics and normative ethics? What role do values play in each of these two approaches to ethics? Provide examples to illustrate your points.
Descriptive ethics is founded on the belief that humans are ‘hard-wired’ to be selfish. That is, they are for the most part absorbed in fulfilling their own desires and goals. The capitalist economy is a good example of this instinct in humans, whereby, ‘greed is good’ is an accepted mantra for business corporations and individuals alike. Descriptive ethics promotes a ego-centric decision making model, whereby, an individual is morally entitled to pursue his own happiness through independent action. Cultural relativism is another term coupled to descriptive ethics. This school of thought contends that what is right or wrong is specific to the particular cultural milieu. Normative ethics, on the other hand, takes a more didactic approach to human action in that it . . . Read More
Berkshire Hathaway uses debt quite sparingly. Even when it does borrow, the company tries to structure its loans on a long-term fixed-rate basis. Adopting a conservative approach, the company will rather reject interesting opportunities than over-leverage its balance sheet. While this policy may have moderated the profits over the years it is the most prudent option. This is so because, the company cannot afford to forsake its fiduciary obligations to stakeholders who are heavily invested in it. (2012, p.98)
Compared to most other investment firms, Berkshire has access to two sources of low-cost, non-perilous leverage options – deferred taxes and ‘float’. These allow the company ownership of far more assets than its total equity capital would permit. As of 2012 these funding sources have grown to an impressive $117 billion. (2012, p.98)
Berkshire has long invested in derivatives contracts which are found to be mispriced, just as the company invests in mispriced . . . Read More
The late Steve Jobs is one of the prominent inventors and pioneers in the field of information technology. Some of his creations such as the iPhone speak highly of his vision in recognizing technologies of the future. By introducing products such as the iPhone, he took Apple Computers to new heights through its exceptional performance and features. It is interesting to study the origin and development of a mass phenomenon like the iPhone in the backdrop of Malcolm Gladwell’s and Steven Johnson’s ideas on the subject. The rest of the essay attempts to tie in the ideas of these two scholars into how Apple products came into being and how their appeal spreads among consumers.
The late Steve Jobs is one of the prominent inventors and pioneers in the field of information technology. Some of his creations such as the iPhone speak highly of his vision in recognizing technologies of the future. By introducing products such as the iPhone, he took Apple Computers to new . . . Read More
Deming’s 14 Points for Leadership in the Western World is a well rounded guide for achieving excellence in management. The 14 points or guidelines are applicable to any domain or industry. One of the key insights offered by Deming is how a high level of quality (or even a zero-defect production record) does not pre-empt the scope for improvement. The very first point talks about creating a “constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service”. This indicates how improvement is an ongoing engagement that is detached from prevailing production quality. Deming makes clear that ‘defect detection’ and ‘defect prevention’ are preludes to the continuous improvement process. An optimal defect detection system would not operate on the misplaced assumption that increasing the quantity of tests (mass inspection) would automatically “decrease the variability of the quality characteristics of products and services.” Likewise, a robust defect prevention . . . Read More
- In your opinion, is Rawlings exploiting its Costa Rican employees? Explain your answer.
In my opinion, I don’t think Rawlings’ operations in Costa Rica are exploitative. The very nature of capitalist enterprise is such that cost efficiency is a major driver of business. To criticize Rawlings for doing what it is legally mandated to do (namely, to seek profits for is shareholders) is quite unfair. Moreover, critics are not appreciating how Rawlings has created jobs in the Costa Rican economy. Companies such as Rawlings have helped consolidate Costa Rican economy. It is in recognition of this fact that the Costa Rican government has offered special economic zone status to Rawlings and other MNC manufacturing units.
Even when one looks at wages and employee benefits, Rawlings has done nothing illegal. The company has adhered to minimum wage standards of Costa Rica. Further it complies by paid-leave and medical insurance . . . Read More