Article Summary And Discussion University Essay Example

            The thesis of Jack Weatherford’s “Cocaine and the Economic Deterioration of Bolivia”, is that cocaine, particularly the results of its demand and production costs, has contributed to the economic, moral, and cultural decline of Bolivia. Additionally, the cocaine trade has increased the number of health concerns for Bolivians. This decline is rampant and pervasive with its true ramification s being hard to initially assess. This is because, Weatherford asserts, the deleterious effects mostly manifest in poor rural areas such as Pocona, a Quechua Indian settlement, where he focuses his study. Villages like Pocona are where most Bolivians live and few outsiders venture. Formerly, these villages, in mountainous areas, could depend upon trucks coming to transport crops like potatoes, corn and beans to market or trading the crops with neighboring villages for coca. But with the increasing demand for cocaine in the developed countries of North American and Europe, coca, processed to make cocaine, is no longer used in traditional ways.

            That is to say that Bolivians no longer receive the economic benefits from the traditional use of coca. Now coca grown in the Chapare, lower elevation areas far from Pocona, has become the chief crop of an economy caught in a cash nexus with a nearly worthless currency. Men can make three times more money working in the fields on a coca plantation than if they worked farms in villages like Pocona. As a result, the work force that once made villages like Pocona marginally profitable, now work in the Chapare. The trucks that once came to the rural areas (Pocona) now go exclusively to the Chapare. This reduces places like Pocona to eating meals solely from the crops they grow. Young girls from Pocona and similar villages often become prostitutes on the Chapare and young men go there receive debilitating scars from their work in the initial processes of cocaine production. Such often permanently removes them from Bolivia’s workforce.

            The young men are given what is called pasta, a highly addictive drug made from coca, to numb the physical pain involved in processing coca leaves with a volatile chemical cocktail. Many become addicted to pasta and begin to lose all of their earnings to fund their drug habits. Some sell their sisters into prostitution and return home to take anything of value from their destitute families. The direct result of such behavior is initially the creation of health crisis. Bolivia has a growing number of malnourished, diseased (mostly venereal) and/or permanently disabled people.

            Yet, the negative results of cocaine production are not limited to health issues. Moral and cultural issues develop as fathers and sons migrate to the Chapare to earn more money – most never return home. They leave the survival of villages to dwindling groups of women and children who either become prostitutes, involved in coca processing, or hormigas (ants) who transport either cocaine or various chemicals used in cocaine production. The end result of dwindling villages, like Pocona, Weatherford points out, is the inevitable decimation of traditional Indian groups like the Quechua. Those not wiped out by Colonialism must now contend with the problems inherent in the switch from a thousands of years old bartering system to a capitalistic system; this in a country without sufficient infrastructure to police the latter.

            In essence, Weatherford’s article is about a village in Bolivia, whose problems are applicable to the whole country. It illustrates how a single cash crop can further the destruction of a country’s economy and people. Finally it remarks upon the problems inherent to imposing capitalistic systems upon countries lacking the infrastructure to makes full uses of them. More important it highlights how the demands of developed countries are still holding developing countries hostage in terms of economic systems, long after the eradication of colonialism and mercantilism.

The thesis of Jack Weatherford’s “Cocaine and the Economic Deterioration of Bolivia” is that cocaine production has been a major contributor to declines in the economy, morality, health and use of traditional practices of Bolivia’s people. For Bolivians, life and its subsistence, is increasingly intertwined with cocaine production. As Bolivia’s people become increasingly dependent upon coca, the plant used to make cocaine, as a cash crop, they rap more the negative effects of a boom-and-bust economy (Weatherford, date).  However, an in-depth exploration of Bolivia’s cocaine crisis is best explained utilizing the theory of social interactionism.

            Until cocaine production began to take place on a wide scale in Bolivia, the coca plant was simply one crop among potatoes, corn, beans, papaya and many others. Bolivians usually either chew the coca leaves or make a warm drink, both generate physical effects upon the body similar to the one produced by coffee. And provided among vitamins A, C, and D, calcium for a country with lactose intolerant people and neither a dairy system nor readily available dental care. Now coca is used to make an addictive drug, in great demand in the developed world. Understandably, Bolivian attitudes toward coca have changed.

            Coca, once a fairly innocuous plant treated with no more than average distinction, is increasingly seen as a necessary evil. Weatherford indicates how Bolivians feel about cocaine and the way it has taken over their lives. He quotes a Quechua Indian woman who asks why Americans, who she, like many other Bolivians, believes can make anything, do not make their own cocaine, so that the young males Bolivia can leave the coco plantations. Even though the young males can make more money on these plantations, the money never filters back into the Bolivian economy. And this Quechua Indian woman is well aware of why: the young men employed to process coca leaves into pasta, the base from which cocaine will be made, are harmed for life.

            They are physically disabled by the corrosive chemical mixture used to break down the coca. Additionally, they are given cigarettes coated with the pasta so that they bear the pain of macerating, with hands and feet, the coca leaves. This leads to a pasta addiction on which they spend all their earnings. Some of the young men, now disabled, sell the pasta. And some even rob the family home they left to support, of its meager wealth – from food to sisters who can be prostituted. In addition to permanent disability and drug addiction, many contract venereal diseases from the prostitutes provided to workers on coca plantations. When they return home they carry diseases like syphilis and AIDS which are subsequently spread all over Bolivia.

            Taking the entire above negative effects into consideration, is it any wonder that Bolivians, affected so directly and in such ways view coca with increasing ambivalence – and those outsiders desiring cocaine with extreme dislike. While cocaine means a few moments of pleasure for those in the developed world, it provides only lifelong pain to Bolivians. For them, the money to survive is increasingly dependant upon the cocaine trade. In essence, Bolivia is reduced to serving under the auspices of an economic system akin to colonialism and mercantilism.

            Soon a native crop of Bolivia will have lost all of its traditional value. Relations between the everyday people of Bolivia and the developed world making such demands upon Bolivians, will worsen. And of most concern, many Native groups of Bolivia will be decimated; no longer enriching the world with either their cultural or biological heritage.

Telemarketing And The Changing Nature Of Professional Crime

Crime on the line

Shover, Neal, Glenn S. Coffey, and Dick Hobbs. “CRIME ON THE LINE Telemarketing and the Changing Nature of Professional Crime.” British Journal of Criminology. 43 (2003): 489-505.

            The purpose of this research article is to describe the people who routinely commit telemarketing fraud.  This article was written in 2003 and includes direct interviews with 47 persons convicted of telemarketing fraud and are serving prison or probation sentences. The article presents criminal telemarketers as vocational predators, and presents the idea that telemarketing fraud is a crime of opportunity and societal development.  The opening presents a history of the changes that facilitated opportunities for telemarketing fraud. Then, the authors go into demographic details of the population used in the study.  Finally, four aspects of the criminal telemarketers are outlined such that the reader can establish a profile of a criminal telemarketer.  Their findings are summarized and conclusions are drawn.

            The opening observation is that social and economic development in a society is accompanied by a change in the type and quality of crimes committed in that society.  It also notes that changes in the business and monetary systems give rise to criminal opportunities.  Most notable is that the extra income sources available to middle class citizens,  the ease and speed of conducting financial transactions, combined with the convenience of doing business by telephone.  These factors have increased opportunities for deception and misrepresentation which is the basis for telemarketing fraud.

            The research methodology was it identify 47 individuals from a potential pool of more than 300.  Of the population, 25 were incarcerated and 22 were on probation.  Remarkably, 15 of th 22 on probation were in Las Vegas, Nevada, which the authors identify as a “hotbed” for telemarketing crime.  The profile of the criminal telemarketer is built by describing the composite results in terms of organization and routine; background and careers; attractions and lifestyles; and legitimation and defense.

            Many criminal telemarketers operate ‘legitimate’ businesses often with partners.  Most have a standard business organizational chart and corporate hierarchy.  These organizations sell the whole range of telemarketed products and services from jewelry to charitable donations.

            The authors found that most criminal telemarketers did not have the disadvantaged backgrounds found with most types of criminals.  Most also had high school education or better.  Most of those interviewed began telemarketing while young, many as their college job.  Many had been recruited by other telemarketers and were lured with the potential of high earnings.  Of those who were owners or principals at the time of conviction had started out as phone salespersons, moved up to management, and eventually began their own companies using a similar business model to the companies they had previously worked at.  It is also remarkable that many of those convicted telemarketers also had prior drug related offenses in their criminal histories.

            Nearly all of the interviewees stated that they wanted the high earnings that would accommodate their lifestyles.  The average age of the criminal telemarketers was 42, and as they got older they wanted more traditional lifestyles.  But their leisure related consumption remained high.  Many believed that their activities were legitimate.  Several stated that the victims were willing participants because as consumers they did not read the fine print or conduct due diligence prior to doing business with these telemarketers.

            The authors’ conclusion of criminal telemarketers include descriptions of respectable predators and hustlers.  They conclude that their legitimate business skills have allowed these telemarketers to “vocationally exploit criminal opportunities.”  The conclusion from the article is that criminal fraudulent telemarketers are a creation of the times and circumstances that have grown out of the social, political, and economic evolution of society.

            The first similarity between the articles are the titles, “Crime on the Line” (COTL)  and “Annoyances on the Line” (AOTL).  Both articles discuss penalties associated with the wrong type of telemarketing activities – fines, probation, prison sentences.  Both articles state that something is wrong and being done incorrectly on the part of the telemarketing industry.  Neither article, however, gives the victims direct response either to the crime resulting from telemarketing or to the simple annoyance of telemarketers.

            COTL  gives the telemarketer’s perspective and response to the crime factor in telemarketing.  AOTL gives the author’s perspective and a consultant’s assessment of the victims view of telemarketing violations.  COTL profiles the people who commit the crimes through documented  interviews with convicted criminals.  AOTL profiles the activities that constitute wrongdoing in telemarketing through the author’s undocumented research.  COTL is an academic research paper using scientific methodology to identify the test/interview population and draw a conclusion.  It discusses the personal characteristics that turn some telemarketers into criminals.  AOTL is a news information article that weaves fact and personal opinion together.  It describes the technological issues that turn telemarketing into a non-criminal nuisance.

            The USA Today article demonstrates how the further evolution of technology, combined with existing laws reduces the opportunities for criminal telemarketing activities.  With automated systems the caller or the recipient of the call is in control.  There is no live person to exert the power that many of the 47 convicted criminal telemarketers described in the research article.  Recalling and drawing from  the statements and conclusions from the first article, as technology changes, the quality of telemarketing fraud and crimes will also change.

Works Cited

“Annoyance on the line.” USA Today 27 Nov. 2007: 11a.

Shover, Neal, Glenn S. Coffey, and Dick Hobbs. “CRIME ON THE LINE Telemarketing and the Changing Nature of Professional Crime.” British Journal of Criminology. 43 (2003): 489-505.

Women And The Labyrinth Of Leadership

Statement of the Article

Women rarely make it to the C-suite. They occupy 40 percent of all managerial positions in the United States but only 6 percent of the top executives are female. The research conducted by Eagly and Carli concludes that this is not due to any glass ceiling, or being blocked just below the summit, but owing to the sum of many obstacles along the way, which includes discrimination operating at all ranks.

Statement of the Research Question

The research probes the question of what is to blame for the pronounced lack of women in positions of power and authority and highlights the need to intervene on multiple fronts to solve the problem.

Theoretical Perspectives

Extensive academic and government research studies identify many prejudices such as prejudice, resistance to women’s leadership, leadership style issues, and family demands that stand in the way of women advancing to the top echelons. Statistics also substantiate this trend.

Summary of Findings

The research conducted by Eagly and Carli concludes that the lesser number of women in the top echelons is not due to any glass ceiling or due to their being blocked just below the summit, but owing to the sum of many obstacles along the way, which includes discrimination operating at all ranks.

An effective cure is unlikely for a misdiagnosed a problem, and this explains the scarcity of women in top leadership. People, even though having the best of intentions have misread the symptoms, the solutions that managers invest in does not making enough of a difference.

Understanding the various barriers that make up the labyrinth and how some women find their way around them throws light on how to work more effectively towards improving the situation.

Future Outlook

There is a need to understand intervene on multiple fronts to solve the problem. Some of the suggestions are:

  1. Evaluating and rewarding women’s productivity by objective results and not by “number of hours at work”
  2. Making performance-evaluation criteria explicit and designing evaluation processes that limit the influence of evaluators’ biases.
  3. Adopting open-recruitment tools such as advertising and employment agencies instead of resorting to informal social-networking sources to fill vacancies
  4. Placing women in demanding developmental job experiences to train them for leadership positions
  5. Establishing family friendly HR policies

References

  1. Eagly, Alice, H. and Carli, Linda L. (2007). Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership. Harvard Business Review. September 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-23, from http://hbr.harvardbusiness.org/2007/09/women-and-the-labyrinth-of-leadership/ar/1.