It is time to change how humans work and manipulate economics. As human beings it is time to stop prioritizing goods before people. There is a big difference between moneyand wealth and it is time to recognize that difference. There are ways to create wealth for communities and entire nations rather than what we are doing now, brining in money for corporations and the government. There is a 1973 book on exactly this topic byBritish economist, statistician, and theorist, E.F. Schumacher, named Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. In this text, Schumacher groups together essay on ethics, economics, and the environment. His ideas seem related to those of Tolstoy and Gandhi and he delves into ancient wisdom to try to bring back some humanitarian order to the modern world. One of the best essays in the book is title, Buddhist Economics. Here he looks into the moral questions of wealth, writing, “Right Livelihood is one of the requirement of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. It is clear, therefore, that there must be such a thing as Buddhist economics…Spiritual health and material well-being are not enemies: they are natural allies.” We have a right to make money in a job that we feel compelled to do, which then creates wealth. If we keep ourselves in an economy where people don’t matter, just products and consumptions than it results in a lack of purpose or meaning for the people. This means that everyone will avoid work because it is something that they dread doing. On the other hand is the Buddhist idea of what work should be. Schumacher writes, “The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to be at least threefold: to give a man a chance to utilize and develop his faculties; to enable him to overcome his ego-centeredness by joining with other people in a common task; and to bring forth the goods and services needed for a becoming existence.”
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We all have encountered a lack of motivation. Maybe you have an impending deadline but you can’t peel your eyes off facebook. Or perhaps you have to finish a project, but you can’t find the motivation so you clean your entire house instead, anything to do what you have to. The key to focusing on these projects that you have to accomplish is finding the motivation to complete them. The two kinds of motivation are internal and instrumental. For example, if you want to write a research paper because you are really interested in discovering the facts and putting them together in a new way, that is internal motivation. However, if you want to write a research paper to get a wonderful grade and therefore a prize for the rest research in the University, which comes with acclaim and attention, then the motivator is instrumental.
Usually, your motivation for completing something is a combination of both internal and instrumental motivation. The question is, how do you get the perfect combination of these two motivators so that you are most likely to complete the project, assignment, or task that you have to do? A new paper published in the Proceedings of the Nation Academy of Sciences looks into the secret behind the perfect motivators. They concluded that instrumental motives are actually not very helpful for productivity and that internal motives are much stronger. The study for the paper used 11,320 cadets in nine different classes entering the Military Academy at West Point. They looked into why these cadets wanted to go to West Point, in other words what their motivation was. The questions included instrumental motivation answers like “I want to get a better job later in life” as well as internal motivation answers, for example “I want to be trained as a leader in the U.S. Army.” After a few years, the cadets who entered the program for internal motivation reasons were much more successful than those who entered with instrumental motivation. Those who were internally motivated had a much higher rate of graduation and included more commissioned officers. The bottom line is that internal motivation is the most compelling so be sure to check in with yourself about your own motivations before diving into a large project.
The sectarian violence in Iraq is difficult for Westerners to understand. It is a deep-seated ideological and religious difference that keeps these two groups of people at odds with one another. Although it is difficult to understand there is a method that has been tried and tested before that has eased the tension of these groups and should be implemented again. Obama recently pledged, in reference to the sectarian violence in Iraq, “I don’t rule out anything…my national security team is looking at all the options.” One option to consider that has been tried before is Invincible Defense Technology (IDT). This technology has been proven effective and is a way to efficiently end the fighting in Iraq. The problem is, the president must get the Iraqi army on board with IDT. The approach reduces stress and violence in a way that has been proven by over 20 studies and tested by foreign militaries. After 25 years of research conducted in countries in places like the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, all signs seem to point to the effectiveness of this approach. IDT works by calming the insurgent groups source of power, i.e. stress, civil unrest, frustration, etc. In this way, IDT get rid of the “fire” that causes people to behave in ways that make them want to take up arms and fight. They are preemptively affected so that they do not have the rage to fight in the first place. The reason these uprising happen is due to decades of injustice like poverty, hunger, or other civil unrest or unhappiness with no mobility or hope. IDT reduces stress so that people can think about their problems more thoughtfully and rationally and less emotionally. To administer this kind of intervention they would use a special part of the military known as the Prevention Wing of the Military to use IDT to reduce the stress of an entire population so that they can find other ways to deal with their problems. This is particularly important to deal with issues that may eventually become violent, as in the case of Syria and Iraq. Since IDT has been proven to work, it may be time to start planning for implementation.
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As global warming takes its hold the earth, record temperatures are being recorded throughout the world. A climate change agency has stated that the world just experience one of the hottest May’s ever recorded. While those in first world countries can retreat to air conditioned homes and cars, many are not nearly as lucky. There are more than 50 million people worldwide who are displaced from their homes and living in refugee camps with little resources, few areas of shade, and no adequate shelter from the relentless heat. The number of refugees throughout the world is expanding rapidly because of the situation in Syria. Many Syrians continue to leave their country in large numbers to escape the violence. By the end of 2013, 2.5 million refugees left Syria to settle in camps in other countries. Even more than that, about 6.5 million have been displaced and forced from their homes to another area of the country. Due to the ISIS crisis in Iraq many are leaving that country as well. These refugees are flocking to countries like Lebanon and Turkey where the heat of the summer is very intense.
In a sort of cruel ironic way, the climate change that is making it so unbearably hot is also part of the reason that the conflict in Syria began. The results of climate change were very hard on the Syrian people, even before the conflict. Climate changed caused drought throughout the country, resulting in little crop yields that eventually led to the discontent that caused the nation to go to war. The fight that essentially began over a lack of resources is now continuing to punish those who fled with even less resources and even more extreme heat. The Middle East has reached peak temperatures this summer. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration refers to the region as possessing a “much warmer than average” temperature from March to May this year.
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Vivo Energy Ghana is a part of Shell and their primary job is to market and distribute fuel and lubricants that are Shell brand. Now the company is doing more that just dispensing gas as they develop their Community Investment Initiatives. This time their efforts are going towards a school road safety empowerment program that has teamed up with the National Road Safety Commission and the Ghana Education Service. Together these organizations hope to make the roads to children’s schools safer through education.
The program has been named, “My Road Safety, My Life.” The program will encourage and educate children about being safe on the road through good behavior, civilized conduct, and understanding how pedestrians, passenger, and cyclists can work together. The students will learn through classroom work, outdoor and on road experiences and simulation exercises, and more traditional quizzes. As the program begins, they will start small with the most high-risk roads. The Minster for Transport began this program and is encouraged that a corporation is taking steps to help the public as part of their corporate social responsibilities. The Minster, Dzifa Attivor said, “It is for this reason that we shall continue to support in any way possible, any measure that has the potential to contribute to the reduction and prevention of road traffic crashes in the Country.” The Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission, Ing. May Obiri Yeboah also weighed in on the corporation doing their part, praising Vivo Energy Ghana for helping to educate children to use more caution and smarts when frequenting motorways. Mr. Fred Osoro is the managing director of Vivo Energy Ghana and has publicly promised that the company is determined to stay committed to the project and that they will work with sponsoring stakeholders to keep the implementation moving through its various stages.
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It would seem that you should automatically build your business in a way that you can have a profit, but many also want to have a business that does good for the people around them. Now entrepreneurs want more. They want to be able to bring in profits while simultaneously helping others and using their business for a higher purpose to enrich their lives. There are other examples of changing business throughout history. During the Industrial Revolution businesses were expanding as new markets emerged and capitalism was born. Since that point capitalism has evolved, but really only to make more money for those in business. This evolution has occurred without any thought for those that are affected by the business, with the exception of the shareholders.
However, this model of capitalism, which is often taught, does not take into consideration the fact that the businessmen and women may be unsatisfied with the work they do. Is it enough to make piles of money if there is no tangible result of your work or no larger contribution to the world? This shift with those in business wanting to make a positive impact is known as “Second Stage CapitalismTM.” This change and a shift in what capitalism is in this country will surely change entrepreneurship. The new goals of business involves three different perspectives, mainly: yourself, others, and society at large. These perspectives work in stages. Entrepreneurs are primarily focused on themselves and then on the others that they work for and serve and finally society at large. By looking to help others it ultimately empowers businessmen and women because they will want to achieve moreand give more back. This will ultimately morph capitalism into something that is more future-minded, authentic, and heart filled. Really, the more conscious people become the better off the world will be, so bring on the change.
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Neurotheology is the study of the brain and how it interacts with religion. It is a field that tries to use science to explain religion and why so many flock to it. Dr. Andrew Newberg recently released a book on the subject, titled, The Metaphysical Mind: Probing the Biology of Philosophical Thought. In it he says that “everyone philosophizes” because we all speculate about what is going on in our lives, like a conflict with a coworker or even the purpose of living and being on this planet. It can be exciting to philosophize and come up with ideas about being or even having mystical experiences. Newberg explains in his book that our everyday concerns and our big spiritual questions are essentially the same neurological process. He also found that thinking about these big questions of a spiritual nature can increase both our mental and physical health.
Newberg is really one of the first people to every delve into looking at religion, faith, and spirituality, scientifically. He is a pioneer of neurotheology. He started his research in 1990 by scanning peoples brains while they meditate. He chose this spiritual practice for the ease of monitoring it. He expanded his research to scanning the brains of Buddhists, nuns, atheists, Pentecostals speaking in tongues, and Brazilians practicing psychography (interpreting messages from the dead through handwriting.) The action in the brain really depended on what kind of practice was happening. If there was prayer or meditation involved the frontal lobes (the area of attention, modulating behavior, and expressing language) were activated. For practice that included surrendering will in a sense, like speaking in tongues, the frontal lobe activity decreases and activity is higher in the thalamus, which is responsible for controlling the incoming sensory information for many parts of our brains. This indicates that when speaking in tongues, the speech does not come from the same place as normal speech patters. This information has served as proof for believers and non-believers look for neurological explanation. Newberg is careful to consider both sides and writes of the field that “an ardent atheist, who refuses to accept any aspect of religion as possibly correct or useful, or a devout religious person, who refuse to accept science as providing any value regarding knowledge of the world, would most likely not be considered a neurotheologian.”
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There are many alternative medicines, or non-western medicines available. If you feel that you want to heal yourself without the aid of a hospital stay or pills and surgery there are other options available. Energy healers or spiritual teachers have been helping many with issues of mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual pain and suffering. Seeking help from an energy healer can leave you feeling healthier than you were before and restored to a more normal state of being. The best part about this type of healing practice is that you can eventually learn to heal yourself.
Energy medicine used to be a taboo practice but it has been increasingly becoming mainstream. Seeking help from an energy healer is how many practice the medicine. The idea behind the practice is that there is energy that exists all around each and every one of us on multiple fields. Each person has their own energy field that responds to what is going on in our bodies and so if you change your energy field is can have a change with what happens in your body. The energy field around you is tested through chakras, or the focal points of energy in your body that are connected to the field of energy. A healer looks for distortions or irregularities in your chakras and can increase your energy flow and get rid of negative energy to heal you. Clearing your chakras can be done through meditation, journaling, and finding ways to stay grounded in nature. Energy medicine can heal your entire being and it also can be used as preventative medicine to prevent certain physical symptoms from developing. There are also zero negative side effects from pursuing this kind of energy healing treatment. Often times the practice of energy medicine will interact with your spiritual and emotional self and there may be a release of tears or anger or frustration, but every result of the practice of energy medicine is positive. It heals from within and can encourage joy, relief, a light spirit, a sense of freedom, and physical and emotional rebirth.
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At the Helm is a memoir of a veteran technocrat and his stints as the director of Bharat Heavy Electricals, Maruti Udyog, and Steel Authority of India (SAIL). The man who authored the text and lived this amazing life is the former civil servant V. Krishnamurthy. He writes honestly about the struggles these companies went through in their founding years. Those who ran the companies had to get rid of many standard practices in order to change the image that plagued many government run companies in that time. Krishnamurthy writes honestly and clearly of working tirelessly to improve the work culture, enforcing discipline to increase efficiency and dealing with trade unions in order to bring the costumer into the forefront of focus.
Although the government in India is still very controversial today when you read the memoir and look back in history you realize that there were many more problems between 1960 and 1980. Things really have improved and this memoir is part of that story. Krishnamurthy writes of all the problems with deliveries to customers at BHEL. There was no coordination between company’s and how to delivery units to customers. He says that “the customers would usually source equipment from each of the plants and put it together themselves.” He helped to set up a power projects division of the companies in order to provide and integrated service for customers, which yielded better delivery results. Krishnamurthy received the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second highest honor for his services in 2007.
The memoir overall is an interesting read in how India was able to work within the global market and slowly start to emerge as they enter the list of productive countries. His tone can be a bit self-congratulatory at times, but it forgivable for all that he has accomplished.
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There has been a marked rise in conscious business and now that needs support from conscious consumerism. It is wonderful that many more business are becoming socially responsible but there needs to be some acknowledgment of this from the wider corporate sector so that this can develop into something sustainable in the economy. There are 1,000 businesses around the world that are now classified as B Corporations that really promote sustainable, socially equitable and ethical behavior. They are very promising, but this trend cannot continue without the wider business community’s support. Right now the rest of the business community is stuck with conventional business models, which are not recognizing the huge, looming environment and social problems that await.
The things that these social enterprises or the B Corporations are helping on a micro scale, but cannot really be effective without support throughout the entire business community. Large scale change is the only thing that will address the crises that we are facing as a global community. However, it may not be the fault of those businesses that have not jumped on the B Corporations bandwagon yet. Really, business simply responds to consumer demands, so the real issues is getting consumers to be environmentally and socially conscious and demanding those products and services. It turns out that the Stanford Social Innovation review found that “consumers want to act green, but they expect businesses to lead the way.” So essentially, we have hit a chicken or egg situation. Who is going to act first? Business is waiting for consumer demand and consumers are waiting for business.
There are advantages for business like reducing pollution, waste and energy in order to be green. However, this requires some initial investment and it seems that many are not willing to take that leap. So really, this change overall must come from both the business and the consumer sectors. Someone must educate both consumers and enlighten the business community at the same time. There is mounting evidence that we need to change and a growing global consciousness of our human impact on the earth. Hopefully both consumers and businesses will realize that they need to change their ways before it is too late.
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