The investment scandal perpetrated by Bernard Madoff is the largest financial fraud in the history of capitalism. It is believed that Madoff’s secretive investment advice firm caused a loss of nearly $65 billions for the 4,000 odd investors who trusted his firm with their wealth. The investors consisted of several celebrities as well as people from middle and lower classes, thereby making the loss more acute for the latter group. This essay will explore the relevance of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to the Madoff Scandal.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is an agency of the Federal government that is entrusted with the task of regulating the financial markets is one of the chief culprits behind this failure. The SEC had brushed aside several warning signals in the years leading up to 2008, either due to the incompetency of their auditing staff or due to collusion with the fraudsters. Ever since Madoff started his ponzi investment scheme two decades . . . Read More
In many cultures, living with someone before marriage is strictly taboo. Yet, in liberal democratic societies in Europe and the United States, a different set of cultural values are adopted. In the latter regions pre-marital relationships are quite common. Varied sexual orientations and alternative living arrangements are also taking shape. There is also a tendency and greater tolerance toward newer lifestyles, including homosexuality, bisexuality and open relationships. In many ways, the prevailing cultural Zeitgeist has moved into unexplored territory, the sustainability and moral merits of which is yet to be ascertained. As these developments are happening in modern societies, traditionalists have raised a few objections. Mainly, they oppose these alternative social arrangements on grounds of religious and moral judgements. In these times of uncertainty, it is safe to say that there is no general consensus among the intellectuals, academicians and politicians. . . . Read More
It is a popular illusion that the United States is the leading democratic nation in the world and that its policies are a true reflection of public preferences. The truth, in fact, is quite the opposite. To begin with, let us consider the electoral system in the country. For many years now the voter turnout has not exceeded the sixty percent mark, which means that close to half of its citizens do not participate in the electoral process. The main reason for this is the general lack of confidence in the democratic institutions in the country, which are perceived as agencies of power and privilege.
A study of the Presidential candidates and Congressmen gives away an important truth, namely that the political leaders of the country emerge from an elite socio-economic background. As a result, their loyalties are firmly rooted to their friends in corporate America, thereby neglecting the general public. For example, former President George W. Bush has close links to major oil . . . Read More
The history of the social and economic impoverishment of aborigines of North America in general and Canada in particular is fairly well documented. But the effect of European colonization and settlements in Canada has had a destructive effect on aboriginal gaming and gambling as well. This latter aspect of the history of aboriginal life under European rule has not attracted the attention of scholars and researchers in the past. Yale Belanger attempts to fill this void by carrying out a detailed and systematic study of the subject. This book is an important contribution to the relatively small collection of Canadian literature pertaining to the aborigines. As a result, it could be invaluable for students, historians, government officials, policy makers, social activists, etc.
The book also briefly compares the native gambling institutions of Canada to that of the United States. What emerges is that the course taken by the gambling industry in these two countries . . . Read More
The ideal remedial action from the government would have been to press forward with nationalization of banks. But unfortunately, the political pressures faced by President Obama and the stimulus announcements made in Europe had ended those hopes. President Obama was careful not to alienate the conservative sections of the House of Representatives by acting against their principle of “a small government”. The nationalization option would also have safeguarded taxpayer money by converting them into government-held equity stakes in banks. Furthermore, the collapse of Lehman Brothers was not an one-off event; several other major banks such as Meryl Lynch and Citibank were also on the verge of bankruptcy. This should have convinced the policy makers about the systemic failure of the financial system in America – something which piecemeal solutions like financial bailouts will fail to address. By partially nationalizing the banks, on the other hand, the government could . . . Read More
In economies where income and wealth are unevenly distributed, the supply-demand equilibrium is threatened. In both the cases of the Great Depression and the present crisis, this factor had played a major role. According to Paul Gusmorino, “the mal-distribution of income between the rich and the middle class grew throughout the 1920’s. While the disposable income per capita rose 9% from 1920 to 1929, those with income within the top 1% enjoyed a stupendous 75% increase in per capita disposable income.h (Gusmorino, 1996) In this scenario, the middle and lower classes, which form the majority of the population find themselves with inadequate disposable income to buy products and commodities. In other words, the supply overshoots the demand thereby leading to a state of economic instability.
As was the case in the 1920s, the first few years of this millennium also saw an increase in the gap between the affluent and the middle class. During the second term of . . . Read More
The Great Depression is one of the most significant periods in American history. This period of economic recession began in 1929 and continued for another ten years. Today we are in the midst of another economic recession, one that was triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008. The intensity and scale of the present recession is not as big as that of Great Depression, but the two events have quite a few similarities and differences.
The two events in discussion are similar in that they were the result of excessive greed on part of Corporate America. In the years leading up to the stock market collapse of 1929, the then President Calvin Coolidge had deregulated the corporate environment, thereby eliminating the necessary checks and balances required for accountability. This led to a free climb in stock prices purely based on financial speculation. In other words, the quoted stock prices were much higher than actual values. At that time in American . . . Read More
The documentary titled Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes illustrates the negative aspects of the music genre. Presented by Byron Hurt, the film interviews several key personnel in the music industry and documents their views and opinions on Hip Hop. The artists and performers in the Hip Hop genre are almost exclusively black. While it might appear that black musicians are at last given their due recognition by the predominantly white America, there are aspects of hip-hop music that actually does disservice to the black community and portrays them in derogatory terms. The lyrics and visuals shown in hip hop music videos are misogynistic, aggressive and male chauvinistic in nature. There is also the depiction of gangster culture and its attendant casual violence. While this does not prove that black Americans are intrinsically violent and chauvinistic, but it does suggest a feeling of insecurity within the community with regards to their own identity and their place in the broader . . . Read More
Many people who fall addicted to smoking find it very hard to stop the habit. Yet, they must put in their best efforts to quit smoking, which will otherwise lead to serious health consequences. For people with a long time addiction to smoking, the task of weaning off the habit might seem impossible. But doctors and medical professionals have devised systematic plans for achieving this goal. For individuals who are sincere and earnest about quitting smoking following a systematic and step by step approach will pay rich dividends for health. Ideally, this process should be planned in consultation with a qualified medical professional. The rest of this essay sets out these useful steps in more detail.
Step 1: Practicing Deep Breathing:
Many people underestimate the power of this seemingly simple exercise. People who want are trying to quit smoking would probably have started by tapering down the number of cigarettes . . . Read More
The value and utility of water is often overlooked, especially when seen in comparison with manufactured drinks such as Powerade and Gatorade. Recent scientific studies have revealed that many people go about their daily routines in a state of mild dehydration. While this deficiency is not serious in the immediate future, there could be negative consequences in the long run. Even a 1-2 percent chronic deficiency in hydration levels could affect all aspects of healthy living, including cognitive function, circadian rhythm and sexual function. It was also found that proper functioning of salivary gland, risk of developing kidney stones, urinary tract cancers, are all dependent on the daily intake levels of water. In this context, people who workout regularly should adopt a well-planned re-hydration program, in order to replenish the expended quantities of water and other essential salts and minerals.
Thirty two of the fifty five attorneys workout for an hour for five days a . . . Read More