The recent spate of accounting fraud scandals signals the end of an era. Disillusionment and disenchantment with American capitalism may yet lead to a tectonic ideological shift from laissez faire and self regulation to state intervention and regulation. This would be the reversal of a trend dating back to Thatcher in Britain and Reagan in the USA. It would also cast some fundamental - and way more ancient - tenets of free-marketry in grave doubt. Markets are perceived as self-organizing, self-assembling, exchanges of information, goods, and services. Adam Smith's "invisible hand" is the sum of all the mechanisms whose interaction gives rise to the optimal allocation of economic resources. The market's great advantages over central planning are precisely its randomness and its lack of self-awareness. Market participants go about their egoistic business, trying to maximize their utility, oblivious of the interests and action of all, bar those they interact with directly. Somehow, out of the chaos and clamor, a structure emerges of order and efficiency unmatched. Man is incapable of intentionally producing better outcomes. Thus, any intervention and interference are deemed to be detrimental to the proper functioning of the economy. It is a minor step from this idealized worldview back to the Physiocrats, who preceded Adam Smith, and who propounded the doctrine of "laissez faire, laissez passer" - the hands-off battle cry. Theirs was a natural religion. The market, as an agglomeration of individuals, they thundered, was surely entitled to enjoy the rights and freedoms accorded to each and every person. John Stuart Mill weighed against the state's involvement in the economy in his influential and exquisitely-timed "Principles of Political Economy", published in 1848. Undaunted by mounting evidence of market failures - for instance to provide affordable and plentiful public goods - this flawed theory returned with a vengeance in the last two decades of the past century. Privatization, deregulation, and self-regulation became faddish buzzwords and part of a global consensus propagated by both commercial banks and multilateral lenders. As applied to the professions - to accountants, stock brokers, lawyers, bankers, insurers, and so on - self-regulation was premised on the belief in long-term self-preservation. Rational economic players and moral agents are supposed to maximize their utility in the long-run by observing the rules and regulations of a level playing field. This noble propensity seemed, alas, to have been tampered by avarice and narcissism and by the immature inability to postpone gratification. Self-regulation failed so spectacularly to conquer human nature that its demise gave rise to the most intrusive statal stratagems ever devised. In both the UK and the USA, the government is much more heavily and pervasively involved in the minutia of accountancy, stock dealing, and banking than it was only two years ago. But the ethos and myth of "order out of chaos" - with its proponents in the exact sciences as well - ran deeper than that. The very culture of commerce was thoroughly permeated and transformed. It is not surprising that the Internet - a chaotic network with an anarchic modus operandi - flourished at these times. The dotcom revolution was less about technology than about new ways of doing business - mixing umpteen irreconcilable ingredients, stirring well, and hoping for the best. No one, for instance, offered a linear revenue model of how to translate "eyeballs" - i. e., the number of visitors to a Web site - to money ("monetizing"). It was dogmatically held to be true that, miraculously, traffic - a chaotic phenomenon - will translate to profit - hitherto the outcome of painstaking labour. Privatization itself was such a leap of faith. State owned assets - including utilities and suppliers of public goods such as health and education - were transferred wholesale to the hands of profit maximizers. The implicit belief was that the price mechanism will provide the missing planning and regulation. In other words, higher prices were supposed to guarantee an uninterrupted service. Predictably, failure ensued - from electricity utilities in California to railway operators in Britain. The simultaneous crumbling of these urban legends - the liberating power of the Net, the self-regulating markets, the unbridled merits of privatization - inevitably gave rise to a backlash. The state has acquired monstrous proportions in the decades since the Second world War. It is about to grow further and to digest the few sectors hitherto left untouched. To say the least, these are not good news. But we libertarians - proponents of both individual freedom and individual responsibility - have brought it on ourselves by thwarting the work of that invisible regulator - the market.
There is a growing interest in suicide. When people start looking for more information about suicide, you'll be in a position to meet their needs. This article is a brief description of much information on this subject. Let's start with 3 levels to discern in the act of euthanasia. There are three levels to discern in the act of euthanasia: 1. One is a patient who is comatose or brain dead. In these cases the doctor is asked to “pull the plug,” or remove the patient from mechanical life support. These cases are generally not challenged by the general public. It is an act of withdrawing or withholding necessary mechanisms used to sustain a life that cannot sustain itself. It is here that the recognition of one’s personality is gone and the shell of a body is all that remains. 2. Another act of euthanasia involves the use of morphine to hospitalized patients in the painful final stages of her or his life with diseases such as cancer and AIDS. 3. The last category of euthanasia is patients in relatively good health and at the beginning of a terminal illness wishing to end their lives. Such cases as Alzheimer’s and Cancer preclude patients to want information on PAS. This is the most controversial of the three issues involved in euthanasia. Euthanasia originated from the Greek language meaning “good death.” It is the intentional termination of a life by another person capable of doing so by the request of the person wanting to die. Here are a few terms that one needs to know in PAS that define actions taking place. Passive Euthanasia is the hastening of a death by means of altering some form of support and letting nature take its course. This can include; removing life support equipment, stopping medical treatment or procedures, stopping food and water consumption which leads to dehydration or starving to death, and withholding CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation). The most common use of PAS is to give patients large doses of morphine to control pain. It is most likely that the pain relief will suppress respiration and cause death earlier than it would have otherwise happened. This is also done on patients who are in a persistive vegetative state or patients not able to regain consciousness due to brain damage. Active Euthanasia is the use of intentional means to cause the death of a person through a direct action. Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan physician made this well known in 1998 with a patient who had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). His patient was afraid of the long suffering involved in ALS and wanted to die a quick and painless death. Dr. Kevorkian injected controlled substances into this patient and caused death. Kevorkian was charged with 1st degree murder, but the jury found him guilty of 2nd degree murder in March of 1999. Physician Assisted Suicide is the provision of information or means to a dying patient with the intent to commit suicide. Involuntary Euthanasia is the ending of a life without a patient clearly requesting it. “There are many reasons why patients want to utilize PAS. Some are simply clinically depressed, of which, one’s illness has brought on or one’s emotional and mental processing of their illness has led to suffering in ways beyond the body. Others live in chronic pain-due to lack of healthcare coverage or means to obtain medication. This later group would rather die early and not incur medical expenses on those they leave behind. A serious disorder or disease such as: ASL, Huntington’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, etc. are just some of the illnesses people would rather avoid losing their independence and finances over. In some ways, this gives people a feeling of control over the process of their lives.” Samuel Oliver, author of, "What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living" For more on this author; soulandspirit. org
Research conducted at Davenport University by Murad Ali indicates that Muslims are the least likely out of all other ethnic groups to be hired by employers. Participants were students enrolled in either the MBA program or in business undergraduate courses. The type of full-time work the students engaged in ranged from entry level to senior executive. Many of the MBA students were already managers and had hiring powers within their companies. Participants ranked their desired applicants for positions based upon their own preconceived notions from 1-5. A ranking of 1 meant that the applicant was most desirable and a ranking of 5 meant that the applicant was least desirable. All of the applicants were considered to be equally qualified and all of them were male. The only difference between the applicants was there name. Robert Schwalbach (White), Tyrone Johnson (Black), Yan Chin (Asian), Pedro Gonzalez (Hispanic) and Ahmed Al-Arabi (Muslim) were used to represent the different races and ethnic groups. The results of the study indicated that the following order of preference was as follows African American, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic and Muslim. African Americans were more likely to be called back for employment while Muslims were the least. The data was split into similar groups with African Americans, Caucasians, and Asians on the far left with Hispanics and Muslims on the far right. Data indicating which background the participants came from wasn’t collected. It is interesting to note that those people who are considered “main stream” or who have been in the country for some time were all very similar in their rankings. Hispanic and Muslims who are seen as newer immigrants were stratified as the least likely to be hired. In essence this means that immigrants are not considered to have the same desirability to employers as “main stream Americans”. It is therefore possible that poverty, unemployment and lack of healthcare may be something imposed on this group than by personal choice. Employers should be aware of the results of this study because it has an impact with their compliance to the Civil Rights Act. As Muslims become more aware of their rights in the workplace employers may have more lawsuits to deal with. If the hiring managers allow their personal preferences to determine who they are going to hire, instead of most qualified, the bottom line of the company may be affected.
Background Check Resources Whether you're hiring a CEO, a subcontractor, a babysitter, or even looking for a new tenant or roommate, you're taking a big risk. It's the nature of business unfortunately for people to go to great lengths to misrepresent themselves and thus create the need for background check resources and references. Avoid doing business with deceptive people with these 5 key factors in mind: 1. Prepare comprehensive histories from vague or misleading responses 2. Filter fact from fiction and deal with dishonest interviewees 3. Deal with legal issues including which questions you can and cannot ask 4. Make a confident, well-researched hiring decision 5. Use waivers that protect you legally during the background check process Personal References A personal reference could be anyone whom the candidate happens to know but most likely has never worked for. For landlords or people looking for a nanny for their children the request for references should still be for business references and not personal ones. The landlord-tenant relationship is still a business one as is the relationship between nannies and in-home health care workers and their employers. Nowadays, personal references have become one of those overused catchphrases that disguises the real work of responsible, effective reference checking. Background Checks The term background check is another catchall phrase that means checking the accuracy of basic information provided by a candidate for employment or similar. It's an important step in the employee selection process because it is a relatively painless and inexpensive way for the prospective employer to whittle down the pile of applications to only those candidates who are, at least, who they say they are. While determining whether or not the candidate is whom he or she claims to be is an important first step, it should ultimately lead into real reference checking. There is so much more to learn about a candidate for employment or a prospective tenant or even a babysitter before the final decision can be made. And the only way to learn that is by talking to people who have worked with, rented to, or received service or care from the candidate in question. Job Application Issues There are several things employers can do to increase the likelihood of receiving honest responses to job performance questions: 1. Always ask the job seeker to provide a resume that contains a complete work history, including dates of employment for every job held. 2. Ask the candidate to provide the name of the person to whom he/she directly reported. 3. Employers should always require candidates for employment to fill out a formal job application that asks for the same information. One way or another, even if you have to ask for it during the first interview, you'll get a description of the tasks for which the job seeker was responsible at each position held. If the list of references doesn't include at least one of the people to whom the candidate reported directly, a red warning flag should appear in the prospective employer's mind. Some job seekers will suggest they didn't list a previous supervisor as a reference because the two of them didn't get along and that's understandable, but throughout an individual's entire work history, there has to be at least ONE supervisor who can be a reference. If it's true the candidate has never gotten along with any supervisor ever, then it's best to look for another person for the job. No, every job doesn't result in a happy ending, but with the above precautions in mind, one can reduce the possibility of getting burned or hiring the more suitable person for the job. Having more information about a job seeker is always better than having less. It's through working with other people that we reach most of our goals so choosing the right ones is therefore, essential.
I am sure that you have heard the phrase "safety in numbers" before. In the animal world, creatures travel in groups because they instinctively know that, when there are many of them, predators have less of a chance of being successful during an attack. In most cases, if a predator is successful, its victim is usually a sick or weaker member of the herd. This is an important part of the process of natural selection and maintains the process of survival of many species. On the other hand, there are predators that travel in packs because they instinctively know that in the search for prey, some potential meals have the ability to defend themselves, and a group attack is usually more effective. This too ensures the survival of the species because, without the pack, some predators would literally starve to death. In the large corporate world, herds and packs are replaced by boards of directors, employee teams, shareholders, and subsidiaries. These are groups of people who come together to pool their abilities in support of the agenda or goals of the corporation. In essence this ensures the future success of the business. In the large corporate world, failing companies are often absorbed by successful ones in mergers and through acquisitions. Rarely does a large company just "go out of business" or become extinct. They are usually simply bought by another large company. In the small business world, the entrepreneur is the animal who has wandered away from the herd. Sometimes it happens because of unemployment, but often it is because they have a desire to be independent from the politics of the corporation, or simply to be self-sufficient. Fortunately for the small business owner, a community exists where they can count on others to help them to be successful. It is the community of business-to-business networking. Not all small business owners are aware of the opportunities of success involved in business networking. In fact, if I were to make a guess at how many businesses are involved in networking, I would guess the number to be around less than 10 percent of all businesses. This is unfortunate because not only is there a great deal of opportunity for acquiring more new business in the networking environment, there are also methods of learning to be more successful and to be a bit safer in the business community. Why would I link safety in numbers, animals and small business? Because in the business world at large, predators exist. Corporations have learned that a part of doing business is putting measures of security in place through patents, copyrights, server firewalls, policies, and a myriad of other functions that occur on a daily basis often with employees dedicated to these. In the environment of small business, we often are not even aware of the threats and if we are, rarely do we have the means within our budget to protect ourselves against them. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever done work for someone who refused to or simply never paid you? If you have never had this experience, I applaud your extreme streak of good luck. On the other hand, maybe you have not been in business for very long so this painful experience may be looming on the horizon. In any case, when this does happen to you, what will you do? Contact the lawyer? File suit? Complain to a friend? Accept it and move on? Most people tend to simply accept it and move on. Some cases may involve inventory that you can write it off as a loss on your taxes, but some cases involve intellectual property where there is no monetary resolution. The sad reality is that often there is no justice for you, no satisfaction, and ultimately no payment. When one opens the figurative doors of their small business, they do so with a lot of enthusiasm. To maintain the daily pressures of meeting expenses requires a great deal of positive mental attitude. It means that even when things are tough, you have to be upbeat, and forge ahead in order to survive. This world of positive attitude dictates that we eliminate negative thoughts so that we can remain focused on our goals. In fact as communities of small business owners develop, it is almost an unspoken rule that negativity be eliminated from conversation on every level. After all you would not want to admit to a prospective client that things are not going well and you are going to have to file bankruptcy if you don't close this deal. In the same vein, as the predator attacks the small business owner and feeds upon them, the entrepreneur is reluctant to talk about this negative experience. In some cases, the predator is working within the peer group of the victim. As the predator continues to feed, several members of the group may have fallen victim, but because of the fear of reprisal among the group for saying negative things about another "nice" member of the group, they remain silent. They are afraid that if they say anything negative about the predator, that they themselves will be viewed in a negative way. People are afraid of being accused of slandering another. They are afraid that no one will believe that this person has really done what they are accused of and that it will further damage their own reputation if they become vocal. Have you ever felt this way? Has this happened to you? I am willing to bet that there are those reading this who feel the same way. The truth is in my opinion, and this is simply my opinion, that as long as the predator is allowed to continue to function in a group, they will continue to do harm to individuals within the group. After they have victimized a good portion of the group, they simply move on. So how can we change this, how can we stop it? Is it just a question of taking responsibility to protect the others? Does it have to be a matter of risking our own reputation to try to protect others? Until we change the paradigm of responsibility and belief, the predator will continue on, business as usual. Until we can find it acceptable to hear the honest truth about someone who appears to be a "nice" person, the predator will continue to thrive in our midst. There is safety in numbers unless we have blinders on. Without the ability to voice the experiences we have without tainting our own reputation, we will continue to suffer our losses.
: Corporate crime? I'm not sure that there is such a thing. If we want to reduce the crimes that are given that lable, we need to quit handing out large punitive fines to corporations. The idea isn't as radical as it sounds. First of all, when I say that there isn't such a thing as corporate crime, I simply mean that it is always individual people who commit crimes. With that in mind, you can imagine what my better way to reduce this crime is: Go after the criminals! Who Pays For Corporate Crime? Exactly who pays when a large corporation is fined for breaking the law? To begin with, the stockholders pay. Many of these are innocent retirees who have money invested with the company and had no idea they were breaking the law. Then the employees pay with the loss of jobs, if the financial situation of the company is damaged by the fines. Who doesn't pay? Just the criminals - the individuals who chose to break the law. All crimes are committed by PEOPLE, not companies. When a company dumps poisons into the environment, a PERSON made the decision to do that (or several people). When a company steals from a pension fund or violates workers rights, INDIVIDUALS made those decisions. People commit corporate crime, not corporations! If you want to stop corporate crime, start putting the individuals who are involved in the crime in PRISON. Our current system often has company officers making cost/benefit calculations as to whether the profits from certain crimes are greater than what the occasional fines add up to. Even though laws are broken, they stand little chance of being held personally responsible. Why not hold them responsible? To fine companies for the actual costs imposed on others by a crime is appropriate. We have to clean up toxic messes, and in other cases compensate those who suffer damages. This also means that shareholders have a reason to be careful in who they elect to the board of directors. However, "punitive" fines are ridiculous unless they are levied against the individual criminals. Make the person who committed the crime pay the fine. Is this such a radical idea? I don't think so! By the way, which do you think is more likely to deter a corporate officer from committing a crime, a fine that is paid by the company, and doesn't even affect his salary, or ten years in jail? The answer to that gives us the answer to corporate crime.
None of us know what we would choose at the end of our life regarding assisted suicide. It is, therefore, a worthy idea to ponder long before we get to that place at the end of our lives whereby we may actually have to make one. In our lives, our soul does have a path that is chosen for us if we look for it. I would encourage you to follow that one. For the spiritual life is what brought your life into being, and the spiritual life will lead you home. Some terminally ill patients are in so much pain that they would rather end their life than to go on suffering and experience a poor quality of life. Because of physical and mental limitations, people in pain have a much different view on living than people with good health. This altered view makes some choose certain courses of care in a debilitating illness he or she may not even consider in a healthy state of being. Many healthcare providers claim that terminally ill people’s pain can be controlled to tolerable levels with good pain management, yet there are tens of millions of patients who do not have access to adequate pain management in the U. S. alone. Many religious organizations believe that suffering can be used to purify us. This purification can be for the caregiver and for the patient. It is a time to learn and be aware how the body becomes more soul in the process of transformation associated with dying and death. Christians believe that life is a gift from God and God does not send us any experience we cannot handle. Islam states in the Qur’an, “Take not life which Allah made sacred otherwise than in the course of justice.” And “Since we did not create ourselves, we do not own our bodies.” Orthodox Judaism states that “This is an issue of critical constitutional and moral significance which Jewish tradition clearly speaks to. We believe that the recognition of a constitutionally recognized right to die for the terminally ill is a clear statement against the recognition and sanctity of human life….” It is clearly evident that religious influence upon PAS deems such an act as going against one’s Creator, and as such, the need to pray and discern the direction of one’s life and dying should be in the consultation of clerical status of one’s own faith. To override such influence would take an autonomous individual whose beliefs have taken him or her from what can be known religiously to what can be known through them by the same force that gave them life. It is here that terminal patients choose a course of action from the core on one’s being transcending his or her belief in their creator (religiously) leading to an active participation of one’s assessed values (personal transformations) that includes their religious influence, but it is not limited to it as well. Samuel Oliver, author of, "What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living" For more on this author; soulandspirit. org
Flowers epitomise emotion and can have a very beneficial impact on people. They are sent to communicate their feelings to their nearest and dearest. Wouldn’t it be even better if people were able to confidently buy sustainable, ethically-sourced flowers to communicate their feelings? After all, ethical commitment is an emotion as well! However, buying sustainable, ethical flowers is a niche activity in the UK, with only a handful of florists offering produce which is truly ethically sourced. First of all, some numbers: The total market for cut flowers and house plants in the UK is estimated to be Ј2.2 Billion and is expected to exceed Ј3 Billion by 2011. Despite the incursion of mutiple alternatives including gifts, chocolates and wines, people are still saying it with flowers, although the UK lags behind the rest of Europe in annual per capita spend on flowers. There is a perennial debate regarding industry standards for flowers, as consumers have historically been confronted with confusing symbols of ethical quality. The Kenyan Flower Council which accounts for much of the imports into the UK, is governed by Fair Trade, which regulates the code of conduct for more than 1,000 farms in Kenya, although only about 25 large farms supply over 75% of Kenya’s flower exports. Ever since its introduction to the flower industry in 1999, Fair Trade has done an excellent job of supporting more than 10,000 workers in developing nations, by setting ethical standards to improve working environments. However, in the intervening years the industry has grown considerably and the competitive landscape has evolved. In particular, fair trade initiatives tend to work best in highly fragmented industries such as fruits and vegetables, which are crowded with numerous small producers, but less well in more consolidated industries, such as the flower industry. This is because fair trade initiatives can benefit larger organisations disproportionately, thus effectively disadvantaging the development of smaller producers within the competitive environment. Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP) is a European initiative which addresses historic shortcomings by creating a level playing field for all producers by setting uniform, global standards. One of the unique features of FFP is its emphasis on auditing the entire supply chain to regulate the use of pesticides, land, energy and the working environment. Furthermore, it also offers flexibility to florists to source their produce either from flower auctions or directly, through FFP compliant growers. This latter approach guarantees fresher floral produce, reduced wastage and a happier customer (key!). In the longer term, FFP’s aim is to unify all existing standards to make it simple for growers, traders and consumers. As in all free markets, if there is demonstrable consumer demand then that will stimulate growth in supply. If no-one wants FFP-accredited flowers, then they simply won’t be grown. It is estimated that 18.1 million Fair Trade stems were sold in the UK in 2005 so there are clearly people willing to buy ethically-sourced flowers. The challenge for FFP is to get into the national consciousness when Fair Trade is already the de facto standard in most peoples’ minds. One thing that people most love to hear is that FFP-accredited flowers typically cost no more than non FFP flowers; so being a good egg doesn’t have to mean a dent in your pocket as well!
In the 25 + years of working with some of the best people in Business Development within the power generation industry, we have found some unique characteristics that separate these individuals from the rest. It doesn’t seem to matter what organization they work for, or the services, the client base or the economic climate. We find that these individuals are in fact the top 3% of the professionals in their field. In addition to learning to think as CEO’s, Presidents, entrepreneurial leaders of Business Development units, we’ve discovered they have acquired the behavioral characteristics of a leader. They have learned how to set strategic and operational objectives in putting together plans, how to be visionaries and see opportunities for their organizations that other individuals may miss, and in the role of Business Development, they have mastered the 12 Core Competencies, a benchmark to measure leaders. One of the most compelling definitions of a leader is an individual whose mere presence inspires the desire to follow. When asked if leaders are born or bred, the general consensus is that leadership can be taught. While few of us have had the opportunity to be formally trained or mentored in leadership, all of us are called to be a leader at different times and circumstances in our lives. Leadership is first about who you are as an individual, not what you do, and the term character best describes the core characteristic of a leader. It is this part of an individual that inspires other to follow, so we see character as the summation of an individual’s principles and values, core beliefs by which one anchors and measures their behavior in all roles in life. Principles and values of a positive leader include loyalty, respect, integrity, courage, fairness, honesty, duty, honor and commitment. If character is the summation of our principles and values, then ethics is the application of them. To understand more about character development, we can reach back nearly 2500 years to the writings of Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle taught that moral virtue is acquired by practice. Ethics, according to Aristotle, is moral virtue that comes about as a result of habit. Ethics has as its root ethike, formed by the slight variation of the word ethos (habit). Aristotle explained that moral virtues do not arise in us by nature; we must accept them, embrace them and perfect them by habit. Leadership training emphasizes that understanding leader values and attributes is only the first step in development. A leader must also embrace values and practice attributes, living them until they become a habit. In the Business Development role, success requires a fusion of who we are as an individual, along with our principles, values, ethics and their application. It’s a unique combination of what we know, how we apply it and what we do. Bill Scheessele is CEO/Founder of MBDi, a Business Development consultancy based in Charlotte, North Carolina. For the past 27 years, MBDi has assisted client firms in leveraging their high level expertise into bottom line business. Information on the company and the MBDi Business Development Process™ access: mbdi.
Business always moves faster than government ... It's no surprise that a great deal of lawmakers' time is spent reacting to advances in commerce and science. It's also no surprise that one of their favorite tactics is to call on their enforcement agencies to bring scrutiny against any topic about which they're struggling to understand. We're now seeing this applied against at least two e-currency operations. One of them, INT Gold, saw their head offices in Texas raided by the FBI in December. No arrests were made and no disclosures were presented to indicate the reason for their actions. The only auspices mentioned were that they were pursuing an ongoing fraud investigation. It's now been over a month and nothing further has happened. At roughly the same time, e-Gold was also served with a search warrant. It seems the justification was petty --- they allegedly didn't have a 'required' currency-exchange license --- and they were upset enough to place the following posting on their website: e-gold® welcomes US Government review of its status as a privately issued currency January 20, 2006 "Starting in mid-December 2005, Gold & Silver Reserve, Inc. (G&SR), contractual Operator and primary dealer for e-gold, has been the subject of a warranted search of its premises and records, had its domestic bank accounts frozen, and been the target of a precisely timed, extraordinarily misleading attack by a major business publication. "In an emergency hearing in US District Court January 13, 2006, the freeze order on G&SR's bank accounts was lifted. Though numerous criminal claims had been made in obtaining the search and seizure warrants, the Government has not sustained these allegations and the only remaining claim is a contention that G&SR has operated as a currency exchange without the proper license. G&SR had previously proposed to the Government that e-gold be classified for regulatory purposes as a currency, enabling G&SR to register as a currency exchange. In a Treasury report released January 11, 2006, however, the Department of Treasury reaffirmed their interpretation of the USC and CFR definitions of currency as excluding e-gold. "G&SR, for nearly a year, has been engaged with an agency of Treasury in a BSA (Bank Secrecy Act) compliance examination it had voluntarily initiated. G&SR, though preferring that the venue was not a courtroom, welcomes the opportunity to extend its discussions with the Government on how best to achieve appropriate statutory or regulatory cognizance of e-gold while continuing to build e-gold's market share as a medium of international commerce. "Despite the unfounded charges and adverse misleading publicity that have severely damaged both e-gold and G&SR, G&SR has continued to meet all financial obligations and remain completely operational. e-gold remains highly committed to its goal of bringing, for the first time in history, to people of any financial means across the globe, a secure payment mechanism at a fraction of the cost of any other system. e-gold fully expects to transcend the unfortunate events of the past month and resume its exponential growth. "Further information can be found at: e-gold omnipay treas. gov/press/releases/reports/js3077_01112005_MLTA. pdf" The proactive approach by e-Gold should be applauded. INT Gold should have done the same thing. If more of the public only knew how many times search papers were served on financial institutions for one reason or another, they'd no doubt be as skeptical as I am about the publicity the authorities have given their actions against these two e-currency companies. Let's consider how authorities move against major banks when wrongdoing is suspected. One characteristic which becomes quickly evident is that any releases issued by the investigating authorities have always been very specific in their nature, because major banks have enough financial and political clout to strike back at anything less. An example of a precisely identified transgression is the Citigroup private banking scandal in Tokyo in 2004. The Japanese authorities said the bank helped clients manipulate accounting records through improper real estate transactions, failed to process tax refunds for clients and mismanaged customers’ confidential information. As a result, they ordered Citigroup's Japanese private banking operations to close, but took measures to ensure all unaffected investors would be minimally affected while they moved their accounts. Rarely, total loss to depositors happens. The Silverado collapse in Colorado sent Charles Keating to prison for what should be a thousand life terms, as more people than that lost their life savings. It's notable that this occurred in what was a laissez-faire junk bond scenario. Raids only receive mention when it serves the authorities' purposes to do so. One reason for this is because the searches and/or seizures don't yield sufficient results to merit charges being filed. There can exist a vast gray area in modern financial activities, and when the fine print of a certain situation is scrutinized, it often occurs that, perhaps those activities have sailed close to the legal wind, but they did not take the airs of disrepute. It remains to be seen what they're investigating at INT Gold. As opposed to their treatment of major banks, the nature of the authorities' announcement of this raid was quite vague, which I'm sure was by design. So, the issue is one of whom they were attempting to stir. However, American law says the parties involved are innocent until proven guilty, so they should duly be accorded that right. Until the entire story comes to light, it's improper to cast aspersions. After all, as with most raids at major banks that go unpublicized, it may be that the transgressor is not the company, but a client who has abused its privileges within that company's facilities. The e-currency investigations are surely a result, in part, of one government's indecision as to how to regulate e-currencies within their borders when those currencies are neither fiat nor necessarily domiciled within those borders. This reminds me of broadcasting's early days, when the Feds were perplexed about how to best cope with radio signals that only obeyed the laws of physics and thus had the ability to cross state lines without governmental permission. As ridiculous as that sounds today, the thought of a particular technology being more advanced than political and/or geographical delineations was of deep concern to them. It ultimately took nearly 15 years for the American government to create the Federal Communications Commission to cope with such an 'advanced' business as interstate broadcasting. Given the fact that e-currencies are privately generated and administered, and given that no central monitoring system exists to aid in their regulation, it is no surprise under the current environment of American laws to now see a bustle of authoritarian attention directed toward them. Until they are able to determine a palatable policy, the best they can do is assume a self-righteous position in the interests of 'consumer protection' and cast aspersions by means of rationalization. It's not particularly fair, but as we've seen in related online forums, it's quite effective. Hopefully, the issue will be settled in a much more expeditious manner than it was in broadcasting.
Toy surprises buried in cereal boxes or in bags of popular snacks have been a marketing tactic for as long as package goods have been sold in supermarkets. Most people probably can't even imagine a Cracker Jack box without a prize inside. Giveaways are not just for kids; adults have long participated in incentive giveaways ranging from a free tote with the purchase of makeup or perfume at a department store, to $500 gift cards with a new account at the local bank. All of these giveaways are designed to entice the consumer to try particular brands and services. Recognizing the power of free offers to drive consumer purchases, NetFree Direct LLC, a leading Internet marketing company, has taken the concept to the next level. Through the company's Web site, consumers can obtain a variety of rewards including mobile phones, flat-screen TVs, laptops, PlayStations and other game consoles, digital cameras, gift cards and more, simply by completing advertisers' surveys and signing up for subscriptions and free trial offers. The Web site is sponsored by well-known advertisers such as BMG, Blockbuster, Netflix, Discover Card, USA Today, Disney and hundreds of others. Upon registration, consumers are directed to a special area of the site where they can complete advertisers' surveys and sign up for subscriptions or free trials and redeem their rewards. Trials or subscriptions can be canceled without obligation.
What I want to discuss in this article is the basic idea of honesty. The internet is a wonderful place to do business, but with the continuous flood of spyware, malware, and spam, it can be a horrible and very frustrating for the average user. I am amazed, but not surprised, by the unethical practice of businesses using popups and spam to sell a product. It isn’t surprising because the fact is that those business practices work. Any of us that have worked in this field for awhile know that traffic is king. My experience has been one of honest return for honesty when dealing with customers. Maybe it’s not a quick buck, but I can look at myself in the mirror in the morning and know I did the right thing. I would rather have a customer for life than a fly by night sale to a customer that I tricked into buying my product. It isn’t always about the bottom line of making cash. It should be about service and product value. Over the past couple of years I have had more business cleaning up computers that have been completely overran with viruses, trojans, and spam than I’ve done computer builds. The number one complaint is ‘I just want to be able to use my computer, not worry about viruses and trojans and updates!!!’ Do I profit from unethical business practices? Yes I do when I spend an hour cleaning up a computer. Do I take the time to teach the user? You bet I do! I spend an hour to two hours with a client after I do a cleanup or a computer build. Do I lose money with this practice? Yes I do, but I gain respect from the customer and that customer will always come back. The one major challenge with doing business online is that we don’t always get to be face to face with our customers. Even so, there are ways around this that will bring value to your customer and value in repeat business. It doesn’t cost that much to call and thank someone for their business. It doesn’t cost much to send out a thank you card. I think at times we forget that email isn’t the only way to communicate. With the prevalence of spam it isn’t always the best way to communicate either. The internet can be a very impersonal place. It is ethically challenging to all of us who try to sale a product or business online. Is there a chance of giving away too much with little return? That is always a chance we take when we offer advice or tips to a customer. I can guarantee that over time, the word gets around, and your business will develop a core group of customers who value your service and will tell others. Being a small business is a challenge in the fast paced retail world of chain stores. We can’t offer the huge discounts the major chain stores can, but we can offer service value for the product. I challenge anyone in the IT industry to take that little bit of extra time to teach users the do’s and don’ts of surfing the web. It will benefit your business and benefit the customer as well.
The perpetrators of the recent spate of financial frauds in the USA acted with callous disregard for both their employees and shareholders - not to mention other stakeholders. Psychologists have often remote-diagnosed them as "malignant, pathological narcissists". Narcissists are driven by the need to uphold and maintain a false self - a concocted, grandiose, and demanding psychological construct typical of the narcissistic personality disorder. The false self is projected to the world in order to garner "narcissistic supply" - adulation, admiration, or even notoriety and infamy. Any kind of attention is usually deemed by narcissists to be preferable to obscurity. The false self is suffused with fantasies of perfection, grandeur, brilliance, infallibility, immunity, significance, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. To be a narcissist is to be convinced of a great, inevitable personal destiny. The narcissist is preoccupied with ideal love, the construction of brilliant, revolutionary scientific theories, the composition or authoring or painting of the greatest work of art, the founding of a new school of thought, the attainment of fabulous wealth, the reshaping of a nation or a conglomerate, and so on. The narcissist never sets realistic goals to himself. He is forever preoccupied with fantasies of uniqueness, record breaking, or breathtaking achievements. His verbosity reflects this propensity. Reality is, naturally, quite different and this gives rise to a "grandiosity gap". The demands of the false self are never satisfied by the narcissist's accomplishments, standing, wealth, clout, sexual prowess, or knowledge. The narcissist's grandiosity and sense of entitlement are equally incommensurate with his achievements. To bridge the grandiosity gap, the malignant (pathological) narcissist resorts to shortcuts. These very often lead to fraud. The narcissist cares only about appearances. What matters to him are the facade of wealth and its attendant social status and narcissistic supply. Witness the travestied extravagance of Tyco's Denis Kozlowski. Media attention only exacerbates the narcissist's addiction and makes it incumbent on him to go to ever-wilder extremes to secure uninterrupted supply from this source. The narcissist lacks empathy - the ability to put himself in other people's shoes. He does not recognize boundaries - personal, corporate, or legal. Everything and everyone are to him mere instruments, extensions, objects unconditionally and uncomplainingly available in his pursuit of narcissistic gratification. This makes the narcissist perniciously exploitative. He uses, abuses, devalues, and discards even his nearest and dearest in the most chilling manner. The narcissist is utility - driven, obsessed with his overwhelming need to reduce his anxiety and regulate his labile sense of self-worth by securing a constant supply of his drug - attention. American executives acted without compunction when they raided their employees' pension funds - as did Robert Maxwell a generation earlier in Britain. The narcissist is convinced of his superiority - cerebral or physical. To his mind, he is a Gulliver hamstrung by a horde of narrow-minded and envious Lilliputians. The dotcom "new economy" was infested with "visionaries" with a contemptuous attitude towards the mundane: profits, business cycles, conservative economists, doubtful journalists, and cautious analysts. Yet, deep inside, the narcissist is painfully aware of his addiction to others - their attention, admiration, applause, and affirmation. He despises himself for being thus dependent. He hates people the same way a drug addict hates his pusher. He wishes to "put them in their place", humiliate them, demonstrate to them how inadequate and imperfect they are in comparison to his regal self and how little he craves or needs them. The narcissist regards himself as one would an expensive present, a gift to his company, to his family, to his neighbours, to his colleagues, to his country. This firm conviction of his inflated importance makes him feel entitled to special treatment, special favors, special outcomes, concessions, subservience, immediate gratification, obsequiousness, and lenience. It also makes him feel immune to mortal laws and somehow divinely protected and insulated from the inevitable consequences of his deeds and misdeeds. The self-destructive narcissist plays the role of the "bad guy" (or "bad girl"). But even this is within the traditional social roles cartoonishly exaggerated by the narcissist to attract attention. Men are likely to emphasise intellect, power, aggression, money, or social status. Narcissistic women are likely to emphasise body, looks, charm, sexuality, feminine "traits", homemaking, children and childrearing. Punishing the wayward narcissist is a veritable catch-22. A jail term is useless as a deterrent if it only serves to focus attention on the narcissist. Being infamous is second best to being famous - and far preferable to being ignored. The only way to effectively punish a narcissist is to withhold narcissistic supply from him and thus to prevent him from becoming a notorious celebrity. Given a sufficient amount of media exposure, book contracts, talk shows, lectures, and public attention - the narcissist may even consider the whole grisly affair to be emotionally rewarding. To the narcissist, freedom, wealth, social status, family, vocation - are all means to an end. And the end is attention. If he can secure attention by being the big bad wolf - the narcissist unhesitatingly transforms himself into one. Lord Archer, for instance, seems to be positively basking in the media circus provoked by his prison diaries. The narcissist does not victimise, plunder, terrorise and abuse others in a cold, calculating manner. He does so offhandedly, as a manifestation of his genuine character. To be truly "guilty" one needs to intend, to deliberate, to contemplate one's choices and then to choose one's acts. The narcissist does none of these. Thus, punishment breeds in him surprise, hurt and seething anger. The narcissist is stunned by society's insistence that he should be held accountable for his deeds and penalized accordingly. He feels wronged, baffled, injured, the victim of bias, discrimination and injustice. He rebels and rages. Depending upon the pervasiveness of his magical thinking, the narcissist may feel besieged by overwhelming powers, forces cosmic and intrinsically ominous. He may develop compulsive rites to fend off this "bad", unwarranted, persecutory influences. The narcissist, very much the infantile outcome of stunted personal development, engages in magical thinking. He feels omnipotent, that there is nothing he couldn't do or achieve if only he sets his mind to it. He feels omniscient - he rarely admits to ignorance and regards his intuitions and intellect as founts of objective data. Thus, narcissists are haughtily convinced that introspection is a more important and more efficient (not to mention easier to accomplish) method of obtaining knowledge than the systematic study of outside sources of information in accordance with strict and tedious curricula. Narcissists are "inspired" and they despise hamstrung technocrats. To some extent, they feel omnipresent because they are either famous or about to become famous or because their product is selling or is being manufactured globally. Deeply immersed in their delusions of grandeur, they firmly believe that their acts have - or will have - a great influence not only on their firm, but on their country, or even on Mankind. Having mastered the manipulation of their human environment - they are convinced that they will always "get away with it". They develop hubris and a false sense of immunity. Narcissistic immunity is the (erroneous) feeling, harboured by the narcissist, that he is impervious to the consequences of his actions, that he will never be effected by the results of his own decisions, opinions, beliefs, deeds and misdeeds, acts, inaction, or membership of certain groups, that he is above reproach and punishment, that, magically, he is protected and will miraculously be saved at the last moment. Hence the audacity, simplicity, and transparency of some of the fraud and corporate looting in the 1990's. Narcissists rarely bother to cover their traces, so great is their disdain and conviction that they are above mortal laws and wherewithal. What are the sources of this unrealistic appraisal of situations and events? The false self is a childish response to abuse and trauma. Abuse is not limited to sexual molestation or beatings. Smothering, doting, pampering, over-indulgence, treating the child as an extension of the parent, not respecting the child's boundaries, and burdening the child with excessive expectations are also forms of abuse. The child reacts by constructing false self that is possessed of everything it needs in order to prevail: unlimited and instantaneously available Harry Potter-like powers and wisdom. The false self, this Superman, is indifferent to abuse and punishment. This way, the child's true self is shielded from the toddler's harsh reality. This artificial, maladaptive separation between a vulnerable (but not punishable) true self and a punishable (but invulnerable) false self is an effective mechanism. It isolates the child from the unjust, capricious, emotionally dangerous world that he occupies. But, at the same time, it fosters in him a false sense of "nothing can happen to me, because I am not here, I am not available to be punished, hence I am immune to punishment". The comfort of false immunity is also yielded by the narcissist's sense of entitlement. In his grandiose delusions, the narcissist is sui generis, a gift to humanity, a precious, fragile, object. Moreover, the narcissist is convinced both that this uniqueness is immediately discernible - and that it gives him special rights. The narcissist feels that he is protected by some cosmological law pertaining to "endangered species". He is convinced that his future contribution to others - his firm, his country, humanity - should and does exempt him from the mundane: daily chores, boring jobs, recurrent tasks, personal exertion, orderly investment of resources and efforts, laws and regulations, social conventions, and so on. The narcissist is entitled to a "special treatment": high living standards, constant and immediate catering to his needs, the eradication of any friction with the humdrum and the routine, an all-engulfing absolution of his sins, fast track privileges (to higher education, or in his encounters with bureaucracies, for instance). Punishment, trusts the narcissist, is for ordinary people, where no great loss to humanity is involved. Narcissists are possessed of inordinate abilities to charm, to convince, to seduce, and to persuade. Many of them are gifted orators and intellectually endowed. Many of them work in in politics, the media, fashion, show business, the arts, medicine, or business, and serve as religious leaders. By virtue of their standing in the community, their charisma, or their ability to find the willing scapegoats, they do get exempted many times. Having recurrently "got away with it" - they develop a theory of personal immunity, founded upon some kind of societal and even cosmic "order" in which certain people are above punishment. But there is a fourth, simpler, explanation. The narcissist lacks self-awareness. Divorced from his true self, unable to empathise (to understand what it is like to be someone else), unwilling to constrain his actions to cater to the feelings and needs of others - the narcissist is in a constant dreamlike state. To the narcissist, his life is unreal, like watching an autonomously unfolding movie. The narcissist is a mere spectator, mildly interested, greatly entertained at times. He does not "own" his actions. He, therefore, cannot understand why he should be punished and when he is, he feels grossly wronged. So convinced is the narcissist that he is destined to great things - that he refuses to accept setbacks, failures and punishments. He regards them as temporary, as the outcomes of someone else's errors, as part of the future mythology of his rise to power/brilliance/wealth/ideal love, etc. Being punished is a diversion of his precious energy and resources from the all-important task of fulfilling his mission in life. The narcissist is pathologically envious of people and believes that they are equally envious of him. He is paranoid, on guard, ready to fend off an imminent attack. A punishment to the narcissist is a major surprise and a nuisance but it also validates his suspicion that he is being persecuted. It proves to him that strong forces are arrayed against him. He tells himself that people, envious of his achievements and humiliated by them, are out to get him. He constitutes a threat to the accepted order. When required to pay for his misdeeds, the narcissist is always disdainful and bitter and feels misunderstood by his inferiors. Cooked books, corporate fraud, bending the (GAAP or other) rules, sweeping problems under the carpet, over-promising, making grandiose claims (the "vision thing") - are hallmarks of a narcissist in action. When social cues and norms encourage such behaviour rather than inhibit it - in other words, when such behaviour elicits abundant narcissistic supply - the pattern is reinforced and become entrenched and rigid. Even when circumstances change, the narcissist finds it difficult to adapt, shed his routines, and replace them with new ones. He is trapped in his past success. He becomes a swindler. But pathological narcissism is not an isolated phenomenon. It is embedded in our contemporary culture. The West's is a narcissistic civilization. It upholds narcissistic values and penalizes alternative value-systems. From an early age, children are taught to avoid self-criticism, to deceive themselves regarding their capacities and attainments, to feel entitled, and to exploit others. As Lilian Katz observed in her important paper, "Distinctions between Self-Esteem and Narcissism: Implications for Practice", published by the Educational Resources Information Center, the line between enhancing self-esteem and fostering narcissism is often blurred by educators and parents. Both Christopher Lasch in "The Culture of Narcissism" and Theodore Millon in his books about personality disorders, singled out American society as narcissistic. Litigiousness may be the flip side of an inane sense of entitlement. Consumerism is built on this common and communal lie of "I can do anything I want and possess everything I desire if I only apply myself to it" and on the pathological envy it fosters. Not surprisingly, narcissistic disorders are more common among men than among women. This may be because narcissism conforms to masculine social mores and to the prevailing ethos of capitalism. Ambition, achievements, hierarchy, ruthlessness, drive - are both social values and narcissistic male traits. Social thinkers like the aforementioned Lasch speculated that modern American culture - a self-centred one - increases the rate of incidence of the narcissistic personality disorder. Otto Kernberg, a notable scholar of personality disorders, confirmed Lasch's intuition: "Society can make serious psychological abnormalities, which already exist in some percentage of the population, seem to be at least superficially appropriate." In their book "Personality Disorders in Modern Life", Theodore Millon and Roger Davis state, as a matter of fact, that pathological narcissism was once the preserve of "the royal and the wealthy" and that it "seems to have gained prominence only in the late twentieth century". Narcissism, according to them, may be associated with "higher levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs ... Individuals in less advantaged nations .. are too busy trying (to survive) ... to be arrogant and grandiose". They - like Lasch before them - attribute pathological narcissism to "a society that stresses individualism and self-gratification at the expense of community, namely the United States." They assert that the disorder is more prevalent among certain professions with "star power" or respect. "In an individualistic culture, the narcissist is 'God's gift to the world'. In a collectivist society, the narcissist is 'God's gift to the collective." Millon quotes Warren and Caponi's "The Role of Culture in the Development of Narcissistic Personality Disorders in America, Japan and Denmark": "Individualistic narcissistic structures of self-regard (in individualistic societies) ... are rather self-contained and independent ... (In collectivist cultures) narcissistic configurations of the we-self ... denote self-esteem derived from strong identification with the reputation and honor of the family, groups, and others in hierarchical relationships." Still, there are malignant narcissists among subsistence farmers in Africa, nomads in the Sinai desert, day laborers in east Europe, and intellectuals and socialites in Manhattan. Malignant narcissism is all-pervasive and independent of culture and society. It is true, though, that the way pathological narcissism manifests and is experienced is dependent on the particulars of societies and cultures. In some cultures, it is encouraged, in others suppressed. In some societies it is channeled against minorities - in others it is tainted with paranoia. In collectivist societies, it may be projected onto the collective, in individualistic societies, it is an individual's trait. Yet, can families, organizations, ethnic groups, churches, and even whole nations be safely described as "narcissistic" or "pathologically self-absorbed"? Can we talk about a "corporate culture of narcissism"? Human collectives - states, firms, households, institutions, political parties, cliques, bands - acquire a life and a character all their own. The longer the association or affiliation of the members, the more cohesive and conformist the inner dynamics of the group, the more persecutory or numerous its enemies, competitors, or adversaries, the more intensive the physical and emotional experiences of the individuals it is comprised of, the stronger the bonds of locale, language, and history - the more rigorous might an assertion of a common pathology be. Such an all-pervasive and extensive pathology manifests itself in the behavior of each and every member. It is a defining - though often implicit or underlying - mental structure. It has explanatory and predictive powers. It is recurrent and invariable - a pattern of conduct melding distorted cognition and stunted emotions. And it is often vehemently denied.
There are many professions in the world that require strong will, stamina and courage to get occupied. Thousands of policemen, doctors, firemen, rescue teams save people every minute. Graduating form the University and mastering one of the professions mentioned above you think only about successful application of your knowledge in practice. A couple of years after you become a famous doctor, an honorary resident and a dedicated family man. But then one accident in your practice turns your life upside down and makes you reconsider your system of values and personal code of ethics. Racing towards the hospital in the middle of the night, you think about what you are going to see. Entering a room, you see one of your patients lying down with eyes closed. A sense of guilt overwhelms you, when you hear colleagues’ words “No hope”. The situation drove you to the choice you need to make: either to shut down the apparatus of support and release a patient from suffering on his way to death or do nothing in order to save good name you acquired during your practice. Leaving the room, you start going back to your student years where the problem of euthanasia was discussed frequently. What was your attitude? Of course you thought of this way out as of unacceptable an inhumane as most of people think. Did you really give a problem a good thought being a student? Obviously it never occurred to you that you may appear in front of a choice like that. And now, having a reputation of a professional, what are you to choose? Euthanasia is determined as an act of merciful killing that releases a person from suffering. Now this term has to be specified, because the specialists of Middle Ages released their patients not only form physical but also from spiritual sufferings. Nowadays obligations of doctors are limited by law and in some states euthanasia is prohibited by law, unless one of he family members presents a request that is further investigated. There are several moral aspects of such a decision. On one hand there are Ten Commandments of the Holy Bible, one of which states “Do not kill”. After humanism was established as a philosophical current, some consider euthanasia a crime. On the other hand there are words of Hippocrates that pleads to help the needy regardless their position in the society. If nothing but sufferings awaits a person on a short way to death, why should a doctor who understands the situation let someone be tortured? Isn’t it even crueler than killing somebody? These are moral aspects of the problem, but the code of professional ethics requires action and you are to make the choice. Only after you consider everything and make the right decision you deserve to be called a professional and be respected even more.