The childhood obesity epidemic is a social, economic, and public health challenge (Wechsler, et al, 2004). It constitutes a critical threat to the health and well-being of our nation, as rates have risen dramatically over the past decades. The United States now has the highest rate of childhood obesity among all developed nations (Kluger, 2008). Its mitigation requires a multi-disciplinary strategy, as it has become a serious public health concern, not only in the U.S., but also worldwide. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, over the last thirty years, the number of overweight children has doubled, while the number has almost tripled among adolescents (Ogden and Carroll, 2010). The main issue is that children and adolescents are eating unhealthy high calorie, high fat, processed foods, and are not getting enough physical activity.
Children, in contrast to adults, are treated as unable to weigh the future consequences of their actions. Children may have a poor understanding of the long-term health consequences of overeating or lack of physical activity. In the case that they have adequate information, they may assign minimal importance to problems in the distant future. Therefore, government actively regulates the decisions of children more strictly than those of adults. Additionally, when children are enrolled in the public school system, the government acts in loco parentis; thus, it is important to consider the relationship of school policies, especially regarding nutrition and physical activity, to the childhood obesity epidemic (Acs and Lyles, 2007). Continue reading
In my opinion, the movie Motorcycle Diaries offers an important message to live by: “Deja que el mundo te cambie y podrás cambiar el mundo” (“Let the world change you, and you can change the world”). Before we can create positive change for ourselves and for others, we first need to discover the world around us and be changed by our experience. Continue reading
Having chosen childhood obesity as the topic for my white paper, I have had no trouble finding information as there is a wide variety of research and literature on the subject. In the library, I was pressed for time, but I uncovered several books in the sciences and medicine stacks within a matter of minutes. The title that I found most interesting was “Generation Extra Large: Rescuing Our Children from the Epidemic of Obesity”. Given last week’s discussion regarding Generation We, I found the labeling of our same generation as “Extra Large” was worthy of comment.
Nevertheless, the book that I actually chose to look at more in depth for this particular blog post was entitled “Obesity in Youth: Causes, Consequences, and Cures”. I decided that this book might be the most helpful as it was the most recently published (2009) of the books I discovered in my less-than comprehensive search. I assumed that this book may have more reliable data and statistics and therefore it would be more helpful than the others in contributing to my white paper. Continue reading
Today, regional airline carriers account for more than half of all domestic flights in the United States, as major airlines have been outsourcing more of their flights. According to the U.S. government Accountability Office, the regional airlines are responsible for the last six fatal commercial airline accidents (Dillingham). Thus, their business operations, especially with respect to safety standards, implicate a variety of ethical dimensions and perspectives.
THE STORY OF THE REGIONAL CARRIERS IN THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY
Over the past thirty years, a major transformation has been occurring in the United States airline industry. It began in the late 1970s when the U.S. government deregulated the airline industry, which inevitably led to increased competition among the major airlines to offer lower airfares (Cunningham, et al). In response, the airline companies created the regional industry and developed a new business operating strategy called the hub and spoke model as a way of lowering costs. Basically, the major airlines created central hubs in large cities or metropolitan areas and began relying on small regional carriers or commuters to feed their domestic network system (Wei & Yanji). (See Appendix A) Continue reading
I chose to explore Edwin Hartman’s article “Donaldson on Rights and Corporate Obligations” for this week’s cited reference search blog post. Just to recap, the article discusses Donaldson’s belief that certain fundamental human rights generate correlative duties for the corporation, including 1) the duty to avoid depriving people of their rights, 2) the duty to help protect people from such deprivation, and 3) the duty to aid those who are deprived. Hartman introduces a fourth category of duty to the list, which he refers to as the duty to avoid helping to deprive. He argues that the corporation is not obligated to contribute to protecting anyone from deprivation, but it needs to make sure that no action it takes helps the depriver succeed in depriving.
Since the article was published in 1991, I thought that it would be interesting to see what other publications have cited it since then. Using Google Scholar, I found that Hartman’s original article had only been cited by 3 other publications.
The one I chose to examine more closely is “La responsabilidad moral de la empresa. Una revisión de la teoría de Stakeholder desde la ética discursiva”/”The moral responsibility of the business. A review of the Stakeholder theory from discursive ethics”. It is a doctoral thesis presented by Elsa González Esteban and directed by Dr. Domingo Garcia-Marza of the Universitat Jaume I de Castellón. It was published in 2011, so it is rather recent information. In total, it has 576 pages and it is written in Spanish. Continue reading
During Spring Break of my junior year, I participated in the A.C.E.S. Bucknell Service Trip to the Dominican Republic. The experience was truly eye-opening as it was the first time that I had witnessed extreme poverty firsthand. Some of the areas that the Bucknell group visited were more developed, especially the Colonial District and places closer to Santo Domingo. However, other small villages were extremely poor. The communities where we did the medical clinic and the food drive were rather shocking to me.
The medical clinic was set up at a school and all the participants, including doctors, nurses, and our student group, were volunteers. Many people, both young and old, came seeking medical attention. I remember being in the “dentist” classroom and seeing the instruments lined up on a table. Some volunteers were sterilizing them in bowls of soap and water. One part that I will never forget was holding up a young girl’s head to support it while she had a tooth pulled. She sat in a wooden desk chair and no Novocain was used. I had to look away when her mouth began bleeding and I sensed that she was in pain. After, all I could do was smile and tell her that she was very brave. I recall thinking to myself, “Wow, this is their health care.” Continue reading
The TV episode I chose to examine from a business, government, and society perspective is from the show Boy Meets World. I am sure many of you are familiar with the sitcom comedy-drama, as it aired for seven seasons on ABC from 1993 through 2000, but for those of you who aren’t, I will sum it up. Basically, the show chronicles the experiences and everyday life lessons in the world of Cory Matthews, your typical teenage boy from Philadelphia as he grows up from a young boy, through middle school, high school, college, and later married life.
For the post this week, rather than offer a particular personal experience tied to gender or race in America, I decided to talk about certain aspects of gender roles that have always bothered me. To be blunt, I don’t like the idea of men doing stuff for women. And while I will be the first to recognize that it is changing somewhat with our generation when you compare it to the extremes of the past, I still believe that there remain unresolved issues. For more on changing gender roles, click here!
First, I don’t like the concept that the man is supposed to pay the bill when on a date. Why can’t you split it or each pay for your own meal? (This is actually referred to as “go Dutch”.) Second, I don’t like the notion that men are supposed to drive women places. Let me guess…you’ve never thought about it, right? You see females driving cars all the time. But, how often do you see a man (of legal driving age) in a car that a woman is driving? I don’t understand why women have to be driven around. What’s the big deal? And finally, I disagree with the practice of men opening and holding doors (cars included) for women. While I will admit that it’s nice to have someone open the door for you and many women will view such an act as very “gentlemanly”, I believe that the underlying message is inherently wrong. Continue reading
I found the story of Seth Maxwell, one of the 2011 Do Something Awards Finalists, to be particularly inspiring. Seth, a 22 year-old college graduate from Los Angeles, CA, learned from a friend that almost 1 billion people lack access to clean water and that water-borne illnesses account for more than 80% of all global disease. He found this information troubling and immediately decided to do something about it.
He began what became known as the Thirst Project in March of 2008. Seth, along with eight of his friends, was committed to making a difference. They invested all their cash – about $70 in total – and purchased 1,000 bottles of water. They distributed the free water on Hollywood Blvd. and began educating the public, through informal conversations, about the clean water crisis. In a single day, they raised awareness and more than $1,700 in donations! Continue reading
Now, more than ever consumers, investors and employees are placing increasing importance on corporate social responsibility and firms can take advantage of this by appealing directly to them. Demonstrating concern for the environment, human rights, community development and the welfare of employees has become an essential marketing strategy for companies in the global economy.
General Electric is one example of a company that is acting responsibly and living its values. It is pursuing environmental sustainability by working to protect and improve people’s current and future living environment.
For over 6 years now, GE has been branding its green, environmental, and sustainability efforts as Ecomagination. When it was first launched, the Ecomagination campaign asserted that GE, one of the world’s largest corporations, was going green and embracing environmentally-friendly policies. According to CEO Jeffrey Immelt, the new Ecomagination initiative represented “GE’s commitment to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water”. Continue reading
The Blog Council for week one (Lauren M, Chris, Jordi) met last night to discuss this week’s posts. As for general comments, we would like to see more of YOUR opinion as bloggers in the posts. For instance, this week you had some freedom in choosing the topic – we would have liked your post to have addressed the reason you chose a particular blog (personal interest, etc.)
Now, on to the awards: We were very impressed by a number of posts (and for different reasons), but we can only give out so many awards. That being said, we determined that the following posts deserve special recognition…
Where Siri Comes From (by Beth) – The Best Post Award
Hit the tag for more awards… Continue reading
I read a post called “All Hail the Stand-Up Meeting” by Stephen J. Dubner on the “Freakonomics: The Hidden Side of Everything” blog website. I really thought the post was interesting and unique, but at the same time extremely relevant and profound. It offers an alternative to mainstream business practices by advocating for stand-up meetings.
Before reading this post, I had never really considered the idea of stand-up meetings seriously. I guess it just didn’t seem practical to me. Why stand when you can sit? Continue reading
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s article entitled Business Ethics was interesting to read. Although it was published in April of 2008, many of the issues addressed are still relevant at the present time. First, the entry discusses business ethics on a broad level, defining the concept as “the applied ethics discipline that addresses the moral features of commercial activity.” But, what exactly is business ethics in practice? The article goes on to explore the answer(s) to this question, touching upon the role of the corporation, the employment relation, international issues, and criticisms of the focus and methodology of business ethics.
I would agree with the idea presented in the article that business ethics is rooted in corporate social responsibility. According to Forbes, corporate social responsibility refers to “demonstrating concern for the environment, human rights, community development and the welfare of their employees both in the U.S. and abroad.” In order for a business to be perceived as socially responsible, it must behave in an ethical manner. As a result, the business may become even more profitable by appealing to increasingly socially and environmentally conscious consumers.
I also liked the idea that business ethics encompasses a business’s relationship to the well-being of society. This point ties into our class discussion from last week regarding stakeholder theory. As you might recall from Freeman’s Business Ethics at the Millennium, stakeholder theory argues that a business should be managed in a way that achieves a balance among the interests of all stakeholders, or those who can have some effect on the firm or may be affected by the firm’s actions. A business needs to be accountable to others and society as a whole by attending to the interests of stakeholders when creating policies and making decisions.
I found the section of the article that described international business ethics particularly interesting as it brought up the emergence of globalization. I had never really considered the fact that ethical norms may not always be consistent across cultures. The article explores the question of which ethical norms should guide one’s business conduct in other countries and cultures, with a particular focus on business in less developed countries. The basic guidelines call for the avoiding harm, doing good, respecting human rights, respecting the local culture, cooperating with just governments and institutions, and accepting ethical responsibility for one’s actions.
In addition, international ethical business conduct is directly tied to the debate over sweatshop labor, or the hiring of workers in less developed countries, usually at minimal wages and under poor work conditions, to manufacture products for the developed world. It is troublesome to me that many multinational firms outsource labor and exploit poor working and wage conditions in less developed countries. They engage in this practice to increase their profits. This is unethical. These firms need to consider the stakeholders involved and pay reasonable living wages and ensure better working conditions for those involved.