Consumer Surplus. Producer Surplus

Consumer Surplus. Producer Surplus. Total Surplus. How are these concepts used to explain welfare economics? How are these concepts used to explain the benefits of trade? How are these concepts used to explain why restricting trade reduces societal well-being? 

(Should trade be restricted in some circumstances, like the sale of organs ect, or should these ideas apply to these circumstances too?) 

(Use the concepts from Chapters 7 and 8, and elaborate on some practical impact you find from the chapter. Don’t feel limited by the prompt.)

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The concepts of Externalities, Common Recourses, and Public Goods

In Chapters 10 and 11, we discuss the concepts of Externalities, Common Recourses, and Public Goods. 

How can we apply these concepts to what is going on today in the news? What externalities are there from people’s behavior choices? What are the Common Resources involved? What are the identifiable public goods? Look for a news article online that might talk about externalities.  

How can these concepts be applied to the concepts of congestion in South Florida, Global Warming, and our relationships with our significant others?

Do a bit of reading and give us all your perspective on these subjects. 

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Tokyo in the 21st Century

Tokyo in the 21st Century

Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world with major infrastructures, high development growth, and high population. Despite being a major city in the world, Tokyo has experienced a myriad of disasters that have caused massive destruction of property and loss of life on several occasions. The issues of disasters and high population growth raise the issue of proper urban planning in a bid to mitigate the impact of disasters on city dwellers and property. Incidents of the financial crisis hallmark disasters, economic and population decline. In the light of disasters, Tokyo has undergone several reconstruction processes. However, most of the reconstructions have not been innovative per se (Vale, & Campanella, 2005) to address the growing social transformation in the society and the impending natural disasters.

The reconstruction process of Tokyo has been affected by several factors. Social transformation, political and economic issues have played a major role in the modern planning of Tokyo. The need to contain growing industrialization, high population growth and the need to counter the effects of frequent natural disasters has made Tokyo undergo several changes regarding planning. Moreover, westernization has also played a vital role in the modern planning of Tokyo. However, effective planning is “constrained by limited finances, the lack of appropriate planning tools, the structures of land ownership, and the needs and desires of private initiatives that called for rapid reconstruction and the preservation of traditional urban form” (Vale, & Campanella, 2005). For instance, construction of Ginza Rcnga-Gai in Japan was inspired by design .of a street in the London city; however, limited finances prompted the halt of the project since it was too expensive (Sorensen, 2012).

Most of the buildings in Tokyo were built in the last half-century meaning that they were built in the light of frequent disasters, rapid industrialization, and social transformation. However, the planning of the city has failed to capture important aspects that are vital in establishing a city that is responsive to the emerging to disasters and human needs. The political economy of Japan is blamed for the advent of an economic model that is irresponsive of the emerging needs of the society (Sorensen, 2012). The political economy advocates for the developmental state with a centralized government and a weak system of local governments. Consequently, the economic prioritization solely focuses on economic growth to the detriment of other vital goals in the society such as rapidly growing population. The government of Japan prioritizes provision and financing of infrastructures that aid industrialization such as transport, communication, and land at the expense of proactive mechanisms to contain disasters and the growing social needs in the society and infrastructure that supports livability (Sorensen, 2012). Poor approach to urban planning and urban infrastructure investment is a major cause of the environmental crisis in Japan. Environmental crisis has been a major cause of disasters in Japan that have claimed thousands of lives and destruction of property. Construction of residential apartments near the industrial area continues to put the lives of human beings at a major risk. Moreover, substandard suburban development continues to expose the growing population to a myriad of social problems.

Despite Tokyo being a major city in the world, it experiences major challenges that threaten its economic prosperity. Natural disasters are frequent elements in Japan and Tokyo in particular. The prevalence of disasters calls for “smart growth” to foster sustainable development and mitigate the impact of disasters and social transformation. In spite of enormous industrial transformation, Japan should put in place plausible urban planning mechanisms to effectively contain the growing unforeseen calamities.

References

Sorensen, A. (2012). Uneven Geographies of Vulnerability: Tokyo in the Twenty-First Century. Planning Asian Cities: Risks and Resilience, 40.

Vale, L. J., & Campanella, T. J. (2005). The resilient city: How modern cities recover from disaster. Oxford University Press.

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Opinions about General Topics between Chinese, American, and Afghan

Abstract

The article illustrates the difference in opinion of people who grow up in two different countries: China and Afghanistan. The topics discussed included but not limited to success, peace, and education. When I first got the chance to talk to an unknown Afghanistan student, I decided that it is a good opportunity to discuss their opinion on those topics. Since I grew up in China, I thought it would mean a lot when I put the difference in opinion together and contrast them. By putting all those opinions together, I would be able to know what are the specific differences in the opinion and figure out what are the causes of the differences. There is an old saying in Chinese: everyone was born as a blank paper. The different opinion and values must be planted in their minds in the process of growing up. The experiments and the investigation would get advanced while more and more information are collected from the Afghan students.

The Pax Populi Academy selects the discussion topics. During the semester, the first student that I talked to went missing. To avoid failing the project, the program manager helped by rearranging a student for me to discuss and interview. As a result, I did not go through all the topics that I was supposed to do. Fortunately, success, peace, and education are three representative topics and are useful enough for me to find out the differences. In the end, I would be able to know what are the factors that might build up to one’s personal values and worldviews.

Opinion about General Topics between Chinese, American, and Afghan

Background

When I talked to both of the students about success, no one had a clear answer. However, the first student was more ambiguous in her responses. Both students mentioned that when someone is happy in life, he should be successful. However, the interesting fact is that the second student illustrated that the people who are of higher social class and level are harder to be successful. In fact, when people reach higher social class, they tend to have more power and money, while lower class individuals have more basic needs in life. Thus, the higher-class people are often harder to get satisfied. Based on this knowledge, when one is in higher social class, he is hard to be a success.

In China, many people think that simply being in the higher social class is successful. As China is now experiencing the fast growing period, it is easy to understand that the Chinese overlook power and wealth. However, what interesting is that why the second student would be able to understand the difference in social level and point out the level of satisfaction (Thompson, Mazer & Witenberg, 1955). In later discussion, she mentioned to me that she is from a family that considered living in higher social class, which is different from the first student. This might be the cause that she has more clear definition and the idea of the social class, which gives her more knowledge about the satisfaction theory. The second student’s name is Hosnia. Her mother is a doctor working as a genealogy expert, and her father is an engineer. Living in this kind of family, she discovered that as her parents keep working harder, it gets more and more difficult to be successful and get what they want. For the first student Zahra, she only told me that everyone works hard and enjoys his life can be considered successful.

It gets more interesting when we start to talk about peace in Afghanistan because there is much more terrorism comparing to other parts of the world. Statistics shows that in 2015, there are 5292 people died because of terrorism attacks. Growing up in China, the world was much more peaceful to me. When I asked the students about their opinion on peace, I was expecting they would think to feel scared about the environment they live in. However, the result is that they told me they feel sad about the country and the terrorism. The killings are not scary to them, but the death of people from the same race and same country affects their mind. This is because of their cultural ties that bind them together to protect their community interests. The students told me that when you see terrorism so often, you are getting used to it. However, when the news keeps telling you one people die after another, the emotion of sadness is what lasts there forever.

Since I grew up in China, which is a country lead by communism, I tend to know more about it. When we were discussing peace, I mentioned to both students that communism might be the ultimate solution for ending wars (Lemert, 2013). Surprisingly, only Hosnia mentioned that the ultimate communism might not be as stable as we thought it would be. She clarified that when we reach a situation that everyone can get what they want; it is likely to have a group of people who do not want to contribute to the society at all. Those people might hurt the society in a true communism. I was interested into this opinion. She told me she got this point of view from his father. Her father worked in Russia for several years. When she was growing up, this idea of “communism is not going to work” was planted deeply in her mind. I found out that parents experience would influence their children’s value and view the world we live in.

These two students helped elaborate on the idea that people view things differently; they have a different perception of life than mine. They do not feel like the world will be entirely at peace or safe. One argued that the term peace offers a promise and hope of something better. However, she added that this promise and hope does not always come to be and that at times peace is unattainable. This argument is supported from what she has been through and what she has encountered. People often act in a way that shows what the community has taught them. A community is an entity that takes up physical space, which implies that it has set boundaries (Kirst-Arshman & Hull, 1998). If you ask some other different people, they might end up arguing that peace is attainable if it has not already been attained.

When I asked them about gender biases, they were quick to point out that there will always be a gap between males and their female counterparts. Most people who are already done with school spend most of their time in work organizations that are male dominated (Acker, 1990). This aspect has not entirely changed over the years as women and men are regarded differently. Hosnia argued that the world is continually trying to bridge the gap between the male and female gender and there has been an impressive change over the years. However, she argued that the gap between the two genders will never be entirely closed and the men will always enjoy an upper hand.

Zahra, on the other hand, argued that there is a gap between the two genders because they are presented with different roles. This student argued that people see the differences between they wish men and women alike did the same duties. However, women will feel the need to do more nurturing jobs while men will want to do jobs that are more technical, which creates the gap between these two parties. Gender inequality has been a rampant issue over the years, and thus this issue is never completed solved.

Growing up in China made me understand that there are many kinds of biases other than gender inequality; people are treated differently because of their color, race, ethnicity, originality among other aspects. Racism has been an issue of concern over the years. These students argued that have Afghan roots makes them vulnerable to this kind of inequalities. People feel that Muslims are terrorists and this is stipulated more depending on their home country.

The gender divide separates people; arguments exist that a person is not born but becomes a woman (Butler, 1998). This argument serves to insinuate that being a woman is something that eventually develops. This tries to justify the argument that women are not always overlooked, but rather they judge how they will be treated. However, gender inequalities have been diminishing, but it is still present. The development has been seen in every state in the nation; millennial women are more likely to get a college degree than millennial men (Smilowitz, 2015). However, this development has also seen great hindrances, which are shown in the fact that these millennial women also have lower earnings and higher poverty rates than the millennial men.

Zahra argued that inequalities have helped shape the face of the world. Zahra’s argument has depended on the fact that people will most probably offer men the more physical jobs instead of women, regardless of her qualifications. He also argued that being an Afghan taught him to accept that people will not always be treated equally and that inequalities will serve the better part of the life people currently live.

Both students agreed that culture had been the most helpful aspect of trying to live a country intact. Hosnia argued that culture has been a uniting factor that has made people feels like they belong. She argued that her parents are constantly working and it only when they are doing cultural activities that they get to bond. Many cultures have been fed on and ultimately killed off. Therefore, the ones that remain serve a great impact in holding the people together. The issue of migration and immigration in the US has ultimately made the US lose a dominant culture; this is supported by the fact that technology has had the upper hand in judging how people act, for instant people constantly checking their emails during dinners and failing to observe traditional cultural norms (Foer, 2016). Therefore, the little people who still have a culture get together and bond.

These students have different views on the most crucial thing that a country requires to grow or develop; Zahra argues that a country needs finances and good leadership. Zahra argues that finances can transform and third world country to a developed nation. However, he argued that this also depends on the brains behind these developments arguing that there is a need for the person in power to be open-minded and to have a strategy in which to use to attain this.

Hosnia on the other hand argued that peace and harmony were the key elements to the development and growth of a country. Hosnia empathized with Middle East nations, which are constantly at war and cited these as the main causes that limit developments. She argued that Afghanistan would be better if it were affected by the war and the insecurity that describes the country. Hosnia argued that people have to know how to co-exist with each other to develop as a nation.

Both students believe that their reasons for having these opinions are that they still get the feeling every occasionally like they do not belong. They get the notion that they are a part of a community, which has not entirely accepted them, and thus they are fighting the battle to fit and at the same time trying to make this nation better. People have already been through so many hardships from the olden days where slavery was acceptable, racism was everywhere, and the minorities were treated differently (Gates & Oliver, 1999). However, the changes that have been enacted are trying to curb racism and the country trying to be inclusive of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, originality, gender or any other aspect.

Hosnia argues that to make it as a minority, one has to have a strong mentality. She said that most people felt like they did not belong and thus acted differently and at times, this led them to pick their paths in fear of what others chose. However, it is important to be sane in insane places, to try to fit in regardless of the situation (Branaman, 2001). Zahra also agreed that the sense of mind was essential in trying to make through a place where people have different opinions on almost everything.

Conclusion

As an ethnographer, there was surprisingly much more information I got from the students than I expected. In the discussion about success, I found out that the social class is a huge factor that influences one’s personal values and worldviews. Zahra lives in a family in lower social class. As a result, she was not able to discover the level of satisfaction differences between different social levels. In the topic of peace, I got the idea that parents’ experiments can also add to one’s opinion toward the world. Finally, yet importantly, the culture background plays a huge role in building up one’s personal values since as a Chinese, I know that their point of view varies a lot from what most Chinese think.

References

Acker, J. (1990). Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organizations. Gender & Society, 4(2), 139-158.

Branaman, A. (2001). Self and Society. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers.

Butler, J. (1998). Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory. Theatre Journal, 40(4), 519-531.

Foer, J. S. (2016, December 3). Technology is diminishing us. Retrieved from http://www.thegurdian.com/books/2016/dec/03/jonathan-safran-foer-technology-diminishing-us.

Gates, H. L., & Oliver, T. H. (1999). The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Norton & Company.

Kirst-Arshman, K., & Hull, G. (1998). Generalist Practice with Organizations and Communities. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers.

Lemert, C. (2013). Social theory: The multicultural, global, and classic readings. New York, Westview Press.

Smilowitz, A. (2015, April 14). For U.S. Women, Inequality Takes Many Forms. Retrieved from Huff Post: http://www.huffpost.com/us/entry/7064348.

Thompson, C., Mazer, M., & Witernberg, E. (1955). An outline of psychoanalysis: Revised Edition. New York: The Modern Library.

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The US Steel Industry and the Tariff Policy of President Bush

The US Steel Industry and the Tariff Policy of President Bush

Various stakeholders have special interests, concerns, and exposure in the steel industry in the US. To start with, the United States International Trade Commission was mandated by President George Bush to conducting a Section 201 Investigation that aimed at determining and evaluating the existing conditions and problems in the steel industry and formulated solutions that would be implemented to solve these problems. The commission was also expected to implement the safeguard tariff as ordered by the president on all the steel imports. Also, the commission was responsible for the reconstruction of the steel industry with the main aim of making it more competitive across the globe. The World Trade organization plays the role of regulating world trade. In this, WTO ruled out that safeguard tariff broke international trade rules. On the other hand, the US Steel Union advocated for implementing the safeguard tariff to regulate the imports which had destabilized the steel market in the country. The Steel Consumers in the country complained that the tariffs led to increased prices of the steel products.

The safeguard tariff had positive and negative implications for the US economy when implemented. It is important to note that the tariff reduced the number of steel imports from countries such as Brazil, Russia, Germany, and Japan among others. However, imports from US partners in Free Trade Agreement like Canada, Mexico, and Jordan were exempted from this tariff. This led to increased prices of steel products that were manufactured locally. This help in the reconstruction of the steel industry that had been earlier affected by the huge number of imports into the country. This also stabilized the production levels in the country, which meant more profits for the players in the industry. However, the tariff also had negative implications, that is, by the end of the year 2002, there was supply deficiency in the country, and the steel prices had increased by approximately 70%. The cost of production had also increased which led less to loss of 2000, 00 jobs, and $4 billion within a period of only 9 months.

There is an interlinkage of economics and politics in this case. This is because when President George Bush was campaigning, he promised to improve the current conditions of the steel industry. During his tenure at the office, he encountered legislative pressure that led to implementing the safeguard tariff for the reconstruction of the steel industry. In my opinion, the federal government should have provided incentives to the local producers to reduce the cost of production and legacy costs to improve and increase production, which would lead to low prices of the steel products locally. Finally, US should concentrate on its expertise in areas where it has a competitive edge. Through these, steel consumers will be able to get the products at better prices where there will be continuous supply from the imports from the steel manufacturing countries. However, workers in the steel industry will lose the jobs and wages for the federal government, which will negatively affect the Gross Domestic Product.

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China’s Revolution

China’s Revolution

Role of Class

The reference of the social, political and economic class has often been characterized by the idea of the ‘struggle for the fittest’ whereby a few people with power and wealth control over other people in the society. Thus, the aspect of class has often been used to distinguish between people who are considered important vis a vis non-important individuals. Indeed, the class struggle brought about the transformation that shaped the China revolution. At one time, classes ruled society, but in the subsequent era, they were eliminated. Nonetheless, they ultimately re-established themselves in a different form from what they were used to be.

China’s Revolution

Before the Chinese Revolution, the country was exhibited by the economic and political class that ruled over the masses. However, the reorganization and disparity of classes gradually transformed due to economic reforms.[1] For instance, there were unique socialist institutions that helped defined and shape the Chinese society. These comprised of the work unit, household registration system, and the cadre worker distinctions. In fact, the institutions defined a class as they helped in the ownership of the different assets and thus controlled the community. Consequently, the class has often been used as a common divide to establish the people who matter and those who help make them better. In the late 20th century, there was a great divide between the upper class and the lower class because of huge inequality in wages that was characterized by public protests, and rising labor disputes.[2] This made the social class a core concept in analyzing public inequality. China experienced a lot of issues regarding class inequalities since the emergence of its economic reforms.[3]

The political and economic class has been associated with a rise in private ownership for many years. In the 1980s, the number of private ownership kept on increasing while the workforce constantly complained of poor pays. This was because of the bourgeoisie withholding all the product of the working class while reluctantly refusing to improve the working conditions. Nonetheless, the Maoist dynasty considered the issue of class as a non-important concept while analyzing the socioeconomic inequality. Thus, the issue of class was not considered as a worthy issue to perpetuate in the society.

Nonetheless, the failure by the Maoist to look into the issue of a class led many people to protest. For instance, it is during the Cultural Revolution that Ye joined other students to protest against increased inequality in China. Thus, people were eager to see an end to the class struggle. For example, Ye argues that there were no acts of violence before the Cultural Revolution, but were only prevalent in movies. However, Ma believed that violence was necessary to fight for change; she said that counter-revolution violence was bad, but Cultural Revolution violence was necessary.[4] Ma argued that during this time, a person had to pick sides and thus she had no place for sentiments. Ma was a revolutionary in the fight for change while Ye was not willing to be in acts of violence.[5] Because of the reluctant of the administration during this period made every person rise against Mao. Ma argued that there was no other place in between.

The elite class controlled the production of good and services through political influence.[6] For instance, Ye and Ma argued that they both wanted to change because the ruling class exploited the civilians. Ma argues that she was a revolutionist and was an anti-Mao administration to ensure they got the change that they deserved in the economic setup.[7] During this period, there was a huge divide between cadres and ordinary workers, or party members and non-party members. The issue of class was deemed unfair especially because the poor class comprised of the peasants and employees who did most of the works and earned the least. Moreover, the workforces was overworked and underpaid which caused great disagreement among the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.

The class has a significant role in the running of the state. Therefore, the upper class always respected and adhered to the class structure. However, the neglect of social inequality and collective action brought a revolt during the Maoist reign. This necessitated the elimination of private ownership and entrenchment of bourgeoisie way of life. This epoch condensed the class structure as unsatisfactory when evaluating economic and social dissimilarity. However, private ownership emerged again in the early 70s but remained marginal up until the mid-1990s.[8] Another reason why Maoist reluctantly looked into the role of class in society was that the Chinese Communist Party did not want to relate to the issue of exploitation, a concept that was against their official ideology.[9] Nevertheless, this did not mean the issue of the class had ceased to be. Actually, the wealthy class was still in control while the poor and middle-level class was employed to work for the wealthy, making them richer.

After the end of the Maoist regime, the Chinese Communist rhetoric argued that class structure ceased to exist in 1957 when the landlords and capitalists were taken off, and private ownership was transformed to public ownership.[10] Nonetheless, class struggles were strongly emphasized during this period, as was during the Maoist era. Before the class was referred to as a political label, which was based on one’s family origin during the period of liberation. At this time, it was not regarded so much as the socioeconomic term referring to private ownership of public assets.

The Chinese class structure changed during the Chinese Socialism, the Communist Revolution, and social reforms. The new classes that were formed entailed bureaucrats, Communist Party officials, and other functionaries. These groups used political power to control the means of production.[11] This shows that class structure continued in another form that was determined by the elite. The rhetoric of the political class ensured that the capitalist and all private owners were alienated to give workers and peasants a right to the production system. However, this did not bring meaningful change as term new structures aimed at exploiting the poor. This shows that over the years the role of class changes but never became extinct.

The pre-reform Chinese social structure is defined by distinct social groups, which include workers, peasants, and forces. These groups are often described as the status groups. They were shaped by the absence of markets during the socialist redistributive economy and thus classes defined by markets were rarely existent.[12] The term social classes were barely used during the period when private ownership had been eliminated in China. The Neo-Marxian approach to class emphasized that exploitation and domination were the foundations of social classes. This exploitation can be seen in the ownership of productive assets.

The productive assets used to define classes were meant to satisfy the exclusion, the inverse interdependence, and the appropriation of resources.[13] The productive assets included capital, labor power, organizations, and skills. Nonetheless, in the feudalist system, classes were defined according to ownership of labor power. The lords partially owned the labor power of the serfs and thus exploited them by limiting their freedoms and coercing them of surplus production.

It is worth to note that economic reforms started in 1957 when capitalists and landlord were eliminated from the society by the Communist Revolution.[14] By this time, most of the Chinese population consisted of peasants. Nevertheless, the capitalist class gradually re-emerged later in the 80s, but most people were self-employed and could not notice the effect of the owners of capital. In addition, the stratum of party cadres was similar to the elite class in that they had the ability to control production. For instance, those in power, the bureaucrats, and political leaders defined the class, and this could note enable the bourgeoisie to be able to define themselves. However, there were many differences between workers and ordinary people, as they were not treated as equals.  

                                                                Works Cited

Thunghon, Lin, and Wu Xiaogang. “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure, 1978-2005.” Social Transformations in Chinese Societies 2009: 1-45. <https://works.bepress.com/xiaogang_wu/19/>.

Weili, Ye, and Ma Xiadong. Growing Up in The People’s Republic: Conversations Between two Daughters of China Revolution. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.


[1] Lin Thunghon, and Wu Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure, 1978-2005,” Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, 2009. 2.

[2] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 2-3.

[3] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 5.

[4] Ye Weili, and Ma Xiadong, Growing Up in The People’s Republic: Conversations Between two Daughters of China Revolution. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

[5] Weili, and Xiadong, Growing Up in The People’s Republic, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)3-4.

[6] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 1-3.

[7] Weili, and Xiadong, Growing Up in The People’s Republic, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)3-4.

[8] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 2.

[9] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 2.

[10] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 2-6.

[11] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 2-7.

[12] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 4-6.

[13] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 7

[14] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 5-7.

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Clean Energy Technologies Competitiveness Against Coal and Oil

Green gas emissions are one of the major contributors to global warming in the world. The increase in green gas emissions has largely been contributed by the continued use of coal and fossil fuels in the world. The increased use of fossil fuels and rise in global warming has prompted environmentalists and economists to look for safe sources of energy that ensure sustainable development and safety of the environment. The rise in clean energy technologies is one of the factors that have been adopted to counter the effects of global warming and environmental degradation across the world. Clean energy technologies have been competing significantly with coal and fossil fuels in the recent past. Renewable energy is one of the clean energy technologies that are widely used in the world in the recent (“Renewable Energy” 1).

Transformations in the Energy Sector across the Globe

The energy sector has had major changes over the past few decades. Renewable energy sources have been part of the transformations witnessed in the energy sector (Timmons 1). Many policies have been implemented to reduce the use of fossil fuels and encourage the use of renewable sources of energy. Climate change and exhaustible nature of non-renewable sources of energy are some of the factors that have encouraged adoption of renewable sources of energy (Timmons et al. 3). More than 145 countries globally have adopted policies that encourage use and establishment of renewable clean energy technologies (“Renewable Energy” 3). 

In the U.S., many states have enacted the Renewable Portfolio Standard Policies (“Renewable Energy” 2). In Japan, the “Sunshine” policy has been adopted while in Germany has adopted the feed-in tariffs policy. All of those policies encourage the use of renewable sources of energy across the globe (“Renewable Energy” 2). The adoption of clean energy technologies has influenced other countries to adopt the same policies to mitigate the effects of fossil fuels on climate change. For instance, adoption of the feed-in policy by Germany influenced other several European countries to adopt the same in an attempt to contain the effects of the fossil fuels and coal on the environment. Countries in Europe that adopted the feed-in tariffs include Denmark, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Sweden (“Renewable Energy” 3).

Moreover, the transformations in the energy sector have taken place in the developing countries across the globe. Despite being an expensive initiative, international grants, loans, and donations have enabled most of the developing countries to embrace production of renewable sources of energy (“Renewable Energy” 4). Foreign investors also started producing and marketing renewable to developing countries laying the ground for takeoff and transition from fuel based on renewable sources of energy.

Present Position of Clean Energy Technologies

The various policies implemented by different countries have led to significant improvements in funding, establishment, and use of clean energy. In the period between 1992 and, 2003 the global investment in clean energy was $25 billion and about 365 MW of power were produced (“Grid Integration” 9). Between 2003 and 2012, the global investment in renewable energy stood at $ 250 billion indicating a significant increase in investment. The amount of wind power generated rose from 40 GW to 320 GW while solar energy rose from 3 GW in 20003 to 140 GW in 2012 (“Grid Integration” 9). The quantity of clean energy added to the global grid between 2003 and 2012 was equal to the volume of fossil and nuclear energy in the same period (“Grid Integration” 9). Evidently, renewable energy was competing significantly with the fossil fuel and coal (“Grid Integration” 1). In 2003-2012, renewable energy accounted for 70% of the energy added in Europe (“Grid Integration” 7). In the same period, major milestones were made in several other parts of the globe in use of clean energy technologies.

China is one of the countries with highest capacity power consumption in the world. In the period between 2003 and 2012, the various environmental policies adopted by China had made it a global leader in production, use, and investment in renewable sources of energy (Steeves, and Ouriques 2). In 2013, China had 15 GW of solar PV capacity and 25 GW of wind energy by 2009 (Steeves, and Ouriques 4). The investment in renewable sources of energy did benefit not only the China’s power grid but also the environment.

California is one of the states that have capitalized and invested heavily in renewable sources of energy in the United States of America. In 2015, more than 33% of power in the state was generated from renewable sources (“Grid Integration” 3). Adoption of the Renewable Portfolio Standard Policies is the main factor that has made California an American leader in the use of clean energy technologies. California has made a projection to ensure that 50% of power supply shall come from renewable sources by 2030.

Moreover, Germany is another country that has adopted the significant use of clean energy technology in the globe. In 2014, more than 30% of power in Germany came from renewable sources of energy (“Grid Integration” 7). By 2014, solar and wind energy supplied more than 80% of power when they were at the peak indicating a significant contribution of clean sources of energy (“Grid Integration” 8). The efficiency of the wind energy is affected by fluctuations hence the limited use at some times of the day. For instance, the intensity of solar energy is low when the sun is rising and setting. Germany has made significant investments in clean energy technologies, and it projects to generate 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and 80% by 2050 (“Grid Integration” 8).

Other than Germany, Denmark is another country that generates about 40% of its electricity from wind power. Moreover, Denmark projects to produce 50% of electricity from the wind by 2020 and 100% from the various renewable sources by 2050 (“Grid Integration” 8). Moreover, by 2014, over 27% of the power used in Europe was generated from various renewable sources of energy. According to “Grid Integration” (6), most of the countries around the globe rely heavily on the renewable sources of energy with a share ranging between 60-90 percent but the sources are not that much pronounced because they are not the wind and solar energy.  

Cost Competitiveness

It is important to gauge the cost involved in the production, maintenance, and use of the power generated from these sources to gauge the efficiency of clean energy efficiency successfully. Despite the lack of adequate and reliable data to substantiate the cost efficiency of clean energy technologies, the cost effectiveness of clean power production has stretched significant levels (Amin 5). According to Amin, mass production of wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal have reached levels which are significant enough to compete with the fossil fuel, and coal generated electricity in the world.

When comparing the production cost between fossil fuels produced electricity and renewable energy produced power, there is a significant improvement on the side of the renewable sources. For instance, in the United States of America, solar PV is one of the widely used sources of power. To produce regular electricity through solar PV, it costs an estimated $ 0.08 per kilowatt-hour as compared to $ 0.045 to $ 0.14 per kilowatt-hour for fossil produced power (Amin 6). Undeniably, mass production of solar PV energy can compete effectively with power generate from fossil fuels across the world. Moreover, in Dubai solar PV production it was realized that the cost of production was $ 0.6 per kilowatt per hour as compared to 0.87 kilowatts per hour when using fossil fuels to generate power (Amin 3).

On the other hand, large-scale production of wind energy also indicates strong competitiveness over fossil fuel power generation. The Wind produces power at a relatively lower cost of $ 0.5-0.9 kilowatts per hour compared to $ 0.045 to $ 0.14/ kWh when using fossil fuel (“Renewable Power is Cost-Competitive”). New technologies adopted in the production of renewable energy have improved the quantity and quality of power produced while lowering the production cost. According to a study by IREA, the technologies used in the production of hydropower, geothermal and biomass power generation have enabled renewable sources of energy to become more affordable through reduction of costs hence can offer the lowest electricity than other sources of power. The cost of producing hydropower stands at $ 0.08 /kW-hr, $0.10 /kW-hr for Biomass and $ 0.05/kW-hr for geothermal (US Energy Information Administration 4).

The capital required to establish and maintain renewable sources of energy makes the venture expensive. Moreover, the technology required to store, collect, and distribute power generated from renewable sources involves heavy investment, thus increasing the leveled energy cost (LEC) (US Energy Information Administration 4). However, the environmental destruction and health problems caused by fossil fuels takes the cost incurred power generation far higher than the cost incurred in the production of power using the renewable sources of energy. According to Amin, the CO2 emissions increase the cost of power production through fossil fuels by $0.01/kWh – $ 0.13/kWh due to additional costs on the environment and health (9). Therefore, despite being cheap, fossil fuel is more expensive because of its adverse environmental and human health impacts.

Evidently, clean energy technologies are offering significant competitiveness to fossil fuels and coal. Global warming is causing adverse climatic changes that are a threat to humanity. Therefore, it is vital to consider the use of clean energy technologies in an attempt to mitigate environmental hazards caused by the use of fossil fuels and coal. Renewable sources of energy have limited effects on the environment despite being expensive to produce and maintain. The cost of dealing with the effects of global warming is more expensive than the cost of establishing renewable sources of energy. 

Works Cited

Amin, Adnan. “How Renewable Energy Can Be Cost-Competitive.” UNChronicle, vol. LII, no. 3, 2015, pp. 1- 9.

“Renewable Power Is Cost-Competitive: Renewable Power Generation Costs in Remap 2030.” International Renewable Energy Agency, N.d., http://www.wasaproject.info/docs/IRENA_REmap2030/REmap-FactSheet-7-Cost+Competitive.pdf. Accessed 25 March 2017.

Martinot, Eric. “Grid Integration of Renewables in China: Learning From the Cases of California, Germany, and Demark.” China Variable-Generation Integration Group (GVIG), May 2015, http://www.martinot.info/Martinot_CVIG_2015_DE-DK-CA.pdf. Accessed 25 March 2017.

—. Renewable Energy Futures to 2050: Current Thinking. Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, Tokyo, 2013.

Steeves, Butler, and Ricardo Ouriques. “Energy Security: China and the United States and Divergence in Renewable Energy.” Contexto Internacional, vol. 38, no. 2, 2016, http:// dx.doi.org/10.1590/s0102-8529.2016380200006. Accessed 25 March 2017.

Timmons, David, Harris, Jonathan, and Brian Roach. “The Economics of Renewable Energy.” Global Development and Environment Institute, 2014, http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/education_materials/modules/renewableenergyecon.pdf. Accessed 25 March 2017.

U.S. Energy Information Administration. “Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2016.” EIA, Aug. 2016, https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/electricity_generation.pdf. Accessed 25 March 2017.

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Examination of the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park A and B

Examination of the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park A and B

Globalization has aided in opening up of new markets for investment and economic development. Global alliances are one of the method used to spur economic development in the least developed countries. The partnership between the developed and the least developed countries have seen many projects implemented and the projects have changed the face of the underdeveloped countries. Before China rose into a global industrialized economy, it had its share of development problems both in urban planning and in industrialization. Consequently, China sort strategic alliances from most developed countries that have succeeded in urban planning and industrialization. However, implementing strategic alliances has its share of challenges, given that foreign ideas are implemented in a foreign country.

The joint venture was intended to transform a 70 square kilometers of an average rural and urban community into a modern industrial-residential community (Kennedy School of Government 1a). At the time of strategizing, China was transforming from a communist economy to a capitalist economy. The economy of China could not support huge development projects with the capacity to transform the economy significantly. However, Singapore had vast capital reserves that it was planning to invest overseas in a bid to expand its economy in the light of a small geographical area it covers.

China saw Singapore as the right match in the joint venture. Singapore had transformed from a small economy to one of the largest economy in the world in a span of 30 years (Kennedy School of Government 2a). Major economic strategies had been laid in Singapore aimed to transform the economy and the strategies had paid off in the long-run. China relied on Singapore to acquire assistance that could catapult its economy by implementing similar economic strategies and technology that saw Singapore rise into a global economy (Kennedy School of Government 2a). Through the partnership with Singapore, China would acquire the much needed knowledge and experience that could further attract new investors in the country. Moreover, Singapore had stroke a good balance between social and economic development an approach favored by China (Kennedy School of Government 3a). In fact, China wanted to borrow development ideas from Singapore and implement them in the country to intensify its rate of development.

Singapore on the other hand was upbeat that the venture would have spurred its economy further by controlling significant economic activities further afield. Globalization had created an important gateway for developed countries to invest their surplus capital reserves in least developed countries with the potential of paying off. Singapore saw China as a viable market owing to the large population and market in the country. Moreover, the area around Suzhou city had well established infrastructures including expressways, waterways, an international airport and railway lines that could ease the cost of doing business (Kennedy School of Government  4 a). Additionally, the area had many colleges and universities that could provide skilled labor to the industrial park that was set to be established. Furthermore, the economy of China was growing at an alarming rate of 13% more than the rate of Singapore’s growth, which was 10% per annum (Kennedy School of Government 3a). Generally, the area presented the best value for Singapore and a platform to demonstrate the utility of its development model. Therefore, other than being an important outward investment, the Chinese market acted as important platform for Singapore to showcase its development model and strategies to the outside world.

Other than economic development, both Singapore and China had become very innovative with a view to improve their economic development. Singapore had adopted a development software that was essential in planning industrial, urban, and residential development. The software had seen Singapore acquire great achievements in both public administration and management of development projects. Moreover, the software was paramount to effective land planning, housing, environmental regulations, industrial planning and management, labor management and preservation of public utilities (Kennedy School of Government 3a). The software helped Singapore develop a modern efficient economy that carefully harmonized important aspects that affect the economy, human life and the environment. Additionally, Singapore was innovative in the way it implored outward markets to make good use of its vast capital reserves. Singapore chose markets that had the potential of paying off the cost of investment and China was among the best markets. Moreover, Singapore’s well-planned residential community ensured that unplanned settlements and structures did not undermine urbanization efficiency. Singapore had a strong development strategy that it intended to share with interested partners to spur development in those areas. 

On the other hand, China was eager to learn from the Singapore and implement the same development model as the one adopted by Singapore. China understood that proper planning was key to economic growth. As a result, China wanted to employ a development model that would foster economic development, proper urban planning, and innovativeness. The industrial park would attract foreign investors who would invest in projects that would lead to quality infrastructures that would in turn attract more foreign investors.

Factors Affecting the Implementation Process

Implementation process of the project was affected by several factors that led to controversy between the two sides.

Competition

One of the biggest issue of concern was the competition arising from the Suzhou New District industrial park (SND). The park was already established before the China-Singapore- Suzhou industrial park (CS-SIP) come to being (Kennedy School of Government 2b). One of the mistakes that the planners of the CS-SIP failed to account for is the effects SND project would have on the profitability of the CS-SIP project. The SND project already had an advantage since it was running even before CS-SIP was hatched. Consequently, the competition happened to be fierce and SND was attracting more investors than those that the Singapore project (Kennedy School of Government 2b). Initially, the project was thought to pose no threat since it did not involve massive investment as Singapore initiated.

Government Alignment 

Other than the competition, the nature of the China government affected the implementation process of the CS-SIP project. The China had several levels of government that wielded some significant level of influence enough to affect smooth implementation of development projects. Despite government-government agreement between China and Singapore, the different levels of government including the municipal and the provincial levels had significant impacts on the success of the project (Kennedy School of Government 3a). For instance, the SND project was initiated by the municipal government was favored by the municipal leaders at the detriment of the of the CS-SIP project. SND was allowing lower leasing rates than CS-SIP, attracting more investors (Kennedy School of Government 6a). Moreover, the municipal government failed to honor the directives from the central government, making it difficult to establish a conducive environment for the CS-SIP to develop.

Evidently, political and nature of government significantly impact international development. The different levels of government in China impeded successful implementation of the Singapore’s model of development in China. The various levels of government created several bottlenecks that were hurting effective implementation of foreign policies (Kennedy School of Government 6a). The community favored the SND project because it represented what was common with the people of China. Therefore, the success of foreign investment strategies are directly affected by the political culture of the country they are implemented. Additionally, rival projects offer significant competition and they enjoy backing from those who implement them. Therefore, international investors need to examine the extent of competition in attempt to establish the viability of the investment.

The Commitment of the Players

Commitment in joint venture is an important aspect for the success of a project. The Singapore government was committed to ensure success of the project by making huge capital investment in resources, technology, and ideas. On the other hand, the government of china was reluctant to offer the significant assistance where required. The communication channels used in the issuing of directives is an example of failure by the government of China. The government failed to make follow-ups to ensure that the government directives were implemented at the provincial and municipal levels (Kennedy School of Government 6a). The government of China failed to honor some of the terms of the agreement they had entered with Singapore. For instance, according to the legislation of the Chinese government, a land lease is viable for 50 years and not 70 years as the two governments had agreed. Therefore, Singapore ended up being swindled in the deal in the light of huge capital investment it had made. Moreover, the government of China failed to make clear the terms of the CS-SIP projects to the Suzhou leaders and that fueled the wrangles that existed between the project leaders and the municipal leaders (Kennedy School of Government 5a). The local leaders felt being marginalized in the negotiations process hence; they did not commit themselves to ensure its success. Moreover, the government of China was not clear with Singapore on the issue of land acquisition. During the implementation process, Singapore learnt that other than the acquisition cost it had to incur the cost of relocating the affected families and cost of productivity loss. Therefore, unclear policies led to inflation of the cost of the project.

Recommendations

Foreign policies

The project implementers need to be aware of foreign policies since they directly affect the profitability and success of a project. Land lease policies and nature of government affected the success of CS-SIP project.

Cost of the Project

Singapore ventured into a project worth $ 13 billion in Suzhou city, which was colossal amount, compared to $ 105 million it had spent in more than eleven countries on industrial parks previously. It is imperative for international investors to consider nature of products before they make any investment.

Conformity of the Project Goals with Interests of the Society

In the process of implementation it turned out that, the Singapore’s software was not consistent with the Chinese business culture. It failed to grasp important social and economic values consistent with the Chinese hence the various problems it was going through.

Works Cited

Kennedy School of Government. ““Same Bed, Different Dreams”: The China- Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (A).” Case Program CR14-07-1859.0, 2017, pp. 1-8.

Kennedy School of Government. ““Same Bed, Different Dreams”: The China- Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (B).” Case Program CR14-07-1860.0, 2017, pp. 1-6.

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Problems That Ethiopian Coffee Producers Experience

Ethiopia is one of the largest coffee producers in the world with its coffee being one of the best in the world market. Coffee export revenues account for 62% of Ethiopian economy highlighting the value of coffee on the lives of Ethiopians (Francis). Coffee produced by developing nations earns the emerging nations insignificant returns while the rich nations make billions of dollars out of it. Exploitation by the rich nations has made Ethiopian coffee producers poorer, and most depend on donor aid to merely survive.

After producing the coffee, the market prices are dictated by international companies. The international companies set trade rules in a closed-door board meeting at the expense of the poor producers. Moreover, global institutions such as WTO, IMF, and World Bank perpetuate the exploitation of developing countries by adopting partial and exploitative market policies that favor the rich nations (Francis). For instance, IMF issues loans to Ethiopia to ensure that it remain tied to the international market policies without questioning.  

The prices set are so low that the producers end up receiving peanuts. In Ethiopia, a cup of coffee retail at less than $0.12 while in America it trades at more than $4 (Francis). The Ethiopian coffee producers languish in abject poverty for meager prices of coffee in the international market while the international companies such as Starbucks make mammoth profits (Francis). Despite setting the prices, the prices regularly fluctuate further aggravating the misery of coffee producers. 

The intermediaries further drain off the farmers leaving them with nothing to take home. Over 15 million people depend on coffee production to earn a living in Ethiopia (Francis). Due to the poor income generated from the sale of coffee, most of the families receive less than $0.50 per day while a cup of coffee earns Starbucks $ 4-$ 5 (Francis). In fact, coffee production ends up benefiting the middle and the international corporations at the expense of the coffee producers who bear the largest production burden. The farmers grapple with high production costs, changing weather patterns, and harsh working environment and end up with nothing sensible after trading their coffee product.

The international trade policies allow for skewed decisions that ensure exploitation of the coffee producers. The global trade policies limit the coffee market by imposing standards aimed at undermining the bargaining power of the developing countries (Francis). Therefore, the coffee producers denied control over the international market, allowing the international corporations and middlemen to exploit them. This is why the Ethiopians have failed to control the problems they experience in coffee production.

To improve the situation, the Ethiopians should endeavor on value adding to recoup meaningful value from the coffee sale and eliminate exploitation by the middlemen. The international organizations should reconsider the terms of international trade agreements to allow equal benefits for both poor and developed countries. The Ethiopians should push for fair trade terms to set a minimum price for coffee in the international market.

The international market should adopt improved trade terms to ensure that coffee producers receive relevant returns from the coffee product. Global institutions such as WTO, IMF, and World Bank should provide legitimate assistance instead of laying policies that undermine the poor coffee producing nations (Francis).

Works Cited

Francis, Marc. “Black Gold- Day of the Falcon.” YouTube, uploaded by Gurprit Gill, 1 July 2013, http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vzbMgyhZ5Ms

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Evidence of the Class System Theory in the Film Iraq for Sale

Evidence of the Class System Theory in the Film Iraq for Sale

The class system theory plays in the Greenwald film in some ways. To begin with, the conflict created between America and Iraq presents an opportunity for American corporations to enrich themselves. The corporations failed to effectively implement the contracts they had been awarded in protecting the civilians and the army. The corporations (Blackwater, K.B.R.-Halliburton, CACI and Titan) had close links with the top government officials in the USA government which seemed like a ploy to swindle government resources (Greenwald, 2006). From the film, it is evident that the dominant class in the society influence government policymakers to ensure that they fulfill their interests. Evidently, the state act by the interests of the dominant class in the state.

Moreover, the move by the U.S. to invade Iraq was encouraged by economic and political interests. The conflict allowed the dominant class in the U.S. to exploit Iraq economically. The system class theory states that the rich capitalist nations start a conflict with the aim of exploiting the least developed countries (Marx et al., 1959). The dominant countries use their strong political and military power to secure economic interests in the least developed countries. The U.S applied that case.

The critiques of the class system theory will argue that the developed countries play a significant role in economic development of the least developed countries in the world. The critiques also argue that the System theory fails to account for the role of economic strategies adopted by least developed on their development (Marx et al., 1959). Moreover, the critique argues that the class system theory has failed to account for the development of the once underdeveloped and newly industrialized countries. For instance, China, Singapore, Brazil, India, and others have significantly developed as a result of capitalism.

References

Greenwald, R. (2006). Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers. Brave New Films.

Marx, K., Engels, F., and Moore, S. (1959). The class system theory. International Book Shop.

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