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Friday, April 30, 2010

Breakeven Analysis: A Case and Application

Dine and Listen to the Music of Relief - The American Red Cross Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter (“the Chapter” for brevity) encourages individuals all over the world to make donations to the American Red Cross. The Chapter, however, makes it clear that the Red Cross would not be able to accept non-monetary donations like food and clothing due to “storage and transportation requirements.” (“Fundraise for Disasters”) In this regard, the Chapter lists possible activities that may partner with them in raising funds. Among the listed activities are:

Hosting a special event such as a concert or a party, silent auction benefit, business proceeds donations, and conducting a workplace with a gift campaign;
Placing of the American Red Cross Banner on one’s/your Web site; and
Hosting a Blood Drive (“Fundraise for Disasters”)
The latest disaster that hit the American nation were “at least three (3) tornadoes that damaged dozens of homes and injured more than two hundred (200) people” (Associated Press, 2008). The Chapter is planning to raise funds for the tornado victims by organizing and hosting a dinner concert in one of the local bar-restaurants.

• The following information and measurements are related to the Chapter’s “concert hosting plan” (Stoddard):

The Date and Venue - The concert will be on May 23, 2008 starting 6 P.M at a local bar-restaurant. The venue restaurant is a sponsor to the concert requiring only 5% of the ticket proceeds or $1,200 whichever is higher. The seating capacity of the restaurant is 450 persons.

The Theme – “Dine and Listen to the Music of Relief”

Corporate Sponsors- The corporate sponsorship would at least generate a gross contribution of $ 9,750

Booking Agency - The booking agency would require a commission fee expense of 8% of the tickets sold and a fixed fee of $200. Tickets are sold at $ 75 each, exclusive of any drinks.

Ticket Sales and Promotion - A radio air time for two weeks prior the concert costs $1,000 and printing of tickets, flyers and other printed promotional materials and their distribution cost another $ 2,000. The ticket printing costs $ 50. The advertising cost is treated as 50% fixed and 50% variable.

Concert Goers Information Database and Documentation CD- The booking agency keeps the ticket holders’/buyers’ information for future use of the Chapter and for control purposes. The expense for this is included in the fixed fee mentioned in item “d”. The CD is a source of additional revenue and it is estimated that 50% of the audience would pay additional $ 7 for the souvenir CD that is to be picked up from the Chapter at least a week after the concert. Estimated cost for burning and editing a copy is $ 2.

The Band and the Rehearsal- Concert rehearsal cost is to be handled by the band. The band requires a talent fee of $ 12,000 from the organizers.

Emcees and organizers’ fund - The two emcees require no fee. The concert committee is also offering their services for free. Miscellaneous expenses, directly related to the concert would cost $600. This include snacks, meeting the sponsors, dining with sponsors, etc. Organization expenses is treated as fixed cost.

Given the above information and the view that a maximum of 385 tickets would be sold, breakeven analysis would greatly help the chapter in identifying a.) the minimum number of tickets sold to breakeven disregarding the CD proceeds; b.) the “feasibility” (Horngren, 1997) and monetary success of the activity; and c.) the number of tickets to be sold by the Chapter to raise at least $18,000 net for the victims, disregarding the CD sales.

• The Revenue the activity would be the tickets sold, the CD sold and the contribution of corporate sponsors, respectively:

385 tickets sold at $75 each = $ 28,875

192 CDs sold at $7 each copy = 1,344

Total Sponsor Contributions = 9,750

Total Revenue $ 39,969

• The Variable costs for the activity would be direct cost to each ticket and CD sold:

5% commission of the venue for the $28,875 tickets sold (if > 1,200) = $ 1, 444

8% Booking agency commission for tickets sold = 2, 310

Ticket Printing = 50

50% of the Promotional/advertising cost of $ 2,950 as variable cost = 1, 475

Cost of the 192 copies of CD sold at $2 each = 384

Total Variable Costs $ 5, 663

• The Fixed costs for the period/the activity include:

The music band’s talent fee = $ 12,000

Booking agency fixed fee = 200

50% of the advertising cost ($2,950) = 1,475

Organization expenses = 600

Total Fixed Costs $ 14,275

Relevant and Useful Breakeven Analysis for the activity

•Number of tickets to be sold to breakeven

Ticket Price = $ 75.00 Breakeven Point (BEP) = Fixed Cost/CM

Variable ticket cost = 13.71 = $ 14, 275/ $ 61.29

Contribution Margin (CM) $ 61.29 BEP = 233 tickets

Therefore, the project is feasible and advantageous. With 233 tickets sold the chapter is already at breakeven while the estimated number of tickets that can be sold is 385.
•The number tickets the chapter needs to sell in order to raise a net amount of $ 18,000

In this case, the targeted amount to be covered by the contribution margin is both the fixed cost and the $ 18,000. Using the breakeven point formula,
BEP = (Fixed Cost + $ 18000)/CM

=($ 14,275 + $ 18,000)/$48.57


BEP = 527 tickets

The chapter cannot reach the target net amount of $ 18,000. The number of tickets to raise a fund of this amount is 527 while the estimated tickets that can be sold is only 385 and the maximum capacity of the restaurant is only 450 persons.

Associated Press (2008, April 29). At least 140 homes hit by Virginia tornadoes. Retrieved May 2, 2008 from http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/04/29/virginia.tornadoes/

Fund Raise for Disasters the American Red Cross Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter. Retrieved May 02, 2008 from http://www.atlantaredcross.org/site/c.csJLKZPLJvH/b.992171/k.789F/Fundraise_for_Disasters.htm

Horngren, Charles T., George Foster, and Srikant M. Datar. Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997.

Stoddard, Mark. (n/d). How to Organize a Non-profit Benefit Concert. (2007). Retrieved May 02, 2008 from http://www.classicalsinger.com/charity/shs/Benefit_Concert.pdf

Identify any activity with the American Red Cross where you can apply breakeven analysis. You MUST be able to define:

• A unit of measurement for the activity
• Revenue per unit for the activity
• Variable costs for the activity
• Fixed costs for the period in the activity

If you cannot identify specific actual amounts, make a reasonable estimate and apply the tool as if the data were factual.
Your report should include
• The name and nature of the organization
• The activity and time period you used
• The inputs you used
• Your results
• Any implications from your results and the financial and process information needed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kantian Ethics: The Philosophy of Morality

There is restriction on freedom everywhere. This is a derived idea from the argument of Immanuel Kant in his work, An Answer to the Question: "What is Enlightenment?" This restriction is the reason why humans behave as they are: they need a harmonious environment within themselves as a pursuit of individual community of well-being, freedom and safety. Humans are not ultimately free as they could be because their actions have consequences. We may call these consequences, according to Kant, “imperatives for actions”. The reason “why certain acts ought to be done is because they ought to be done” (Stratton-Lake, 2000). Generally, a rational human being would do an action consciously for practical reasons, which is considered as hypothetically imperative. It demands that a person does such action for the sake of a purpose that he has in mind. Why Man should not break promises, why should not tell lies, why and should not commit suicide? This is because Man ought not do these acts. According to Kant, the reason why Man should keep his promises because of his “obligation to be consistent and the injunction against using others (i.e., against treating them only as means)” (Nasr, 2008). This is a concrete example of Kant’s Ought priciple of ethics.

“Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only”(Kant, 1785). A true ethical person would not use people to further his own end and he treats other people with respect to a value of dignity and not a value of price because a person with a value of dignity cannot be replaced and their value is priceless. An object with a value of price, as what the hypothetically imperative person believes, can be exchanged and used as a means to achieve an end. To Kant, this principle of humanity “is the supreme limiting condition on the freedom of action of each man,” and argues that the principle is not founded on experience but rather seated in the footholds of a priori reasoning, reasoning that comes before experience. Indeed, Man’s actions are limited and the “ theoretical Ought of our judgments about facts, like the practical Ought of Ethics, is after all definable only in terms of what Kant called the Autonomy of Will” (Royce, 1901).

In fact, not only Kant recognized the limitations of the freedom of human Will and the actions that their will impose upon them and why Man obeys. Another philosopher who made a discourse on this ethical issue is Jonathan Edwards. He noted that there are “ethics or the rules” (Tappan 1839), which are, in fact, not compelled to be obeyed by everyone but impose a strong power upon the conscience of the majority, especially those who believes in an Almighty being and those who do not want to feel the uneasiness of the evil and the persecuting nature of the Man. Disobedience to these manly imposed rules are considered as a “state of sinfulness” (Tappan 1839) or the corruption of human sensitivity disposed to violate the harmony and fitness of the spiritual constitution. This is another binding factor that makes man perform the hypothetically imperative actions.

Does morality purely exist? Morality is something that is not strongly defined, yet it is considered as the ultimate commandment of reason and this is the guiding source for Man’s duties and obligations. Even Kant argues in his Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals that “it is only a pure philosophy that we can look for the moral law in its purity and genuineness.” Human beings have moral obligations to each other, and, as previously mentioned, because of reasons that they need and not because of their pure will to do such obligations. Man, to be good to each other without qualification would be a conceived as having a “good will” (Kant, 1785) and it must be understood, however, that humans do not have the autonomous will. They have the morally good will to attain the practical ends that they wish to have. Moral philosophies follow the “laws of human will” as affected by nature and when applied to man, it does not borrow the least thing from the knowledge of man himself (anthropology), but gives laws a priori to him as a rational being. Moral laws require human judgment that has been sharpened through time and experience in order for them to be properly applied and for these laws to access the will of the man and “effectual influence on conduct”(Kant, 1785). The virtuous person does not only conform and obeys the moral law. He also act for the sake of the moral law itself. Man’s actions are morally right as determined by the virtue of their motives, derived not from Man’s inclinations but from Man’s duty. A virtuous person, who makes a morally right action, is determined to act in accordance with his duty and this duty overcomes that person’s self-interests and hidden desires. And for Kant, the Ought of Ethics is the defining factor for morality: “ the sense in which the conduct of moral aget is to be judged as good or evil according as it does or does not conform to the standard of the Ought” (Royce, 1901)

As Kant have further argued in his philosophies, the ultimate moral law principle was abstractly conceived to guide man to the right action in life’s circumstances. However, if man is immature enough to acknowledge this guidance, enlightenment would never be achieved. Moreover, it is not only the lack of maturity that deter man and give him obstacles from being enlightened but also laziness, superstitious and dogmatic beliefs or fanaticism. “Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large proportion of men, even when nature has long emancipated them from alien guidance (naturaliter maiorennes), nevertheless gladly remain immature for life” (Kant, 1784).

Enlightenment would result to freedom, and, if man is still of prejudices and dogmatic beliefs, Man would be nothing but an unthinking and leashed controlled being. Dogmas “are the ball and chain of His permanent immaturity.” (Kant, 1784) If Man stays immature and an obedient being without reason, he would be an object without dignity, a mere machine.

Works Cited
Kant, Immanuel; translated by James W. Ellington [1785] (1993). Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals 3rd ed.

Nasr, Waddah. Kant’s Moral Theory: The Morality of Principle. Retrieved May 4, 2008 from

Royce, Josiah. The World and the Individual: Gifford Lectures Delivered before the University of Aberdeen. 2d Series: Nature, Man, and the Moral Order. New York: Macmillan, 1901.

Stratton-Lake, Philip. Kant, Duty, and Moral Worth. London: Routledge, 2000.

Tappan, Henry Philip. A Review of Edwards's "Inquiry into the Freedom of the Will. New York: J.S Taylor, 1839.

Your essay examination is a response to a single question that everyone must answer by taking a position. The purpose of the essay is for your to pull together your understanding of ethics as presented in this course. You will be expected to not only answer the question as asked, but to also demonstrate familiarity with our readings since the midterm exam. These include, Kant’s essay On the Question: What is Enlightenment? and text Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Simone de Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity, and Ghandi’s Political Writings. Your answer must include some references to these texts.

Edwards' Freedom of the Will: An Essay

Edwards’ Freedom of the Will may be construed as a psychological discourse. As an annihilation of false views of the Will that prevailed in his century and in the present, in order that men may learn how to have Christian belief and be saved, and as a reply to the discourse of Arminian Minister Whitby, this work is indeed evangelical. Edwards has put emphasis on the “faculty of choice” (Tappan 1839, 16), the Will which the mind chooses as being judged by the faculty of understanding. Although this discourse may not be as authoritative as Calvin’s Institutes, the author of Freedom of the Will is undeniably one of the great and enduring masters when religious emotion is being talked about.

When it comes to reasoning in his work, Edwards can never be more crafty. Simply put, Freedom of the Will is the work of a genius. In the section where Edwards distinguished Will from Desire, he has agreed with the argument of Locke but he has put more understanding and correlation connecting these two things.

I do not suppose, that Will and Desire are words of precisely the same signification: Will seems to be a word of more general signification, extending to things present and absent. Desire respects something absent… A man never, in any instance, wills any thing contrary to his desires, or desires any thing contrary to his will. (Edwards 1754, 2)

In his discourse, Edwards has analyzed and made into view that although Will and Desire are distinguishable from each other, these two are in fact the same faculty of the man’s soul where the Will is being determined by the “strongest motive” (Edwards 1754, 4) acting over the man’s soul and thereby choosing what is, at that moment seems good to Him, which is his inclination. With this attack on the common arguments in his Freedom of the Will, Edwards is meritorious of all the credits.

Moreover, in the section where Edwards has discussed on the deliberate and free choice of Man to do something “evil and painful” (Colonial and Revolutionary Literature, n/d), he has offered his readers sharp logic. He has noted that if the Man errs it is due to his free choice given the full knowledge of good and happiness versus evil and pain and such an action, to choose evil with suffering, is monstrous and is very incomprehensible. As this can be logical, it is also very difficult to practice. Man generally chooses the good but circumstances do not allow him to stay choosing and practicing the good.

Analyzing the discourse, Freedom of the Will speaks of the truth. Edwards is no optimist when it comes to his philosophies. He has made it a point in his discourse that evil do exist in this world and how his teachings sprouted from a deep hatred of evil.

The thing which makes sin hateful, is that by which it deserves punishment; which is but the expression of hatred…. Thus, for instance, ingratitude is hateful and worthy of dispraise, according to common sense; not because something as bad, or worse than ingratitude, was the cause that produced it; but because it is hateful in itself, by its own inherent deformity. (Edwards 1754, 65)

On the last note, the discourse has came up with and is correlated to what are called “ethics or the rules” (Tappan 1839, 265), which are not compelled to be obeyed by everyone but impose a strong power upon the conscience of the majority, especially those who believes in an Almighty being and those who do not want to feel the uneasiness of the evil and the persecuting nature of the Man. Disobedience to these manly imposed rules are considered as a “state of sinfulness” (Tappan 1839, 265) or the corruption of human sensitivity disposed to violate the harmony and fitness of the spiritual constitution.

Henry Philip Tappan, A Review of Edwards's "Inquiry into the Freedom of the Will" (New York: J.S Taylor, 1839).

Jonathan Edwards, The Freedom of the Will (Florida: Soli Deo Gloria, 1754).

The Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I (The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume XV.

You are to read the following article and do a critque of the article. Reflect on specific concepts and principles. You can have as many resources as you want. This is about the freedom of will by Edwards.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Opinion on King Leopold’s Ghosts

The atrocities at which King Leopold II was responsible to was discreet. Although the manner of killings and the reasons behind those slaughters among Stalin, Hitler and King Leopold have much similarities, the way King Leopold handled the whole event was in a cautious manner that without a thorough examination, the atrocities could not be blamed at his fault. However, to be an inspiration to Hitler and to Stalin for the similar happenings of mass-slaughtering of human lives is not a far idea.

With regards to reasons behind the mass-killings, the three are all having similarities: political, physiological, social, political, economic and cultural, among others. In the case of Nazi, it was obviously cultural and political against the Jews while in Gulag, it was strongly political among others. The atrocities are in great amounts trying to erase the those who are outcasts such as the blacks in Congo, the Jews by the Nazis and for Stalin, for economic leadership and so that "maintaining political unity remained in force" (Laue, 1999, p. 383).

Simply stated the mass slaughter in Congo, Nazi camps and in Gulag camp were strongly geared towards more ambitious grasp of power among the leaders: King Leopold, Hitler and Stalin, respectively.. Slaughtered individuals were the ones who are unacceptable on the side/part of the state or leader that ordered the formers’ death. Economicwise, King Leopold’s company benefited through his private ownership and exploitation of Congo where the populations were to have “died in the forced labor system used to tap wild rubber for King Leopold II's companies” (Brittain, 1999, p. 133). However, any means that were employed in achieving the killings of a great number of lives, it all end up to the aim of the leaders’ greater dream for power.

Brittain, V. (1999). Colonialism and the Predatory State in the Congo. New Left Review, a(236), 133-144.

Laue, T. V. (1999). A Perspective on History: The Soviet System Reconsidered. The Historian, 61(2), 383..

Answer this question in an essay - The death toll in King Leopolds congo was on a scale comparable to the Holocaust and Stanlins purges. Can Leopold II be viewed as a precursor to the masterminds behind the Nazi death camps and the Gulag? Did these 3 * other 20th century mass killings arise from similar physhological, social, political, econominc, & cultural sources.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Genetic Engineering and Agriculture: Would Genetically Modified Crops Alleviate or Aggravate Hunger?

I. Introduction - As the British Prime Minister noted, “tackling hunger is a moral challenge to each of us and it is also a threat to the political and economic stability of nations.” (Stringer) The present and forthcoming hunger are the factors that inspired biotechnology and genetic engineering proponents. Solving the food problem of the world’s growing population made the proponents of genetic engineering (GE) introduce genetically modified (GM) crops in farming. It was 1994 when the first genetically modified food was commercially grown. It was the Flavr Savr tomato. Since then “genetically modified food have been a topic of controversy” (Chase) Even though proponents of genetically modified foods claim that their products would be beneficial to world, aside from alleviating hunger, genetically engineered (GE) foods have “enhanced taste and quality, and increased resistance to disease” (Chase) who really know the truth? These pronouncements are viewed by many as simple advertising strategy and rhetoric used to promote GE crops and foods.

Given the problems in verifying the positive and advantageous claims in favor of GM foods and crops, or, in discovering their unhealthy and negative effect, how safe the world can be? Would modern agriculture adopting GM crops survive long? Would humans stay healthy consuming GM foods? Would plants itself and animals survive? Is GM agricultural cropping economically, ethically and environmentally feasible? There are a thousand other questions that need to be asked and answered for public awareness and discovering what really biotechnology and genetic engineering is. A lot of research and study must be done and massive public awareness are necessary to evaluate realities concerning food and crop genetic engineering.
Warning and Friendly Reminder: Plagiarism is a crime. This essay is here to give you an idea or guide you, not to be copied by you. You can look at the references and Works cited provided by this free academic essay and from that you can create your own. Be a smart student,be honest: look for free academic essays anywhere in the web or the Internet but don’t forget to make your own. There are so many free essays online as guides but please do your own. You can also utilize free plagiarism checkers available online.
It should be noted that the science behind biotechnology and genetic engineering are very complex. Thus, with one news article read or one book reviewed related on the subject is not enough to judge the possible outcomes of these two. Misinformation is a dangerous thing that needs to be avoided at all times. This paper examines major factors related to genetic engineering of foods and crops and will eventually conclude a stand about it. Mainly, vis-à-vis genetic engineering, these factors need be examined are sustainability of agriculture, political and economic, nature and ethics, health, and positive and negative effects.

II. On Sustaining Agriculture and the World’s Food Supply
The obvious way in which humanity can continue to survive is through continuous consumption of food. Moreover, It is understandable that without agriculture, in this modern world, the humanity will starve to death. Thus, a sustainable agriculture is the solution to an uninterrupted food supply bridging the breaths of millions of individuals that continue to multiply in this earth.

One of the major pathways in sustaining agriculture is through inheritance. Families of farmers do not stop farming after a single generation but pass the knowledge and properties to their descendants In fact younger generation farmers have applied innovations to the traditional farming, seeking ways to improve the process and harvest in greater volumes.

Although elements of obligation and tradition thus informed these farmers' entry into farming, they did not simply continue farming in the same ways their ancestors had done. Rather, these farmers made a series of changes, including reducing the amounts of chemical pesticides and fertilizers used and/or shifting to organic farming methods, as well as introducing new crop varieties, marketing and distribution techniques. (Maxey)

True enough, as what Maxey have stated. There is nothing wrong with farming improvements yielding in greater amounts and producing for a million or more mouths. However, consequences of this action must be taken into considerations as well. When farmers, especially the commercialized corporate farmers, dream big on yielding much and gaining profit, this is the door that opens to biotechnology and their use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) of genetically modified (GM) or genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Given the premise that modern farming is better with GMO/GM/GE crops, lets us examine their effects in terms of sustainability.
a. Pollution of native crop varieties and other wild or domesticated plant varieties
Mostly tested for herbicide tolerance, transgenic crop varieties available in the market are maize, soy beans, cotton, canola and potato. Other crops promoted are rice and wheat for their large market. It is observed that transgenic pollution is a real problem existing among GMOs. In fact, to acknowledge the possible disastrous pollen pollution “government regulators have had access to lavish funds to support the needed fundamental research on transgenic pollution” (Independent Science Panel) preceded both field testing and commercialization of the transgenic crops.

Aside from the obvious environmental impact of transgenic pollution of GMOs, another problem is on the side of small scale and organic farmers "who are afraid it might “adulterate” their produce, and with producers and farmers of GM seeds, who are not eager to have someone else profit from their investments" (Goklany 45)

b. How much more do you harvest with biotechnology?
Abundance is the good side of using GM crops. Who does not want to gain more output from inputs? All farmers dream of a greater harvest. As one Philippine Bt corn farmer noted, “we hardly use pesticides and the yield has improved” he further stated ““Maybe those people whom oppose biotechnology do not know all the good things it has done for us.”(Conversations about)
With increased used of fertilizers and pesticides yields are either decreasing or leveling off. With this phenomenon, most farmers, especially in commercialized agriculture believe that "yields are leveling off because the maximum yield potential of current varieties is being approached, and therefore genetic engineering must be applied " (Altieri)

c. The golden food in Asia: Rice
As a staple food, especially in southeast Asia rice is very important. With its lack of vitamin A however, rice eaters are prone to Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and the idea of Golden Rice is supposed to solve VAD problems. Golden Rice would be one of the "bio fortified foods, crops genetically engineered to produce important nutrients in large quantities." (Baggott)
“Unfortunately, there are no natural provitamin A-contatining rice varieties.” (Golden Rice)

d. Too much food may cause hunger. How?

On food security

III. Political and Economic Outcomes
“The elements of value to the new authorities were labor and produce and, from the yield of these, revenue. Taxation made farmers produce cash crops or hire their labor to local or remote enterprises. The resultant monetization created demand for new goods and services to entrench the new economic system. (Brookfield 218)

With due fairness to government agencies, not all simply allow the cultivation of GM crops without proper research and investigation. This can be observed in the case of Golden Rice.
The tale of why Golden Rice has taken so long is not one of nefarious forces, although the effect might amount to as much, but of entrenched and uninformed hostility to genetically modified (GM) foods and NGO-EU politics. Golden Rice could save hundreds of thousands of lives a year, if only the international community, particularly the European Union, will let it. (Baggott)

a. Will poor farmers survive the competition?
When seeds are patented farmers would be forced to purchase before planting. This impact of seed patenting is very harsh to small-scale farmers and this would make them eventually surrender to the hands of commercialized agriculture . With "open-pollinated varieties, the farmer could keep part of his harvest as seed corn for the next crop " (Goodman, and Redclift 103)
Faced with farming difficulties, options would be to se
b. American farmers on genetic engineering of crops
c. The international economc effects of modern farming and agricultural monopolies
d. The polity on genetically modified crop proponents and seed patenting
e. Conventions on the use of GM crops
IV. Damaging and Bypassing Nature and the Question of Ethics
a. Loss of biodiversity
b. Genetic erosion and hampered pollination

One of the harsh effects of biotechnology in modifying genes species is genetic erosion. What is this term all about and how does it harm nature?

The Free Online Encyclopedia defines genetic erosion as a term used to describe a process where an already limited gene pool of endangered species of animals or plants diminish even more and when individuals from the surviving population die off missing the chance to meet and breed with others within their endangered low population.

Genetic erosion have been happening long before this problem was given attention. Thus the estimate of damage done “tend not to take on a reliable quantifiable form” (Hogg 4). It is as well not fair to blame all the genetic erosion problems to modern farming and to the proponents and patrons of biotechnology and GMOs. Moreover, Hogg further states that “since World War II, virtually all of the local wheat varieties in Greece, Italy and Cyprus have been abandoned and most of the indigenous sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) races of south Africa disappeared after the release of high yielding Texas hybrids.” It is therefore not correct to assume that the if a new variety is used, the old or traditional varieties vanish.

In terms of agricultural diversity, genetic erosion includes the loss of particular combination of genes or gene complexes as well as the loss of individual genes.

The major driving forces behind the genetic erosion on crops are variety replacement, overexploitation of species, land clearing, population pressure, overgrazing, environmental degradation, and policy of changing agricultural systems. (The Free Online Encyclopedia)
However, the main factor that can be attributed to genetic erosion in agricultural diversity is the replacement of local varieties of domestic plants and animals by high yielding or appealing and salable exotic varieties or species imposed by the development of modern agriculture for commercial purposes. .
c. Herbicide overdose
d. What are superweeds?
e. Bt crops, what are they?
i. Soil erosion
ii. Resistance

Some transgenes might escape to nontarget plants of the same or different species and perhaps yield unwelcome ecological outcomes, such as conferring herbicide resistance to weeds (Avise 32)
iii. Effect on non-target species

V. Human and Animal Health and Existence Aspects
Some GMOs, especially plants, have health impacts when taken/eaten by humans and animals. To prevent this problem from persisting regulators in the US and Europe collaborate in developing a “harmonized list of important nutrients and anti-nutrients/toxicants for each major food/feed crop that could be analyzed to confirm substantial equivalence for a biotech crop. " (Nickson, and Hammond 156)

a. Transgenic crops impact on human health
Not everyone is informed about GMOs and GM foods. Thus, to many, what is the difference between GM and no GM food as long as it tastes good and can be eaten?

b. Animal health
Humans are not alone when it comes to susceptibility of health problems with GMOs. Animals have their fair share of health challenges with GE. “Some GM plants may pose risks to human or animal health, such as in generating allergic responses. (Avise 32)
VI. Worth Noting Monsanto and Other Cases

a. The false promise
One major aspect of biotechnology and genetic engineering is the commercialization of agriculture. With much promising profits awaiting big and multinational farming and agricultural corporations, the proponent of and those who have potential earning capacity from these modern agricultural processes would never stop convincing the world the good side of having genetically modified organisms or planting and consuming genetically modified crops and foods.

The majority of the world may believe all the advertising strategies promoting the use of biotechnology. one of the Associate Professor and Associate Entomologist at the University of California Berkeley, Miguel A. Altieri, have noted in his book Genetic engineering in agriculture the myths, environmental risks and alternatives:

For me a key problem facing the public is that the biotechnology companies and associated scientific bodies are making false promises that genetic engineering will move agriculture company from dependence on chemical inputs, reduce environmental problems and solve world hunger.

VII. Deciding Factors
Known names and political figures and their opinions regarding
a. The Pros of GE
b. The Cons of GE

VIII. Conclusion

Tackle alternatives such as agroecology, and organic farming. Discuss who greatly benefits from biotechnology

Books (Cited)

News/Magazines CIted

Journals Cited
1. Golden rice - bagott

Internet sources
Works Cited
Book Sources
Altieri, Miguel A.. Engineering in Agriculture: The Myths, Environmental Risks, and Alternatives 2nd ed.. Oakland, CA: Food First Books, 2004. Google. 7 May 2008
Avise, John C. The Hope, Hype & Reality of Genetic Engineering : Remarkable Stories from Agriculture, Industry, Medicine, and the Environment /. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Questia. 8 May 2008 .
Brookfield, Harold. Exploring Agrodiversity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. Questia. 7 May 2008 .
Goklany, Indur M. The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal of Environment Risk Assessment. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2001. Questia. 7 May 2008 .
Hogg, Dominic. Technological Change in Agriculture: Locking in to Genetic Uniformity. New York: Macmillan, 1999. Questia. 7 May 2008 .
Nickson, Thomas E., and Bruce G. Hammond. "Chapter 7 Case Study: Canola Tolerant to Roundup® Herbicide." Genetically Modified Crops: Assessing Safety. Ed. Keith T. Atherton. London: Taylor & Francis, 2002. 138-163. Questia. 8 May 2008 .

Journal Sources
Maxey, Larch. "Can We Sustain Sustainable Agriculture? Learning from Small-Scale Producer-Suppliers in Canada and the UK." The Geographical Journal 172.3 (2006): 230+. Questia. 7 May 2008 .
News and Magazine Sources
Internet Source
"Genetic erosion." . . 7 May. 2008
Chase, Brad. "Study Reveals Genetically Modified Foods May Be Dangerous" The Free Library 13 December 2007. 07 May 2008 .
“Golden Rice is part of the solution.” 8 May 2008.
“Independent Science Panel”. 7May 2008 < http://www.indsp.org/Transwheat1.php> .
Stringer, David. "World Food Program warns of 'silent tsunami' of hunger" The Free Library 23 April 2008. 07 May 2008 .

I need a 20 page research paper on sustainable agriculture. The paper must include footnotes/endnotes and a 35 source bibliography including 10 books/chapters from books; 10 newspapers/magazines; *10 scholarly journal articles; and 5 internet sources.

Thesis undetermined (something like Costs of using GM/transgenic crops, are GM crops sustainable?

*biological effects on land and other living organisms (bees, butterflies, humans-(taco shell contamination, corn allergies) human effects from consuming GM food, how much testing done on possible human effects? Can it lead to anti-biotic resistance in humans or other problems? How are GM crops adversely effecting biodiversity of organisms? (Mexicos corn)

*ecological effects of GM use on the environment (desertification, pollution, use of pesticides, are we using more pesticides along with GM crops)
*crop yields (organic farming vs. pesticide use and GMOs)

*Health effects on small farmers (India/U.S./Central Amer) including mental health, suicide

*security- also in terms of democracy/ethics of seed patenting. U.S policy makers and department workers also work for Monsanto and other pesticide and seed companies? Other nations policies on GM use. Cartagena protocol, other agreements.

Attached is a working list of some sources that should be included in the research paper. So far it is just journal articles and newspapers/magazines. The list does not include 10 books/chapters from books and 5 internet sources as is required of the assignment.

I think I want the thesis to explore the question of sustainability with using genetically modified organisms in crops. Are GM crops sustainable? According to the 1990 Farm Bill, the definition of sustainable agriculture means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:

* satisfy human food and fiber needs;
* enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends;
* make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;
* sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and
* enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

USDA National Agricultural Library
6 May 2008

More details:
What are the implications of seed patenting
Human health
Socio-economic effects on farmers in India, the U.S. and elsewhere
Environmental impacts
Biodiversity of corn in Mexico and other crops
Are insects building immunity and causing more use of pesticides?
Arguments on GM crops as a way to feed starving people
Crop yields of GMs vs. organic farming methods

Merit: Why Do We Value It? "A Theory of Louis Pojman"

“It is proper that the evil suffer and the good prosper to the extent of their respective viciousness or virtuousness.” Louis Pojman’s thesis on merit is very agreeable. Individuals should deserve what they have earned: punishments and penalties for each and every vicious act done and prizes, praise and rewards are due to those who have performed better for the benefit of the society.

What Pojman is trying to emphasize about merit is its rationality. According to his theory, man is in a society where individuals are assumed to be rational beings where each one of them must benefit and each of their worth can be ascertained. This is the idea of desert: what one deserves from an act that he have done. Simply stated, someone who acted lazily without studying the lessons before an examination deserves a failing grade while the other who spent time understanding what have gone through the class discussions, what he has written in the notes and also takes time in reviewing the course textbooks deserves a passing grade. However, the idea of merit does not end here.
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To pass the examination as mentioned in the preceding paragraph is not enough. Pojman have acknowledged the idea of “proportionality” where the greater good done deserves better rewards and the severe evil deed can warrant a death penalty. On the other hand, an act that is done half-heatedly, as opposed to the “goodwill” of Kant as mentioned by Pojman deserves little merit to his acts. Accordingly, a petty theft would only make the thief stay a day or two inside the prison. Getting back to the idea of having merit from the examination, the student who studied, but studied half-heartedly and spent little time, although he might have actually studied deserves little than the one who spent more time and more efforts and will all his heart and mind in studying for the examination.

Another point of emphasis in Pojman’s theory is on the aspect of merit that one does not really deserve it at times. He have noted examples such as inborn talents or qualities: being tall, dark, beautiful and the likes. Although these qualities, according to him, can be simple natural rights, the bearer of these rights also must do something to enhance these qualities in making him deserving of some merit. Being black deserves the person to be acting the part of Othello in the play but without the person’s enhancement of his acting abilities he would not have deserved the role. Thus, natural rights is not desert unless this right is processed through labor.

With regards to the above idea, one can be inherently intelligent. This intelligence is the natural right of the bearer. But this intelligence that he has is nothing and would not give him any merit unless he studies specifically for the examination and prove his worth and labor processing that intelligence to be of value to him, his desert, when he gets an A++ in the examination. Corollary to this desert of getting an A++ that student is meritorious of a praise from his friends, classmates or the professor. He can even get an award during graduation or a prize for that excellent performance. All these are attributable to his labor (studying) in enhancing the natural or inborn talent of being intelligent.

Further analyzing the value of merit and its rationale, it is observable that without the essence of merit, this world would be a worse place to live in. Without merit, no one will work hard. Moreover, no one will study good to qualify for some scarce positions because without merit, anyone can be qualified. This means the big possibility of hiring an individual that is not fit for work or is lesser qualified. This does not actually means mere intelligence as the criterion (although it is part of it) but the overall capacity of the applicants. Hiring an applicant at work that is lesser qualified makes that individual undeserving of the position. As a result of such action, which does not conform to the idea of merit, efficiency and effectiveness at work suffer.

Is merit the ultimate measure? Although Pojman obviously acclaim the theory of merit he acknowledged that the concept is not absolute and it is not without pitfalls. For one, he mentioned that success and failure are strictly based on merit but he conceded to the idea of outside factors. According to him, no one can be accountable for things that are out of his control. True enough, this is one flaw of the merit idea.

During the examination day, the student have studied all night in order to deserve that A++. However, due to some unforeseen reasons, that student suffered a stomach ache during the examination and could not concentrate causing him to get a failing grade. In virtue, that student is due the desert after that much studying but he was not able to make it happen because of the some factors that are out of his control. Thus, merit is not absolute.

“Our sense of merit seems to cry out for an omniscient or omnipotent judge to match virtue with happiness and vice with punishment.” Indeed this is another problem in the theory of merit and desert. If there is an omnipotent being that is aware of all happenings, there would be no problem at all. The reality is, there is none! Who really can measure our merit and match it with our virtues? Who can judge the extent of vices done? The idea of proportionality then poses a problem in assessing merit and desert, as to who deserves how much. Since there is no one omnipotent that can measure merit, the student did fail despite his labor and virtue. Another drawback in the idea of merit. This is no cosmic justice happening in Man’s world.

Yet, despite its drawbacks merit is still very valuable. It makes humanity thrive and improve for the better. Merit is something that is deeply rooted upon Man’s desert. It is something that has a “moral effort”. It is something with a profound deontological basis. It is a synthetic theory. Lastly merit is valuable because it is a “truth” obvious on reflection. Pojman’s Theory of Merit deserves its “merit”.

Kant, Immanuel; translated by James W. Ellington [1785] (1993). Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals 3rd ed.

Pojman, Louis. (1999). Merit: Why Do We Value It? Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 30 No.1. Blackwell Publishers.

Pojman argues that we should strive to form a world in which `the virtuous are rewarded and the vicious punished in proportion to their relative deserts.` Do you agree with Pojman that we deserve what we earn, or do you see problems with his stance? Form a cohesive, well-argued 3 page paper in which you explore this question. Use specific examples, and support your arguments.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ten Commandments in Modern Setting

Entertainment Live Special-The Ten Commandments: is a Makeover Underway?

Open the television and what you may ask takes one of the biggest TV viewing audience shares? Talkshows it is. From Oprah to Ellen, the talk show biz has gone a long way and delves on lives of celebrities and all other things that stirs the enthusiasm and interest of people young and old. With this power to influence the public, why not dwell on a subject that encompasses the very foundation from which all our life rules are based?

“The Ten Commandments” still commands a sense of respect when mentioned. Even a small kid to the oldest of old still feel a sense of awe when hearing this. It somehow awakes a nostalgic feeling especially to the Christians because it holds the guiding rules of life passed through generations by their forefathers. This set of guiding principles have been intricately interwoven in our culture and society and have been the basis for our very own fabricated laws and statutes. Ancient as it is, it may very well be the most easy to grasp handbook in the life of man. Easily put and in summary, the New Testament in Matthew 22 says, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:36-40). Clear as a cloudless sky, it communicates to us the simple yet meaningful relevance of recognizing a higher power that is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent as well as valuing the very gift that we should be most thankful for- life. As we value life, we make the best out of it and go out of our way to extend concern for others.

However, modernization and globalization tend to bend these marks set in in stone. Popular culture may have just found a way around this and have formed ways to justify countering the commandments. In today's world the Decalogue, another term referring to the Ten Commandments, as like in a talk show may just be facing it's own issues ---Are these commandments still followed? In a society that craves for makeovers as they do for ice cream on a hot summer day, has the Commandments had a makeover? Having one true God is not anymore the norm, as is dictated by our multi-faith society. Idols and images are of different sizes and materials that adorn places of worship. As for not using the name of God in vain, TV shows such as Southpark for one periodically use God as a subject of humor. Sad as it is, a number of viewers would find it amusing. Sabbath day has now translated to rest and relaxation day for most. The fifth commandment strictly points out the importance of loving your parents but this may not hold true today “love thy mother and father” now translates to “familiarity breeds contempt”. No killing? What more is there to say? Since 1964, the U.S. crime rate has increased by as much as 350%, and over 11 million crimes were reported in the year 2007 alone (DeBrodie 1). Adulterous acts is not as grave as it was before. In fact it is one of the juiciest plot for TV shows and movies. “Thou Shalt Not Steal” , not obviously it is. From the streets to the multinational scene, stealing has always been an issue. As for not bearing false witness against your neighbor? At least perjury is still a serious crime. Last among the ten is specific on not coveting thy neighbor's property, wife or his properties. Well, not while your neighbor is at home at least. Humor aside, it is frustrating that instances such as these have gotten way out of hand. Laws have been designed and punishments strictly implemented. Despite these, the constant rule breaking increase over time and dismayed as we are, we have reached another era that challenge yet again our human nature.

Agnostics, atheists and non-Christians may not be fans of the Commandments yet they recognize it. It is a widely recognized set of morals. Morals. The spirituality of the Ten Commandments may be an issue for a variety of groups but the morality that is plainly presented and enumerated by the Commandments is a canopy that is multi faith in nature. In emphasis to the age of the ten Commandments, it has been passed on at arm's length through generations and might as well be the law of all laws because time has not had the luck or the power to have it eliminated in history. Unamended by the passing of eras, it is a testimony that there is a higher power that governs mankind. That higher being who has the magnificent mind to create such a firm and encompassing set of commands. Not even the best leader that has been elected may have the greatness that can surpass ever creating a work unerasable by time and human frailty. Being drafted from love it is precise in communicating that the solution to the complexities of life as we know it is simple. Extending self love to our peers. In remembrance of the power that the Commandments was based on, it may be hard but it is possible to amplify the value of neighborly love in ways that we are very capable of imploring.

In conclusion, the Ten Commandments may not be eye candy or gossip for all but it definitely will outlast the error of human perception and ignorance. It's validity and age make it all the more credible to serve as the guiding principle in society, culture and human development. Simplicity is a key factor that makes it easy to embrace and is formatted in a way that is applicable to all. The Ten Commandments, hands down are the 10 vs the millions rules that make the more impact and are central to improving man's way of life. It is not the Ten Commandments that needs a makeover, we do.

Works Cited
DeBrodie, Jeffrey. “Surviving Crime.” ShaveMagazine (2009): 1
“The Ten Commandments: A.K.A The Decalogue.” 26 September 2007. Ontario Consultant
on Religious Tolerance. 1999.

'10 Commandments: God's Standard's.” All About Truth.Org. 2002

Write a persuasive essay on The Ten Commandments and how they pertain to todays society. Use logic and reason to show that one idea is more legitimate than another. The professor is very strict on the structure of the essay. Emphasize the main points (usually 3) in the introduction, to then further asses them in the continuing paragraphs. Need a creative title and quotations thought the essay. Anticipate opponents views.Bring some support from outside authorities.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Principles of Morality: An Essay

Humans must not treat each other merely as a means to satisfy an end. Human beings are objects of dignity and not a mere machine, thus deserving respect to and from each other and respect to the law as well. Respect, although a human feeling, is a self-wrought rational concept and, thus, free of influences. This is the true essence of ethics that is supposed to exist among human beings. However, as Kant implied in his Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals this is not always the case, that humans behave to each other in pursuance of freedom, human rights, violence, peace and anything attributing to his own well-being as well as to the well-being of others and the community in general. Kant has acknowledged in his arguments that aside from respect and duty, human acts accordingly based on his inclinations and, or worse, out of fear. However, it was emphasized that with obedience to law the actions would be in conformity to that law and would become a binding principle among humans.

Respect is properly the conception of a worth which thwarts my self-love. Accordingly it is something which is considered neither as an object of inclination nor of fear, although it has something analogous to both. The object of respect is the law only, and that the law which we impose on ourselves and yet recognise as necessary in itself. (Kant)

Humans need guidance to be enlightened and eventually be free and at the same time, need a universal law to exist among them for their own sake. This law would be the imposing object of humans to themselves as a result of their will. This include the common day-to-day congenial acts of humanity such as honesty, faithfulness, respect for each other, trustworthiness, non-imprisonment of innocent individuals and be like the example that was in Kant’s Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, keeping ones promises.

Why is it a wrong deed for A if she took the hand of B forcing the latter to shoot C? This case would be an act of deception and coercion and obviously a crime, in which case, against the universal law. A have “bypassed”(Hare 13) the agency of B as A used B as the shooting medium. It is also a deception when A impede the rational choice and free will of B to make the decision and the action. This is a violation of the universal law and it is a treatment of humans, in this case B, as without dignity but only used as a means to achieve an end, the shooting of C.

As the source of guidance to the acts, duties and obligations of humans, morality is very important. In fact, as Kant have argued, “it is only a pure philosophy that we can look for the moral law in its purity and genuineness.” This means that even morality itself may have something of its own immoralities within: a hidden motive. To someone of a morally good, or a virtuous, character that someone should perform an act without looking at the effect of that certain action or, without deriving the motive of that act from its possible effect. A virtuous character “wants” or “wills” (or what Kant calls the “principle of volition”) the performance of an act for the act itself and not from the expected results or a return that can be gained from doing such acts. As Kant have put it:

“an action done from duty derives its moral worth, not from the purpose which is to be attained by it, but from the maxim by which it is determined”

Moreover, the virtuous person thus acts in accordance to the “autonomy”, that would be an act of the holy will, which can be viewed as “absolutely good” according to Kant. The autonomy causes the Will of the action a “law to itself”. This is because the Autonomy of the Will is the supreme principle of morality which makes a rational being of freedom efficient and independent upon his choices and actions, as opposed to an irrational being who is fragile to influences of the external environment. However, if the will is only based on necessity of morality, this would become an obligation, and the action resulting from it is called duty. This makes autonomy as one of the important limitations of morality: “part of the dignity of life is choosing one's own path through it. Given those limits, there can be principles so demanding that compliance simply will not be forthcoming.” (Griffin 127)

Human actions have imperatives and are governed by the Ought. Acknowledging its obligations is a way for humans to be within the world with sense and understanding. However, this conception of obligation is not easily accepted or might be challenged by humans due to immaturity, ignorance or fanaticism. Humans are supposed to be rational beings that belong to an intelligible world, conscious and responsible for its actions. It is, however, very evident that humans act in the contrary and as Kant has argued, “can never conceive the causality of his own will otherwise than on condition of the idea of freedom.” This might be attributed to immaturity which not an outside force to him but something that he has self-incurred. This is the lack of courage and resolution from the side of humans to use his “own understanding without the guidance of others.” (Kant) Immaturity would hinder the purpose of morality laws that have an ultimate principle conceived to guide humans in every possible circumstances in life. Without recognizing their respective obligations, humans would be living in darkness, without a well defined function in life. This would hinder the attainment of human freedom, his free will. In Kant’s An Answer to the Question: "What is Enlightenment?" he has emphasized the value of freedom that can only be attained by an enlightened humanity. Without recognition of the obligations, there would be no duty. Without duty means without worth of morality for human actions.

Works Cited
Griffin, James. Well-Being: Its Meaning, Measurement, and Moral Importance. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986. Questia. 5 May 2008 .

Hare, John E. The Moral Gap : Kantian Ethics, Human Limits, and God's Assistance /. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Questia. 5 May 2008 .

Fully explain what are the real relations that appear among us when ethics, as a pursuit of individual and community well-being, is considered in terms of freedom, human rights, and the principle of non-violence? In this same light, what are the necessary conditions of virtuous human character and the moral obligations character implies toward ourselves and to others? Describe that character and its relation to Kant’s principle of the Autonomous Will. What, if anything, is lost when those obligations are not recognized and challenged by either immaturity, superstitious ignorance, or fanaticism?