Thursday, August 20, 2009

Global Warming Essay

Imagine a world where the landlocked state of Idaho is now prime oceanfront property and almost all of the major cities in the world are covered by water, a place where the average temperature ten degrees higher, and instead of California, Canada and Siberia now have the prime agricultural climates and tropical diseases are worldwide (Kyoto 13). This isn’t a science fiction movie. It is the predicted worst-case scenario if we continue to pollute the environment with greenhouse gases. Global warming is a serious threat that could threaten the existence of our civilization.

Some suggest that this horrible scenario is impossible and that global warming is all hype and no substance. They blame the global warming frenzy on ulterior political motives, faulty scientific data and a misinformed media. Unfortunately for us, this point of view is wrong and global warming is a serious threat.

Those who argue that it is all political hype say that politicians are making a big deal out of this issue in order to advance their political position. The author of one article dedicated to this viewpoint says, “The VP has been revving up his political engine on high octane global warming hype recently. This is probably the prelude to his expect bid for the White House in the next presidential election. He claims that the signatures of 2,500 scientists from the IPCC and record high temperatures this summer should seal the debate forever.” He and others who agree argue that these actions by the Vice President are based solely on his political agenda and faulty scientific data. They claim that the data Al Gore is using to base his decisions shows an increase in global temperature but isn’t credible because most of the temperatures were taken in urban areas where they can be skewed by the heat conducting properties of concrete and asphalt that are common in urban areas().

This argument does have a point, but there is one inconsistency. Why is Antarctica, a place with no manmade objects, experiencing the warmest years in all of history? There is no denying this fact. Climate records of Antarctica show that in the last half-century temperatures have risen almost 3 degrees Celsius and the ice shelves are disappearing at an alarming rate. “Between 1966 and 1989 most of the Wordie Ice Shelf, 502 square miles, disappeared. And over the past 18 months, two of the peninsula’s largest ice shelves have lost nearly 1,100 square miles of their total area, a sheet of ice about the size of Rhode Island,” says Mary Roach, author of “Antarctica’s Hot Spot”. Nobody can dispute the rising sea levels either, which is an effect of the melting ice.

Another position that many people argue is that the media, who have no hard, cold facts to go by, have blown up the issue of global warming in order to create controversy that will sell more papers and attract more viewers. Unfortunately, the media didn’t just cook this scheme up to make more money, they based it on undeniable scientific evidence. The fact that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen drastically is a phenomenon that isn’t possible to dispute. Before the industrial revolution, amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 270 parts per million. Today it is almost 360 parts per million due to our emissions from burning fossil fuels. “There is no known geologic precedent for large increases of atmospheric CO2 without simultaneous changes in other components of the carbon cycle and climate system,” states ;dj;lad. This means that throughout the earth’s geological history, there has never been a case where the CO2 level has risen and the climate hasn’t changed. Scientific evidence from core samples proves this. Unfortunately, today, the rise in CO2 hasn’t been natural as in the past, but has been imposed by us humans. The consequences of this unnatural balance could be devastating.

Global warming occurs because we are spewing emission gases into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. These gases, with carbon dioxide being the main culprit, prevent solar heat from escaping the earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a rise in temperature, or the greenhouse effect. Already scientists around the world are detecting the numerous and dangerous effects of global warming. (Johnson 18).

These effects include rising sea levels, killer heat waves, outbreaks of tropical diseases, altered weather patterns, increased numbers of floods and hurricanes, and affected agricultural harvests (Calvin 49).

The most widely accepted effect from global warming is rising sea levels , which could dramatically transform our planet. Polar sea ice and alpine glaciers have been steadily receding over the last two decades (Wheeler 96). If the huge polar ice caps disgorge their enormous volume of fresh water into the sea, the abrupt rise in the sea level will cover coastal and low-lying lands around the globe. Fifty percent of the world’s major cites are located on the coast, as well as many natural treasures such as the Florida Everglades and the Hawaiian Islands (“What We’ve Learned”). All of these coastal areas would be submerged. The sea has already risen four inches since the turn of the century and it is expected to rise much more abruptly. Earth could possibly become a water world (Kyoto 14).

The effect on the world’s climate from increasing temperatures could be just as devastating. Floods, droughts, heat waves and plagues are all on the rise. The eleven warmest years in history have occurred since 1980. Increasing temperatures will cause much more precipitation in certain parts of the world, leading to many deadly floods (Johnson 22). Conversely, other parts of the globe will see a reduction in rainfall and deserts will relentlessly overtake thousands of square miles of habitable land (Sclener 97). Northern areas such as Europe, Russia, Canada, and the northern United States could have milder winters. This at first glance may seem like a good thing. However the changing climates can allow tropical diseases to move into higher latitudes and affect people and animals that have no immunity to the new viruses. Already deadly rodent viruses are showing up in areas of Africa and the American Southwest that were previously unknown to affect humans (Sclener 23).

As if these changes in sea level and climate are not scary enough, the changes to agriculture around the world could be the most threatening of all. Many third world countries depend on agriculture for their entire export economy as well as the primary source of food for their citizens. Entire countries could lose their agriculture base because of altered climate patterns (Johnson 55). At our current rate of pollution, all of these disasters are expected to take place in as little as fifty years (Calvin 55).

The phenomenon of global warming is an extremely serious matter. Not just hype as many claim. The scientific evidence of increased greenhouse gases, melting ice sheets and rise in sea level are undeniable facts. If we don’t do something to prevent this from increasing, our entire civilization is at risk.

We can stop continued global warming by enticing industries to switch to more energy efficient fuels like natural gas. We can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by driving more fuel efficient cars, installing solar cells on our roofs, and relying more on wind, solar, hydroelectric, and nuclear power for our electricity. The governments of the world need to look past the perceived economic drawbacks of reducing our use of fossil fuels and realize the enormous economic potential of emerging environmental technology that could prevent global warming (Sclener). Global warming is real and we need to stop it now before it is too late.


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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cancer Research Paper

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world today. Studies show that one in three people will suffer from some form of cancer in their lifetime. There are many different kinds of cancer that effect different parts of the body. Cancer is treated in various different ways. Some forms of cancer are curable, and some are not.

Cancer usually comes from the formation of a tumor. Tumors form in the body when cells are produced unnecessarily. That is to say, that new cells are formed when they are not needed, and they group together to form a tumor. The tumor can be benign, which means that it is non-cancerous, or it can be malignant, which means that it is cancerous. If cells break away from a malignant tumor, they will enter the bloodstream, and spread throughout the body, damaging other parts of the body.

Quite often, cancer appears with no definite cause. However, there are some activities that people engage in, that increase the risk of cancer. Smoking can cause cancer of the lung, mouth, and throat. Alcohol can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, and liver. Also, exposure to radiation and sunlight (or ultra-violet rays) can cause skin cancer. The exact cause of cancer still remains a mystery.

Cancer can be detected early on by certain symptoms. As cancer progresses through it’s various stages, it will produce certain symptoms. The symptoms depend on the size and location of the cancer. In some areas, symptoms will not appear until the cancer is very large, making the cancer much more difficult to treat. The general symptoms of cancer are fever, fatigue, severe weight loss, an alter of metabolism, blood clots, weakness and dizziness, and sores that don’t heal.

There are various different methods of treatment for cancer. Surgery is typically the first choice of most patients. If the cancer is localized, meaning it hasn’t spread, surgery is the best option. The surgeon will remove the tumor and the surrounding tissue. Surgery offers the greatest chance of a cure. The next method of treatment, which is usually a patient’s second choice, is chemotherapy. This method treats cancer cells that have spread.

Chemotherapy is used depending on the type of cancer, and the stage it is in. Chemotherapy will usually slow the cancer down, and keep it from spreading, and occasionally offer a cure. Chemotherapy specifically treats cancer by injecting strong medicine to a patient, and allowing the drugs to travel throughout the body. This treatment is given in cycles. The total course lasts six months. It reduces the risk of the cancer returning. The side effects include vomiting, hair loss, infections, and fatigue. The last treatment, which is usually a last resort, is Radiation. Radiation also treats localized cancer. It destroys cancer cells, so they don’t multiply. It is used alone, or in addition to Chemotherapy. More than one half of people with cancer undergo Radiation. Radiation is the process of external high-energy rays or implants inserted near the tumor, destroying the cancer cells. Radiation is given five days a week for five to eight weeks.

There are certain kinds of doctors who specialize in the treatment of cancer. These doctors are known in the medical world as Hematologists and Oncologists. These doctors specialize in the medical diagnosis and the treatment of cancer. They specialize in choosing between chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. They are trained to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of cancer, and to diagnose the various types of cancer.

The term remission refers to a period of time when the cancer is responding to its treatment. When a patient is in remission, the cancer is under control. When someone is in complete remission, all signs and symptoms disappear. In partial remission, the cancer shrinks, but is still there. Remission can last anywhere from several weeks to many years. If the disease returns, another remission can be followed by further treatment.

With all kinds of cancer, there are seven major warning signs. These seven signs found in one person would indicate that the person may be suffering from some type of cancer, and this person should see a doctor immediately. The seven warning signs are a significant change in bowel or bladder habits, a sore that does not heal, unusual bleeding or discharge, thickening or lumps in breast, indigestion or difficulty swallowing, obvious changes in wart or mole, and a nagging cough or hoarseness.
One specific type of cancer is called Angiosarcomas, or cancer of the endothelial cells. This is a rare, and very serious form of cancer. This type of cancer occurs in the head and neck region, and it usually appears in the scalp of the elderly. Occasionally it is found in the oral cavity. When it appears, it is usually a painless, rounded mass, and it may have a bluish hue. Once this tumor first appears, growth is very rapid. For the most part, treatment involves the surgical removal of the mass. However, this form of cancer is rather rare, and it is hard to diagnose early on. Because of this, about half of the individuals who suffer from it die within fifteen months of diagnosis, and only about twelve percent will live for five years or more. With this type of cancer, the earlier it is detected, the better the chance of survival. In other words, the smaller the tumor is when treatment begins, the better the chances of survival. While this disease has occurred in infants, it typically occurs in people with an average age of sixty-five years old. The lesion is usually painless. It is attached to surrounding tissues, and usually grows very rapidly. However, occasionally it can grow very slowly.


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Monday, August 17, 2009

SARS Research Paper

Many people in the United States are unaware of a new deadly disease, which is wreaking havoc throughout the world because of the intense coverage of the war in Iraq. However, SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome has currently infected 2,601 people worldwide and has killed 98 people as of April 7, 2003. The United States has been lucky thus far because no deaths have been reported in America. However, there have been 115 suspected SARS cases that have occurred in 27 states including California and New York, which are two of the most populated states.

Currently, the World Health Organization has defined SARS as an “atypical pneumonia of unknown Etiology.” Although this disease is very new and not much is known about it, researchers still have made some significant progress. Scientists have been able to link this disease to an unrecognizable version of the corona virus. The corona virus is named after its crown-like appearance and commonly causes the infected patient to have upper-respiratory problems. The major difference between the corona virus and SARS is that people infected with the corona virus usually have weakened immune systems to begin with. On the contrary, most SARS victims have been adults who were healthy before being infected with this deadly virus. Also, the corona virus is very rare in humans, it is mostly found in animals like dogs and cats. This is why scientists are investigating the possibility that this unknown version of the corona virus called SARS has been passed on from animals to humans just like HIV did.

HIV is a very deadly disease, but it is preventable for the most part as long as you practice safe sex. On the other hand, SARS is nearly unavoidable because it is much like other respiratory illnesses, which spread from close contact. For example, if one of your classmates became infected with SARS and they cough or sneeze while in the classroom they will release tiny droplets of infected matter into the air. If you breathe the air that is infected, then you can also become infected with the killer virus.

Once you have contracted SARS its takes anywhere from two to seven days for symptoms to be noticeable. The major symptoms for this disease is having a fever of a 100.4 or higher, chills, headache, muscle soreness, and a general feeling of discomfort is also common. Approximately three to seven days after being infected with the virus people have been experiencing a dry cough that can turn into hypoxemia, which is when there is a reduced concentration of oxygen in the blood. Also, about fifteen percent of infected patients have needed some type of assistance breathing either through intubation or mechanical ventilation. Doctors have begun to treat patients with antibiotics, antiviral agents, and a combination of steroids and antimicrobials. All these treatments have showed mild success this far.

Even though there is not much known about this deadly virus, hopefully this essay has made you more aware of the process of how the SARS virus is spread, contracted, and cured. Currently, there are two patients in Santa Barbara who have contracted SARS. This is why must be aware of this virus because it is so deadly, its so close to home, and the initial symptoms seem like you just have the common cold. However, if you believe you may have contracted SARS it is extremely important that you see a doctor immediately because if it is treated early you have a better chance of surviving.


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Capital Punishment Essay

The execution of fellow human beings in the pursuit of justice is as old as human history. What began thousands of years ago as a profound method of retribution involving not only the families of the victims but often the whole town; has grown and shrunk, widened and narrowed, and within the last hundred years gradually been reduced to a small minority of countries still executing their citizens for convicted crimes. It is an issue strife with controversy, and is always surrounded by debate whenever approached. (See also: buy essay)

This paper will address the history of the death penalty, from the far and distant past, though history until we reach the death penalty that we are familiar with today. We will specifically address Capital Punishment within the United States, how our citizens view it and how citizens of other countries view the U.S. We will address Capital Punishment and the law, both within the Federal Legal system and the State legal systems.

Finally, we will conclude with a view into the validity of capital punishment as a useful tool within today’s society, how effective America’s legal system is in meting out accurate justice, and a glimpse into some alternate measures that could be implemented in place of the death penalty.

Stoning was the earliest form of execution with recorded stonings dating back to 3000 – 1000 B.C. There was no formal legal process at the time, therefore early executions by stoning were unceremonious and brutal affairs. A typical stoning would consist of a family member of the harmed party or a witness to the crime placing a hand on the head of the offender in order “to mark them for execution”. At this point, either one of the family members or the witness would cast the first stone. If he could not produce death alone, then the bystanders would hurl them also. As laws began to develop, Jewish law set forth a more involved execution ritual involving two witnesses, but the rudiments remained the same. “When the offender came within four cubits of the place of execution, he was stripped naked, only leaving a covering before, and his hands being bound was led up to the fatal place, which was an eminence twice a man’s height. The first executioner’s of the sentence were the witnesses, who generally pulled off their clothes for the purpose: one of them threw him down with great violence upon his loins: if he rolled upon his breast, he was turned upon his loins again, and if he died by the fall there was an end; but if not, the other witnesses took a great stone and dashed it upon his breast as he lay upon his back; and then, if he was not dispatched, all the people that stood by threw stones at him till he died.” (Johnson 11)

As history progressed more involved methods of execution were devised coupled with different forms of legal proceedings. Hanging by strangulation became a method of choice throughout much of the then “civilized world”. In the Middle Ages, executions became a sort of pageantry, involving the whole town in a form of brutal entertainment.

After being convicted of a crime and sentenced to death (Confessions were usually produced through torture immediately following capture) an elaborate ceremony followed in the town square. The accused would be paraded through the crowd, who were encouraged to heckle and ridicule. The accused was then led up before a nobleman or priest of the King’s courts who would notify him of his crime and pronounce him to be sentenced to death through various forms of mutilation and torture. Some of the more popular procedures were, hang the person, cut them down immediately prior to death, and then disembowel or carve out his intestines and cut him into four pieces (This is commonly known as “to draw and quarter”. Another method was known as “breaking on the wheel” The accused was placed upon a wheel-like platform. The executioner then proceeded to break the arms and legs of the accused with a heavy iron bar. The mangled remains were then turned rapidly, scattering gore about, until the victim was dead. Another popular medieval execution was “sawing the victim in pieces”, in this type, the accused would be strung up by his feet, and then sawed vertically in half, of course while still alive.

For certain crimes, the laws specified exactly what was to be done to the victim, down to the details to be performed on specific body parts. One such example of this follows, “Ye do respectively go to the place from whence ye came; from thence to be drawn upon a sledge to the place of execution, to be there hanged up by the neck, to be cut down while ye are yet alive, to have your hearts and bowels taken out before your faces, and your members cut off and burnt. Your heads severed from your bodies and your bodies disposed into quarters, your heads and bodies respectively disposed of according to the king’s will and pleasure; and the lord have mercy on your souls.” (Johnson 14) Needless to say executions of today are a little less violent than in the past.

Executions progressed throughout history with methods only limited to the imagination of men: Beheadings by Guillotine, Hangings on the Gallows, Firing Squads, Electric Chairs, Gas Chambers, and our most modern form of Capital Punishment, the lethal injection. We could devote an entire book on the history of executions, (which Robert Johnson has done in his book, Death Work) but, we must move on.

The United States is a fairly young country compared to many established in the world today and our legal system although young is used a basis for other legal system adaptations throughout the world. Having broke away from England and basing much of our law on the English system, it is not surprising that we brought over Capital Punishment and have had it within our legal system ever since (minus a short reprieve from 1967 to 1977).

The first recorded execution within the United States was in 1622 in the colony of Virginia, with Daniel Frank being put to death for theft. His method of execution was not stated. Although it is a known fact that the death penalty has been part of American history since before our independence, statistics were not collected until 1930 on a regular basis. From 1930 until 1967 (the year a moratorium was placed on executions) 3859 people were executed under civil jurisdiction within the U.S. Three out of every five executions that took place during that period occurred within the Southern states. Georgia had the highest total with 366 executions, followed closely by New York with 329, Texas with 297, California with 292, and North Carolina with 263. Out of those 3859 executions 3334 were for murder, 455 were for rape, and 70 were for other offenses. The United States Civilian legal system was not alone in laying out justice in the form of the death penalty. During the same period, the U.S. Army executed 160 people. 106 were for murder (21 of which also involved rape), 53 for rape, and one for desertion.

At the same time, across the Atlantic, Europe was taking the stance of abolishing the death penalty as cruel and unjust. In 1965, England abolished the death penalty under the 1965 Murder Act. Other countries across Europe were following suit if they had not already done so. The pressure from the European countries on the United States to abolish the death penalty continues to this day. Amnesty International is the largest advocate for a worldwide abolition of the death penalty and has garnered much support. Amnesty International is backed by the United Nations who has become a staunch ally to their cause. As time progresses and more and more countries abolish the death penalty, many foreigners, especially Europeans view the United States as hypocrites. The U.S. has always declared itself as a strong supporter of human rights yet most European nations view capital punishment as a violation of human rights. One such group, Death Penalty Focus, go so far as to blatantly declare the United States as “keeping company with notorious human rights abusing countries such as Iraq, Iran, and China as major advocates and users of capital punishment.”

Within the United States, public support for the death penalty remains fairly high in regard to cases involving atrocious acts of murder, yet support drops off rapidly when the offender is a minor or mentally retarded. Also, when Americans are presented with alternatives to the death penalty, a greater majority prefers life without parole to those who still favor the death penalty. Hart Research performed an interesting poll in 1995; polling police chiefs across the United States and asking them to list the most effective methods for deterring violent crime. Many answers were given in various ratios, from reducing drug abuse to better gun control but only 1% of those polled listed the death penalty as a major deterrent of violent crime.

Legal challenges to the death penalty culminated in the Supreme Court Decision Furman vs. Georgia, 408 U.S. 153 which ruled the death penalty statutes unconstitutional because under these statutes the death penalty was being applied in an “arbitrary, capricious and discriminatory manner” contrary to the eighth amendment and the due process guarantees of the Fourteenth amendment. Two of the justices (Justices Brennan and Marshall) presiding at the time declared capital punishment to be unconstitutional in all instances.

The decision of Furman vs. Georgia created waves across the entire country. More than 600 death row inmates who had been sentenced to death between 1967 and 1972 had their death sentences lifted as a result of the decision. States quickly moved to revise legislation tailored to satisfy the Supreme Court’s objections to “arbitrary imposition” of death sentences.

In 1976 three cases were brought before the Supreme Court regarding the same matter. The three cases were Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976), Jurek v. Texas, 428 U.S. 262 (1976) and Proffitt v. Florida, 428 U.S. 242 (1976). All three of these cases dealt with guided discretion and afforded sentencing courts the discretion to impose death sentences for specified crimes and provided for two-stage (bifurcated) trials. These “bifurcated” trials involved, in the first stage, the determination of the defendants guilt or innocence and, in the second, determination of the sentence after “consideration of aggravating and mitigating circumstances.” In Georgia and Texas the final sentencing decision rested with the jury and in Florida with the judge.

Also in 1976 two cases came forward to the Supreme Court, which dealt with laws providing for mandatory death penalty for specific crimes, and allowing no judicial or jury discretion beyond the determination of guilt. The Supreme Court declared that the mandatory death penalty was unconstitutional in Woodson v. North Carolina, 428 U.S. 280 (1976), and Roberts vs. Louisiana, 428 U.S 325 (1976). These rulings led directly to the invalidation of mandatory death penalty statutes in 21 states, and resulted in the modification of the sentences of hundreds of offenders from the death penalty to life sentences.

Under the new death penalty laws the first execution since 1967 took place on January 17, 1977. Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah. Although for the first several years following the new death penalty laws, executions stayed low, they began to climb once again in 1984 with 21 people executed and continued to rise rapidly with 74 executions in 1997.

The death penalty was effectively restricted to murder when the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for rape in the 1977 decision of Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S 584 (1977) because applying the death penalty in rape cases was disproportionate to the crime. This resulted in twenty inmates across the country being removed from death rows. Although the courts have accepted that this decision prohibits the imposition of the death penalty for all crimes not resulting in death, several states have left untouched the capital felony statutes which provide it for such offences as kidnapping and rape of a child.

As of 1998, 38 states and the federal government have capital punishment laws. The twelve states who do not have death penalty laws are: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The District of Columbia also does not have a capital punishment law.

The push to abolish capital punishment is growing while executions still continue. Some of the statistics on Capital punishment for the year 200 are as follows. (Taken from The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics) In 2000 85 persons in fourteen states were executed: 40 in Texas, 11 in Oklahoma, 8 in Virginia, 6 in Florida, 5 in Missouri, 4 in Alabama, 3 in Arizona, 2 in Arkansas, and one each in Delaware, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and California. Of those executed 49 were white, 35 were black, and 1 was American Indian. 83 were men and two were women. At the end of 2000, 37 states and the Federal prison System held 3593 prisoners under sentence of death. All had committed murder. Of the 3593 prisoners, nearly 2/3 had prior felony convictions and roughly 1/12 had a prior homicide conviction.

With this many inmates on death row the question continues to arise, “How can we insure that all the individuals we sentence to death row are 100% guilty?” Can we justify a system that executes for heinous and depraved acts of murder if we acknowledge there will be mistakes? Is the death of 100 depraved murderers worth the life of one innocent citizen wrongly convicted?

The Death Penalty Information Center in Washington D.C. stated in 1997 that of the 6000 death sentences imposed between 1973 and 1997, 400 have been innocent. Of those 400, 23 were wrongly executed. These are the injustices that many are claiming must cause the United States to abolish the death penalty. Furthermore, some studies question whether the death penalty actually deters crime. The Thorsten Sellin studies in 1962, 1967, and 1980 conclude that the death penalty was not a deterrent. Others argue that the staggering cost of death penalty cases could better be diverted to the victim’s families or for various prison counseling programs. A 1993 California study revealed that the average death penalty case cost at least 1.25 million dollars.

In conclusion, the arguments for and against capital punishment are limitless and answers may not come in our lifetimes, but one thing is certain; violent and heinous crimes have occurred throughout history and will continue to do so. Until we discover a way to eradicate these violent crimes, there will be a need for a stern and final method of justice. The law works to the best of its ability to insure that the guilty are proven guilty beyond doubt. This paper is not designed to influence ones decisions regarding the death penalty. It is designed to educate people on capital punishment and how it works.

The future may decide that the death penalty is a violation of human rights and cause capital punishment to be abolished. In order for that to happen, there must be a unanimous decision that an alternate means of justice is in place to punish those who seek to break the law by brutally taking the life of a fellow citizen. What that alternative will be, only time will tell.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Essay on Personal Goals

Competition, the life blood of innovation, this is my life’s compass. Nothing makes a day brighter than being better than the next man. Shallow as my view may be to some, winning determines much of how I conduct myself. Confronted with a career stifled by being too good to young, I left to start my own company. While I was implementing a software product for a client that left much to be desired, I founded a software development project with a partner to make a better one. It is with this mindset that I determine and pursue all of my goals.

The most important goals in my life thus far have been growth in my industry and technical skills. As an IT company owner facing negative growth in customer spending for almost two years straight, this sector provides a lot of challenges. Having to be perceived as the best available for the least amount of money is a given these days. I pride myself on developing relationships that allow me to meet customer technology needs of today, while simultaneously creating a roadmap for their future needs. Giving them direction work to keep myself employed in the future.

Returning to school is not a decision I that gave much thought. Working for myself gives me the unique position of being involved in every facet of business. While functioning as a piece of the larger puzzle in the corporate world, one most often feels a disconnection between their work and the overall goals of an organization. My distaste for that situation, along with my general experience being an employee have led me to believe working for another was never again an option. Freedom from corporate culture I did not create or wish to participate in leaves me smiling at the end of every day. The thought of mindless meetings, dragging on way past there effectiveness; sometimes pop into my head on the way to the golf course many a Friday afternoon. All in all, I have a pretty good going here and I’m doing my best not to screw it up.

Maturity, and to a certain extent rational thinking in today’s economy, has a sobering effect on one’s view of the world. You can call it strategic planning or preparing for the worst, but sooner or later things go to hell (Murphy’s Law). It is with this new, slightly less opaque view of the world I return to school. Eventually the time may come when a new opportunity presents itself, one which involves coming to work under some else’s banner. The part that worries me the most is the lack of prestige bestowed upon workers who are not degreed from a university. Say what you may for the importance of a college education, and I’d be inclined to agree. But one must also concede the benefits of actual experience and the courage under fire that goes with it. In my employees, I must admit I look for a track record of success in their career more than a college degree. Alas, I am not in charge of everything in this world (I’m still waiting for the position to be created, which I will duly apply for). So I may someday be in the office of some HR executive, rambling away about the benefits to hiring myself for there “team”. It is for this day that I am sitting in Gen101 at the University of Phoenix.

While I am applying myself to the curriculum involved there are a few goals I have set for myself. The first, as you can probably tell, would be to come of less jaded in my writing. This not only applies to papers such as this, but also in my written communications, email, etc. I have a hard time with cynicism. Correction, I have a hard time without cynicism. Coming across as a likable personality in this medium, would probably do wonders for my HR skills as well. Some people just don’t have the thick skin demanded to work with me.

Another area for concern is my ability to manage multiple areas of my life simultaneously. As a person not unfamiliar with the 24 for hour workday, I sometimes have trouble letting issues go to deal with others of equal importance. One of the reasons I welcomed the addition of course work into my life was to break up the totalitarian grip IT work has been having on me. My girlfriend would probably love for me to have something to wake up in the middle of the night to work on, instead of those “stupid computers” of mine.

Lastly, I could use the humbling experience of working with others that have more knowledge in areas I am unfamiliar with. I do eventually have the goal of being a well rounded individually, who can have a conversation with another of differing views and come away feeling I have learned something. It is with this that I bid you and your fellow faculty good luck.


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North Korea Essay

North Korea is facing its seventh year of food shortages arising from weather-related problems. A famine killed tens of thousand of people in 1996-97. (Washington Times; December 8, 2000; Thomas Wagner, Associated Press) Thousands crossed the border into China looking for food.

(Washington Post; July 23, 2001;Pg. 16; John Pomfret, Washington Post Foreign Service) A large percentage of the population remains susceptible to malnutrition and their living conditions continue to worsen as energy shortages shut down factories and further reduce the ability of the country to feed itself. Although the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, tensions remain. As a consequence, the regime continues to spend huge sums and devote scare resources to feeding and maintaining a huge and menacing army.

Environmental Changes as Causes of Acute Conflict
Information on developments and trends within North Korea's borders is difficult to obtain. It is therefore difficult to determine with certainty to what degree North Korea's current problems are due to incompetent leadership, to the failures of a planned economy, or to environmental changes. That said, it is clear that recent changes in northeastern Asia's weather have played a role in undermining the North Korean regime. "The realization that North Korea was in deep trouble began with an act of nature. On the sticky midsummer day of July 26, 1995, the skies over the country darkened. Rains began to pound the earth, rains that were heavy, steady, and unrelenting and that soon turned into a deluge of biblical proportions. The DPRK Bureau of Hydro-Meteorological Service recorded 23 inches of rain in ten days; in some towns and villages, according to the United Nations, as much as 18 inches of rain fell in a single day, bringing floods that were considered the worst in a century." (The Two Koreas; Pg. 370; Don Oberdorfer). Notably also, commenting on this summer's drought in North Korea, the Washington Times quoted North Korea's foreign news outlet, KCNA, as saying: "From the climatological point of view, this long spell of drought is something rare in the history of meteorological observation. It is believe to happen once in 1,000 years." (The Washington Times; June 6, 2000; Pg. 15)

North Korea had been experiencing economic dislocations and food shortages since it lost its East European and Soviet trading partners in 1991, but the incredible series of punishing blows nature dealt to North Korea in the form of droughts, floods, storms and tidal waves from 1995 through 2001created serious problems for the regime. "North Koreans were consuming oak leaves, grasses, roots, and tree bark and other non-standard food--." (The Two Koreas; Don Oberdorfer; Pg 394) As evidenced by the disbanding of the Korean People's Army Sixth Corps in early fall 1995 (The Two Koreas; Don Oberdorfer; Pg. 375), the food shortages appear to have had an impact even on the military, that institution on which the North Korean leadership depends to remain in power. That these natural disasters were the results of environmental changes in northeastern Asia rather than something the North Korean regime did appears clear from the appearance of similar phenomena throughout the area, from never-before-seen severe snowstorms in Mongolia to droughts in neighboring parts of China.

Except that Homer-Dixon discusses the impact of environmental change in terms of a developed North being threatened by an environmentally degraded South, and the situation between North Korea and South is reversed in these terms, Homer-Dixon's hypothesized three types of conflict are applicable to North Korea in all aspects.

Simple Scarcity Conflicts
River water is one of the three types of resources which Homer-Dixon foresees as a likely cause for simple scarcity conflict, and the conditions for such a conflict exist between North and South Korea: They both share a major tributary of the Han River which cuts through the center of Seoul. The river is vital to both countries, which funnel their water from dams to hydroelectric plants providing power and potable water to millions of people. Because North Korea is energy starved, the government has begun diverting large amounts of tributary waters to hydroelectric plants, a diversion of water resources that threatens South Korea's vital interests. Park Eung Kyuk, a public professor at Seoul's Hanyang University, observed: "This is one of the most urgent problems between the North and South since the Korean War" (Los Angeles Times; August 26, 2001; pg. 9; Christopher Torchia, Associated Press).

A more immediate scarcity, however, is food. Flooded coal mines led to reduced amounts of energy to run trains and factories, including those that produced fertilizers, reducing yields in areas not affected by flooding. Dormant factories were sometimes dismantled and its parts sold illegally across the Chinese border for food. Before defecting to the South on 12 February 1997, Hwang Jang Yop, one of North Korea's most prominent officials and the architect of its Juche philosophy of self reliance, told a trusted South Korean contact "War must be prevented at any cost" and to do so South Korea should provide food the people of the North ---." (The Two Koreas; Don Oberdorfer; Pg. 403)

Acute Group Identify Conflicts
Acute group identity conflicts are likely to arise should the North Korean regime implode or further natural disasters lead to mass starvation and the movement of masses of people over the North Korean-Chinese border in search of substance. When Famine struck North Korea in 1996-97, many fled to China in search of food. At first, China adopted a humanitarian position and allowed them to stay in the border region. In the summer of 2001, however, China launched a campaign of forced reparation of North Korean refugees (Washington Post; July 23, 2001; Pg.16; John Pomfret, Washington Post Foreign Service). This gives rise to the question, what will China do if mass starvation hits North Korea again and hundreds of thousands of North
Koreans try to cross into China in search of food? It appears reasonable to believe that China will take strong measures to close its borders in such circumstances, including firing on refugees. But will happen if some of the refugees include armed North Korean army deserters, possibly even army units? The potential for escalation of a refugee matter into a regional military crisis appears real - and dangerous.

Relative Deprivation Conflicts
There appears to be little likelihood of a relative deprivation conflict in North Korea because the military is solidly in control. There could be surprises and unforeseen turns of events, however. In shifting his power base from the Korean Workers Party to the military (The Two Koreas; Pg.408; Don Oberdorfer), North Korean leader Kim Chong-IL probably won the support and loyalty of the military with scarce resources, but it appears reasonable to believe he must have alienated and frustrated many in the ministries and KWP. As they find themselves with less of a shrinking “economic pie”(Homer-Dixon 505), they may be willing to join those lower status elements, farmers and workers, to take action if an opening should appear. As yet, Kim Chong-Il has named no successor. It appears possible a military officer or other power broker could move to seize power for himself in the case of Kim Chong-Il's sudden death, either through natural causes or assassination. A power struggle and civil war could easily breakout with the disenfranchised classes, the KWP and others, throwing their support to that person who they perceive as being most likely to return to them their perceived fair share of the economic pie.

Then, too, as noted by Homer-Dixon, "highly centralized dictatorship threatened by revolutionary actions, purges, and strikes are especially prone to engage in external war and belligerence." (Homer-Dixon; Pg. 506) North Korea does not appear to be threatened by revolutionary actions, purges, and strikes, but it is threatened by economic collapse and mass starvation and has long behaved belligerently toward South Korea and the UN forces stationed there. Commenting on the situation in 1997, American Commander General Tilelli said that "what worried him and his staff was the possibility that the North Korean leadership could become so desperate that the combined power of the U.S. and South Korean forces might no longer deter a massive attack." (The Two Koreas; Pg.397; Don Oberdorfer) Given the lack of what Pyongyang's leadership considers other options, said a member of Tilelli's staff, 'I don't think a decision to attack would be irrational-though it might turn out to be wrong.' " (The Two Koreas; Pg. 397' Don Oberdorfer) Shortly before his defection, Hwang Jang Yop also warned South Korea that "the North is developing nuclear, rocket and chemical weapons" and "believes it will win in a war." (The Two Koreas; Pg. 404; Don Oberdorfer)

Robert Heilbroner's observation that "Such regimes could be tempted to use nuclear blackmail as a 'means of inducing the developed world to transfer its wealth on an unprecedented scale to the underdeveloped world" (Homer-Dixon, Pg. 507) appears to describe North Korea's current foreign policy. The United States, South Korea, Japan and China are all delivering fuel and food to satisfy the demands and needs of the North Korean regime. The United States is obliged to provide 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil annually, as well as to provide two light-water reactors by 2003 (with a cost of ca. 1 billion dollars a piece) (The Two Koreas; Pg. 357; Don Oberdorfer). Richard Ullman may be right in arguing that "third world nations are unlikely to confront the North violently in the face of the 'superior destructive capabilities of the rich,'" but that does not mean they will not and cannot threaten to confront wealthier nations violently. North Korea seems to be an example of an impoverished nation that has already successfully carried out such a threat.


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Friday, August 14, 2009

India Research Paper

After more than five decades of Independence, India stands at the cross-roads of history in the initial years of the new millennium. During the last five decades we have achieved self-sufficiency in food, created a strong and diversified industrial base and developed a high degree of resilience that could effectively withstand the onslaught of the East Asian crisis in 1997 & 1998, the Kargil War in 1999 and the oil shocks in 1999 & 2000. None of these could push India into an economic crisis of the kind we faced in 1991.

However, there are major weaknesses that still persist as we prepare ourselves for entering the new millennium. More than a quarter of India’s population lives in abject poverty, around 50% of the urban population lives in slums in unhygienic conditions and just under half of our vast population is illiterate. At this rate, by the year 2010 we may perhaps earn the dubious distinction of having half of the whole world’s illiterate population, which shows that India is a country of spectacular paradoxes. We are the largest global supplier of highly skilled manpower and still we could be the reservoir of the world’s largest mass of illiterates. The vision for Indian economy in the year 2020 needs to be viewed in this context.

My vision for Indian economy is that India emerges as a formidable global economic power with every Indian enjoying a decent living standard by 2020 while maintaining the broad federal democratic structure of the nation as it has evolved over the last five decades. This vision sounds very ambitious but it is attainable if we can put our act together and pursue the goal relentlessly through well-coordinated hard work, total commitment and complete dedication.

Basic ingredients of this broad vision would include demographic, economic and social aspects of national development strategy over the next two decades.

Population Growth
One of the main reasons why India has still remained a less-developed country with very low levels of per capita income in spite of being quite large in the global context in terms of physical volumes of output in both agriculture as well as industry is our failure to control the rapid growth of population during the last five decades.

Today, the absolute size of GDP is large enough to make India the 12th largest economy in the world However, our rank in termsof per capita living standards is way below at 162 out of 206 economies and even if we consider per capita GNP at purchasing power parity, India’s rank in 1999 turns out to be 153 (World Bank, 2001). Among the 20 largest economies in the world, India’s growth rate of population has been the highest and if this trend continues over the next two decades, it could spell disaster for any ambitious vision that the nation may try to evolve. Hence, it is necessary that we have an explicit demographic vision of attaining less than half per cent annual growth rate of population by the end of the next decade. The social dimension of this vision would involve significant upgradation of the status of women in the society and attainment of almost 100% literacy among adult females. Any vision of a fast developing progressive nation cannot be complete without involving the vision of cent per cent literacy level. If during the last five decades India’s population growth rate had been half of what it actually turned out to be, even with much lower growth rates of GDP during the pre-liberalisation period, India’s per capita income today would have been 62% higher than what we actually have and our rank in terms of living standards in the global context would have been 143 and still higher at PPP. Our national vision must necessarily focus on ensuring that this part of history does not repeat over the next two decades. If the current growth rate of population continues, India’s population would reach 1470 million by 2020. But if we can reduce the growth rate of population in a phased manner to 0.5% by 2010 and maintain it at that level thereafter, India’s population would not exceed 1170 million by 2020, i.e., the country would succeed in avoiding a further addition of 300 million to our population over the next two decades. This by itself would increase the per capita living standard of the remaining population by 26%. Moreover, the scarce national resources required to bring up 300 million additional people could then be deployed productively to further enhance the living standards of the rest. We must recognize that the past trend by itself does not represent destiny. Conscious and persistent efforts could always reverse the past trends. What is required for evolving a people-centered population control programme is a fierce determination to succeed through a complete paradigm shift in our approach to managing population growth. The mind-set of not giving sufficient importance to the issue of population control needs to be radically changed. We must also recognise that population control is one of the most powerful means of reducing the incidence of poverty.

Vision of GDP Growth
The national vision of becoming a major global economic power by 2020 can be accomplished only if we achieve a real GDP growth rate of more than 8% per annum consistently over the next two decades. Achieving further acceleration in economic growth and sustaining the accelerated growth performance over a fairly long time horizon are the main elements of this vision. Sustaining the high growth rate of more than 8% over two decades is a Herculean task but it is definitely well within our potential. Real GDP growth of around 8.5% per annum will enable us to emerge as the tenth largest economy in the world by the year 2020 with a more than seven-fold increase in our GNP, which would translate into a per capita income of around 2500 US dollars. It should be remembered, however, that our ranking in terms of average living standards would still remain significantly lower. But the per capita income in excess of around 2500 US dollars, which would imply more than 7000 US dollars in terms of purchasing power parity would have enabled us to effectively and comprehensively remove mass poverty.

Visions of sectoral growth commensurate with the overall vision of 8.5% growth rate involve growth rates of 5% for agriculture, 9% for industry and 9.5% to 10% for services. In relation to the average growth rates observed during the last 15 years, the growth rates envisaged in the above vision of India’s GDP growth over the next two decades imply an acceleration in the growth rates by 1.8 percentage points in agriculture, 2.5 percentage points in industry, 2 percentage points in services and 2.55 percentage points for the economy as a whole. A detailed projection of the sources of future growth of Indian economy based on my analysis of the sources of accelerated growth during the post-1985 period reveals the possibility of augmenting the contribution of total factor input by 0.65 percentage points over the next two decades. A significant part of the higher growth of total factor input would be contributed by a faster growth of capital input resulting from an increase in the domestic saving rate from the current level of 23.5% to around 28.5% by 2020. While the decline in the growth rate of population envisaged in the demographic vision would lead to some reduction in the growth of labour input measured in terms of man-years especially after 2015, such a decline is likely to be more than off-set by a significant improvement in the quality of labour resulting from major changes in the skill composition of working force. Thus, the vision of 8.5% GDP growth over the next two decades requires acceleration in the TFP growth by 1.9 percentage points. Since improvement in capacity utilisation and structural change are not likely to contribute more than 0.2 percentage points to the accelerated TFP growth, the residual factor, which is a surrogate for technical progress indicating the improvement in the overall efficiency of resource utilisation in the economy, will have to increase significantly from the level of 2.5 percentage points during 1985-2000 to around 4.2 percentage points during the next two decades. Achieving such a massive increase in the overall efficiency of factor inputs is a formidable task and it would require a highly focussed strategy and a large scale effort in every sector of the economy. Let me make an attempt to highlight some aspects of the sectoral strategies required for accelerating the growth of agriculture and industry.

Vision of Indian Agriculture in 2020
Higher growth of agricultural sector can be achieved only through a significant increase in the productivity levels through modernisation of the agricultural sector. Despite our low productivity levels, we have a distinct competitive advantage in several agricultural commodities. We are among the top three producers in the world for several agricultural commodities, but our share of world exports in agricultural commodities is barely 1%.

Traditionally the basic mission of India’s agricultural development has been to achieve self-sufficiency in foodgrains and also in major non-food crops. With rapidly changing global economic environment, it is now necessary to shift the focus from self-sufficiency to export orientation. My vision of the Indian Agriculture in the year 2020 is as follows : Agriculture will be the driving force behind the growth engine of Indian economy through contribution in our export earnings, absorbing a large part of our less skilled workforce, providing good quality raw materials for our industries at competitive rates, generating demand for industrial goods and services, and above all generating income, saving and investment in Indian economy. Indian agriculture should generate exportable surplus of foodgrains and non-foodgrains after meeting the domestic demand at the world prices. Labour productivity in agriculture should rise sharply to offset any increases in the cost of inputs including wages. Fulfillment of this vision would ensure that India will emerge as a major exporter of foodgrains by 2020 with around 7% share of the world exports. Total foodgrains production is envisaged to touch 500 mn. tonnes by 2020, which would not only ensure sufficient exportable surplus but would also be instrumental almost totally eliminating poverty defined as calorie deficiency on account of unaffordability.

The main factors which have created bottlenecks in our efforts to accelerate agricultural development during the last two decades are:
a) Inefficient water management;
b) Poor supply-chain management arising on account of inadequacy of rural roads;
c) Market infrastructure & transportation facilities;
d) Inefficient rural credit delivery system;
e) Lack of proper education at the operating level;
f) Barriers to agricultural trade; and
g) Lack of focus on value addition. In order to accomplish the vision and achieve the targets set for Indian agriculture by the year 2020, a carefully designed strategy of increasing total factor productivity growth in agriculture and simultaneously raising the growth of factor supplies to agriculture should be followed. The critical elements of the proposed agricultural strategy would include:
- High rate of technological progress in agriculture;
- High rates of public and private investment in agriculture;
- Significant growth in total cropped area, which can be achieved by increasing the area under irrigation; &
- Increasing the effective application of high yielding variety of seeds in dry-land farming.

The policy initiatives required for this purpose should focus on the utilisation of the created irrigation capacity by putting in place a comprehensive irrigation management system. The policy initiatives required to implement the strategy to increase the yield rates would consist of encouraging regional specialisation in crops, developing most appropriate high yielding variety seeds for different regions, and various incentives to make modern farm inputs more viable to Indian farmers. In addition to these initiatives, there is an urgent need to involve the corporate sector formally in the cultivation of high value, capital intensive and modern technology based crops with potential for exports. Corporatisation of farming will not only facilitate technological upgradation, but would also ensure rapid growth of private investment in Indian agriculture. Corporatisation of the farm sector would also result in a significant quality upgradation and growth of value added products and, in the process, it would significantly enhance the export orientation of Indian agricultural sector.

Vision of Indian Industry
Having discussed various aspects of the vision of Indian agriculture, let me now turn to the industrial sector. My vision for the industrial sector is to achieve sustained annual growth of around 9% in real terms through international benchmarking of the productivity levels and attaining global competitive advantage in a large range of industrial products. India has already developed a strong industrial base and Indian industry is by now quite prepared to face the challenge of international competition. The radical changes in economic environment during the last decade have propelled Indian industry to bring about a major restructuring of its operations leading to mergers, amalgamations, joint ventures, strategic alliances and significant technological upgradation. Indian corporates have now learnt to focus more on enhancing core competencies instead of diversifying in unrelated areas. The transformation phase of Indian industry is nearing its completion. What is now required is to create the enabling conditions through a series of comprehensive second generation economic reforms to provide a strong fillip for rapid industrial growth.

The major obstacles to accelerated industrial growth are:
a) high incidence of domestic taxes;
b) outdated labour laws;
c) difficulties involved in dealing with industrial sickness;
d) continued existence of inefficient public sector enterprises; and
e) relatively rigid factor markets operating in India. The major policy initiatives to accomplish our vision for the industrial sector would include the following measures:
- Comprehensive reform of the existing indirect tax structure including excise, customs, sales tax and local taxes to ensure that the domestic firms in India carry the same overall tax burden as their global counterparts in the respective industries.
- Adoption of new comprehensive labour legislation that would reflect the main characteristic features of best labour legislations observed globally.
- Enactment of the bankruptcy law to facilitate closure of inefficient and non-viable units.
- Effective divestment of government stakes in non-strategic public sector enterprises and utilisation of the proceeds of divestment to restore the country’s fiscal health.
- Government business partnership to aggressively promote Made-in-India brand with a proper timeframe and benchmarks of progress achieved in that direction.

Vision of India as a Leading Exporter
A significant weakness of our process of economic liberalisation during the last decade has been the high degree of inconsistency in our export performance. During the period 1985 to 1999, the growth rate of exports has fluctuated widely from less than 0% to more than 20%.

This phenomenon is perhaps indicative of the high vulnerability of our exports to external shocks as well as internal constraints and bottlenecks. Failure to sustain high growth of exports is one of the main reasons why we have not been able to achieve high rates of economic growth in the past. Our failure to sustain the high rates of economic growth achieved during the mid-nineties could also be attributed at least partly to our failure on the export front since 1996.

Global vision of Indian economy has to focus on massive export thrust during the next two decades. During the period 1990 to 1998 India’s commodity exports have increased from 18 billion dollars representing around 0.5% of world exports to 34 billion dollars representing around 0.6% of world exports. Currently, the top 20 products that we are exporting account for more than 70% of our exports and their share in the world exports is 1.2%, while our share of world exports for the remaining products which account for less than 30% of our exports, is only 0.3%. During the period 1990 to 1996, the average growth rate of our exports of top 20 products has been around 12% as against the world export growth of 8% for these commodities, while the average growth rate of exports of other products has been around 8% as against 7% growth of world exports for this category. If we ignore the experience of 1997 & 1998 as more of an aberration and apply the pre-1996 trends to the post-1998 period, India’s commodity exports would turn out to be around 345 bn. dollars by the year 2020 accounting for about 1.3% of the world exports. This shows that even if we can replicate what we achieved on the export front in mid-nineties in a sustained manner over the next two decades, India could still achieve a ten-fold increase in exports with a more than doubling of its share in world exports by 2020. Global vision of Indian economy should actually aim at doing better than this.

Hence, my vision of India as a leading exporter is to achieve at least 2% share of world exports by the year 2020. Based on the past trends in world trade and new developments in global economic scenario envisaged over the next few years, aggregate world exports are likely to cross 25000 billion dollars by 2020. India’s exports should, therefore, exceed 500 billion dollars to accomplish this vision. To many, this target might appear to be too ambitious to achieve and one might dismiss it as an exercise in wishful thinking. However, while formulating this vision, let us not be guided by undue conservatism or pessimism. Let us not under-estimate the great export potential of our agricultural sector as well as our service sector. It should not be surprising if our IT exports alone cross 150 billion dollar mark by the year 2020. What is required is to formulate a highly focussed strategy and its rigorous implementation to achieve the desired export thrust. Currently, India exports more than 7000 products through more than 300 thousand exporters both big and small. While the range of products as well as the exporter base could be expanded further, there is an urgent need for a focussed approach which involves selective intervention and targeting in specific sectors and product groups. The experience of several newly industrialising economies clearly shows that a focussed strategy for exports enables the country to carve out a significant niche in the global market. Our success on the export front will depend critically on our ability to control inflation and pursue a market-oriented exchange rate policy. The vision of export growth requires that the average rate of inflation over the next two decades is kept below 4% per annum which would help in restricting the average rate of currency depreciation to around 2% per annum and also in maintaining a relatively stable interest rate regime. Fulfillment of our export vision will raise India’s export GDP ratio to around 20% over the next two decades.

Infrastructure is a crucial factor in the overall development of economy. In India, a comprehensive policy framework for infrastructure development has been lacking. As a result, private investment in the infrastructure sector has not taken off as per our expectations. My vision for the infrastructure sector is to ensure ready availability of basic infrastructure facilities at the lowest possible costs with standards of service comparable to those observed in the newly industrialised economies. To accomplish this vision, it is necessary to evolve a framework that would integrate macro-level policy issues, regulatory aspects and managerial aspects of infrastructure development in the field of power, roads, railways, ports and telecom.

Vision of India’s Education Sector
The 21st century will herald a powerful era of knowledge revolution. Vision for India’s education sector should be not only to achieve and sustain 100% literacy, but also to refocus our higher education to nurture centres of excellence that would acquire global standing and international recognition. The main source of competitive advantage in the 21st century is going to be knowledge rather than wealth per se. The focus should, therefore, be on more equitable distribution of knowledge to empower the people of India to create wealth. The key to success in India’s vision of dominating the knowledge industry lies in the ability of higher education system to quickly refocus and reorient itself to become a globally efficient provider of knowledge. One of the preconditions for achieving this goal is to significantly increase the public expenditure on the education sector to the level of at least 5% of GDP. Highly skilled manpower with a rare combination of hard work, sincerity, commitment and capability is our major strength. We must capitalise on this strength through a complete revamp of our education system to emerge as the most competitive force in the field of information technology, financial services and entertainment industry.

Emergence of New Areas of Economic Activity
The 20th Century has witnessed three distinct shifts in the basic forces driving global economic activity. Economic growth during the first half of the 20th Century was driven by industrial sector involving mass production of manufactured goods. As against this, the period from 1960 to 1990 has been marked by the emergence of what can be called the `era of services’. The rapid growth of the service sector has turned out to be the main engine of growth in the high and middle-income countries during this period. Finally, the last decade of the 20th century has witnessed the emergence of information age with emphasis on knowledge- based industries, which has proved to be the prime engine of growth during the post-1995 period. The 21st century would, therefore, witness the emergence of new drivers of growth. A recent study by Graham Molitor argues that by the end of the next decade leisure time will dominate the total individual life-time activity in high income countries.

As a result, the business activity focussing on leisure time pursuits will emerge as the fastest growing business segment. According to Molitor’s estimates, leisure time businesses will account for almost 50% of American GNP before the end of 2020. Determining the size of leisure time business essentially depends on what is included in this business segment. Leisure time entrepreneurial activities in the orbit of this next wave of economic activity include : recreation, hospitality, entertainment, gambling, travel, tourism, pleasure cruises, adventure seeking, reading, hobbies, sports, exercising, games, computer games, outdoor activities, cultural pursuits, theatre, drama, arts, poetry, opera, symphony, disco & bands, night clubs, bars and taverns, country clubs, retreats, bird watching, gardening, movies & cinema, theatres, television & other broadcast media, visiting and socialising (with family, friends and neighbours), audio & video recordings (including production, distribution, retailing, sales,rentals, etc.) internet and on-line activities, etc. As we add up the income generating potential of these individual segments, the overall potential of the leisure time industry would assume staggering proportions. As society progressed through each of the previous great eras of economic activity, leisure time has increased. Leisure time, which continues to steadily increase, will very soon account for over 50% of lifetime activities in advanced countries. This offers big growth opportunities for India.

Foreign Investment
Achieving 8.5% growth of real GDP would require aggregate investment rate of around 30-32% of GDP depending on the magnitude of efficiency gains achieved by the economy in terms of TFP growth leading to a corresponding decline in incremental capital output ratio.

Currently, our incremental capital output ratio is around 4. As a result of the process of structural change envisaged in our overall vision, the share of services in our economy is expected to increase from 48% in 1998 to 58% by 2020. This phenomenon coupled with technological improvements in agriculture and industry should lead to a reduction in the overall incremental capital output ratio to 3.6 over the next two decades. Our resource needs to achieve 8.5% growth rate could then be restricted to 30.5% of GDP of which around 28% to 28.5% could be contributed by the increased flow of domestic savings. The gap of around 2% to 2.5% of GDP that would remain could then be easily financed by attracting foreign investment. The aggregate flow of foreign investment required to finance our ambitious GDP growth target would be around 60 bn. dollars by the year 2020. Given the recent experience of East Asian countries, we should not aim at a rate of foreign investment of more than 3% of GDP and should try to finance it by attracting foreign investment rather than external commercial borrowing. If we implement the second generation reforms and the macroeconomic scenario gathers enough strength and momentum, attracting 60 billion dollars of foreign investment per annum should not be a difficult proposition by the year 2020.

Critical success factors
Before I conclude, I would like to emphasise that effective translation of the broad macro-level strategy and specific policy initiatives into tangible results at the micro-level leading to the fulfillment of the proposed vision for Indian economy in 2020 depends on several critical factors. Some of these critical success factors are :
- Long term political commitment to the proposed vision and specific goals on the part of the Union Government;
- Shared vision and cooperation from all State Governments in this national endeavour;
- Sensitive technically well informed and administratively competent bureaucracy dealing with this Herculean task;
- Effective and efficient coordination among various levels of government departments, agencies and institutions involved in the implementation of various policy initiatives;
- Overall environment of mutual trust and respect between the government, the bureaucracyand the private sector; and finally
- Organizational effectiveness and adaptability of the Indian corporate sector.
- It would be necessary to strengthen and cultivate these factors during the course of our long journey to economic prosperity over the next two decades.

Services Sector
Services, the 'tertiary sector' of the economy, covers a wide gamut of activities like trading, banking and finance, infotainment, real estate, transportation, security, management and technical consultancy among several others. The contribution from services sector today stands over 40 per cent of the total GDP in India. The sector currently employs close to 20 million people in India. The TIFAC study on services covered nine select sub-sectors ranging from advertising, HRD services, testing and certification to Government administration.

For all the aforesaid areas, IT plays the prime role in information processing, storage and access with a view to providing improved services to the consumers. Some of the typical IT applications in major services sector are outlined in the following sections.

Financial Services
Financial services have been the major users of IT and communication technologies. IT expenditure by US banks has recorded a compounded annual growth rate of 8.4 per cent. The management information system (MIS), distributed computing devices, open systems, high-speed data networks (LAN MAN, WAN, ISDN, etc.), related database management services (RDBMS) have been important development milestones in IT with major impact on financial services.

The development of optical fibre has greatly improved the communication speed, anticipated to touch 2 trillion bits per second eventually. Packet switching transmission method like asynchronous transfer mode achieving a speed upto 622 million bits per second has been the major breakthrough in communication technology. CD-ROMS with storage capacity of 1.6 GB of data have been instrumental in fast information retrieval and access. Use of multimedia for storage of text, graphics, video, sound, etc. has immensely benefitted the information storage system. All these technologies are used extensively by the banking and financial services sector.

Automated Teller Machines (ATM)
ATMs, though operational in the country for quite some time, are expected to make a big head-way in India. It has been estimated that there are around 400,000 ATMs worldwide out of which 1,00,000 are located in Japan alone. The latest generation networked ATMs allow the user to perform upto 150 kinds of transactions ranging from simple cash withdrawals and deposits, to fund transfer to trading in stocks to buying mutual funds to something mundane like payment of electricity bills, booking air-tickets and making hotel reservations.

ATMs are synonymous with credit cards; 578 million credit cards issued worldwide were involved in a transaction of US $ 1092 billion by June, 1993. India is poised to become one of the world's largest credit card users by 2020.

'Virtual' Bank
Multimedia technology has been quite effective in bringing the banking services to the door-step of its customers. The customer activated terminal (CAT) or Kiosk is an interactive multimedia display unit, housed in a small enclosure, typically consisting of a computer workstation, monitor, video disk player and a card reader. It allows the customers to browse through information and use the available banking services at their own speed. Some banks are thinking of establishing 'virtual' branches where a customer can walk through the door, explore services by touching parts of the screen and at any time call up a member of the bank staff by video conferencing. While the banks do not need to invest heavily in real estate for setting up such a branch, the customer gets the benefit of 'one-stop banking' at a convenient location.

Home Banking
Smart phones with screen built-in modems and programmable microprocessors let the customer access a variety of financial services from home.

Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS)
While travellers' cheques meant 'pay-now-buy-later' and credit cards had 'buy-now-pay-later' advantages, EFTPOS or debit cards signify 'buy-now-pay-now' but without cash transaction. The user presents his ATM card when he buys goods and the EFTPOS system immediately debits his bank account.

Smart Cards
The 'Processor' type smart cards with in-built integrated circuits (ICs) or micro-chips offer a wide range of transactional opportunities even from remote areas. The smart cards are extensively being used for employee 'clocking in', withdrawing cash from ATM, using pay-phones, payment of various bills, etc.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
EDI typically denotes paperless financial transactions across the locations. EDI is fast becoming the norm for inter-company transactions and also for procurement of boughtout items from the suppliers. The companies can now operate their bank accounts through corporate banking terminals in their own offices which are linked to the bank computers. Companies can thus carry out transactions like transferring funds, managing its cash flow, opening letters of credit,etc. without any paper work. Singapore has established trade-net to facilitate electronic submission of trade documents by traders to various Govt. agencies and the response of these agencies to the sender. It has reduced document processing time from one day to 15-30 minutes and the estimated saving are of the order of $ 1 billion annually.

Image Processing
As financial services including capital markets and banking are highly document intensive, image processing technology can have a far reaching impact for such applications for its 'Less paper ' handling characteristics. In banks, image technology could be used for automatic identification or character recognition to read text and diagram wherein the cheques or documents can be scanned.

Expert System
The financial services sector is increasingly using decision support systems (DSS) or expert systems for functions such as credit risk appraisal, forecasting loan delinquencies, investment decisions, etc. One of the most promising developments in this field is the use of 'neural network' approach to build an expert system which lets the software literally learn from example and experience. Several banks today are using neural network programmes to detect credit card fraud. It is also being used by some leading investment banks to track stock price patterns and predict their movements.

Advertising, Media & Infotainment
The areas of advertising, media and infotainment are interrelated and their growth and momentum are closely linked with economy, demography, life-style and simultaneously with technological innovations. The levels of literacy and poverty alleviation also have direct bearing on mass media. And again IT applications would have far reaching impact on these services sectors.

International Scenario
The Deloitte delphi survey of more than 100 industry executives (comprising chairmen/presidents/CEOs, VPs, directors/managers) from telecom, broadcasting and cable TV, consumer electronics, computer industry, publishing and advertising agencies in USA has predicted the following future scenario.
- 40 per cent of the key residential and business markets across the USA would be served by cable TV network based on optical fibre
- Most popular mass market services as expected :
- Movies and music on demand
- Home shopping
- Video games via network
- Participatory TV
- Distinction between telephone and cable entities are expected to become blurred
- Direct broadcast satellites (DBS) would emerge as a potent delivery factor
- Affordable mass market for multimedia products and services are predicted by 1998 - 2000 time-frame
- Potential new products :
- PCs for scheduling appointments or displaying an electronic book
- Digital camera for still photographs stored on disk for viewing and editing
- Multimedia CD player desired as a compact disk attached to a TV

Internet has already revolutionized the media and advertising scenario all over the world. The companies in USA had spent US$ 70 million in 1993 (that was easily doubled in 1994) for advertising in the Internet. Internet usage is growing @ 15 per cent a month, that's 435 per cent a year ! Currently more than 200 magazines are available online in USA. Time, Money and Entertainment Weekly provide full-text articles through their home-pages in the Internet. Newsweek on Prodigy enables advertisers use high quality graphics, video and sound. It is expected that 30-50 per cent of the magazines' earnings are from the advertisement whereas download fees from the users provide the rest.

The commentators have predicted some more interesting technological innovations. The most important of them all is interactive television, this is expected to be available by another ten years in advanced countries. This would provide the impetus for user controlled 'on demand' interactive advertising services. The interactivity reduces the time gap between image advertising and tactical promotions. Interactivity further allows the advertisers to target or address the audience with absolute precision. It is expected that 55-60 per cent of US households would be served by interactive networks by another ten years.

Future Ahoy! - India
Television would forge ahead with its domineering role in mass media relegating the print media much behind. With more and more channels getting available coupled with strong emergence of cable networks for localized programmes, TV would pave the way for multi-million rupees entertainment, advertisement and allied business. While rural sector would account for nearly 50 per cent of TV ownership, it is predicted that not more than two-thirds of all the households across the country would own a TV by 2020. TV (including satellite and cable transmission) would account for 40 per cent of advertisement outlays in 2020 against 22 per cent at the current level.

Online electronic newspapers may become a reality in India with the advances in telecom services but such dramatic changes are unlikely for at least another five years. Steep rise in input costs, declining advertisement support (anticipated to reduce by 20 per cent) and shortage of trained manpower would pose major threats to the newspaper industry.

Multimedia technology enabling simultaneous exhchange of voice, text and data would prove to be a major medium of advertisement. Spending on advertisement is expected to be around 5 per cent by 2000 and to reach 12-15 per cent by 2020 AD. Ultimately the market would see an increase from Rs. 350 million to Rs. 120-150 billion by 2020. Around 50-75 million household are expected to be potential users of multimedia by 2020.

Information Technology & Services Sector : Key Issues
While the technological possibilities of IT may be unlimited, their applications and adoption in INdia need a conscious approach towards business process reengineering of existing practices and procedures to take the fullest advantage of IT. Continuous training and skill upgradation of human resources assume critical importance towards absorption of new technologies.

The elimination of manual records, the introduction of electronic fund transfer, ATMs, etc. raise the important issue of security and integrity of data. This includes issues relating to confidentiality of information, preventing data corruption and prevention of fraud. Appropriate technologies for encryption of data for secured transaction, regular and multiple backups, extensive use of passwords and other forms of authorization would need to be adopted.

For paperless and electronic financial transactions in India, a host of legal aspects need to be looked into. As in case of EFT, a cheque is not required to be presented physically for making payment as per the current practice. Also the legal liabilities of banks and customers in case of loss of ATM cards, ATM frauds, etc. are not quite understood in the present system. The adoption of new technologies would warrant a thorough review of the system towards changed legal stipulations.

Finally, the most important aspect of costs involved and benefits expected need a closer scrutiny. Expenditure on IT has always not been in tune with the returns envisaged. The American example of spending US $ 100 billion on IT applications in financial services during 1970-80 has been a pointer. With 100 per cent more expenditure on IT per worker, it increased productivity by only 0.7 per cent per year. Hence, proper implementation programme and technology management aspects assume much importance.

This article attempts to touch upon the emerging IT applications in a few select services sectors. The TIFAC study covers in details the IT aspects in diverse sectors like marketing, logistics and distribution, technical and management consultancy to even in the Government administration.

The services sector covers a vast range of occupations involving comparatively little capital investment leading to gainful employment and has a very good potential for export revenues. The sector calls for continued induction and infusion of knowledge-based technologies with cutting edge applications of information technology. With the highly skilled manpower and excellent entrepreneurship qualities, India can truly emerge as a 'global player' in the services sector.

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