Do you want fries with that?

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I found a post on Freakonomics titled “Can Organic Veggies Transform Education?”, and it intrigued me.  It was referencing an article in The Guardian which cited research that has shown that the implementation of healthier school lunches in the UK have led to better performance by students academically.  Jamie Oliver has now come to the United States and is trying to implement the same thing in American schools.  The town he is currently working in is Huntingdon, WV, which in 2006 was cited by the CDC as the most obese city in America.  Oliver is trying to eliminate processed foods in school lunches in favor of healthier, fresher ingredients.  I would think that most people would be thrilled with what Oliver is trying to do in America, however, he has met substantial criticism. Continue reading

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Shadow Banks and The Great Recession

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In last week’s post I looked at current financial reform and regulation, and why these are necessary to fix the economic situation in America.  I had looked into what this new regulation would entail and a lot of it was about regulating shadow banks.  According to the Paul Krugman column Financial Reform 101 there had been a lot of regulation of standard banks in the post-World War II period, which is why there had been such a long period of stability.  Unfortunately the regulations did not apply to “shadow banks,” institutions that carried out banking functions, but weren’t banks.  These shadow banks were able to operate without being controlled by the same regulations which standard banks were.  This enabled the shadow banks to make a lot of money really quickly, but at the same time left them very vulnerable to any risks, such as the mortgage crisis.  I want to look into the emergence of these shadow banks and the effect they had on the economic crisis.

In order to look into these shadow banks I want to look into the recent history of companies such as Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.  I want to research the ways they operated and what risks they took that were dangerous.  I already know that Merrill Lynch worked closely with Enron, an obvious risk to begin with.  I want to look into court testimonies, interviews and investigations to determine what risks these companies took and how they lead to the financial crisis.  I think that these organizations operated in an open system.  I want to look into the ways that these organizations affected their environment and the ways in which their regulation-free environment affected them.  The actions of these organizations sent the economy into one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression and required the government to spend billions of dollars in order to keep the economy from collapsing. The environment also had an effect on the ways in which these organizations operated.  Because there were no existing regulations there was nothing to keep them from taking the risks they did.  I want to investigate the specific actions taken by Merrill Lynch and Lehman brothers and the ways they possibly affected the environment as well as the effect that any regulation or lack thereof had on their actions.  As I said I plan to look into testimony from things such as the Congressional Oversight Panel, and newspaper articles throughout the past decade about the operations of these companies.  I also want to look for scholarly articles regarding the lack of regulation, or Lehman Brothers or Merrill Lynch.

The Great Recession and Reform

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While living in the Bucknell bubble, I tried to avoid hearing about the financial crisis.  I guess my thinking was the less I knew about it, the less real it was.  This was when I was a naïve sophomore, but now as a junior I am much wiser (maybe) and I realize that it is better to be informed and understand the financial recession than to have no idea what is happening. Continue reading

Dear Harvard, Thanks for Enron!

It’s a well known fact that Enron was chock full of Harvard MBAs; Jeff Skilling, John Wing, Rebecca Mark and plenty of others were all Harvard MBAs.  This year BusinessWeek ranked Harvard’s MBA program as 2nd in the nation, so clearly they are held in high regards in the academic community.  Yet, this is the school that gave prestigious degrees to some of the masterminds behind the collapse of Enron.  Did Harvard teach them that it was acceptable to act in the ways they did?  Was the collapse of Enron all Harvard’s fault? Continue reading

Meeting with Dot Thompson

Today I met with Dot Thompson in the library.  This was not the first time I had met Dot, seeing as she has been incredibly helpful in other management classes, providing information on the resources available in the library.  I was wondering whether this meeting would provide me with any new information on library resources since she had come to my classes before, but I was not disappointed.  There was plenty of new information that will be very helpful in writing the upcoming paper.  In previous classes she had given us information on databases that was specific to certain classes and their research needs, and today she showed us databases that would provide information that would be helpful specifically for Organizational Theory.

She showed us three different databases and the best way to use them in order to get results relevant to organizational theory and the paper we are currently writing.  The first database she showed us was ABI Form, which is the largest management database.  When Organization Theory is used as the subject in the search, over 10,000 results are returned.  Those results can then be narrowed down based on what specifically you are looking for.  She also showed us web of knowledge, which Jordi had already shown us in class but it was nice to have a refresher on how to use it.  The third database that Dot showed us was Academic OneFile.  I think this will be the most beneficial in finding additional articles.  Under browse subject you can look up Organization Theory and then it will return subdivisions and related subjects.  One of the first related subjects under Organization theory was corporate culture, which is exactly what I am looking into in my paper.

Even though I had been helped by Dot before and I thought I already knew all the ways to use the research by subject page, particularly for management; this meeting was very helpful in finding new databases as well as ways I can better research.  I definitely will be using these databases for my paper as well as for other papers in the future.

What was in the water at Enron?

While reading The Smartest Guys in the Room, I became increasingly angry about the Enron scandal and it disgusted me in terms of the level of corruption within the company.  In my oversimplified 7th grade memory of the Enron scandal, I thought that Ken Lay was a terrible person who was the cause of the downfall of Enron.  While reading Smartest Guys in the Room, I realized that there was no one person who was the downfall of Enron, but that so many people within Enron were just as responsible as Ken Lay.  I didn’t understand how so many people could act unethically and at times illegally, to increase profits.  What could possibly make a group of smart people with such high degrees from Ivy League schools act the way Enron did?  Why couldn’t they see any of the possible ramifications of their actions, or if they did why did they decide to ignore the signs?  What was in the water they were drinking that made some of the smartest guys in the room act so stupidly? Continue reading

The guerrilla president of Uruguay

Uruguay is a small country in South America that is sandwiched between Brazil and Argentina.  Brazil and Argentina struggled for control of Uruguay until 1828 when Uruguay gained its own independence.  Uruguay is a relatively small country, slightly smaller than the state of Washington, with a population of 3,494,382.  According to the cia world factbook the political and labor conditions of Uruguay are some of the freest of South America.  The death rate is 9.09 deaths per 1000 births, ranking 80th overall for the death rate, better than that of the United Kingdom, Spain, and Denmark.  The average life expectancy is 76.35 years at birth and 27.4% of the population lives below the poverty line. Continue reading