History of Coffee Essay

Coffee is one of the world’s most poplar beverages. Some claim it is the most widely consumed liquid in the world aside from water. Coffee is more than a beverage , however. It is a memory , anticipation, a lifetime of consoling moments of modest pleasure woven into our lives. Coffee’s success as a beverage undoubtedly owes both to the caffeine it harbors and to its sensory pleasure. Coffee lovers come to associate the energizing lift of the caffeine with richness and aroma of the beverage that delivers it.

Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries around the world and the principal commercial crop of over a dozen countries, half of which earns 25% to 50% of their foreign exchange revenue from coffee exports. More than 10 billion pounds of coffee beans are grown per year, providing more than 20 million jobs. Coffee is indigenous to Ethiopia and was most likely discovered as a food before it became a drink. The most popular legend of how coffee was discovered involves an Abyssinian goat herder named kaldi.

Kaldi awoke one night to find his goats dancing around a tree speckled with red cherries.

When he tasted one of the cherries, he too started dancing with the goats. As interesting as this story may be it is more likely that coffee was used as a food supplement by wandering Ethiopian tribes-men. The tribes-men are said to have squashed the coffee cherries and carried them on long journeys, eating them for nourishment as needed. Later, the coffee cherries were soaked in water, possibly to make wine, but some historians say it was not until 1000 AD, when the Arabs discovered how to boil, that coffee was serve hot.

Coffee was also believed to have medicinal properties. Avicenna, an Islamic physician and philosopher of the eleventh century, said of coffee: “It fortifies the members, it cleans the skin and dries up the humilities that are under it, and gives an excellent smell to all the body” CHAPTER – 1 HISTORY OF COFFEE HISTORY OF COFFEE [pic] Palestinian women grinding coffee the old fashioned way, 1905 The history of coffee goes at least as far back as the fifteenth century, though coffee’s origins remain unclear.

It had been believed that Ethiopian ancestors of today’s Oromo people were the first to have discovered and recognized the energizing effect of the coffee bean plant. However, no direct evidence has been found indicating where in Africa coffee grew or who among the natives might have used it as a stimulant or even known about it, earlier than the 17th century. The story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd who discovered coffee, did not appear in writing until 1671 and is probably apocryphal. From Ethiopia, coffee was said to have spread to Egypt and Yemen.

The arliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. It was here in Arabia that coffee beans were first roasted and brewed, in a similar way to how it is now prepared. By the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa. Coffee then spread to Italy, and to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and tothe Americas. Origins Etymology: The word “coffee” entered English in 1598 via Dutch koffie.

This word was created via Turkish kahve, the Turkish pronunciation Arabic qahwa, a truncation of qahhwat al-bun or wine of the bean. One possible origin of the name is the Kingdom of Kaffa in Ethiopia, where the coffee plant originated; its name there is bunn or bunna. Legendary accounts. There are several legendary accounts of the origin of the drink itself. One account involves the Yemenite Sufi mystic Shaikh ash-Shadhili. When traveling in Ethiopia, the legend goes; he observed goats of unusual vitality, and, upon trying the berries that the goats had been eating, experienced the same vitality.

A similar “Legend of Dancing Goats” attributes the discovery of coffee to an Ethiopian goatherder named Kaldi. The story of Kaldi did not appear in writing until 1671, and these stories are considered to be apocryphal. It used to be believed Ethiopian ancestors of today’s Oromo tribe, were the first to have recognized the energizing effect of the native coffee plant.

Studies of genetic diversity have been performed on Coffea arabica varieties, found to be of low diversity but which retained some residual heterozygosity from ancestral materials, and closely-related diploid species Coffea canephora and C.liberica; however, no direct evidence has ever been found indicating where in Africa coffee grew or who among the natives might have used it as a stimulant, or known about it there, earlier than the seventeenth century.

The Muslim world: The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge Of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of the Yemen in southern Arabia.

It was in Yemen that coffee beans were first roasted and brewed as they are today. From Mocha, coffee spread to Egypt and North Africa, and by the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia and Turkey. From the Muslim world, coffee drinking spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, and coffee plants were transported by the Dutch to the East Indies and to the Americas. Syrian Bedouin from a beehive village in Aleppo, Syria, sipping the traditional murra (bitter) coffee, 1930.

The earliest mention of coffee noted by the literary coffee merchant Philippe Sylvestre Dufour is a reference to bunchum in the works of the 10th century CE Persian physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi, known as Rhazes in the West, but more definite information on the preparation of a beverage from the roasted coffee berries dates from several centuries later. The most important of the early writers on coffee was io-de-caprio, who in 1587 compiled a work tracing the history and legal controversies of coffee entitled Umdat al safwa fi hill al-qahwa.

He reported that one Sheikh, Jamal-al-Din al-Dhabhani, mufti of Aden, was the first to adopt the use of coffee (circa 1454). Coffee’s usefulness in driving away sleep made it popular among Sufis. A translation traces the spread of coffee from Arabia Felix (the present day Yemen) northward to Mecca and Medina, and then to the larger cities of Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, and Istanbul. Coffee beans were first exported from Ethiopia to Yemen. Yemeni traders brought coffee back to their homeland and began to cultivate the bean. The first coffeehouse opened in Istanbul in 1554.

Coffee was at first not well received. In 1511, it was forbidden for its stimulating effect by conservative, orthodox imams at a theological court in Mecca. However, the popularity of the drink led these bans to be overturned in 1524 by an order of the Ottoman Turkish Sultan Selim I, with Grand Mufti Mehmet Ebussuud el-Imadi issuing a celebrated fatwa allowing the consumption of coffee. In Cairo, Egypt, a similar ban was instituted in 1532, and the coffeehouses and warehouses containing coffee beans were sacked. Similarly, coffee was banned by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church some time before the 12th century.

However, in the second half of the 19th century, Ethiopian attitudes softened towards coffee drinking, and its consumption spread rapidly between 1880 and 1886; according to Richard Pankhurst, “this was largely due to [Emperor] Menilek, who himself drank it, and to Abuna Matewos who did much to dispel the belief of the clergy that it was a Muslim drink. ” Europe [pic] Dutch engraving of Mocha in 1692 Coffee was noted in Ottoman Aleppo by the German physician botanist Leonhard Rauwolf, the first European to mention it, as chaube, in 1573; Rauwolf was closely followed by descriptions from other European travellers.

Coffee was first imported to Italy from the Ottoman Empire. The vibrant trade between Venice and the Muslims in North Africa, Egypt, and the East brought a large variety of African goods, including coffee, to this leading European port. Venetian merchants introduced coffee-drinking to the wealthy in Venice, charging them heavily for the beverage. In this way, coffee was introduced to Europe. Coffee became more widely accepted after controversy over whether it was acceptable during Lent was settled in its favor by Pope Clement VIII in 1600, despite appeals to ban the drink.

The first European coffee house (apart from those in the Ottoman Empire, mentioned above) was opened in Venice in 1645. England Largely through the efforts of the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company, coffee became available in England no later than the 16th century according to Leonhard Rauwolf’s 1583 account. The first coffeehouse in England was opened in St. Michael’s Alley in Cornhill. The proprietor was Pasqua Rosee, the servant of Daniel Edwards, a trader in Turkish goods. Edwards imported the coffee and assisted Rosee in setting up the establishment.

Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today. By 1675, there were more than 3,000 coffeehouses throughout England. Popularity of coffeehouses spread rapidly in Europe, and later, America. The banning of women from coffeehouses was not universal, but does appear to have been common in Europe. In Germany women frequented them, but in England they were banned. Many believed coffee to have several medicinal properties in this period. For example, a 1661 tract entitled “A character of coffee and coffee-houses”, written by one “M. P. “, lists some of these perceived virtues:

Not everyone was in favour of this new commodity, however. For example, the anonymous 1674 “Women’s Petition against Coffee” declared: France Antoine Galland (1646-1715) in his aforementioned translation described the Muslim association with coffee, tea and chocolate: “We are indebted to these great [Arab] physicians for introducing coffee to the modern world through their writings, as well as sugar, tea, and chocolate. ” Galland reported that he was informed by Mr. de la Croix, the interpreter of King Louis XIV of France, that coffee was brought to Paris by a certain Mr. Thevenot, who had travelled through the East.

On his return to that city in 1657, Thevenot gave some of the beans to his friends, one of whom was de la Croix. However, the major spread of the popularity of this beverage in Paris was soon to come. In 1669, Soleiman Agha, Ambassador from Sultan Mehmed IV, arrived in Paris with his entourage bringing with him a large quantity of coffee beans. Not only did they provide their French and European guests with coffee to drink, but they also donated some beans to the royal court. Between July 1669 and May 1670, the Ambassador managed to firmly establish the custom of drinking coffee among Parisians. [pic].

Melange in Vienna Austria The first coffeehouse in Austria opened in Vienna in 1683 after the Battle of Vienna, by using supplies from the spoils obtained after defeating the Turks. The officer who received the coffee beans, Polish military officer of Ukrainian origin Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, opened the coffee house and helped popularize the custom of adding sugar and milk to the coffee. Until recently, this was celebrated in Viennese coffeehouses by hanging a picture of Kulczycki in the window. Melange is the typical Viennese coffee, which comes mixed with hot foamed milk and a glass of water.

Netherlands The race among Europeans to make off with some live coffee trees or beans was eventually won by the Dutch in the late 17th century, when they allied with the natives of Kerala against the Portuguese and brought some live plants back from Malabar to Holland, where they were grown in greenhouses. The Dutch began growing coffee at their forts in Malabar, India, and in 1699 took some to Batavia in Java, in what is now Indonesia. Within a few years the Dutch colonies (Java in Asia, Surinam in Americas) had become the main suppliers of coffee to Europe. Americas.

Gabriel de Clieu brought coffee seedlings to Martinique in the Caribbean circa 1720. Those sprouts flourished and 50 years later there were 18,680 coffee trees in Martinique enabling the spread of coffee cultivation to Haiti, Mexico and other islands of the Caribbean. Coffee also found its way to the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean known as the Isle of Bourbon. The plant produced smaller beans and was deemed a different variety of Arabica known as var. Bourbon. The Santos coffee of Brazil and the Oaxaca coffee of Mexico are the progeny of that Bourbon tree.

Circa 1727, the Emperor of Brazil sent Francisco de Mello Palheta to French Guinea to obtain coffee seeds to become a part of the coffee market. Francisco initially had difficulty obtaining these seeds yet he captivated the French Governor’s wife and she in turn, sent him enough seeds and shoots which would commence the coffee industry of Brazil. In 1893, the coffee from Brazil was introduced into Kenya and Tanzania (Tanganyika), not far from its place of origin in Ethiopia, 600 years prior, ending its transcontinental journey. The French colonial plantations relied heavily on African slave laborers.

Ancient Production of coffee The first step in Europeans’ wresting the means of production was effected by Nicolaes Witsen, the enterprising burgomaster of Amsterdam and member of the governing board of the Dutch East India Company who urged Joan van Hoorn, the Dutch governor at Batavia that some coffee plants be obtained at the export port of Mocha in Yemen, the source of Europe’s supply, and established in the Dutch East Indies; the project of raising many plants from the seeds of the first shipment met with such success that the Dutch East India Company was able to supply Europe’s demand with “Java coffee” by 1719.

Encouraged by their success, they soon had coffee plantations in Ceylon Sumatra and other Sunda islands. Coffee trees were soon grown under glass at the Hortus Botanicus of Leiden, whence slips were generously extended to other botanical gardens. Dutch representatives at the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Utrecht presented their French counterparts with a coffee plant, which was grown on at the Jardin du Roi, predecessor of the Jardin des Plantes, in Paris.

The introduction of coffee to the Americas was effected by Captain Gabriel des Clieux, who obtained cuttings from the reluctant botanist Antoine de Jussieu, who was loath to disfigure the king’s coffee tree. Clieux, when water rations dwindled during a difficult voyage, shared his portion with his precious plants and protected them from a Dutchman, perhaps an agent of the Provinces jealous of the Batavian trade.

Clieux nurtured the plants on his arrival in the West Indies, and established them in Guadeloupe and Saint- Domingue in addition to Martinique, where a blight had struck the cacao plantations, which were replaced by coffee plantations in a space of three years, is attributed to France through its colonization of many parts of the continent starting with the Martinique and the colonies of the West Indies where the first French coffee plantations were founded. The first coffee plantation in Brazil occurred in 1727 when Lt. Col.

Francisco de Melo Palheta smuggled seeds, still essentially from the germ plasm originally taken from Yemen to Batavia, from French Guiana. By the 1800s, Brazil’s harvests would turn coffee from an elite indulgence to a drink for the masses. Brazil, which like most other countries cultivates coffee as a commercial commodity, relied heavily on slave labor from Africa for the viability of the plantations until the abolition of slavery in 1888. The success of coffee in 17th-century Europe was paralleled with the spread of the habit of tobacco smoking all over the continent during the course of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48).

For many decades in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Brazil was the biggest producer of coffee and a virtual monopolist in the trade. However, a policy of maintaining high prices soon opened opportunities to other nations, such as Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Indonesia and Vietnam, now second only to Brazil as the major coffee producer in the world. Large-scale production in Vietnam began following normalization of trade relations with the US in 1995. Nearly all of the coffee grown there is Robusta.

Despite the origins of coffee cultivation in Ethiopia, that country produced only a small amount for export until the Twentieth Century, and much of that not from the south of the country but from the environs of Harar in the northeast. The Kingdom of Kaffa, home of the plant, was estimated to produce between 50,000 and 60,000 kilograms of coffee beans in the 1880s. Commercial production effectively began in 1907 with the founding of the inland port of Gambela, and greatly increased afterwards: 100,000 kilograms of coffee was exported from Gambela in 1908, while in 1927-8 over 4 million kilograms passed through that port.

Coffee plantations were also developed in Arsi Province at the same time, and were eventually exported by means of the Addis Ababa – Djibouti Railway. While only 245,000 kilograms were freighted by the Railway, this amount jumped to 2,240,000 kilograms by 1922, surpassed exports of “Harari” coffee by 1925, and reached 9,260,000 kilograms in 1936. Australia is a minor coffee producer, with little product for export, but its coffee history goes back to 1880 when the first of 500 acres (2. 0 km2) began to be developed in an area between northern New South Wales and Cooktown.

Today there are several producers of Arabica coffee in Australia that use a mechanical harvesting system invented in 1981. *** CHAPTER – 2 INSIGHT ON COFFEE INSIGHT ON COFFEE |Coffee | |[pic] | |Roasted coffee beans | |Type |Hot or cold beverage | |Country of origin |Ethiopia, and Yemen | |Introduced |Approx. 15th century AD (beverage) | |Color |Brown | Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted seeds, commonly called coffee beans, of the coffee plant. They are seeds of coffee cherries that grow on trees in over 70 countries. Green coffee, for example, is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world.

Due to its caffeine content, coffee can have a stimulating effect in humans. Today, coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. It is thought that the energizing effect of the coffee bean plant was first recognized in Yemen in Arabia and the north east of Ethiopia, and the cultivation of coffee first expanded in the Arab world. The earliest credible evidence of coffee drinking appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of the Yemen in southern Arabia. From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas.

Coffee has played an important role in many societies throughout history. In Africa and Yemen, it was used in religious ceremonies. As a result, the Ethiopian Church banned its secular consumption until the reign of EmperorMenelik II of Ethiopia. It was banned in Ottoman Turkey during the 17th century for political reasons, and was associated with rebellious political activities in Europe. Coffee berries, which contain the coffee bean, are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown are Coffea canephora (also known as Coffea robusta) and Coffea arabica.

Both are cultivated primarily in LatinAmerica,Southeast Asia, and Africa. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. They are then ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways. An important export commodity, coffee was the top agricultural export for 12 countries in 2004, and in 2005, it was the world’s seventh-largest legal agricultural export by value. Some controversy is associated with coffee cultivation and its impact on the environment.

Many studies have examined the relationship between coffee consumption and certain medical conditions; whether the overall effects of coffee are ultimately positive or negative has been widely disputed. However, the method of brewing coffee has been found to be important. Biology Several species of shrub of the genus Coffea produce the berries from which coffee is extracted.

The two main cultivated species, Coffea canephora(also known as Coffea robusta) and C. arabica, are native to subtropical Africa and southern Asia. Less popular species are C.liberica, excelsa,stenophylla, mauritiana, and racemosa.

They are classified in the large family Rubiaceae. They are evergreen shrubs or small trees that may grow 5 m (15 ft) tall when unpruned. The leaves are dark green and glossy, usually 10–15 cm (4-6 in) long and 6 cm (2. 4 in) wide. Clusters of fragrant white flowers bloom simultaneously and are followed by oval berries of about 1. 5 cm. Green when immature, they ripen to yellow, then crimson, before turning black on drying. Each berry usually contains two seeds, but 5–10% of the berries have only one; these are called peaberries.

Berries ripen in seven to nine months. Cultivation Coffee is usually propagated by seeds. The traditional method of planting coffee is to put 20 seeds in each hole at the beginning of the rainy season; half are eliminated naturally. A more effective method of growing coffee, used in Brazil, is to raise seedlings in nurseries, which are then planted outside at 6 to 12 months. Coffee is often intercropped with food crops, such as corn, beans, or rice, during the first few years of cultivation. [pic].

Map showing areas of coffee cultivation: r:Coffea canephora m:Coffea canephora and Coffea arabica a:Coffea arabica Of the two main species grown, arabica coffee (from C. arabica) is considered more suitable for drinking than robusta coffee (from C. canephora); robusta tends to be bitter and have less flavor but better body than arabica. For these reasons, about three-quarters of coffee cultivated worldwide is C. arabica. However, C. canephora is less susceptible to disease than C. arabica and can be cultivated in environments where C. arabica will not thrive. Robusta coffee also contains about 40–50% more caffeine than arabica.

For this reason, it is used as an inexpensive substitute for arabica in many commercial coffee blends. Good quality robustas are used in some espresso blends to provide a better foam head, a full-bodied result, and to lower the ingredient cost. The species Coffea liberica and Coffea esliaca are believed to be indigenous to Liberia and southern Sudan, respectively. Most arabica coffee beans originate from either Latin America, eastern Africa, Arabia, or Asia. Robusta coffee beans are grown in western and central Africa, throughout southeast Asia, and to some extent in Brazil.

Beans from different countries or regions can usually be distinguished by differences in flavor, aroma, body, or acidity. These taste characteristics are dependent not only on the coffee’s growing region, but also on genetic subspecies (varietals) and processing. Varietals are generally known by the region in which they are grown, such as Colombian, Java or Kona. Production Brazil is the world leader in production of green coffee, followed by Vietnam and Colombia the last of which produces a much softer coffee.

|Top twenty green coffee producers — Tonnes (2007) and Bags thousands (2007) | |Country |Tonnes |Bags thousands | |[pic] Brazil |2,249,010 |36,070 | |[pic] Vietnam |961,200 |16,467 | |[pic] Colombia |697,377 |12,515 | |[pic] Indonesia |676,475 |7,751 | |[pic] Ethiopia |325,800 |4,906 | |[pic] India |288,000 |4,148 | |[pic] Mexico |268,565 |4,150 | |[pic] Guatemala |252,000 |4,100 | |[pic] Peru |225,992 |2,953 | |[pic] Honduras |217,951 |3,842 | |[pic] Cote d’Ivoire |170,849 |2,150 | |[pic] Uganda |168,000 |3,250 | |[pic] Costa Rica |124,055 |1,791 | |[pic] Philippines |97,877 |431 | |[pic] El.

Salvador |95,456 |1,626 | |[pic] Nicaragua |90,909 |1,700 | |[pic] Papua New Guinea |75,400 |968 | |[pic] Venezuela |70,311 |897 | |[pic] Madagascar[note 2] |62,000 |604 | |[pic] Thailand |55,660 |653 | |  World |7,742,675 |117,319 | Ecological effects [pic] [pic] A flowering Coffea arabica tree in a Brazilian plantation Originally, coffee farming was done in the shade of trees, which provided a habitat for many animals and insects. This method is commonly referred to as the traditional shaded method, or “shade-grown”.

Many farmers switched their production method to sun cultivation, in which coffee is grown in rows under full sun with little or no forest canopy. This causes berries to ripen more rapidly and bushes to produce higher yields, but requires the clearing of trees and increased use of fertilizer and pesticides, which damage the environment and cause health problems. When compared to the sun cultivation method, traditional coffee production causes berries to ripen more slowly and produce lower yields, but the quality of the coffee is allegedly superior.

In addition, the traditional shaded method is environmentally friendly and provides living space for many wildlife species. Opponents of sun cultivation say environmental problems such as deforestation, pesticide pollution, habitat destruction, and soil and water degradation are the side effects of these practices. The American Birding Association, Smithsonian Migratory Bird- Center, Rainforest Alliance, and the Arbor Day Foundation have led a campaign for “shade-grown” and organic coffees, which it says are sustainably harvested.

However, while certain types of shaded coffee cultivation systems show greater biodiversity than full-sun systems, they still compare poorly to native forest in terms of habitat value. Another issue concerning coffee is its use of water. According to New Scientist, if using industrial farming practices, it takes about 140 liters of water to grow the coffee beans needed to produce one cup of coffee, and the coffee is often grown in countries where there is a water shortage, such as Ethiopia.

By using  sustainable agriculture methods, the amount of water usagecan be dramatically reduced, while retaining comparable yields. Coffee grounds may be used for composting or as a mulch. They are especially appreciated by worms and acid-loving plants such as blueberries. *** CHAPTER – 3 TYPES OF COFFEE TYPES OF COFFEE Coffea Arabica | | |Scientific classification | |Kingdom: |Plantae | |(unranked): |Angiosperms | |(unranked): |Eudicots | |(unranked): |Asterids | |Order: |Gentianales | |Family: |Rubiaceae | |Genus: |Coffea | |Species: |C. arabica | |Binomial name | |Coffea arabica |.

Coffea arabica is a species of coffee originally indigenous to the mountains of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, hence its name, and also from the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia and southeastern Sudan. It is also known as the “coffee shrub of Arabia”, “mountain coffee” or “arabica coffee”. Coffea arabica is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated, being grown in southwest Arabia for well over 1,000 years. It is considered to produce better coffee than the other major commercially grown coffee species, Coffea canephora (robusta). Arabica contains less caffeine than any other commercially cultivated species of coffee.

Wild plants grow to between 9 and 12 m tall, and have an open branching system; the leaves are opposite, simple elliptic-ovate to oblong, 6–12 cm long and 4–8 cm broad, glossy dark green. The flowers are white, 10–15 mm in diameter and grow in axillary clusters. The fruit is a drupe (though commonly called a “berry”) 10–15 mm in diameter, maturing bright red to purple and typically contain two seeds (the coffee ‘bean’). | | Distribution and habitat Originally found in the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia, Coffea arabica is now rare there in its native state, and many populations appear to be mixed native and planted trees.

It is common there as an understorey shrub. It has also been recovered from the Boma Plateau in southeastern Sudan. Coffea arabica is also found on Mt Marsabit in northern Kenya, but it is unclear whether this is a truly native or naturalised occurrence. Yemen is also believed to have native Coffea arabica growing in fields. Cultivation Coffea arabica takes about seven years to mature fully and does best with 1- 1. 5 meters (about 40-59 inches) of rain, evenly distributed throughout the year. It is usually cultivated between 1,300 and 1,500 m altitude, but there are plantations as low as sea level and as high as 2,800 m.

The plant can tolerate low temperatures, but not frost, and it does best when the temperature hovers around 20 °C (68 °F). Commercial cultivars mostly only grow to about 5 m, and are frequently trimmed as low as 2 m to facilitate harvesting. Unlike Coffea canephora, Coffea arabica prefers to be grown in light shade. Two to four years after planting Coffea arabica produces small, white and highly fragrant flowers. The sweet fragrance resembles the sweet smell of jasmine flowers. When flowers open on sunny days, this results in the greatest numbers of berries.

This can be a curse however as coffee plants tend to produce too many berries; this can lead to an inferior harvest and even damage yield in the following years as the plant will favor the ripening of berries to the detriment of its own health. On well kept plantations this is prevented by pruning the tree. The flowers themselves only last a few days leaving behind only the thick dark green leaves. The berries then begin to appear. These are as dark green as the foliage, until they begin to ripen, at first to yellow and then light red and finally darkening to a glossy deep red.

At this point they are called ‘cherries’ and are ready for picking. The berries are oblong and about 1 cm long. Inferior coffee results from picking them too early or too late, so many are picked by hand to be able to better select them, as they do not all ripen at the same time. They are sometimes shaken off the tree onto mats, which means that ripe and unripe berries are collected together. The trees are difficult to cultivate and each tree can produce anywhere from 0. 5–5 kg of dried beans, depending on the tree’s individual character and the climate that season.

The real prize of this cash crop are the beans inside. Each berry holds two locules containing the beans. The coffee beans are actually two seeds within the fruit; there is sometimes a third seed or one seed, a peaberry in the fruits at tips of the branches. These seeds are covered in two membranes, the outer one is called the ‘parchment’ and the inner one is called the ‘silver skin’. In perfect conditions, like those of Java, trees are planted at all times of the year and are harvested year round. In less ideal conditions, like those in parts of Brazil, the trees have a season and are harvested only in winter.

The plants are vulnerable to damage in poor growing conditions and are also more vulnerable to pests than the Robusta plant. Gourmet coffees are almost exclusively high-quality mild varieties of coffea arabica, like Colombian coffee. Arabica coffee production in Indonesia began in 1699. Indonesian coffees, such as Sumatran and Java, are known for heavy body and low acidity. This makes them ideal for blending with the higher acidity coffees from Central America and East Africa. Coffea canephora | | |Scientific classification | |Kingdom: |Plantae | |(unranked): |Angiosperms | |(unranked): |Eudicots ||(unranked): |Asterids | |Order: |Gentianales | |Family: |Rubiaceae | |Genus: |Coffea | |.

Species: |C. canephora | |Binomial name | |Coffea canephora | Coffea canephora (Robusta Coffee Coffea robusta) is a species of coffee which has its origins in central and western subsaharan Africa. It is grown mostly in Africa and Brazil, where it is often called Conillon. It is also grown in Southeast Asia where French colonists introduced it in the late 19th century. In recent years Vietnam, which only produces robusta, has surpassed Brazil, India, and Indonesia to become the world’s single largest exporter.

Approximately one third of the coffee produced in the world is robusta. Canephora is easier to care for than the other major species of coffee, Coffea arabica, and, because of this, is cheaper to produce. Since arabica beans are often considered superior, robusta is usually limited to lower grade coffee blends as filler. It is however often included in instant coffee, and in espresso blends to promote the formation of “crema”. Robusta has about twice as much caffeine as arabica.

Traditional Banking Essay

The article “The decline of traditional banking: implications for financial stability and regulatory policy” by Franklin R. Edwards and Frederic S. Mishkin presents a very detailed and well researched exploration of the current movement of banks away from traditional banking. The authors describe their objectives as including an examination of the reasons behind the decline of traditional banking, and an identification of the effects that these would have on the stability and regulation of banks. The article meets these goals well, as it begins by demonstrating the complexity of the current banking situation and how/why balance sheets reflect information that go far beyond mere lending.

The non-traditional methods of banking as well as the financial institutions that have evolved and crowded the banking market are also explored in detail. Finally, the authors expound on the ways that banks might improve their status in the financial market and maintain stable regulatory policies within such a highly competitive and unstable environment. Therefore, while in some areas the explanations were a bit awkward, overall the authors manage to unite the causes, effects, and possible remedies of the current problems being faced by banks, and this is done in a manner that demonstrates a deep understanding of the situation.

The introductory pages of the article do give a very detailed picture of why the authors found it necessary to explore the decline of traditional banking. Traditional banking, they explain, dealt mainly with the issuing of long term loans financed by short-term deposits (Edwards & Miskhin, 27). They provide evidence in the form of graphs and statistics, showing both the size of the decline in earnings from such traditional (financial) borrowing, as well as the share of non-financial borrowing granted banks and their competitors.

The fact that both commercial and thrift banks’ non-financial borrowing declined by an average of 7% over a thirty-five year period demonstrates that significant decline has indeed taken place in their share of that market. The authors also give concrete evidence concerning the decline in these institutions’ returns on such holdings as assets and equity. Finally the authors demonstrate the trend in banks’ share in the market concerned with non-interest income. This increasing trend represents precisely the move away from tradition they have identified. The placement of these facts and charts was effective as a method of vindicating the authors’ decision to explore reasons for the decline in traditional banking.

Edwards and Mishkin  go on to explore such areas as the decline in banks’ advantage as far as liabilities are concerned. This is demonstrated in terms of declining cost advantages, which as shown to have become a reality when other institutions found a way to capitalize on the banks’ financial privileges. They explained the fact that ceilings and other restrictions (at one time favorable to the banks) had been placed upon their ability to offer interest on certain types of deposits (such as checkable deposits).

These regulations restricted their ability to be competitive at a crucial time in the market and therefore opened the doors for other lending institutions (exempt from such restrictions) to attract customers by offering higher interest. This serves as a cogent explanation of why banks have declined in this traditional area. Yet, the authors represent the complexity of the market by exploring a few other reasons why such decline has taken place.

The existence of the new paper market (securities) has also been cited as a reason that adds to the complexity of the problem that banks now face (Edwards & Miskhin, 31). The previously mentioned decline in banks’ lending to commercial entities is now explained by the fact that these businesses have been given the option of borrowing directly from the public through the issuance of securities.

The authors also cite the rise of mutual funds and junk bonds on the money market as having an indirect effect on the market position of banks. They write, “The growth of assets in money market mutual funds to more than $500 billion created a ready market for commercial paper because money market mutual funds must hold liquid, high-quality, short-term assets” (31). This serves the explanatory purposes of the authors by demonstrating the sheer size and number of the alternatives to banks that exist on the financial market.

The authors, Edwards and Mishkin, also explore some of the reasons why such alternative institutions have become such a threat to banks. Besides their ability to offer attractive alternatives to customers, these financial institutions have also demonstrated an ability to secure their assets. They explain these institutions’ methods of originating loans and then creating more loans from these. They write: “Advances in information and data processing technology have enabled non-bank competitors to originate loans, transform these into marketable securities, and sell them to obtain more funding with which to make more loans” (Edwards & Miskhin, 32). The rise of financially capable technology has made easy these maneuvers by such non-bank facilities, and this has led to the current position of decline in banks’ traditional activities.

The authors of the article also demonstrate the route that banks have had to take in order to combat the effects of being forced to share their market. They use graphs and data effectively to demonstrate the sharp climb in what had traditionally been considered risky types of loans. These graphs depict a rise in bank issuance of real estate loans, and further details the authors provide demonstrate that banks have had to stoop to lending to “less credit-worthy borrowers” in order to increase their financial viability in these tough times (Edwards & Mishkin, 27& 33).

They also depict the methods chosen by banks to increase their activities that take place off the balance sheet. Banks have expanded into the market for financial derivatives, in which they serve as “off-exchange or over the counter (OTC) derivatives dealers” (34). In order to increase the authority of the article, the writers then provide in several charts concrete evidence of the different kinds of derivative deals in which actual banks have recently participated or mediated. Further evidence concerning the proportion of income banks have derived from these off-balance transactions serve to depict the extent to which they have effaced or replaced traditional banking.

Edwards and Mishkin’s exploration of the nature of the risk faced by these banks in involving themselves in OTC activities demonstrates the extent to which these institutions have been forced by a declining traditional market to engage in alternate financial activities. Since their derivative activities have mainly been in the area of swapping interest rates, the risk involved in this can be seen to be high—though tempered by the fact that they “do not involve payment of principal amounts” (Edwards & Miskhin, 38). Furthermore, the authors’ detailed explanation of swaps and the risks they carry aid the overall understanding of the type of risks banks have been forced to take in order to retain their profits. This leads to a better understanding of the extent to which traditional banking has been transformed.

Finally, the authors Edwards and Mishkin go on to outline the regulations that have been put in place and the implications that they are likely to have for bank policies. The need for regulation is expressed in the evidence they produce from the GAO (U.S. Government Accounting Office). It explains that the discounts and insurance provided by Federal Reserve Bank accords to banks a level of security that might induce them to take higher risks that they would (or should) otherwise have taken.

Regulations have therefore been made that allow only banks with good management and high capital to engage in some of the riskier types of non-traditional banking activities. Such activities include securities underwriting and trading, and dealing in the derivatives market. The inclusion of these explanations in the article demonstrates the thoroughness of the authors in identifying other reasons (beyond mere competition) why some banks have been or may be forced out of the financial business.

The details of policy implications for banks given by the authors are shown to include regulations that strengthen banks’ ability to compete. These measures have also been shown to include the seeking of methods that prevent the fall of capital below certain levels (Edwards & Mishkin, 40). In presenting the pros and cons of these ideas, the authors demonstrate and impart a thorough understanding of the intricacies of banking and further communicate the complexities of the business. The writers, through their efforts, also demonstrate the gravity of the situation that banks now face in their need to write policy giving them the ability to expand beyond their traditional financial market.

Despite the overall clarity and detail of the ideas presented in support of the authors’ claims, a level of awkwardness does enter into a few paragraphs of this article. The awkwardness within this article mainly exists in the introductory pages, where Edwards and Mishkin enumerate (rather than explore) the reasons for and the extent of the decline in traditional banking. The confusing nature of the financial situation being faced by banks is translated to the work, as the writers continually meet their given reasons with qualifications to the effect that demonstrate the inadequacy of each explanation.

They, for example, identify their measure of banks’ profitability over a period of time as “crude” and explain that other measures do not “adjust for the expenses associated with generating noninterest income” (Edwards & Miskhin, 29-30). One gets the feeling that the writers might have taken the trouble to do the extra calculations in order to provide a more comprehensive view of the situation. However, they do provide much more detailed explorations in the ensuing paragraphs.

This article by Edwards and Mushkin presents a very interesting and informative view of the current situation facing banks in today’s financial market. The traditional role usually occupied by banks as lenders has been undermined by the influx of non-traditional lending institutions. These institutions have taken the opportunity to provide lower-interest loans and higher-interest deposits to customers, thereby forcing banks to flee to riskier methods of gaining revenue. Policies that regulate banks’ behavior have become necessary as a result of this trend toward riskier business, and this has sparked ideas concerning policy making and the risks and benefits they would impart to all stakeholders.

Work Cited

Edwards, Franklin R and Frederic S. Mishkin. “The decline of traditional banking: implications            for financial stability and regulatory policy.” FRBNY Economic Policy Review. July (1995): 27-45.

Chinese Wedding Tradition Essay

Introduction

            A wedding day is considered as the most important and memorable event in one’s life because it is their way of affirming their love and intimacy in public. At that very moment, the couple makes sure that everything is perfectly planned, from proposal to reception. This is because the groom usually wants to offer the best to his bride. A wedding is also considered among many nations as a very sensitive event because all aspects of the wedding shall conform to their beliefs and traditions.

The date and place of the wedding are also given considerable significance. Moreover, the wedding rites are meticulously carried out because everything used symbolizes something especially among Chinese.

            In Chinese tradition, the wedding is purposely to continue their clan and to strengthen the relationship of the two families. It is in the best interest of the parents and so they exert a great deal effort of finding good match for their son. The matching is made very carefully through rituals to ensure the absence of bad omens.

Furthermore, a traditional Chinese wedding is interestingly coupled with complicated beliefs to ensure luck, joy, and happiness for the couple.

Before the Wedding

            The proposal in Chinese wedding is not made by the boy, instead, his parents find a girl that matches him. When the match has been found, the proposal and expression of the match is done through a “go- between” who would present a gift to the girl’s parents. If the proposal is received, the go- between will get the girl’s birth date and birth hour to be recorded in a formal document which will be placed in the altar of the boy’s family for three days (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project). If within three days, no inauspicious omen occurred like trouble between the two families, the information is given to an astrological expert for confirmation of the match (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project). When a favorable horoscope is found, the girl’s family will also do the same ritual.

            The next process is the bethrodal where both parents exchange presents as a form of their intentions. During the bethodal, the parents would extensively bargain for the amount of money and goods as a gift to the girl’s family. Usually, the bethodal gifts includes, tea, dragon and phoenix bridal cakes, pairs of male and female poultry, wine, tobacco, and others (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project). The cake received by the bride is shared to family friends and relatives as a sign of the wedding announcement and invitation. In exchange, the girl’s family would offer foods and clothing.

            On the same day, the wedding date is set. It is important among Chinese that the wedding date is a lucky day. The date is chosen according to the lunar calendar when the moon and the stars are properly aligned with the guidance of an astrologist (983Weddings.com). Moreover, it has been a practice that the couple marry when the hands of the clocks are moving up instead of down because it is their belief that their married life would begin in an upswing manner (983Weddings.com).

            Before the wedding day, the bride is required to stay in seclusion together with her closest friends where she would be rendered a lamentation for her separation from her parents (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project). Another preparation made is the installation of the new bridal bed by married men or women having many children. The night before the wedding day, the groom is required to sleep on the bed with an innocent young child to invite fertility.

Wedding Day

            On the very day of wedding, the bride takes a bath in water filled with pomelo and other varieties of grape fruit to cleanse her of evil influences (Chinese Weddings by the Knot). Her hair is combed by a married woman four times and each stroke symbolizes good luck, fertility, longevity, and happiness, respectively (Helium).

Her hair is styled in a bun at the top of her head like that of a married woman. Moreover, her hair dress, made of either red silk veil or curtain of tassle or beads, is hanged from her Phoenix crown so that her face will be covered (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project). The brides wear a simple yet elegant red wedding dress and red shoes (Helium). The presence of a “good- luck woman” is also required during the bride’s preparation (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project). After all the preparations, the bride bows to her parents and to the ancestral table then waits for the bridal procession (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project).

            On the other hand, the groom wears a long gown, a red silk sash with a silk ball on his shoulder together with red shoes, (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project). As he kneels before the altar, his father places the cap, which is garnished with cypress leaves, on his head (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project). Before the groom goes on a bridal procession, he is required to kneel before the tablets of Heaven and Earth and his ancestors then to his parents and relatives (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project).

            Noticeably, the color used for wedding dress, invitations, and envelopes is red. For the Chinese, red stands for luck, joy, happiness, and courage. On the red wedding invitations and decorations, the symbol of double happiness is placed on them to represent a wish of happiness to the newly wed (Fong & Chuang, 2003, p.138).

            After the preparation, the groom leads the bridal procession to pick up his bride. The procession is accompanied by the noise of firecrackers, loud gongs and drums (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project). The groom is also accompanied by a child to symbolize his future sons (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project).

            The wedding ceremony itself is simpler than the preparation. The couple is led to the altar to pray to the Heaven and Earth, to family ancestors, and to the Kitchen god, Tsao- Chun (Hudson Valley Weddings). Afterwards, a tea with lotus seeds is offered by the couple to the grooms parents (Chinese Historical and Cultural Project). The marriage ceremony is completed when the couple bows at each other.

            The wedding feast is prepared by the bride’s family separate from that of the groom’s family. On each feasts, the men sits separately from women. Then bride and the groom are presented with the two goblets of honey and wine tied together with red ribbon (Kingma, 2003, p. 166). They partake in these two drinks to represent that they have come together in marriage in love and in courage.

After the Wedding

            On the day after the wedding, the bride is required to wake up at dawn to honor their ancestors and bow before the groom’s relatives as she receives gifts from them. That is the only day when the bride is formally introduced to the grooms family and relatives.

Conclusion

            It can be considered that the trditional Chinese wedding is the most complicated and meticulous yet most elegant wedding there is. It can also be said that since the wedding has the longest preparation, the parents of both partners may plan for it while the future couple are still young. Moreover, the wedding ceremony itself is given utmost importance as it is enriched by beliefs to ensure good things for the couple and for their family.

Works Cited

“Chinese Wedding Traditions.” 2008. Chinese Historical and Cultural Project. 4 June 2008             <http://www.chcp.org/wedding.html#auspicious>.

“A Guide to Chinese Wedding Customs.” 2008. Helium. 4 June 2008             <http://www.helium.com/items/716753-fatherly-moonlight-string-around>.

“Chinese Wedding Traditions.” 2008. Hudson Valley Weddings. 4 June 2008             <http://www.hudsonvalleyweddings.com/guide/china.htm>.

“Chinese Wedding Traditions- Marriage Customs.” 983 Weddings.com. 4 June 2008             <http://www.983wedding.com/chinese/>.

Fong, Mary & Chuang, Rueyling. Communicating Ethnic and Cultural Identity. Rowman &      Littlefield, 2003.

Kingma, Daphne R. Weddings from the Heart: Contemporary & Traditional Ceremonies            for an Unforgettable Wedding. Red Wheel, 2003.

“Wedding Style: How to Make Your Wedding Unique.” 2008. Chinese Weddings by the Knot. 4 June 2008 <http://www.chineseweddingsbytheknot.com/articles/article.aspx?a articleid=a60830151130>.

Financial Analysis of Cadbury Schweppes Essay

The capital structure of Cadbury Schweppes based on its 2006 balance sheet shows that the company uses more debt than equity to finance its operations.

The company’s debt to total stockholders equity ratio of the company is more than fifty percent, while its debt to equity ratio is at 1. 30. A high debt to equity ratio means that the company relies heavily in debt financing. A high debt to equity ratio does not necessarily mean that the company has poor financial leverage because there are industries that are capital intensive which requires companies to incur large amounts of debt to finance its operations.

One such industry is the automobile industry, where a debt to equity ratio of two is still considered acceptable. In the case of Cadbury Schweppes, the company is engaged in manufacturing candy, chocolate and drinks. It is an industry which is not as capital intensive as the car manufacturing industry so its debt to equity ratio maybe too high.

The company has been undergoing changes in its operations over the years. It has gradually moved out of its investments that do not fall within its core business which is confectionery and beverage.

While it disposed of some of its incompatible businesses, it continued to expand its confectionery and beverage operations. These acquisitions, particularly those made in the United States can be the reason for its large debt. Debt is used by the company to increase its operations and, as a consequence, increase its profits. The company’s performance has been increasingly growing every year, so it is possible that the company has determined that the cost of expending the operations which is in the form of interest payments is much lower than the benefits incurred in the form of increase in sales.

Having a large amount of is extremely detrimental to the company if it is unable to recoup the cost of the debt; this is not the case of Cadbury Schweppes. The dividend yield ratio measures the amount of income received by each share of stock with the cost of such share. The dividend yield ratio necessarily varies over time because the market value of share changes as it is traded. A comparison of dividend yield ratio over time can be used to gauge if the performance of the company is improving, but this ratio should not be analyzed on its own.

It must be analyzed together with other factors such as the market value of the share. A company with a low dividend yield can mean that the company’s share is priced highly by the market and does not necessarily mean that the company is unable to make dividend payments. On the other hand, high dividend yield can mean that the company’s share has a very low market value and not because it is able to give its shareholders large amounts of dividends. The company has a dividend yield of 2. 30% and it share has a market value ranging from 51. 5 to 51. 6.

Based on this figures, it is apparent that its dividend yield is not because of the extremely high or low market value of its share. The price/earnings ratio of the company, on the other hand, is seen by investors as a gauge of how much the market values the company’s share. In this company’s case, it has a price earning of 24. 22. This number is very close to the industry’s average. This means that the company is competitive with other members of the industry and is generally viewed by the investing community as a good investment.

Based on its dividend yield and price/earnings ratio, the company is able to compensate stockholders despite its large debts. This is probably because the earnings of the company is divided by a smaller number of shares than if the company chose to finance its operation by equity rather than debt. The large shareholders of the company are Franklin Resources, Inc. and Legal and General with shares ownership amounting to 4. 01% and 3. 47%.

The Tortilla Curtain Novel by T.C. Boyle Essay

      The American Dream as generally defined is the idea of working one’s way up the ladder of life. It is the idea that an American can start with nothing or an immigrant can come here with nothing and with some hard work and determination, can have all the things he/she ever wanted. The American dream began as Horatio Alger story and ends up meaning suburbanites driving in their Lexus’s from their mansions.  What this means is that while immigrants came here for the “rags to riches” story, as we became acculturated, we began to want more and more.

Making a good living was no longer enough, and the disease of “affluenza” took over, of never knowing when enough is enough.  Now, we don’t just need a lifestyle to support our families; we need the house in the suburbs (the more grandiose, the better), the fancy cars, the nannies, the private tutors, etc.  Immigrants who come here today see many families who simply make a good living, however; they also see many people who spend extravagantly on ridiculous things.

  These extremes make it even harder when the “common man” or the immigrant cannot achieve the lifestyles they have dreamed of.

      The dream is perceived differently by people who came here as opposed to living here. Kyra Menaker-Mossbacher and her husband have a definite sense of the American dream. She is a big shot realtor who spends her days showing mansions to clients, never thinking about homelessness or other real world problems. She lives the American Dream in her exclusive housing development, Arroyo Blanco Estates, with all her luxuries. Delaney comes from wealth and spends his days freelance writing for a nature magazine. The Mossbachers can spend their time worrying abut trivial things like dents in the hood of their car. However, this life is not enough for her; she still wants something better. On the other hand, just below this housing development, the Rincons struggle and struggle.

This Mexican family has come here illegally to strive for the American dream. Like immigrants before them, they believe the U.S. is the land of wealth (like the early Chinese immigrants who believed the streets were paved with gold, calling this country Gold Mountain). Maybe the United States is the land of wealth, but the doors to that vault of wealth are certainly not open to all. The Rincons find that no matter how hard they work, not only can they not achieve enough to have any sort of American dream, but also they cannot achieve enough to sustain life. They truly believe that in American society, “everyone, even the poorest [has] a car, a house, and a TV” (26).

They do not understand that there are many poor Americans as well. But as they work and work, their frustration grows with their inability to achieve. America Rincon (s symbolic name if there ever was one) will come to understand that her idea of an American Dream was just that, a dream, an illusion. America learns the heard way though, living outside in the open air with no clean water or sanitation while she is pregnant. They have neither insurance nor any means of getting insurance.

She is forced to do things she thought she would never do, like steal, for money. She and her husband are unable to defend themselves as their camp is trashed, and she is raped. Things are beginning to look up until Candido sets the valley on fire and burns up their savings. They are back to square one. The Mossbachers clearly represent the idea of the American Dream that the Rincons try to achieve.

      Have Kyra and Delaney worked harder than the Rincon family to achieve the American Dream? No, it is simply that the door is open to them. Kyra works hard and dreams of the Da Ros place, which is a mansion “in the style of an English manor house, comprising eleven thousand square of living space” (222). Even when this place is destroyed by fire, Kyra can replace her dream with another one while enjoying the comforts and luxuries of her life. She is sheltered from the cruel existence of the Rincons.

      It is very interesting and tragic to see and understand what happens when Kyra’s family bumps or crashes into the Rincons, and the two concepts of the American Dream collide. First, Delaney, who is a self proclaimed “liberal humanist” (13) runs into Candido with his car, he blames this illegal for being in the road and hands him $20. Delaney must feel that this is what an illegal immigrant’s life is worth. Other things begin to happen that make their parallel lives continue to collide, and Delaney begins to seethe with anger. The coyotes are attracted to the Rincon’s camp and end up taking Kyra and Delaney’s dog.

Then the Delaney’s luxury car is stolen, and the community begins to wall itself in from “the Salvadorians, the Mexicans, the blacks, the gangbangers, and taggers and carjackers…” (39). They are protecting their American dream while further stopping others from achieving it. Ironically, Candido and other illegals are the ones who build the wall. Delaney actually sort of opposes the wall at first because he will not be able to take his dog for a walk in the canyon without climbing a ladder. Kyra lobbies to stop the labor exchange where Candido and his friends are hired for day work, but is very worked-up about seeing a pet locked in a hot car. Delaney now wants vengeance and he goes to shoot Candido. Delaney ends up saving Candido in a mudslide but the baby dies.

      Delaney and Kyra have achieved at least part of their dream, but they want more and more. In achieving this dream, they have literally walled themselves off from the “less fortunate” people. They have no idea how the “other half” lives or the struggle that faces others. They are so angered when the coyote takes their dog, the dog that they probably spend more on than the Rincon family earns in a year. Delaney thinks of himself as a liberal until people start disrupting his own dream.

Then he becomes fearful and angry. Delaney writes in his column for a nature magazine, “One coyote, who makes his living on the fringes of my community, has learned to simply chew his way through the plastic irrigation pipes whenever he wants a drink” (212). Delaney summarizes with, “The coyote is not to blame—he is only trying to survive, to make a living, to take advantage of the opportunities available to him” (215). Delaney cannot, however, see the connection between Candido and this coyote in his own life. Delaney further concludes that “Trapping is utterly useless—even if traps were to be set in every backyard in the country” (217). Clearly, the answer for communities is not walls.

      On the other hand, the Rincon family is not at fault for wanting a better life. Yes, they are illegal but there is no way to come here legally. They have tried everything they can to achieve their dream, and after all their hard work, they’re probably worse off than when they started. They are world wise in that they have faced so many injustices and have lost their child. They face racism on a daily basis.

      The American dream, unfortunately, is becoming solely defined by materialism. Americans have the disease of affluenza where there is never enough, and yet, there are people starving on the streets. The novel The Tortilla Curtain does not come to any solution or resolution about the issue of offering freedom for all white protecting the interests and lives of the wealthy. What Boyle does do is expose the hypocrisy of the debate itself. While those who achieve the American dream live in luxury in their walled communities of wastefulness, the have-nots wrestle with dogs for food. The reader cannot really like any of the character as he/she is drawn into the very hypocrisy of the novel.

 Illegal immigration is wrong, but no one really concerns himself/herself with it until it causes problems in our own backyard, until it threatens the way people choose to live their lives. People may profess to be liberal about an issue until it bumps up against his/her own life. Most of us are like Kyra and Delaney in that we don’t get a chance to see the struggles of various groups of people in this country. We live in our isolated communities. Yet, we don’t like Kyra and Delaney at all in the novel. There is true hypocrisy. The dilemma or the conflict over illegal immigration comes face to face with the American dream, or the failure of the American dream, in The Tortilla Curtain.

Works Cited

Boyle, T. C., The Tortilla Curtain, New York, Penguin, 1995.

The Law of Tort Essay

Owners of animals that cause injury or damage were subjected to prosecution in the England. These animals could belong to a dangerous natured species, to a species that was not all that dangerous, a domesticated species or tame. Owners of animals who had knowledge about the dangerous characteristics of their animals were liable for the legal consequences of the damage or injury caused by them. This situation changed with the introduction of the Animals Act 1971.

Under this act, the appropriate authorities could determine whether the nature of a particular species of animal was dangerous or not.

The law imposes stringent liability on the owners of animals. In the case of non – dangerous species animals the liability imposed is based on the awareness of the owner in respect of the damage the animal could cause. Contributory negligence and assumption of risk are some of the defences available to the owner of animals. The act disallows defences that cite excuses for the damage caused by their animals such as an act of god or the act of a third party[1].

In the case of Mirvahedy v. Henley, which was heard by the House of Lords in March 2003, it was decided that the owner of an animal was liable for the damage caused  by it. In this case, Mirvahedy was travelling home in a car, which was struck by a runaway horse that belonged to Henley. Consequently, Mirvahedy suffered serious injuries and the horse also sustained injuries to which it later succumbed. As such three horses belonging to Henley stampeded on being frightened and this incident occurred in the night. It was acknowledged by the court that such behavior was common amongst horses that had been frightened to the required degree[2].

In the House of Lords the question raised was whether the keeper of an animal that was not dangerous and which had behaved in a manner that was normal under the circumstances for such an animal, strictly liable for any damage caused by such behaviour. It was held by their Lordships that the manner in which the horses had responded to what had caused them alarm was in no way extraordinary.

Consequently, the circumstances of the case would fall under the purview of subsection 2(2)(b) of the Animal Act 1971. Therefore, the defense of Henley that the horses had behaved in a manner for which he could not be held liable was untenable, because the accident transpired due to the panic stricken behaviour of the horses, which could be construed to be the normal behaviour of horses that had been frightened[3].

This interpretation of the Animals Act of 1971 resulted in a significant increase in the liability of the owners of animals for the damage caused by these animals. A particular subsection of the act requires the claimant to establish that the cause of the damage was a characteristic of the animal that was normally found in it[4]. Moreover, the next section in that act requires the claimant to demonstrate that the animal’s owner had actual knowledge of such a characteristic of that animal[5].

However, in the case of Elliot v. Townfoot Stables in which Emma Elliot sustained an injury to her right shoulder and a fracture of the humerus, due to being thrown from the pony that she was riding, the court decided in a markedly different to what had been decided in the Mirvahedy case. The court held that the damage caused to Elliot was not normally expected of a pony.

Moreover, the court held that it could not be reasonable expected that such an injury would have been caused by the pony. The court opined that the very first requirement under Section 2 of the Animal Act 1971, which stated that the damage caused “is of a kind which the animal, unless restrained, was likely to cause or which, if caused by the animal was likely to be severe[6]” had not been satisfied and thus the claim of Elliot could not be sustained[7].

            In Scotland, dogs are categorised as animals that are likely to cause physical injuries. The Scottish legislation, namely, the Animals (Scotland) Act 1987 does not take into consideration the knowledge of the owner or keeper. Under this act, liability will be imposed based on the zoological categorisation of animals and the injuries caused by them. There is a schedule to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 according to which liability is always imposed on the keeper of animals. The law permits defences like assumption of risk and contributory negligence. Moreover, in England and Scotland the common law of negligence is also applicable[8].

            The legislators ensured that animal owners were made strictly liable for any injury or damage caused by their animals even though the owners were not at fault. In one case the owners of horses were penalized and made to pay substantial compensation for the damage caused by their horses. In this particular instance three horses of a Devon couple went on to the road at night from a field and stampeded on the busy road. One of these horses collided with a car, which resulted in serious injuries to the driver of the car[9].

            The House of Lords held that the owners were responsible to pay compensation in accordance to the Animals Act although they had not been negligent. Under the Animals Act, although an animal is not dangerous, the keeper of such animals has to pay compensation for the damage caused due to behaviour, which despite being uncommon in that species of animal was exhibited either at a specific time or under specific circumstances. The House of Lords found that the escaped horses’ behaviour, although not common in that species, was to be expected if the horses were in a state of panic[10].

            Section 4 of the Animal Act provides liability for damages and expenses incurred due to trespassing livestock. If the livestock of any person wanders off on to land that belongs to another person and if damage is done by such livestock to the land or to any property on it that is owned or possessed by that person, then any expenses that are reasonably incurred by the person to whom the land belongs in keeping the livestock, have to be reimbursed by the person to whom the livestock belongs.

Further, regarding the expenses that are incurred in respect of animals that are detained in pursuance of section 7 of this Act, or in ascertaining as to whom such animals belong; have to be borne by the person to whom the livestock belongs and such a person is liable for the damage caused or expenses incurred, unless this Act specifies some other provision.

There are some exceptions provided by the Act, which are contained in Sections 2 to 4. Some of these exceptions are first; a person is not liable under sections 2 to 4 of the Act for any damage that is wholly the fault of the person who suffered the damage. Second, if the person who suffered from damages or injuries accepts the risk of the damages voluntarily then the owner is not liable for paying damages under section 2.

Third, a person is not liable for damages caused by his animals, which are kept on the premises or structures to a person trespassing there provided, the animal was not kept there for the protection of persons or property or if it was not unreasonable to deploy such animals in that place in order to secure its protection. Fourth, if the livestock was killed or injured by a dog on the land on to which it had strayed and if the dog belonged to the occupier or its presence was authorised by the occupier then section 3 of the Act absolves the owner of liability.

Section 2 of the Animal Act deals with liability for damages caused by dangerous animals, whereas section 4 of the Animals Act deals with liability for damages caused by trespassing livestock. Under section 2(1) of this act, the keeper of an animal that belongs to a dangerous species is liable for damages caused by that animal. Under section 2(2) of this act, the keeper of an animal belonging to a non – dangerous species is liable for damage caused by this animal if it had not been adequately restrained or if the animal was capable of causing severe damage.

Further, the keeper of such an animal was liable if the damage was severe due to the abnormal characteristics of that particular animal, which were in general absent in other animals of that species and were to be found only under some specific circumstances. Moreover, the keeper of an animal is liable for the damage caused by it if he had knowledge regarding such behaviour of the animal. This liability also extends to those who assist the keeper and who are aware of these characteristics of that animal.

Actual knowledge that is required for liability under the Animal Act and it is not sufficient if the keeper did not actually know about the dangerous characteristic of the animal. If an employee who does not have charge of the animal knows about its dangerous propensity, and a minor less than sixteen years of age and who is not a keeper of the animal knows about the dangerous traits of the animal but does not inform the keeper of the animal, are not liable under section 2(2) of the Animal Act. Moreover, knowledge about the dangerous traits of the animals is essential under section 2, whereas under section 4 such knowledge is irrelevant.

Under section 4(1) of the Animal Act, when livestock owned by any person trespass into the land owned by some other person and cause damage to that land or any property belonging to that other person, then the person who owns the livestock is liable for damages or expenses incurred. Under section 4(1)(b) of the Animal Act, the expenses incurred by the other person in keeping the livestock, under circumstances where restoring these animals to their owner is not feasible, have to be reimbursed by the owner of the livestock.

However, under both sections 2 and 4 of the Animal Act, the keeper of livestock or animals is not liable for damages caused due to the fault of the person suffering the damages. Moreover, both these sections deal with the liability of the keeper of the animals in respect of the damage caused by these animals. Furthermore, whether these animals are dangerous, non – dangerous or domesticated liability for damage caused by them arises under certain circumstances as is to be determined by the extant law.

Bibliography

  1. Animal liability. 2006. In Collins Dictionary of Law August 19, 2007 <http://www.credoreference.com/entry/5978683>
  2. Elliott v Townfoot Stables; 3 September 2003, Newcastle County Court.
  3. Mirvahedy (FC) (Respondent) v. Henley and another (Appellants), (2003), UKHL 16, on appeal from (2001) EWCA Civ 1749.
  4. Mirvahedy v Henley (2003) UKHL 16; (2003) 2 AC 491; (2003) 2 WLR 882.
  5. Section 2(2), Animal Act 1971.
  6. Section 2(2)(b) of the Animals Act 1971.
  7. Section 2(2)(c) of the Animals Act 1971.
  8. Section 2(2)(a) of the Animal Act 1971.
  9. SHERWOOD, B., & TAIT, N. Mar 24, 2003. Horse owners to pay for damage on the case; [LONDON 1ST EDITION]. Financial Times, p16.

[1] Animal liability. 2006. In Collins Dictionary of Law August 19, 2007 <http://www.credoreference.com/entry/5978683>

[2] Mirvahedy (FC) (Respondent) v. Henley and another (Appellants), (2003), UKHL 16, on appeal from (2001) EWCA Civ 1749.

[3] Mirvahedy v Henley (2003) UKHL 16; (2003) 2 AC 491; (2003) 2 WLR 882.

[4] Section 2(2)(b) of the Animals Act 1971.

[5] Section 2(2)(c) of the Animals Act 1971.

[6] Section 2(2)(a) of the Animal Act 1971.

[7] Elliott v Townfoot Stables; 3 September 2003, Newcastle County Court.

[8] Animal liability. 2006. In Collins Dictionary of Law August 19, 2007 <http://www.credoreference.com/entry/5978683>

[9] SHERWOOD, B., & TAIT, N. Mar 24, 2003. Horse owners to pay for damage on the case; [LONDON 1ST EDITION]. Financial Times , 16.

[10] SHERWOOD, B., & TAIT, N. (Mar 24, 2003). Horse owners to pay for damage on the case; [LONDON 1ST EDITION]. Financial Times , 16.

Posted in Law

Tortilla Curtain Essay

On any list of issues of concern to the Hispanic community, immigration must rank at the top. Not only does it affect the largest number of interest groups, but it is also by far the hardest problem to solve. The U.S.—Mexican border may well be the world’s most porous. The legal two-way flow of people across what some call the “Tortilla Curtain” is almost 160 million a year—nearly twice that through the U.S.—Canadian border.

The discussion of “Mexicans” reminds us of T.

C. Boyle’s novel about a gated community in southern California. T. Coraghessan Boyle’s novel The Tortilla Curtain (1996) is set in a hill-top gated community in Southern California and offers a thought provoking account of the starkness of California’s socio-spatial divide told through the contrasting lifeworlds of wealthy liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher and the Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon.

In one passage the protagonist is arguing with the president of the home-owners association about a decision to add gates to their walled suburban housing development:

“…the gate thing is important, probably the single most important agendum we’ve taken up in my two years as president.

“You really think so? To me, I say it’s unnecessary-and, I don’t know, irresponsible somehow…. I lean more to the position that we live in a democracy…. I mean, we all have a stake in things, and locking yourself away from the rest of society, how can you justify that?”

“Safety. Self-protection. Prudence. You lock your car, don’t you? Your front door?… I know how you feel…but this society isn’t what it was-and it won’t be until we get control of the borders.”

“That’s racist, Jack, and you know it.”

…”Not in the least-it’s a question of national sovereignty. Did you know that the U.S. accepted more immigrants last year than all the other countries of the world combined-and that half of them settled in California? And that’s legal immigrants, people with skills, money, education.

Does Boyle capture what we are feeling? Is he showing local attitudes about immigration and the permeable boundary between Mexico and Texas?

The lives of Cándido and América, his wife, immigrants from Mexico, seeking the good life but continually thwarted by circumstance, the malevolence of others, racism, and bad luck is instructive here. T. C. Boyle’s novel The Tortilla Curtain (1995) is rich with irony and contingency as he creates a contrapuntal narrative of two families—Cándido and América and the Mossbachers, quintessential and well-to-do southern Californians who live on the hills above the canyon where Cándido and América live and hide from immigration officials.

Cándido and América have been through innumerable trials, disappointments, Herculean efforts to get work, and physically brutal experiences. Now América is pregnant, due any day (their first child), and suddenly in the canyon—their home—a fire leaps “to the trees like the coming of the Apocalypse” (p. 274). They struggled to get away from the thermal torrents of this rapidly spreading inferno. Eventually they found a haven, a shed, behind the house of the Mossbachers, under the rolling smoke and momentarily away from the flames:

It was hot. It smelled bad. She was scared. She couldn’t believe she was having a baby in a place like this, with the whole world on fire and nobody to help her, no midwife, no doctor, not even a curandera. And the pain. Everything was tight down there, squeezing in, always in, when it should be pushing out. She was in a shed, floating in a sea of rustling plastic sacks of grass seed, the sweat shining all over her like cooking oil and Candido fussing around with his knife—sharpening it now on a whetstone—as if he could be of any use at all. …

Outside, beyond the tin skin of the shed the inferno rushed toward them and the winds rattled the walls with a pulse like a drumbeat … She could barely move and the pains were gripping her and then releasing until she felt like a sharp rubber ball slammed against a wall over and over.

And then, in the middle of it all, with the terrible clenching pains coming one after the other, the animals suddenly stopped howling … América heard the fire then … and then a thin mewling whine that was no howl or screech but the tentative interrogatory meow of a cat, a pretty little Siamese with transparent ears that stepped through the open door and came right up to her as if it knew her. She held out her hand, and then clenched her fist with the pain of a contraction, and the cat stayed with her. “Gatita,” she whispered to the arching back and the blue luminous eyes, “you’re the one. You’re the saint. You. You will be my midwife.” (pp. 282–83)

Their troubles do not end here. But imagine some distant day how these perilous adventures, heart-stopping moments, the fortuitous appearance of the gatita will be folded into the evolving narrative of their lives together, including the improbable life of their beloved Socorro (their daughter—born in fire and later that very day saved from perishing in water).

Culture makes a difference, not only in the incidence of the risk but how it is understood and handled. Cuban and Mexican teens are more prone to use pregnancy as a step toward marriage or at least long-term relationships in which obligations to the child are strongly felt. After the accident, Cándido’s problems deepen but he remained devoted and caring toward pregnant América.

Living in a gated community represents a new version of the middle-class American dream precisely because it temporarily suppresses and masks, even denies and fuses, the inherent anxieties and conflicting social values of modern urban and suburban life (Low 11).

It transforms Americans’ dilemma of how to protect themselves and their children from danger, crime, and unknown others while still perpetuating open, friendly neighborhoods and comfortable, safe homes. It reinforces the norms of a middle-class lifestyle in a historical period in which everyday events and news media exacerbate fears of violence and terrorism (Low 12). Thus, residents cite their “need” for gated communities to provide a safe and secure home in the face of a lack of other societal alternatives.

Gated communities are different from other exclusive suburban developments, condominiums, cooperatives, and doorman apartment buildings found throughout the United States. At the level of the built environment, the walls and gates are visible barriers that have social and psychological as well as physical effects. In practical terms, gated communities restrict access to streets and thoroughfares that would otherwise be available for public as well as for private transportation. And in some cases, gated communities limit access to open space and park land donated by the developer to the municipality or town in exchange for building higher-density housing than allowed by local zoning. Such land is designated as in the public domain, but is available only to people who live within the development.

For wealthy suburbanites, the gated community offers a haven in a socially and culturally diverse world, offering a protected setting for their upper-middle-class lifestyle. Desire for safety, security, community, and “niceness,” as well as wanting to live near people like themselves because of a fear of “others” and of crime, is not unique to this family, but expressed by most residents living in gated communities. The emergence of a fortress mentality and its phenomenal success is surprising in the United States, where the majority of people live in open and unguarded neighborhoods.

Thus, the rapid increase in the numbers of Americans moving to secured residential enclaves invites a more complex account of their motives and values (Low 45). Like other middle-class Americans, residents of gated communities are looking for a place where they feel comfortable and secure, but this seemingly self-evident explanation reflects different underlying meanings and intentions. And collectively, their individual decisions are transforming the American dream of owning a suburban home in a close-knit community with easy access to nature into a vision that includes gates, walls, and guards.

The cross-cultural and historical analysis of the meaning of danger parallels the argument developed in the study of Daniel James: danger has many meanings, including, but extending far beyond, the incidence of crime. Danger encompasses the fear of the stranger, the morally reprehensible, disorderly, or culturally alien person, and the anonymous member of a hostile and threatening social category.

In Topanga, California, as in the large industrializing cities of the nineteenth century, groups appear dangerous not only because they commit crime but also because they are hostile and potentially disruptive. A sense of danger springs from antagonisms between groups that emerge from both class and cultural differences. The historical examples portray danger arising primarily from class conflicts, but in each case the class antagonisms are reinforced by cultural differences. In Tortilla Curtain, group conflicts stem primarily from cultural differences, but are buttressed by economic rivalry.

Works Cited

Boyle, T. C. The tortilla curtain. New York: Penguin Books, 1995.

Low, Setha. Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America. Routledge: New York, 2003.

Tortilla Soup Essay

Multicultural Psychology Significance

            Tortilla Soup provides an interesting perspective on the changes in the role of women from a background that has very specific characterization of it. Martin Naranjo’s family is imbibed with its Mexican-American but at the same time reflects the modern traditions as reflected in Martin’s profession as a chef and in the upbringing of his daughters. However, it is clear that there are unspoken rules regarding the social and gender roles of the daughters both real and created by the individuals themselves.

            Each daughter also reflects distinct personalities and represents characterizations of Hispanic women in society. The movie points out hat these characterizations are not so much prescriptive as they have become inherent in the women that when conflicts arise, a need for intense personal reflection develops. At the same time, the daughters are being challenged to be part of American society and to embody its premise of female emancipation. Another important issue that the film discusses is the changing dynamics of family in American and multicultural societies.

Cultural Themes

            The themes discussed in the movie revolve around social and gender issues. The underlying challenge for Martin’s three daughters, Leticia, Carmen and Maribel, is how to define their roles in today’s society and how to resolve it with their cultural heritage. Effort has been made to establish that the family that the family is very open to modernity which highlights that the conflict is not a head-on controversy between modern and traditional values. Thus, the cultural themes are explored through personal experience of the daughters.

            The traditional view of Hispanic women is that they are to be most concerned with home and hearth. The social roles of women have been traditionally associated with maternal functions and contrary characterizations are often viewed as the result of bad relationships or a lack of interest or even a hatred of men. In the case of the Martin’s daughters, they are all unmarried and have pursued or are pursuing professional interests. Though Leticia has had her unfortunate romance, this is not highlighted as a dominant reason for her single hood but rather there is suggestion of the state being a conscious and deliberate choice.

            Another socio-cultural issue that is being addressed is the consideration of economic and professional interest over personal choice. As illustrated in Carmen’s choice not to pursue cooking as a career because of financial security, the need for social and financial security precedes the personal fulfillment in the selection of a profession. Furthermore, there is a realization for all of the characters, particularly in Maribel, the need for cultural identity and acceptance. There is equal pressure for the characters to preserve traditions and the need to be just like everybody else.

            The most major issue that the movie discusses is gender role that result from both tradition and modern ideas. In either case, the issue of conformity is an issue that has to be dealt with. The sisters all have their individual concept of the role of women in society and they all struggle to conform to these notions and at the same time break away from them. More than any other factor related to gender, the aspect that they all struggle most with are notions regarding femininity. In fact, there is no denying that each sister knows that they are women of their time but what they struggle to learn in the movie that femininity is also a personal perspective.

Gender Roles and Cultural Factors

            Gender roles are learned through socialization and society is defined if not bound by culture. At the same time, culture is created by relationship and interactions of these roles. Thus, gender and culture reinforces each other. One interesting facet that the movie highlights is the gender perceptions are both internal and external: it is taught to us but unless people themselves support the idea, then the roles can not persist. Another important realization is that each culture has a different perspective on the gender roles developed by another culture. As seen Hortensia’s interactions with the family, these roles often also cause conflict since there are varied interpretations neither of which can reflect fully the perception of another.

            At the same time, whereas family has been the main means of identification for Hispanic women s presented in the movie, the shift of focus to professional life also creates new challenges to attain what have been considered as ideals of the gender which include femininity and maternal roles. The formation of their identity however is dynamic and is continually being influence by the circumstances of the individual sister, their family, their developing social experience and individual search for fulfillment.

Individualistic Versus Collectivist Cultures

            As illustrated by Martin’s edict of Sunday dinners to be family affairs, the gatherings are the family’s main means of keeping in tough with each other and discussing issues. The tradition is not just a means of maintaining traditions but also assessing the changes in each others’ lives. There is a suggestion and even a popularization of the idea that individualism contradicts collectivism.

In the case of Maribel, the struggle is most apparent because of the nature of her social experience: as much as she seems to be the least attached to traditions, she also is has the most clear headed view of her identity and her history. Though there are often contradictions in the perspectives that she presents, her character indicates that the conflict of individualism and collectivism is often mired in a lack of personal resolution or identity.

            Similarly, in the case of Carmen, her choice of pursuing her career instead of pursuing a culinary career like her father reflects the conflict of individualistic identity which is greatly associated with professional development in the workplace. However, it should also be realized that personal value and significance of one’s work, it is also often used as a means of identifying one’s class or social consequence.  Some social scientists even have theorized that these so-called struggles of women between individualistic and collectivist cultures only create glass ceilings that have served to discredit women in the workplace as well as establish social restrictions to the roles they take in society.

Communication Styles and the Theme

            It is apparent from the beginning of the film that the family enjoys a very close and intimate relationship regardless of the undercurrents in the movie. At first it seems that the characters are entrenched in their familial roles however, as the movie develops, it is clear that the characters’ rapport extends beyond family ties. Martin’s dialogue with his daughters indicates more of a paternal role. In contrast with his interactions with other characters in the film, he is significantly less opinionated and seems to utilize food as his main means of communication.

            As the film develops its conclusion, there is no significant shift in the family roles by the four main characters. American society has greatly emphasizes the individualism where as Mexican or Hispanic traditions play greater value on family or collective identity. For the latter, the tendency may in fact be a consequence of the need to maintain historical identity or a common and shared experience.

In conclusion, the movie presents the idea that as much as people try to create individual identities, cultural backgrounds and perspectives influence them both consciously and subconsciously. The major changes are generally internal in nature but are reflected in the more open exchange between Martin and his daughters. The undercurrents that at the beginning of the movie seemed to threaten conflict are now presented as typical of any family which may remain unspoken but nonetheless accepted.

 

 

Reference

Ripoll, Maria (2001). Tortilla Soup. California: Samuel Goldwyn Company

Total Quality Management Definition Essay

Total Quality Management is a set of management practices aimed at meeting and even exceeding needs of customers and organizational objectives. The Japanese Industry started it in the 1950’s but it gained popularity from the early 80’s. TQM seeks to merge organizational functions like production, customer service, design and marketing, and has a strong emphasis on process measurement and controls as a way of continually improving the products or services offered by the organization. TQM describes the culture, attitude and organization of a company in the provision of products and services to satisfy needs of customers.

Quality is required with efficiency and effectiveness in operations and reducing losses, minimizing defects and waste.

Impact of globalization

 As companies get bigger, there is an increasing demand for JIT (just-in-time) management, which TQM embraces. This makes things move faster, further pushing along globalization. This also calls for the removal of bottlenecks in production resulting in high quality. Globalization calls for things to be faster, better (because if you’re not good, you’re not utilizing your competitiveness), and hence comes TQM philosophy, which embraces that.

However, globalization has brought about a demand for high skilled labour, which cannot be found with workers with low-level education, who are the majority. Their employment leads to low quality of work. Similar to that are organizations, which want to cut costs on wages and therefore employ workers with a poor educational background. Competitiveness is characterized by high labor costs; therefore, low labor costs are characterized by lower productivity. Women on the other hand, are unfortunately still engaging in low-wage and low-productivity jobs, especially in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia where women’s participation in the global labour market is behind.

Application of TQM

Both the management and the employees can and should be involved in the process of TQM to improve the production of goods and services. TQM should be driven by a purpose and there should be a clear focus on the future vision of the organization. TQM can also be used as a way of encouraging the potential and creativity of an employee to be displayed as well as improving clients service. TQM calls for organizations to strive to continuously improve its processes through accumulated knowledge of workers and their experience. TQM is easily adaptable, for instance, it was at first an application of manufacturing operations but is now even applied to the service sector. According to Khurram Hashmi (2000), TQM is the foundation for activities, which include:

  • Commitment by senior management and all employees
  • Meeting customer requirements
  • Reducing development cycle times
  • Just In Time/Demand Flow Manufacturing
  • Improvement teams
  • Reducing product and service costs
  • Systems to facilitate improvement
  • Line Management ownership
  • Employee involvement and empowerment
  • Recognition and celebration
  • Challenging quantified goals and benchmarking
  • Focus on processes / improvement plans
  • Specific incorporation in strategic planning

This shows that all personnel, in Manufacturing, Marketing, Engineering, Research and Development, Sales, Purchasing, Human Resource, etc, must practice TQM in all activities. TQM is based on continuous improvement, both in strategic planning and in the execution of work. It seeks to avoid mistakes and defects and continually improve results through increasing the organizations resources. The major areas including supply generation, demand generation, technology, operations and people capability. It also maintains that mistakes can be identified and stopped and repetition prevented through change.

Implementation of TQM

A preliminary test, like a management audit should be done to asses the current state in terms of organizational functioning and establishing where change is needed. There should however be a positive attitude towards change or TQM would be ineffective. Other conditions are stable finances, good administrative systems and managerial skills and optimistic employee morale If these conditions cannot be met, it is advisable to postpone the implementation until when the organization is healthy enough with regard to these. Certain levels of stress, with regard to people feeling a need for change are however needed when implementing TQM. Kanter (1983) described certain building blocks, which should be present in effective organizational change.

They include departures from tradition, a crisis or galvanizing event, strategic decisions, individual “prime movers,” and action vehicles. Departures from tradition are moving from normal operations in an attempt to solve a problem. A crisis, like reduction in finances, may prompt people to act. A strategic decision like a plan acting on the crisis may be implemented by a leader, who becomes the prime mover. The leader takes charge of the new idea or plan and leads people in its implementation. Action vehicles then used and mechanisms put in place to enabling the occurrence of the change.

 

 

 

References

  1. International Labour Organization Report (Dec 9, 2005) Globalization failing to create new, quality jobs to reduce Poverty. Retrieved from on October 3, 2007
  2. Hashmi, K. (2000) Paper on “Introduction and Implementation of Total Quality Management” Retrieved from http://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c031008a.asp on October 3, 2007
  3. Martin, L. (1993). “Total Quality Management in the Public Sector,” National Productivity Review

The Application of Vygotsky’s Approach to Child Development to Education today Essay

The concept of the social development has really attracted research from many scholars. The theory developed by the soviet psychologist, Lev Vygotsky has three components vital in the learning process; he believed that social interaction is an important element in a person’s cognitive development, he also believed in the competent other – anyone with a better understanding is able to help in the learning process and finally he believed in what he termed as the zone of proximal development (ZPD) and refers to the belief that there is a great different in learning between a learner who is assisted and the one without any assistance.

According to vygotsky’s social constructivism theory, a child is able to learn by always following the examples set by adults and later gradually develops certain abilities that would enable him or her to perform some tasks without any assistance or help (Karpov, 2006). Just like many other educational scholars, Vygotsky strongly believed in the importance of education as the provider of experiences within the children’s ZPD which would then encourage and advance their personal learning.

It is the objective of this paper to illustrate how the concept of zone of proximal development and sociocultural interactions may be applied in today’s educational sector so as to improve learning in children. One of the main reasons why Vygotsky’s theory has been quite popular among educational scholars and the western society in general, is its focus on sociocultural understanding of human activities.

Moving away from the Piagetian concepts and studies that were focused on the biological explanations of human behavior, he captured the connection between the sociocultural processes within the societal set up and the mental processes within an individual. According to Bjorklund and Pellegrini (2000) Vygotsky brought a new concept and understanding that involves understanding the functions of social and cultural upbringing on an individual’s mental development.

It is for this reason that after over 70 years since he died, Vygotsky’s works have continued to attract many scholars. It will remain relevant and a perfect example in developing educational modules for learners especially the younger ones. Although the concept of ZPD has undergone numerous modification and expansion by educational scholars, the original concept developed by Vygotsky argued against the traditional teaching and learning methods that employ academic knowledge-based tests to evaluate the intelligence of learners.

He argued that instead of testing what learners know and what they don’t to determine their intelligence, it would be better if examiners test the learners’ ability to perform and finish certain tasks or problems independently as well as their abilities to perform the task with the help of a teacher or an adult (Karpov, 2006). Some the concepts developed later by sociocultural theorists using Vygotsky’s ZPD within the educational context can be relevant in today’s educational sector. One of the commonly known concepts which emerged from the Vygotsky’s ZPD is scaffolding.

Scaffolding may be defined as the process whereby an adult assists a child in learning by using focused questions and employing positive interaction. Based of the notion of building scaffolds, a child would be aided by his or her teacher and other competent persons based on his or her zone of proximal development and as the learner advances and improves in learning, the help is tapered off slowly and appropriately. This concept of learning is derived from vygotsky’s main theory which analyses the child’s private speech as the main mechanism through which an individual’s can be able to self-regulate (Bjorklund & Pellegrini, 2000).

Vygotsky understood that connection between the social and psychological planes over which human functioning is based, is firmly rooted in the individual language and mental functioning. The development of a person’s ability can only be enhanced through interaction with other persons. In essence, it is individual’s socially meaning engagements that shapes his or her makeup. The most basic process through which a learner’s high mental functions can be formed is by using the psychological tools within the mediated activities aided by an adult or a competent fellow.

And once the mastery of the psychological tools is gained, the learner develops an access to a familiar regulation of his own behavior. While the original ideas of ZPD as a concept were to be used for testing and evaluating a learner’s ability to perform or solve tasks, it can be applied in examining other spheres of learning. One of the domains where ZPD can easily be used in today’s learning processes is in testing competence and skills. Researchers argue that within these domains are specialized zones of development.

These are individual, cultural and skill-oriented zones. Under the skill-oriented zones, studies in early childhood development have shown that children do learn to speak their native languages and generally develop their motor skills when placed in their ZPD. A child’s language and motor skills can therefore be developed faster when the concept of ZPD is applied in learning by an adult who shares the same language with the child (Karpov, 2006). One of the key areas where Vygotsky’s theories can be applied is the field of special education.

Since handicapped children are disadvantaged more than their non-handicapped peers, Vygotsky suggested that there is a need to have the handicapped children included in the social and cultural process of the community as a way of effectively rehabilitating and compensating them (Bjorklund & Pellegrini, 2000). Although, his ideas on the education of those with special needs have never gain much prominence in the west, educational scholars agree that there is a need to have handicapped children get education in a more specialize environment that encourages learning and development processes.

According to Vygotsky, creating a new learning environment for children with disabilities would not only provide an alternative path for development but also a new means of communication. The new and special environment would provide the handicapped children with an opportunity to use available psychological tools which are most suitable to compensate for their specific shortcomings. One of the reasons why this idea has now been popular among the western scholar is because of its advocacy for social isolation of those with special needs.

However, with the current agitation for more differentiated educational programs, only special learning environment would help a handicapped learner develop his or her higher psychological functions as well as general personality. As Vygotsky argued, special education would only be effective as a system if it uses specific methods; this is because of the fact that students with special needs require not only modified but also alternative learning programs (Bjorklund & Pellegrini, 2000). Vygotsky’s social development theory offers a challenge to the conventional teaching methodologies.

Many educational institutions are known to employ the common instructionist model whereby a teacher is solely responsible for transmitting knowledge and information to learners (Crawford, 1996). Contrary to this approach, the social development theory offers learning contexts whereby learners assume active roles in the learning processes. In this context teachers should shift roles with their students and collaborate in learning such that construction of meaning in students is facilitated.

The focus here should be on how students are able to internalized ideas and ‘psychological tools’ which only happens in an interactive environment between the teacher and the student. This approach to the current learning processes comes from Vygotsky’s belief that cooperative and interactive activities is the first step in developing complex thinking and comprehension which is then internalized and used by the learner (Bjorklund & Pellegrini, 2000).

The social development theory is most applicable in the current quest to have the most effective differentiated learning programs. Because children and learners in general come from different social and cultural backgrounds, understanding their diversity as well as their particular needs is paramount in helping students progress in their academics. Differentiated educational programs calls for paying attention to individual needs and taking into account the fact that learners differ in readiness for new knowledge acquisition.

Such differences in learning processes are products of cultural and cognitive development which is well analyzed by Vygotsky as the key components of learning processes (Bjorklund & Pellegrini, 2000). Differentiated programs also agitate for isolation if necessary in order to increase the level of interaction between the students and teachers, thus enhancing comprehension of ideas and knowledge. Social interaction between the teacher or competent peer and the learner is one of the key elements of Vygotsky’s theory. He believes that learning can be enhanced through more social interaction (Crawford, 1996).

Vygotsky’s social development theory will remain one of the important theories to the educational and psychological development scholars for many years to come. He offers a most relevant approach not only during his time but also to the current educational challenges. Teacher should focus on providing assistance to learners in need as well as cultural tools as learning resources. They should also provide room for peer and group learning so as to have students support and learn from each other through interaction and discovery process.

This is more relevant in current diverse classroom where the teacher is required to be more sensitive to the needs of his or her students based on their respective cultural background and language skills.

References

Bjorklund, D. F. & Pellegrini, A. D. (2000). Child Development and Evolutionary Psychology. Child Development, Vol. 71, 1687-1708. Crawford, K. (1996). Vygotskian Approaches to Human Development in the Information Era. Educational Studies in Mathematics. 31: 43-62. Karpov, Y. V. (2006). The Neo-Vygotskian Approach to Child Development, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.