The role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has become increasingly focused on maintaining stability in the international economy. The IMF provides financial recourses and education to countries that need assistance in exchange for compliance with the conditionality attached to those loans. The IMF argues that this is necessary to ensure that those who accept these will pay them back. My paper does not disagree with the assertion that the IMF needs to take steps to ensure that their loans are repaid. Instead, I offer a sharp critique aimed at the policy decisions that the IMF forces upon each loanee.
The balancing of budgets is the main policy condition that is almost universally included in the conditionality of loans. This is the opposite of what Keynesian economics and developed countries advocate during economic crises.
This paper shows that expansionary policies, both fiscal and monetary, result in the best possible outcome during economic crises. Examples of expansionary policies are increased government spending, lower taxes, lower interest rates, and increased money supply. These policies usually lead to budget deficits, and therefore should be temporary, for no longer than absolutely needed, and paired with budget surpluses during economic upswings. The evidence presented in this paper shows examples of when expansionary policies have succeeded, and when contractionary policies have failed. I hope that developed countries, who control a vast majority of the voting power in the IMF and partake in expansionary policies themselves, will move towards expansionary policies in the conditionality of IMF loans.
In my first blog post in this class, I had to screen Ray Kurzweil to see if he would be a viable candidate to speak about technology at Bucknell. Ray Kurzweil is a technology futurist, which means he predicts where technology will be at certain point of time. While reading his predictions, I became fascinated with the speeding up of our technological advancement. This explosion of technology is a wonderful thing in many ways. Our life expectancy and standard of living has gone up as a result, but where is technology going to take us in 20 or 50 or 500 years? Currently, our world revolves around the advancement of technology. Therefore, I believe that The Antitechnology Movement will soon be the idea that changes the world the most.
Before really think about this dilemma, I would have said there is no way that we should stop advancing technologically. Here are a couple of predictions that Kurzweil has made that made me second guess myself…
1. 2030: Mind uploading becomes possible
2. 2045: The “technological singularity” occurs, which means that artificial intelligence surpasses humans as the smartest life forms on earth. This means that artificial intelligence will take over the advancement of technology from humans, and start self improving at an increasing rate.
3. Post-2045: Artificial intelligence will convert most of Earth’s matter into computer like material, with very few natural resources remaining for the humans that choose to not mechanically engineer their bodies.
4. 2099: A.I. will have the ability to make planet sized computers.
Sounds a little crazy and conspiracy theory-esque huh? I agree. I really don’t think that these will happen in the time frames or to the extent that Kurzweil suggests, partly due to The Antitechnology Movement. One does have to think about the implications of technological advancement because it is a fact that we are advancing at an increasing rate. Modern homo sapiens have been on this planet for over 200,000 years. We happen to have been born in a critical part of our history where things are changing at an almost incomprehensible rate. I think that as we move forward technologically, we need to temper our actions with reflection about what is best for man-kind. Despite some adverse effects such as pollution, In my opinion, rapid technological advancement has been good so far. I just don’t know if this same mentality is best going forward.
“The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.”
-Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissenting opinion on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (“Citizens United”)
“If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”
-Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (“Citizens United”)
“Money isn’t speech and corporations aren’t people”
-David Kairys (Kairys)
For my paper, I was thinking about addressing the topic of increased polarization in American politics. My main goal is to find what is causing this polarization. Before I tackle that, I have to develop a thorough understanding of current events, and policy decisions. I have only become enamored with politics over the last couple years, but I have always been up to date on current events. Obviously, people have always disagreed over politics, but, from what I have witnessed and researched, this this has become an increasingly harmful problem.
Some of my greatest memories come from the three weeks that I spent in South Africa. I was offered this wonderful opportunity my freshman year in high school. There were about 20 kids, freshmen to juniors, who were chosen to go during the first weeks of summer. The trip took a great deal of planning and fundraising before we even left for South Africa. We had a shoe and clothing drive, book drive, numerous bake sales and car washes, auctions, and many other fundraisers to raise money.
We planned on focusing on two different causes. First, we were going to visit a secondary school called Saint Brendan’s School. After a week and a half there, spent tutoring and doing manual labor, we decided to go to Kliptown, a township of Soweto. There, we would stay at a nearby hotel, and help around the town and in a youth center. Finally, we also planned on doing a safari for a day between travelling from St. Brandan’s to Kliptown, and spending a couple of days in Johannesburg before we left.
Finally arriving at Saint Brendan’s after so much planning and traveling was an amazing feeling. The first morning, there was an assembly, where the roughly 600 students welcomed us. Over the next week and a half, we spent time tutoring the kids (classes are taught in English there, so it was easy to communicate), re-painting a wall, doing yard work, organizing the library, and many other tasks. We all built strong bonds with the students there, and many of us kept in contact with kids long after we left. This was an uplifting experience, and even though there has to be a lot of progress in the area surrounding the school, I left St. Brendan’s with hope. It was so much easier to handle than what I was about to see in Kliptown.
I was watching Conan O’Brien a couple days ago because there wasn’t anything exciting on the TV. The show started with this clip. I thought that Deon is dead on. We are entirely, way, way too politically correct.
Take a second to name as many stakeholders as you can that a business should recognize (or just cheat and look at the ones that I listed below)….
According to stakeholder theory, which was developed by R. Edward Freeman, there are four stakeholders that are normally addressed by businesses: investors, employees, suppliers, and customers. These are the ones that you probably guessed. The theory goes on to list a number of other stakeholders though. These include governmental bodies, political groups, trade associations, trade unions, communities, associated corporations, prospective employees, prospective customers, the public at large, and competitors. These might not come to mind right away, and most people wouldn’t even think of one of these other stakeholders. However, business decisions should be made with these unheralded parties in mind. But how much should they cater to their needs in each individual decision? This is an essential question that business ethics attempts to answer. In his theory, Freeman argues that the role of business is to benefit its stakeholders, which will in turn benefit the business. Ideally, this would be done through innovation that helps align the interests of stakeholders. If this is accomplished, then the business doesn’t have to deal with tradeoffs that pit stakeholders against each other. In the end, the fundamental driver of business behavior is the stakeholders of that business. Because of this, I am fascinated in the identification of stakeholders, and then their subsequent effect on the behavior of businesses.