Wednesday, July 9, 2008

food crisis

12. The rich benefit from the current food crisis. To what extent is this true?

A fast-unfolding food shortage is engulfing the entire world, driving food prices to record highs. This phenomenon, known as the food crisis, can be said to be one of the most pressing problems that the world is concerned with today. The main cause of this food shortage leading to escalation of food prices is simplistically due to a decrease in supply and an increase in demand of food worldwide. With the food crisis likely to stay, perhaps we can actually examine how it can be beneficial to certain groups of people instead of labeling it as a total menace. The group that can most probably benefit from a food crisis could be the rich as they are more financially capable to handle this surge in price of food.

The rich can pointed at to be the culprits causing this food crisis, and in the end, they could be said, to a certain extent, to be the ones benefiting from this food crisis. Due to a rapid depletion of fossil fuels worldwide, richer countries such as the United States have turned to using biofuel as a cleaner source of energy. This leads to an increase in demand for corn used to produce ethanol for the source of biofuel. This increase in demand for corn directly competes with the use of these crops for food. Last year, over 20 percent of the entire corn crop was used to produce ethanol. Furthermore, the government of these countries switching to biofuel even subsidizes or gives incentives for the use of biofuel. This further increases the demand for biofuel. As a result, these richer countries are more able to achieve self-sustainability and the businessmen in these countries are most likely to benefit in terms of profits due to the huge agricultural subsidies and incentives given out by the government. Therefore, the rich does benefit from the food crisis.

Furthermore, more land for agriculture are fast being destroyed to make way for new factories as part of development projects. This will benefit the rich from their investment in these development projects but will be detrimental to the poor as the food crises worsen with the depletion of farmland that can grow crops. One good example would be in China, one of the fastest developing countries in the world. From the period of 2000 to 2005, there was an average annual loss of 2.6 million acres of farmland used for development, which resulted in a remarkable success in economic development over the past two decades. As a result of this loss in farmland, more farmers lose their jobs while the land are being used to reap economic profits, which will benefit the rich but not the poor in this case.

However, to say that the food crisis will benefit the rich will be too hasty a conclusion. The food crisis can hardly be said to be beneficial to the rich as it has caused social unrest and riots in poorer countries that are badly affected by the souring food prices. For example, protests, strikes and violence have been experienced by countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Also, in the month of April alone, food riots have broken out in as many as 33 countries which include Egypt, Haiti and the Cameroon. The human rights activists and the World Bank even warn of a possible implication of a global catastrophe if food riots spread. With social unrest and possibility of a global catastrophe, the rich can never benefit from a food crisis as they may find their businesses affected by the unstable social status. The loss in confidence to invest due to riots may affect profits of corporations. The profits gained by the rich might eventually be eroded due to the social cost of the implications of a possible social unrest. Therefore, people on the whole, including the rich, loses out as the world might be plunged into a state of social unrest unless a quick solution is to be implemented to minimize the impact of the food crisis.

Another reason to why the rich does not stand to benefit from a food crisis is because of the rise in price of food products. The rising affluence due to the effect of globalization has caused the growth of middle class in several countries such as China and India. As such, the increasingly prosperous people are eating more and this leads to an increase in demand for meat, which in turn increases the price of food products such as corn and soybeans, as the use of maize and soybeans to feed cattle, pigs and poultry has risen sharply to meet this demand. Therefore, the world suffers from increment in prices of food although the rich is in a better position to deal with this rise in cost of food products.

In conclusion, the food crisis does not benefit anyone at all. The term ‘crisis’ has already deemed this whole phenomenon as a state of danger and instability and therefore, how can the rich gain from this state of instability? Furthermore, the food crisis will only cause turmoil and social unrest if left unresolved. Any gains by the rich will eventually be eroded should the social unrest spread worldwide and become a catastrophe as warned by human rights activists groups. A quick and effective solution has to be implemented soon to prevent the problem from aggravating and causing undesirable periods of social unrest.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

have words lost their impact in today's world?

Words have lost their impact in today's world. How far do you agree with this statement?

Definition: Words= speeches and written material
Today’s world= Modern day
Lost their impact = losing their power to influence

Reasons to why words have not lost their impact in today’s world.

1) Influential people can use mere words to influence others.
- Example: Oprah Winfrey. One of the most influential women in the world, her talk show is being followed by people all around the world. Many believe that she has the power to cause enormous market swings and radical price changes with a single comment. One famous example would be during one particular talk show about mad cow disease with a guest, when Winfrey exclaimed, "It has just stopped me cold from eating another burger!" Her comment subsequently sent cattle prices tumbling, costing beef producers some USD$12 million.
- Example: Quotes. Quotes by people in the past is still remembered and used by people today. Gandhi’s quotes on violence “An eye for an eye makes the world go blind” and “Hate the sin, love the sinner” are still being used.

2) Words can also work concurrently with images to create an impact.
- Example: Use of subtitles. For example, the use of subtitles in news reporting in Singapore is complimented by the people due to the convenience it cause as people can now read off the subtitles instead of having to catch what the news reporter is reporting.

Reasons to why words have lost their impact in today’s world.

A picture says more than a thousand words. With easier excess to the internet for information, people are not easily convinced with plain words that are presented to them. The free excess to a library of information on the internet has led people to question the credibility of words said by either famous people or the news.

During the Tibetan crisis, there was a public outrage over the issue that the BBC and other western media had manipulated reports so as to portray China negatively.

2) A change in the political situation around the world has led to words losing their impact. In today’s world, countries are embracing a democratic system instead of a monarchy system. This means that there is no supreme ruler in a country but rather is based on constant elections for a party to rule the constituent. Hence, words said by politicians have lots their impact as the words said by this political party do not have a significant impact as compared to a single ruler where his words are deemed as the truth…….

3) People are more educated and standard of living has improved. No longer are they easily influenced by speeches……
Example Hitler reign. Back then, there was no television or the computer. People were more likely to be influenced by speeches. This is in contrast to the modern day as people learn better visually and thus are not easily influenced by mere speeches or texts.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

SDL research on Political systems

1. Republic
A republic is a state or country that is not led by an hereditary monarch, where the people of that state or country (or at least a part of that people) have impact on its government, and that is usually indicated as a republic.

2. Democracy
In political theory, Democracy describes a small number of related forms of government and also a political philosophy. A common feature of democracy as currently understood and practiced is competitive elections. Competitive elections are usually seen to require freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and some degree of rule of law. Civilian control of the military is often seen as necessary to prevent military dictatorship and interference with political affairs. In some countries, democracy is based on the philosophical principle of equal rights.

3. Communism
Communism is a socioeconomic structure that promotes the establishment of a classless, stateless society based on common ownership of the means of production. It is usually considered a branch of the broader socialist movement that draws on the various political and intellectual movements that trace their origins back to the work of Karl Marx.

4. Socialism
Socialism refers to a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community. This control may be either direct—exercised through popular collectives such as workers' councils—or indirect—exercised on behalf of the people by the state. As an economic system, socialism is often characterized by state, worker, or community ownership of the means of production, goals which have been attributed to, and claimed by, a number of political parties and governments throughout history.

5. Dictatorship
A dictatorship is an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by a dictator.

Totalitarianism is state regulation of nearly every aspect of public and private behavior. Totalitarian regimes or movements maintain themselves in political power by means of secret police, propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, personality cults, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, single-party states, the use of mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror tactics.

An autocracy is a form of government in which the political power is held by a single self appointed ruler.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

case study articles 2

1. globalization and culture

Globalization (or Globalisation) refers to increasing global connectivity, integration and interdependence in the economic, social, technological, cultural, political, and ecological spheres.
Globalization literally means, "to extend to the world as a whole."

Culture generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. Culture can also be called "the way of life for an entire society."

how globalization affects culture:

key questions on globalisation:

2. Environmental and biodiversity, sustainable development
Biodiversity is the variation of taxonomic life forms within a given ecosystem, biome or for the entire Earth. Biodiversity is often used as a measure of the health of biological systems.

Sustainable development is defined as balancing the fulfilment of human needs with the protection of the natural environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but in the indefinite future.

About biodiversity and environmental issues:

About sustainable development:

3. Terrorism and war
Terrorism in the modern sense is violence or other harmful acts committed (or threatened) against civilians for political or other ideological goals.

About terrorism and war:,1120,20-6055,00.html

Saturday, September 8, 2007

blog task 2 for term 3

Is same-sex marriage a practical consideration in this age of globalisation?

Couples of the same sex holding hands and walking together on the streets is not a common sight that we would normally see. Should we spot one on the street, our eyes tends to shift towards the couples direction to observe their movements, and some of us would perhaps feel disgusted about what we have just seen. This is a typical case of discrimination against the homosexuals. While it is mostly true that the society discriminates homosexuals, the question remains as to whether same-sex marriage should be considered in this age of globalization.

Same-sex marriage is defined as a governmentally, socially, or religiously recognized marriage in which two people of the same sex live together as a family. In this advanced age of globalization, same sex marriage should actually be considered. This is because everybody has basic human rights and they should be free to choose who they want to marry. Therefore, the state should not have any rights to deem same-sex marriage as illegal and not allow it. Furthermore, the state enforces laws to protect the interest of the citizens and society; however, there is actually no evidence that same-sex marriages would hurt the interest of the citizens or society. Therefore, why is it not allowed by the state?

Same-sex marriage should also be considered for the pink dollar that it can bring in for a country that legalizes same-sex marriage. Pink dollar is a term describing the purchasing power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in the United States. It is estimated that the US lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender market put its value at approximately $641 billion in the year 2006. Therefore, the amount of pink dollar that homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender can bring in can actually be too tempting for a country.

One reason to why same-sex marriages are considered to be impractical is the concern that kids that are adopted or artificially inseminated and raised by parents of the same sex may grow up to be mocked at as he or she has two mothers or fathers. The child may grow up to be confused about his or her gender and may have a gender identification crisis later in his or her life. However, these arguments are invalid as there is no statistics to prove that same sex families will definitely raise children to be confused in his or her gender or have gender identification crisis in the later part of their life. Instead, same sex families can actually raise a child well as both the parents have gone through a lot to be together and have the child. Therefore, they would definite cherish the child and would raise him or her up to the best that they can. Hence, the worry that same sex parents not being able to raise a child as well as other parents cannot be a reason to not allowing same-sex marriages.

On the other hand, one reason to why same-sex marriages cannot be a practical consideration is due to religion. Christian denominations, Islam and Orthodox Judaism are against same-sex marriages. For example, some moderate Christians believe that same-sex marriages go against bible teachings. Therefore, legalizing of homosexual marriages is actually not a practical idea as it may cause unnecessary tension among religious groups and may even spark riots protesting the legalization of homosexual marriages.

In conclusion, same-sex marriage should actually be considered. The main reason to why it is not allowed is due to unduly worries by people. Homosexuals are humans after all. Homosexuality is not a disease and they won’t infect the society. Homosexuals do not harm the society too. Why don’t we give them a chance in life and let them marry their partners?

Friday, August 10, 2007

blog task 1 for term 3

"The mother of revolution and crime is poverty"(Aristotle)Do you agree?

The statement “the mother of revolution and crime is poverty” by Aristotle is only true to a small extent. I think that this is largely a sweeping statement. This statement by Aristotle singles out poverty as the main cause of revolution and crime. In my opinion, it is indeed true that poverty cause revolution but it is not the case for causing crimes.

Revolution is an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed. Revolution can be said to be caused by poverty. Should the people be well off, they would not be unhappy with their government. Should the people have enough food to eat, they would not blame their sorry plight on the government. Therefore, the main reason that arises from people overthrowing their government is poverty, as these people seek to have a better life in the aftermath of the revolution. One does not need to look too far from the Revolution of 1911 in China, where the monarchy was overthrown, to explain that poverty is the cause of revolutions. One of the causes of revolution pointed out at the hard life of the Chinese people where about 90% of the population in China were poor peasants. The famine was widespread but the government did little to help regions where many peasants has literally starved to death. Hence, it was not surprising that the peasants welcomed the revolution as it provided them a chance to change their life.

Another example that can further support the statement that the cause of revolution is poverty is the revolution that took place in Russia in 1905, and another two revolutions in 1917. The first revolution in 1905 took place due to food shortages, deteriorating living and working conditions and a losing war against Japan. The second revolution, known as the February revolution of 1917, was also caused by the same reasons that caused the first revolution. The third revolution, known as the October revolution, arise after the Provisional Government had proved to be equally ineffective as the previous rule. These three revolutions served as a purpose to remind people that poverty can cause the people to support revolutionary groups to overthrow the government, in search of a better life.

However, to solely point the finger at poverty being the root of all revolution is not justified. There can be other causes of revolution. Taking the 1911 revolution in China for example, the main cause of the revolution was actually the Manchu government being weak and inefficient. It was the government’s inefficiency that led to the problems that China faced in 1911. One such problem was the foreign intervention in China where the foreign countries made China sign unequal treaties. Hence, although it is true that poverty is a large cause of revolutions, we should not neglect other factors that can play important roles in causing revolutions to occur.

With poverty being justified to be one of the main causes of revolution, we shall now explore whether poverty is the cause of crime. Crime is an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited. I feel that poverty only lead to specific crimes like theft, kidnapping or burglary. A poor person who is feeling helpless and hopeless may resort to stealing in order to get more food to support his family. This person may be driven by greed, anger or desperation. One does not need to look too far away from the multiple stories of drug abusers resorting to theft to get money to buy drugs to satisfy their craving.

However, to blame poverty as the main cause of crime may be too hasty an accusation. Some people may steal for the thrill of it. For example, people diagnosed with Kleptomania cannot control their compulsion to steal although they may not be poor. Also, some crimes are committed not because the person is poor, but because of the selfish and greedy wants of a person. For example, a rapist commits rape to satisfy his or her lust or sexual need. A murderer may murder his or her victim due to anger and hatred for the victim. These criminals however, are not victims of poverty. Hence, the argument that poverty is the cause of crime is an invalid one.

In conclusion, Aristotle’s statement that the mother of revolution and crime is poverty is only true to a certain extent. While poverty can be viewed as the catalyst to revolution, it cannot totally be pinpointed as the main cause of revolution. Also, poverty can only cause certain types of crime like theft or kidnapping. However, not all cases of these crimes are associated with poverty and there are also other crimes that cannot be justified to be caused by poverty.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Case study articles


1. Discrimination or prejudice based on a person's physical appearance.

1. Discrimination against persons of a certain age group.
2. A tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment.


Disalism is used to describe inherent discrimination against people with disabilities in favor of people who are not disabled


An unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.