Decisions about foreign direct investment can be complex, and require an incredible amount of information in order to evaluate the different options that a company needs to consider. The best methods of evaluation will apply a consistent set of criteria across a number of different variables and use these for all of the different countries. The company will also want to understand which key variables are the most important. How a country scores on a factor is one critical variable, but how important that factor is the final decision is also important. The following paper will work through a framework for understanding the desirability of a country for foreign direct investment, using the nation of Bangladesh as the prompt. The end result will be an example framework that illustrates the scoring system as applied to Bangladesh. In practice, this would then be used to evaluate Bangladesh against other countries that are competing for the business.
The underlying philosophy of this system is that it is a baseline. What this means is that there is no consideration of industry-specific variables. So for example a forestry company would obviously want to know about the nation's loggable forest cover, but this information is not of use in too many other industries, so it would not be included. Likewise, differential tariffs between industries and products are not going to be considered. Thus, issues such as these are going to be covered on an aggregate basis only. Tariffs would be evaluated for example on average tariffs or the country's general approach to free trade.
The framework is going to be built around the variables that are most important to business. Thus, the framework is going to take in demographic, macroeconomic, resource, political and cultural factors into this decision. Within each category there are going to be a number of different variables. These will be discussed in the following report that outlines the business attractiveness of Bangladesh. The variables in each category will be coded in order to fit onto a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most attractive. All figures are from the CIA World Factbook unless otherwise noted.
Variables - Demographic
The first set of variables for Bangladesh is the demographic set. The key demographic variables that contribute to the…… [Read More]
Foreign Policy Dealing With Clothing Manufacturing in Over Seas Third Countries Bangladesh
The objective of this study is to answer as to what the problem is in dealing with U.S. clothing manufacturers who have their clothing created in third world countries such as Bangladesh in the view a leader and specifically a president in the free world. Specifically this work will answer as to what can be legally done and what sanctions might be put in place. This work will identify stakeholders and makers of the program and who would be involved in providing input during the programs development stage and what problems with the cultural environment might exist in addressing this problem. Further, this work will answer as to what might assist or present as a barrier to the program and examine historical implications and treaties or amendments that might be enforced. This work will additionally address how the message might be best spread and how success would be measured. Finally, this work will address the implications of violation of the program and sanctions that might be imposed if the laws in place are violated.
According to the Cultural Survival website, there is presently a debate "among feminists as to whether industrialization is good for women." (2010, p.1) Industrialization has presented the chance for women to "get out of the house, to break away from the stifling constrictions of domestic patriarchy." (Cultural Survival, 2010, p.1) The manufacturing countries in foreign countries such as Bangladesh hired women workers in those countries in an effort to reduce labor costs and it is reported that these labor practices were specifically adopted by manufacturers or textiles, garments, and footwear. Simultaneously, international lending and aid agencies including the International Monetary Fund is reported to have pushed the Third World country elites to focus on increases of foreign financed industrial goods for export which would serve to bring about an increase in the imbalance of payments that resulted from imported oil price increases, foreign luxury goods purchase by the private sector for local government and…… [Read More]
Training can be provided, which will assure that teachers in the IT group at least have the basic tools that they need to administer the course effectively.
The purpose of this research study is to gain insight into the potential effectiveness of a program that combines e-learning with traditional face-to-face classroom instruction in rural areas of Bangladesh. The results of this study are intended to serve in the development of policies that can be used by the government of Bangladesh in the establishment of effective IT policies. At the present time, much skepticism exists as to the effectiveness of this proposed initiative. This research will shed light onto the real potential of the initiative and the real results of the initiative the student learning, classroom attendance and other factors that might be affected by this initiative. The most important outcome of the study will be the ability to develop consistent and affective policies regarding the place of e-learning in the rural areas of Bangladesh.… [Read More]
Operating in these conditions helped Telenor gain valuable experience and insights into how to plan future joint ventures and alliances in emerging, high growth 3rd world nations.
Indirect benefits included gaining greater insight and intelligence with regard to the Indian consumer cell phone market in general, and the village and rural market needs specifically. Partnering with Grameen Bank provided invaluable experiences in seeing how to create profitable businesses in each village. There are many indirect benefits to Telenor and Grameen from a CSR standpoint as well, as the cell phone service they provided turned out to be a critical catalyst for growing the economies of these rural communities. By participating in the joint venture, Telenor helped create a platform of economic growth for the 29,000 villages participating in the program.
How would you calculate the SROI (Social Return on Investment) for the Village Phone Project?
The Social Return on Investment (SROI) for the Village Phone Project needs to be calculated by comparing the costs and benefits of the investment from a social value perspective. Telenor and Grameen Telecom both shared a common vision of bringing telephone service to the most impoverished areas of Bangladesh. Telenor's investment of $40M and commitment to the program, combined with the $43.7M from Grameen Telecom along with two other partners, delivered mobile phone services to 68,000 villages, giving women in these villages a chance to significantly increase their incomes to $80 per month. Women reported that they were able to use these earnings to pay for their children's education, subsidize the development of new businesses and farms, and increase the quality of life for them and their families. This program also generated 600 jobs internally and 40,000 jobs externally by 2003, leading to a major contribution to employee's quality of life. When SROI is used for calculating the job creation factors of this program alone, the results are exceptional given the relatively small investment and timeframe to results achieved.
The unquantifiable aspects of the SROI include the communication links the village ranchers and townspeople have with doctors and family, making it possible to get better healthcare for their family members…… [Read More]
Bangladesh's poverty situation
Poverty is a major issue in today's world and it remains one of the biggest challenges for humankind to overcome. A third world country, such as Bangladesh, is defined as an underdeveloped nation that faces challenges in growth (either economic, agricultural, social, etc.). Bangladesh, a country with a population of 164 million, is one of the poorest countries in the world with a high poverty rate of 40% and a literacy rate of just 51%. Poverty in Bangladesh exacerbates the problem of the large social divide between the rich and the poor. Some of the causes for poverty in Bangladesh are unemployment, income distribution, natural disasters, and the lack of education -- among others. The poverty rate in Bangladesh has contributed to several issues such as child labor, high crime rates, as well as the gaping social divide. This paper will examine the issues associated with poverty in Bangladesh including the lack of education in Bangladesh, the vulnerable landscape, the great social divide between the rich and the poor, and the issues related to crime and child labor.
Bangladesh is considered one of the world's poorest countries, ranking third after India and China (Rural Poverty Portal 2011). Since its independence from Pakistan in 1971, Bangladesh has been striving to reduce its poverty (Ali & Talukder 2010).
In 1971 [it] was a very poor country. The general people had a hope and dream that the political parties will develop the country and will eradicate poverty gradually, will provide jobs to the 50% unemployed people, will educate the 60% illiterate people; but their holy hope and dream have not been fulfilled due to frequent hostile political culture, beating, killing among the political party members, no patriotism among the political leaders, massive corruption, unnecessary frequent strike, unnecessary opposition to the…… [Read More]
Pakistan and Bangladesh
The theme of these articles is a lack of dependable democratic stewardship, and leadership, which includes failure to respond to citizens' needs due to social chaos and civil unrest. Bangladesh is mired in political corruption; Pakistan is engaged in jihadist-related civil strife and has struggled historically with floods, hostility and distrust vis-a-vis India and Afghanistan -- in part due to the use of "relentless propaganda" (Khan, 2010).
In the Khan article Pakistani relations with the U.S. have been strained due to the U.S. support of India, and yet the U.S. needs a strategic relationship with Pakistan. Pilling's article shows that Pakistan has attempted to help the U.S. By disrupting the Taliban and the Green / Bokhari piece reflects that six million people were impacted by floods. Jones points out that the enclaves between India and Bangladesh are "inherently misrepresented/underrepresented" (Jones, 2013). And Mahmud writes that there is so much corruption in Bangladesh that the top leaders of one party (BNP) are "…either behind bars on corruption charges" or they are running away from law enforcement (Mahmud, 2008).
Do I agree or disagree with the article by Plaban Mahmud? I wholeheartedly agree with this article because Bangladesh has had a tragic history of political corruption, or terrible typhoons that have drowned hundreds of thousands and caused cholera outbreaks following the storms. As regards the political corruption, in the 2008 article the government had no choice but to postpone the election and to give in to the corrupt BNP party, simply because if the government did not give in to the unreasonable demands "…strikes and violence would return to the streets of Bangladesh," and hence, the government would be "dysfunctional" (Mahmud). But if a government is forced to bow down to a corrupt political party, it seems that it is already dysfunctional. The BBC reported that Bangladesh is ranked "as the most corrupt country on…… [Read More]
Crisis at Footwear International
A multinational shoe manufacturing company has been accused of deliberately designing a shoe with an insole that is offensive to Muslims. Footwear International consists of a number of companies that are semi-autonomous with regard to operations, and are governed by boards of directors that include local business community members. The Footwear International company in Bangladesh experienced severe criticism from local activist student groups who interpreted the design of an insole to include the name of Allah. Further, the students charged the manufacturing company of being owned and financed by Jews, and somehow linked the entire episode to Salman Rushdie. The designer of the shoe -- a devout Bengali Muslim who does not speak or read Arabic -- declared that the pattern integrated into the insole design was inspired by Chinese temple bells that she purchased. Further, the insole design had been considered and approved for inclusion in the manufacturing by the designer's supervisor.
Issues. The primary issues related to the footwear design crisis in Bangladesh are as follows:
The student protest escalated into a criminal charge under Section 295 of the Bangladesh Criminal Code which considers "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious believers unlawful."
The students' proclamation accuses Jews of being behind the purposeful and audacious act, thereby rendering the situation ineligible for any compromise.
Inflammatory remarks by the student groups appear to be focused on turning public sentiment against Footwear International by irrationally linking the presumed offense to Muslims in Afghanistan and Palestine who have given their lives in what radical Muslims perceive to be a defense of the sanctity of Islam.
Footwear International is one of the few multinational companies in Bangladesh with a long history of providing jobs in the country…… [Read More]
The following is a response to a major disaster in the Asian coastal country of Bangladesh. A major and destructive typhoon has recently hit the country and there are significant problems. The result of this typhoon has seem massive death, destruction and population displacement, and to worsen the situation, data indicates that cases of a diarrheal disease consistent with cholera have been reported.
This essay will highlight the priorities of work that need to be addressed in order to respond to the cholera outbreak that appears imminent. This response will recommend certain actions that need to be implemented and which agencies to seek assistance from to help in making the plan work. Pre-deployment preparations for those flocking to the disaster will also be discussed to give a more descriptive form to the problem.
Impacts of Cholera Outbreaks
It is important and preliminary to understand the problems and risks associated with an cholera outbreak. To know the enemy in this fight is invaluable to creating an effective and efficient strategy to combat the ill effects. The World Health Organization provides some enlightening guidance in their reports such an occurrence. The report stated "The potential impact of communicable diseases is often presumed to be very high in the chaos that follows natural disasters. Increases in endemic diseases and the risk of outbreaks however, are dependent upon many factors that must be systematically evaluated with comprehensive risk assessment. This allows the prioritization of interventions to reduce the impact of communicable diseases post disaster. "
Although this advice is general in nature, it is wise. Since the individual circumstances of each type of outbreak are unique, there can be no substitute for experience in these matters. It is therefore prudent to call upon those who have handled such a situation before and can apply their expertise in a fine and purposeful manner. This organization should concentrate on delegating the many responsibilities that accompany such a response.
Putting together a team requires addressing the problem from all known angles. Obvious medical and front treatment units are obvious, but other logistical resources many not be as readily noticeable. In a recent outbreak in Haiti, where many similar circumstances concerning demographics and socio-economic status are very similar to Bangladesh, many different organizations contributed to that cholera outbreak and would provide an excellent source of knowledge in delivering some relief.
Tappero & Tauxe (2011) revealed some…… [Read More]
Audit Management DQ
Consider the governance of the company owning Rana Plaza and describe the regional expectations as well as best practice in this area and the benefits that adoption brings. Evaluate the governance of Rana Plaza during and after the collapse of the building against these and explain how this helped or hindered Rana Plaza.
The management of Rana Plaza failed to ensure employee safety. In such a case, workers and suppliers equate the weakest points in relation to conditions of order and input dependency, footloose sourcing practices, and hand-to-mouth contracting. One of the incidents that happened in 2013 at Sadia Garments Ltd. saw new unionized workers facing aggressive campaigns on factory management (Ayres, 2014). Workers faced threats of violence while lead organizers were sent death threats. Later, one factory supervisor attacked the Union General Secretary for Sadia Garments with a pair of scissors while demanding for the resignation (Cleanclothes.org. (n.d.). Apparel companies have shaky relationships with the major contract manufacturers from low-cost countries and often become transient as they work on contract-to-contract grounds. The deals can last shortly after the brands have a continuous pursuit of lowest cost operations and average thirds or quarters of the brand contractor portfolio turning over each year (Harris & McCaffer, 2013).
The management and governance of any company play a critical role in ensuring that the company follows all the desired industry practices. Sohel Rana owns Rana Plaza, a building that collapsed killing over 1300 people and injuring over 2500 people. Several companies majorly banks and those dealing with garments had rented the facility (Ranaplaza-arrangement.org. (n.d.). The interviewed experts on purchasing and supply in the research refer to relativity in the low industry investment level for supply chain management. As compared to subsequent sectors, there is the lack of awareness of quality issues and reliability of the suppliers in fifth and sixth tiers. The levels of risk awareness within Rana Plaza extend towards the second tier that is beyond a point that the buyers are aware of risky products that face the markets. Some of the brands that were investigation…… [Read More]
While the main bases are still located in the Bangladesh area, there are branches in almost every country (Muktadhara, 2001).
Most of the crimes committed by the Jamaat were done in Bangladesh and surrounding areas. The actual locations vary between Shrines, local businesses, celebrations, airfields, and sporting events. As funding increases, both their crime locations and base of operations continues to increase (Muktadhara, 2001).
The Jamaat organization dislikes the United States and other Western cultures for two main reasons. First, they challenge the western methods to achieve social and industrial reform. According to the Jamaat, their method provides more opportunity for equality and change from within, rather than changing the industry, and leaving the citizens to starve. Secondly, the Jamaat dislikes the capitalistic ways of the Western world. They view the values and methods of the United States and other western nations as actions taken against Islam, and view those actions as punishable by Jihad (Muktadhara, 2001b).
The Jamaat justifies their activities in the name of Islam, and jihad. According to their beliefs, anything that goes against the teachings of Islam is punishable, and to be fought. Their funding for such jihad's comes mostly from other nations and drug trafficking and arms dealing. Their annual budget is approximate to 10% of the entire Bangladesh government budget (Muktadhara, 2001b).
While the number of Jamaat e-Islami terrorist cells in the United States is unknown, it is estimated that there are at least 16 operating cells in the U.S., comprised of over 800 members. While their activities in the United States are generally centered on education, there have been some acts of violence against American citizens. None, however, rival the attacks against the people of Bangladesh and Pakistan (Raman, 2000).
The Jamaat organization is one of the most organized, logical terrorist groups operating the in world today. Their leaders are known for war crimes, and their tactics involve the killings of many people. In the future, it is likely the group will continue to expand their hold, not only in Bangladesh and Pakistan, but also throughout the world.… [Read More]
Their job is: to ensure that all regions are receiving the proper amount of support, to prevent opposition forces from taking advantage of the situation and to communicate with local government / military officials / NGOs / nonprofit organizations. This will streamline decision making and ensure that there is effective collaboration among personnel. Moreover, this individual has experience in working with disasters and other security operations. (Warning Order) ("Navy Warfare Development Command")
The lower levels of command will be subdivided among various battalions, companies / air wings and platoons / flights. These individuals will be responsible for achieving the different mission objectives that are provided by the theater of operations commander. This will ensure that there are reduced levels of bureaucracy and effective procedures for addressing any kind of potential challenges. (Warning Order) ("Navy Warfare Development Command")
As a result, there will be a combination of land, air, sea and Special Forces that are utilized during the operation. These units will quickly respond to any kind of issues and provide the flexibility to adjust to changes in the mission. When this happens, everyone will be more effective in addressing a number of different challenges. (Warning Order) ("Navy Warfare Development Command")
The below table is illustrating a rough outline as to the command structure for operational performance.
Operational Command Structure
Bangladesh Government / Military
Theater of Operations Command
Company / Wing
Platoon / Flight (Warning Order) ("Navy Warfare Development Command")
This kind of structure will steam line decision making. At the same time, it is utilizing flexibility to address potential security and logistical challenges. When this happens, there is an effective tool for providing aid to most impacted areas and safeguarding personnel during the process. (Warning Order) ("Navy Warfare Development Command")
This course began with a discussion of the challenges involved in planning for the full range of military operations. In recent years there has been significant discussion on how to balance the need to "win" the current war(s) with the need to be prepared for the next war. Using the concepts presented throughout this course, describe the key air, space and cyber capabilities required to support/execute the full range of military operations…… [Read More]
' Indians across the political spectrum, especially the country's powerful nuclear weapons establishment, are critical of the NPT, arguing that it unfairly warps international hierarchies to the disadvantage of the non-nuclear-weapon states" (1998:15). In its efforts to balance the pressures from the international community with its own self-interests in formulating foreign policies, the position adopted by India has been starkly different than other countries. In this regard, Karp concludes that, "Most states party to the NPT accept the unfairness of the treaty as a tradeoff that serves their own and global interests. India's leaders insist that fair and genuine nuclear disarmament must start with the nuclear-weapon states themselves, a demand formalized by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in his 1990 global nuclear disarmament initiative" (Karp 1998:14).
As a result of these events, the 20th century witnessed the formation of various positions in Indian foreign policy that would endure throughout the Cold War era and beyond (Wadlow 2003). These foreign policy positions were primarily based on India's official foreign policy of nonalignment, an approach that was adopted early on in an effort to help India maintain its independence and navigate its way in a bipolar world (Ghoshal 2003). According to Ghoshal, India's foreign policy of nonalignment "was aimed at drawing economic and technological aid for development from both powers as well as to provide an alternative model of international relations in a world which was then intensely bipolar" (2003:521). The objectives of India's foreign policy was to establish a buffer zone between the polarized blocs of the international community and minimize the potential for conflict with an ultimate goal of creating a new world order in which there were more than two primary spheres of influence (Ghoshal 2003). According to Ghoshal, the nonalignment stance adopted by India provided the country with influence that far outweighed its economic and military clout. For instance, Ghoshal notes that nonalignment "made it possible for India to maintain normal relations with all the major world powers, with varying degrees of warmth and intimacy, while facilitating the flow of technical and financial assistance from the two ideological blocs. In short, nonalignment gave India the maximum possible dividends in a bipolar world" (2003:521). Clearly, nonalignment during the 20th century was in India's best interests, but nonaligned does not mean disinterested…… [Read More]
Globalization and Social/Human Injustices
Human slavery/sex trafficking
The menace of slavery and trafficking for purpose of sexual exploitation is a menace that greatly neglected or not talked about by the high and mighty yet it is a problem that ravages families on a daily basis. Across the globe, there are people who benefit from the modern day slavery and there are countries that act as source, most of them being the underdeveloped nations where poverty is high and unemployment is also significantly high. These two factors when combined, often push affected families to willingly or otherwise let go of their daughters into the forced labor or sex slavery in more developed nations. The women and children are the most affected groups in the slavery business since they are the most vulnerable in the society. Against the common belief that slavery is obsolete, the opening up of more borders and easy transportation system occasioned by the globalization trends has immensely increased the modern day slavery. There are between 700,000 to 4 million people who are shipped across borders against they wish on an annual basis (Kegley C.W. & Blanton S.L., 2011:Pp539).This population, upon landing on the other side of the borders or the destination land are subjected to sex slavery, prostitution, become domestic workers, held as child laborers with gross underpayment and in some instances are used as child soldiers. The leading form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation with the majority of the victims being women and children. Forced labor follows after sexual exploitation as a form of human trafficking with majority of the victims here being children. Majority of these victims of modern slavery are sold across the continents but there are some who are victims of interregional as well as domestic trafficking. This vice is a thriving business that is estimated by the UN to be generating between $12 and $17 billion annually, hence ranked as the third largest illicit trade after the trade in arms and drugs. Some of the most adversely affected countries are Ukraine, Russia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. These are countries that have weak economies and weak systems that are exploited by the human traffickers. Countries that have armed conflicts further make it…… [Read More]
diversity of the entering class and enhance the educational experience of other students. First, I have lived in various places outside of the United States, including Africa (I participated in internships there) Bangladesh (I attended high school there), Germany, and Tanzania (my family lives there). Living in different countries has provided me with an opportunity interact with and meet people from different cultural, economic, educational, political, religious, and social backgrounds. In addition, living in various countries has enabled me to gain an understanding of various cultures and also to gain insight into the different needs and ways of thinking among various groups.
Next, I have used my background and experience to my advantage during my collegiate education at the University of Virginia. During college, I was involved in a lot of group work, often with groups that were very diversified racially and otherwise. My ability to interact with, relate to, and understand individuals from different cultural, economic, educational, political, religious, and social backgrounds enabled me to resolve various issues in a non-adversarial fashion while remaining focused on the objective of the group work. As a result, the group work that…… [Read More]
Therefore, the suggestions forwarded would most definitely be different if the discussion had been about another country or another industry. But even so, there are some rules compulsory to be implemented, without which the organization will not retrieve the desired beneficial results. These general recommendations include:
Clearly analyzing the features of the new market in order to get an idea of the product demand and the needs of the customers, as well as the strategies implemented by the competition
Developing a marketing plan that is extremely well adapted to the unique features of the new market
Positioning the product in such a manner that it reveals the core benefits of using the item and makes it appealing to the target audience (Kotler and Keller, 2006)
And most importantly, always treating the customers with the utmost respect and striving to serve all of their needs… [Read More]
Poverty Reduction occur on a Local Scale or must it be in a Broader Scope to be Meaningful? Discuss with Reference to Specific Examples.
One of the biggest issues that a host of governments and international organizations are wrestling with (i.e. The UN) is how to effectively eliminate poverty. This is because, a number of different programs have been implemented in the past that were suppose to have a dramatic impact on reducing levels. Yet, in reality they are having limited effects at addressing the underlying causes. Instead, most of the money that is intended to tackle these challenges is squandered through: government bureaucracy and corrupt leaders.
A good example of this can be seen by looking no further than Tanzania. After gaining independence in the 1961, the country began to experience 6% economic growth. This caused many international aid organizations and donors to provide increased amounts of funding for a variety of activities. These were designed to encourage economic development and the reduction of poverty. However, many of the governmental institutions were squandering these funds and focusing exclusively on supporting economic growth. Over the course of time, this made any kind of programs ineffective. At which point, the country would experience decades of negative economic growth. The below table illustrates the how this was occurring with the GDP levels from 1961 to 1985. (Mammo 1999 pp. 56 -- 57)
Tanzania GDP Growth 1961 -- 1985
Percentage GDP Growth
1961 -- 1967
1967 -- 1973
1973 -- 1979
1979 -- 1985
(Mammo 1999 pp. 56 -- 57)
These figures are significant, because they are illustrating how efforts to support economic activity are not working. As many of these funds, are not addressing the root causes of the problems. Instead, they are focused on increasing economic growth through: the reduction of trade barriers and social programs that are deal with the lingering amounts of poverty. This is because, most of the funding that they received was often tied to various stipulations (i.e. The removal of trade barriers). Then, when you combine this with increased amounts of corruption, meant that…… [Read More]
The solution that Hardin proposes is that of a coercive method; as always he gives a lucid example to support the point that he proposes. Hardin reminds the reader that society mutually agreed to make it illegal to rob banks, rather than appeal to the sense of responsibility to those who wish to rob banks as a means of deterring them. Bank robbers (real and potential) know that very immediate consequences await them, such as police chases which could end in injuries or fatalities, jail time and other comparable results. These consequences are real and immediate because they're reinforced by the state, the judicial system and by the police force. This form of coercion prevents more people from attempting to rob banks. Our natural resources of water need to be treated as though they're as valuable as banks filled with money. Dumping chemicals such as fertilizers, pharmaceuticals and personal care products into sources of water should be viewed as a felony by the state and judicial system and be enforced as such.
After the numerous Wall Street scandals caused major corporations to be instructed to stop the spread of greed and corruption within their organizations by praising and rewarding good behavior, so should the government begin to reward behavior that benefits the common. For example, organizations that create green methods of chemical disposal or which find ways to re-purify bodies of water are all ways the major powers can take a stand on what is most valuable to society and the common good.… [Read More]
My project is to open a microfinance bank, which specializes in low value, non-collateral loans for small business, typically in underprivileged parts of the world (Opportunity.org, 2013). This will open in New York, serving people in the city's poorest communities, especially those struggling with unemployment. In some parts of the city, the annual median household income is below $10,000, and people in those communities become trapped in poverty (Venugopal, 2011). Microfinance was instituted by Grameen Bank in Bangladesh by Mohammed Yunus, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for the project (Grameen, 2013; Nobelprize.org, 2013). The project would utilize funds raised in New York's banking community to provide loans for people in New York's poorest areas, and to provide business skills training to help them to improve their earnings and standard of living.
Model and Competition
The business model of microfinance is different from that of a conventional bank. Microfinance does not aim to maximize profits for its shareholders but to maximize opportunity for its customers. The financiers of microfinance typically earn a nominal return on their investment, while most profits are plowed back into more lending, which helps to grow the bank. It is necessary, however, to strike a balance between community and commercial objectives (Lutzenkirchen, 2012). Microfinance has been utilized throughout the developing world, in nations where the conventional banking systems do not deal with small borrowers. However, if growth is too fast, the quality of the borrowers declines, leading to crisis in the microfinancing industry (Chen, Rasmussen & Reille, 2010).
The business model is structurally similar to that of other banks. The bank must first raise money, something that can be done through small scale donations from New York's financial community. There should not be any shortage of people to lend to as well, and they must be vetted by the bank. The United States is a relatively untapped market for microfinance, with none of the top 50 firms located in the country (Swibel, 2007), however, as its banking system is considered sufficiently robust to handle most customers. Citigroup (2013) has become involved…… [Read More]
Reflection activity: Ashoka
Why is the reign of the third Mauryan emperor, Ashoka, important to the study of early Indian and Buddhist art?
Ashoka was one of India's greatest emperors whose reign covered a vast region. He conquered Kallinga which had not been done by any of his predecessors. However, this conquest claimed massive numbers of casualties and was destructive. He later converted to Buddhism after some of his experiences in the war which introduced Buddhism and its art to a vast population in India.
Discussion activity: Stupas
To what extent do these examples share the core characteristics of all stupas, and in what ways do they differ from each other? Bodhnath, Nepal (example 1) and Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka (example 2)
The stupa generally has six parts that have symbolic meaning that the stupas share. The Bodhnath stupa appears to be more modern and contains cables that connect to the lotus. The Anuradhapura stupa is the biggest brick structure in the world and the stupas in this area are more bubble shaped than found in other regions.
3. Reflection activity: Stupas
What is the most important ritual performed at a stupa?
Buddhists visit stupas to perform rituals that help them to achieve one of the most important goals of Buddhism: to understand the Buddha's teachings, known as the Four Noble Truths (also known as the dharma and the law) (Smart History, N.d.). The practitioner can walk to circumambulate the stupa or move around it through a series of prostrations (a movement that brings the practitioner's body down low to the ground in a position of submission).
4. Reflection activity: Buddha in symbols
What symbols were used to indicate the Buddha's presence and/or his teaching?
One of the fundamental symbols in a stupa is the circle or wheel concept with the center representing enlightenment. Many stupas are placed on a square base, and the four sides represent the four directions, north, south, east and west. Each side often has a gate in the center and these gates are called torana which represents the four great life…… [Read More]
Women and water in India. In the villages of North Gujarat in India, so much groundwater has been removed that water supplies are now becoming scarce, according to Bhawana Upadhyay, writing in the journal Agriculture and Human Values. Women in North Gujarat are basically looked upon as "…domestic water users while men are seen as productive water users, despite the fact that women make significant use of water for productive purposes as well"
(Upadhyay, 2005, p. 411). Domestic water usage in India goes well beyond drinking and cooking, Upadhyay writes. Dalit women in Nepal for example grow commercial vegetable crops with the water they draw; they utilize a drip system, which costs just $12 to install, and it results in a profit of around $80 annually. Without a source of safe water, the livelihood of these women would disappear. Still, women's use of water tends to be classified as domestic, and hence is not counted because of the gendered system of accounting in some regions of India (Upadhyay, 2005, p. 412).
Upadhyay's article argues that based on empirical evidence from North Gujarat, if women were officially recognized as multiple water users -- and not just domestic water users -- that fact could be used to assure more reliable access to clean water and in the process promote the productive use of water to make life better for the household economy (Upadhyay, 2005, p. 412). The study that Upadhyay references was conducted in the Banaskantha district, in the extreme western region of India. In this region the villages are labeled "source" villages or "no source" villages, depending on whether or not the village had access to a good source of water, Upadhyay continues (p. 412).
In the no source villages women walked on average one kilometer to fetch water for their domestic purposes and most households did not have an adequate supply of water, hence the government brings in water tankers from…… [Read More]