Why You Shouldn’t Hire The Best


“We hire, exclusively, the best and the brightest.”


What does this statement mean? We hear it so often, but what are the metrics that underlie the term “best”. Is it smarts calculated via standardized tests, is it work ethic, is it GPA, is it creativity?


While this is one way trying to figure out whom to hire at a firm, do you really want all “smart” people working on a team.


Here I say no, no you don’t. If “smart” is to mean competent then, yes, but if smart is to be synonymous with Einstein or Steve Jobs or Picaso, then no, no you don’t.


The way I see it is there are 5 minds in the world:


  • The Abstract Mind: These are the philosophers, the Einstein’s, the Zuckerberg’s, the Steve Jobs’ of the world. The ability to look at a problem for what it is and extrapolate abstract ideas allows for them to see not only remedies but also potential avenues for solutions that might be wildly speculative. These are the people that know that they know nothing at all and as a result are constantly analyzing in the abstract to try and find some measure of truth.
  • The Analytical Mind: These are the economist’s & scientist’s, the Warren Buffet’s, the Ben Bernanke’s of the world. These are the minds that delve deep into reality, but stay in reality. They like facts, figures, and tangible solutions to complex problems. They are the rationalists and the realists. These are the people that drive organizations to hit their targets and spearhead organizational progress.
  • The Determined Mind: These are the athletes of the world, the salesmen, the go-getters. These are the minds that are driven, internally or externally, play by the rules and are steadfast in their conviction that if they perform at the top of their game they will thrive, they will succeed. There is but one way to the top, no life hacks, no short cuts, simply pure grind. These are the minds that will get straight A’s throughout school without necessarily being the smartest, they rise to the occasion through their ethic and determination. These are the minds that are the backbone and the lifeblood of the company, the ones creating change, not merely speculating about it.
  • The Bandwagon Mind: These are the sidekicks, the gatekeepers, and the loyal members. These are the minds that, on a team, find someone they admire and strive to be like them. While they may be motivated by a number of variables, the influential variable in the equation is the person that they hold in high esteem and they will go to the ends of the world to stick up for an individual or group, regardless of the individual or group’s merit.
  • The Complacent Mind: These are the unconcerned minds that simply do just enough to get by, never question, keep their head down and exist. They try not to cause trouble, rarely express opinions, and keep the status quo.


To create the best possible team, you want an assortment of these minds to work in unison to produce a holographic entity that is larger, more productive than the sum of its parts.


Consider for a moment if you had all Abstract Minds on a team. Yes, oh yes would there be wild ideas, speculative innovations that even Isaac Asimov would be surprised by. But this vision is simply vision without action. You need The Analytical mind to bring the Abstract Mind down to reality and talk strategically on how to create and implement an idea or a strategic move. You need The Determined minds to take these strategic directional orders and work with their unyielding determination and unwavering ethic to make the idea or plan come to fruition. And you undoubtedly need the Bandwagon Mind to fill the role of the utility player to cover all the gaps in a given plan.


This is the structure for a productive team. So to say that we only want the “smartest” is a farce because we don’t. We don’t want Analytical Minds bantering back and forth about deep economic regression analysis, we don’t simply want Abstract Minds speculating about the meaning of existence, we don’t only want Determined Minds to spin their wheels and exude their energy towards an ill conceived end. We need all types to make a cohesive unit.


And it is towards this end that the leader, which ever mind that may be, must know the team members, and know what makes them tick on an individual level. A good leader is one that does not shout orders and beckons the chain of command to obey their will; a good leader is one that creates an air of inclusivity within a team, not exclusivity.


In many organizations there is a rigid hierarchy, where those in the middle often get disgruntled because they cannot see the direction of the company and they are not involved in the overall process towards a given goal. They are simply pistons in an engine firing away, direction unknown. In this environment a true perspective of company can only be grasped when at the top or the bottom. At the bottom you can see how processes start and at the top you can see where they finish. Being in the middle, perspective gets skewed from a lack of information as to what’s happening in the lower or the higher ends. A quality team is one where individuals know their duties and responsibilities, but they also feel that they can have input, autonomy, and an expression of their will to help craft a proper delivery of a given idea or strategy.


So do we want only the smartest, no, we want some. Do we want to create a rigid hierarchy, no, only if we want dissatisfied employees. Be flexible, be inclusive, and know your team. Then and only then will you create something truly special.

Adverse affects of advertising

By: The Tin Cow

Smoking cigarettes has long been an aspect within American culture and was one of the first cash-crops grown by early American settlers [1]. This long history has affected various demographics, subcultures, and everything in between in varying degrees throughout America’s progression as a country. With the eminency of globalization some of tobaccos effects of a global scale have been gaining attention from governments and health advocacy organizations. An underlying conundrum that doesn’t seem to be receiving an equitable amount of attention is one of philosophical origins: does consuming a product that is categorically proven to be harmful preclude a citizen from doing such, and does an organizational entity have the right to dictate if you can, or cannot, consume such a product?

This issue is philosophical in nature, and can be distilled into a variety of ways; however, for the sake of brevity, and my inability to articulate beyond that of a fifth grader, it will be framed in simple terms. Let’s start off by throwing out some statistical data on the matter, as tobacco use has long been researched, so that a more pragmatic posture can be established. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) around six million (6,000,000,000) people die annually from tobacco use – that’s roughly twice the population of Chicago dying from tobacco products every year [2][3]. Of the billion smokers worldwide, that’s 1/7th of the entire population of the planet, roughly 80% of them live in low-mid economically developed countries[2][4].

Stemming from an article published at Bloomberg Philanthropies the overarching theme of tobacco companies deploying dishonest advertising campaigns (but that begs the question of who does use honest advertising) and is now migrating their operations to developing countries [5]. It is presumed, in the aforementioned article, that this shift is mainly due to restrictions that have gained momentum over time in the U.S., and other westernized countries, and aggressive anti-smoking movements being largely successful in stifling tobacco use. This presumption leads one to believe that the lack of regulation, or education in many cases, is what has shifted the big tobacco companies to move their markets away from the U.S., although it is reported that combined advertising spending from tobacco companies was around $15 billion last year, or it could simply be an emerging market that can be taken advantage of for revenue generation and not an effect of the education operations [5].

With the above in mind, it may prove useful to use an example of an image, that was obtained from the Ash Action on Smoking and Health webpage, to help draw some logical inferences that lay on both sides of the fence and can help us gain a better, objective, stance [6]. This particular infographic image is nothing more than some simple text that states a terrifying high number of chemicals, which is disingenuous advertising at best, but likely to be very effective. Now, on the other side of the coin a publication on the health effects of Krispy Kreme Donuts said that there are 3,000 different chemicals added to our food, purposefully [7]. This method of advertising is likely very effective, but as I mentioned, a donut can have an absurd amount of chemicals as well, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll spontaneously combust, either. Additionally, I am not trying to sound condescending by italicizing chemicals, but everything that we interact with as humans has those dangerous chemicals in them.

Moving along with contrasting data or assessments rather, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that smoking (they did not say tobacco products, but smoking specifically) is the leading cause of preventable death in the world [8]. However, looking more into how this data was aggravated there may be some obscuring and confounding factors/variables which could affect the overall conclusions. In the data, heart disease is included, followed by a few other related ailments, which can obviously have a wide range of causes other than smoking. Without diving too deep into the intricacies of this issue, we can just take a peek at some reporting done by the WHO which states that the leading cause of preventable death, in the world, is cardiovascular diseases accounting for almost 31% of all deaths each year [9]. The two are clearly interlinked and related, but someone who smokes a pack or two a day compared to someone who drinks a sixer of soda will likely share similar signs of bad health; and the disposition to have heart related health problems.

Circling back to the subject of low to mid economically developed countries now running into the brunt of aggressive, and largely unregulated, advertising from tobacco companies the discussion of the government(s) role in curbing such behavior can be reexamined with the small amount of data that we’ve took a quick glimpse at [5]. It is safe to assume that the high visibility of the negative associations that come with smoking have indeed caused a decline in use among educated populations, but the WHO also states that 87% of non-communicable diseases (e.g., cancer, cardiovascular disease, et cetera) occur within the high income countries [10]. This can obscure, or at least muddy up, the position that education will outright halt, although it is foolhardy to speak in absolutes, people from taking up habits that are detrimental to health. With that being said, there isn’t a silver bullet to solve this complex issue overnight.

Now, it is my belief that more education is almost always better. If an educated citizen wants to partake in a vice, and we all have our vices, is it the government’s responsibility, or duty, to dictate what we can, or cannot do? Obviously, with the low economically developed and emerging countries education is not going to be as high, or standard, as that of the better off countries, so the marketing of tobacco products to these states and countries is, most likely, going to be malevolent. I personally feel that the exploitation of a population that is largely ignorant to effects that anything can have on their lives, such as donuts, smoking, driving in Los Angeles traffic, is reprehensible.   However, it brings us back to when should a government step in, if at all?

I’m not a huge fan of Big Brother telling me what I can, or can’t do, to my own body. If I want to eat a quadrupole bacon monster burger, drink a chocolate marshmallow banana milkshake, and a giant order of cheesy fries while smoking an unfiltered gluten-free cigarette, that’s my ‘Mmmurican right! But, I am flagrantly aware of the negative repercussion of my actions, and I am fully cognizant of what I am doing to my body. Conversely, the unfortunate Dude or Dudette in a developing country is likely to not be afforded such knowledge. They could think that smoking will remedy headaches, turn them into a ninja turtle, or simply be a non-threatening quick pick me up after a long day of work. If all someone has after their workday is a smoke break to clear their mind, even if categorically proven to be a detriment to one’s health, should the government preclude them of such a vice?

In the end, we all have banes and boons. Hell, I overdrink whiskey with the owner of The Modern Day Journal from time to time, and I know it’s a foolhardy endeavor, and that I will feel like a confused dehydrated frat-bro the next day, but I would still do it again in a heartbeat. What is life without a few vices to keep things interesting? As readers, what are your thoughts on this subject, if any? Also, please keep in mind that I am a functional idiot, so if some of the stats are off, or if I made an asinine assertion, please call me out on it. I’m not sure if the page allows for comments, but if it does, please feel free to voice your opinions – well, unless you’re a bot trying to sell Viagra and bootleg movies.


Underlying Reasons of Extreme Hunger – A Brief List

This article gives a brief overview of some of the underlying factors that contribute to the issues of extreme hunger.


  • Gender Inequality: In various countries as many men migrate to cities for jobs, the proportion of women in agriculture is on the rise and a vast majority of small farmers are women. As women are playing a more central role in agriculture, their effectiveness will be dependent on their inclusivity and protection of land rights, access to capital, farming tools, fertilizers, and the latest information.
    1. Land ownership – Due to historical discrepancies in culture, traditions, and civil societies, women have historically not been granted secure rights in land ownership.
    2. Cooperatives – Membership in rural cooperatives have been predominantly male and as such women have lacked access to the most up to date fertilizers, technology, and information.
    3. Civil Society – Social restrictions that trickle down to basic issues like access to public transportation have deprived women of the opportunity to have autonomy in the pursuit of the best agricultural tools, information, and products.



  • Climate Change: The change in global climate and weather patterns has and will continue to strain the system of the global food chain and put pressure on valuable resources.
    1. Food availability – As the climate changes, so too do the weather patterns. And a change in weather patterns will leave some areas prone to extreme weather events like flooding or droughts, while other areas will be susceptible to new diseases and pests (which have the potential to wipe out crops). Also with a change in climate the seeds of foods akin to a certain region may no longer be able to grow, prompting a shortage in the global supply chain.
    2. Food accessibility –  As agriculture is one of the world’s largest employers, having climate impact farmer’s ability to produce product (decline in arable land & increase in disease and pests) will result in a decrease in income and this coupled with rising food prices will expose those in developing countries who are already the most vulnerable to malnutrition and extreme hunger.



  • Clean Water & Sanitation  Malnutrition comes not only from a lack of food, but also from a lack of access to clean water and clean sanitation environments. And what good does having food do if a community is constantly plauged by waterborne disease?  
    1. A lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation is a major factor that facilitates infectious disease and health issues that result in malnutrition (i.e. diarrhoea and waterborne illness such as cholera.
    2. Nearly 2 billion people drink unsafe water.
    3. 1 billion people lack access to improved sanitation.
    4. More than 5 percent of all child deaths can be prevented with safe water and sanitation.
  • International Agreements & TechnologyInternational patents, intellectual property rights, and trade agreements have driven up prices on the newest agricultural products, and loans taken out for purchase, in some instances, entrap farmers in a cycle of debt.


    1. Essentially farmers take out loans to pay for the new agricultural technology (i.e. actual tools or seeds that are modified to produce greater yields & be more resistant to certain diseases), but if their crops do not yield the return expected, they default on their loan and as such take out another loan for the next year with hopes of making enough product to pay off their loan(s)
    2. Even if the yields of farmers do pay off, many farmers sell their food to get money in order to provide during the non-farming months. When fluctuations in the market drive food prices up, families that saved up become apt to experience a bout of hunger.


Should the media be held accountable?

It’s a cool mid-summer’s night in a country fresh out of civil strife and a man of an ethnic minority group pulls into a gas station to fill up his rust ridden car with sporadic bullet holes covering its mainframe. Unbeknownst to him there is a gas leak in the lines underneath the station. He goes inside and pays his “adversary”, the man who is in the ethnic majority of the country, $10 dollars and contorts his face to give the man behind the counter a scowling look goodbye. As he drives off the gas leak escalates and explodes into a spectacular ball of fire, illuminating the night sky, and a thunderous boom echoes over the city, miles away.


Eager to be the first to report, a news journalist rushes to the scene and talks to the locals and publishes an article hours later that reads: Terrorist Attack! Minority Group Sparks War on Majority’s Strong Hold of Oil Profits.


As investors in the West read this story they fear that the country in which their investments reside may return to civil strife – creating a poor economic environment to do business in. That day they pull out their investments and freeze any assets they have with that country to see how the situation plays out. Moreover, outside money flowing into the country’s various industries declines over the next few months due in part to the fear that has been embedded in the global conscious by the media.


Too much? Maybe. Yes this is a made up, fictitious story. And of course this is an over-exaggeration, however there is some base level of truth rumbling around in the words of the story. That, to some degree, the media is responsible for our perceptions of the goings on in other countries and to sensationalize a story for personal or corporate gain has implications that could beset the well being of the people and economy of country X.


Take the media reports on Africa as a prime example and do a thought experiment. When you think Africa what are the first 3 images that come to mind? Does it resemble something of poor, starving, warring, down-trodden people living in fragile huts in dirt villages? Where does this image come from? Is it accurate? Does it affect travel, trade, and investment decisions into Africa. No doubt negative news sells and non-profits that do humanitarian work need fundraising money and as such produce heart-wrenching photographs in their ads of starving children as a means to elicit emotion and sympathy for their cause in order to raise support and finances. This behavior and media bias is by no means bad, one just has to recognize the bias and as Jon Stewart says, “beware of the bullshit…”



A basic Google search of “Liberia News” turns up 10 links (on the first page) all with Ebola in the headline.


Google search “Fox News Nigeria” and every headline references Boko Haram.


And of course I am using the same tactics here because there are, indeed, serious issues plaguing Nigeria and Liberia and I’m using these examples to “spin” this article and strengthen the arguments that I’m trying to make.


However, I would venture to say it is a safe bet that the conceptual image of Africa is not met with positive images and this stems from news outlets to international organizations such as Save The Children – where the first picture you see on the homepage is of a deprived child looking up with large sulking eyes. The question this article seeks to address is: when a crisis happens in Africa or any region of the world, and the media sensationalizes & instills fear in the mind of the world (which has effects on investment, trade, and tourism) should the media be, at some level, responsible for promoting positive news on X country once the issue is resolved?

First off how are these images created? What mechanisms does the media use to cultivate and promulgate the perception of Africa?


  1. Agenda setting – the media has the ability to select and omit the news items that it wants to focus on.


  1. Decontextualizing – reporting facts void of social, political, historical, economic, cultural information that could help create a better foundation for understanding their circumstances.


  1. Sensationalism – only speaking on Africa when there are major crises (Rwandian Genocide, Boko Haram, Ebola, 2011 East African Draught) – who has heard of the news of the Guinea Worm eradication? – Second human disease to be completely eradicated (1st small pox).


  1. Dramatization – the use of buzz words and other specific phrases that create a certain image: (Fox – Ebola Found Inside Doctors Eyes Months After Virus Left Blood) (Ebola Epidemic: Out of Control) (The Guardian – Ebola Epidemic not even close to over) (Ebola Mortality: would outbreaks be as deadly in the US as Africa)


  1. Oversimplification – Framing them as Primitive and us as Modern; Helplessness vs. the Helper; Inferiority vs. Authority; or Us vs. Them.


  1. Dehumanizing – elimination of individual actors and replaced with abstract entities (headline from the Independent: Thousands massacred, as two tribes go to war in South Sudan).


  1. Personalization – focusing on one leader while the civil society gets pushed to the background. Take Muammar Ghaddafi, Libya’s former leader, as an example. All the news centers around him and little on the happenings within Libya.


  1. Syndication – describing a part as representative of the whole (I bought a Nissan Altima and my steering wheel fell off when I grabbed it, thus all Nissan Altima’s must have faulty steering wheels). This part of Africa is warring therefore all of Africa is warring – An injustice is committed here by using the all encompassing word “AFRICA.”


Haque et, al’s. finding’s show that there is a correlation between perception of Africa and risk analysis. Now people may argue that one does not want to do business in Africa because of corruption. Point well taken, but if it was indeed corruption that was the main deterrent then why is there more investment in Asia, which has similar levels of corruption based on the Corruption Perception Index, than Africa?


Sure, there are, undoubtedly, many reasons. But it’s an interesting point to note that investment in Asia is good and well with a high level of corruption, and Africa still is on the back burner. While I have no data to support the assumption that the media’s portrayal of Africa is responsible for this phenomenon, it would be an interest point of entry for research if someone would like to pick that up.


To conclude: Should the media be accountable?


Perception is reality to a large extent when it comes to investment. Fear can be as detrimental to a country as an actual epidemic. And the media is responsible for creating this perception of fear. If the economic conditions of a country are reported to be positive then investment is likely to increase. When news reports are consistently negative major companies that prop up the main sectors of the economy either halt their operations or pull out, likewise foreign investors stop looking for opportunity and tourism freezes as the perception of X issue and the fear that comes along with it cripples any intentions of visiting or working in X country. Thus whenever an issue is resolved, there ought to be an international media campaign to express the positive aspects of X country and region and combat the fear that has been cultivated in individual’s minds.


Other books referenced in this article:

1) Richard Dowden, Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles. (New York: Public Affairs Press, 2009)

2) Elizabeth Schmidt, Foreign Intervention in Africa: From the Cold War to the War on Terror. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013)

3) Paul D. Williams, War and Conflict in Africa. (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011)


A Tale of Black Markets, High Finance, and Human Trafficking: A Private Market for Organs? Decide for yourself…


As discomforting as serious issues can be we need to be talking about organ trafficking. We live in a world of profound connectivity, trade, and travel and when a serious organ condition impacts a person of affluence and no means are available for a remedy, they look in other markets around the world for organs. The article is meant to provoke thought and shed light on the onerous task of traversing policy for an issue that has deeply profound ethical and moral concerns.

It is the basic economics of supply and demand that are driving the rapidly growing black market in organs. In 1985 the number of organs transplanted was 7,692 and in 2005 the number had grown to 28,110. In January of 2006 the waiting list for organs was roughly 90,000 people and due to the shortage of organs approximately 19 people die per day waiting. Moreover the average wait time for a kidney transplant is 3-5 years and during that span roughly one third of those patients on the waiting list will die. Due to the long wait list the, “criteria is becoming more relaxed for donor eligibility, using organs from donors who are older or sicker, including drug users and those with infectious diseases.” The relaxing of criteria for donors is undermining the nature of organ transplantation – namely to be healthy again and start living a quality life. There is a vast demand for organs coupled with a limited supply, which in turn has resulted in patients going outside the realm of conventionality to look for organs. The implications that abound due to organ shortage are human rights abuses, national security issues, and a thriving black market for organs.

Before the considerations of human rights and national security are highlighted, take note of the justification for why the US prohibits the sale of organs. One of the underling reasons organs are prohibited from being bought and sold in the US is that organs, and humans for that matter, should not be treated as commodities. To put a price on organs would be to uphold an objectifying view of the human body and degrade the intrinsic value of a person (Sandel, 2012). Moreover, in a private market place for organs there would be an exploitation of the poor. The argument would be: given that poor people are most in need of money, they are the most likely to respond to any incentive by which they can receive fast cash. Thus if the economic conditions of their environment are coercing them into selling their organs because of pressing financial matters, that choice is not free and thereby not just (Sandel, 2012). Not to mention the issue of fairness that arises in discerning who is most deserving of an organ; just because organs would be able to go to the highest bidder, in a capitalistic system, does not mean that the highest bidder is always the most deserving.

As highlighted above, the prohibition of selling organs is an attempt to uphold the intrinsic value of humanity and protect the economically disadvantaged, but does the policy actually succeed in its goal? Given that all innocent life is equal and value is not disproportionally given to US citizens over, say, any other country’s citizen, then the answer is no.

Transplant tourism is becoming a booming business – namely people in the US, who have the financial resources, hire an organ broker to find someone (usually impoverished) in another country able to be paid for an organ and fly to that country for the transplantation surgery. In desperate need of any means to receive money, the poor in these countries sign up to be paid for their organs, without understanding the consequences that will follow. For those patients that are not willing or able to travel overseas, have no fear, patients can purchase organs and have them imported to the US. There are hospitals in the US that perform surgeries without asking, nor caring where the organs came from – in breach of US law. The effects of this violate human rights, plain and simple. Countries that are notorious for black market organ exchange include Pakistan, The Philippines, India, China, Brazil, South Africa etc. In South Africa there were 100 illegal kidney transplants performed in 2001-2002 and many, many more in varying countries. Due to the surgeries being illegal, surgeries are done in clandestine fashion and follow up care is not given to the donors, which negates the economic benefits due to a loss in employability and rapidly deteriorating health conditions from the surgery itself.

China executes more prisoners per year than any other country and the need for organs is so pressing, the inmates that are executed on death row are harvested for their organs without their consent; and as one article states “the need is so pressing that officials rarely check to see if the person is dead before operating.” This is arguably the epitome of human rights violations – using someone’s body with neither their, nor their families consent. Furthermore it should be noted that the most pressing factor for paid organ donors is poverty. Coercion, by the slums in which they live and the price placed on organs (roughly between $2-6k,) leads the poor into selling their organs and they do not live long enough to revel in the minuscule benefits that the money can provide. While the US policy may protect the poor, to some extent in the US, it surely is a significant catalyst in exploiting the poor of other countries. Needless to say from coercion and a lack of follow up care, to organ harvesting without consent to hospitals turning a blind eye to the organs origins, human rights are constantly being violated.

The price of organs is so lucrative that it has not only caught the attention of the economically disadvantaged, but also the attention of terrorist organizations. On the black market buyers (aka recipients) of organs pay anywhere from $150,000 – $200,000 dollars and the donors receive an average of $5,000 dollars and the middleman receives a heft sum. Thus terrorist organizations have seen it to be in their interests to enter the organ trade.

The Free Syrian Army has picked up the habit by kidnapping Syrians, killing and harvesting them for their organs to be sold on the black market (Global Research News 2012). Hamas has taken up the practice by kidnapping innocents for their organs and selling the organs for arms and jihad. CNN’s Fred Pleitgen states, “In Sudan the organization trafficking in human beings and organs is a primary component of jihad.” Likewise for organized crime, the Los Zetas of Mexico (one of the largest Mexican drug cartels) delve into many visceral practices for financing their operations, including organ trafficking. It is not rocket science to understand that the more money terrorist groups have the more powerful they become and thus the greater a threat they pose to US national security (or any country’s security for that matter). Given how lucrative organs are it is of prime national security concern to try and combat this issue.

The question naturally arises what can be done? The most obvious answer is to legally increase the supply of organs, in order to stop the atrocious abuses of human rights in other countries and render obsolete the financing of terror organizations and organized crime. However, the tension arises between the idealistic value of humanity and the pragmatic realism of consequences from outlawing a private market in organ trade.

Potential remedies could be found in changing US law, stem cell research, advocacy for healthier lifestyles (or even healthier food at public schools) and so on. But bear in mind the consequences of each will undoubtedly be met with moral outrage and ethical condemnation. Regarding the morality of it all, the Wall Street Journal stated, “Any claim about the supposed immorality of organ sales should be weighed against the morality of preventing thousands of deaths each year and improving the quality of life of those waiting for organs.” Yet, on the opposing side every human life is of value in virtue of life itself.


A classic philosophical quandary with profound modern-day implications,  needless to say the Trolly Dilemma is a good place to start, to find your position.



A New Era of Capitalism – Social Entrepreneurship

“What kind of world do we want to live in?” This question has never been as relevant as it is today as our world faces the colossal challenges of global climate change, global disease outbreaks, global warfare, etc. In a time where an event on one side of the world can be felt almost immediately around the globe, we must work together; we must persevere; we must be social entrepreneurs.

Now before that last sentence makes you roll your eyes, ask yourself how do we fix these problems? How do we actually create a world that we want to live in?


It’s simple: create social enterprises.


We are in the midst of being apart of capitalistic evolution: from Toms Shoes to Warby Parker Sunglasses, Kiva to One Laptop Per Child. Companies are now promoting that they are environmentally friendly, foods are stamped with “organic” labels, business practices are becoming more sustainable – all because customers are demanding change and companies are challenging the conventional norms of business. Consumers are demanding goods that have a positive impact and social enterprises are being created to supply that demand. Yes, basic capitalism with a social twist.

Here’s the catch: traditionally, the stigma surrounding social enterprise, non-profit, or NGO has been associated with idealistic do-gooders who are not in touch with everyday reality. But the social enterprise revolution is bridging the gap between idealism and practicality – where companies can make large sums of money while instantiating positive social change. It is OK to make money, and lots of it, while also creating lasting, meaningful change.

In a growing age of technology that allows the world to become not only more connected, but also more transparent, the conditions and environments of where our products originate become illuminated. Moreover the veil that has shrouded mendable issues plaguing various societies has been lifted and solutions such as micro-finance, clean-drinking water, and nets for malaria are being used to tackle these issues. As these problems bubble up to the surface of our attention, we as humans want to be apart of the solution. And we are, by being more ethically and consciously minded in the choices of our purchasing behavior, we are creating a new model for business where capital gains are plentiful and social impact is manifest.

In short, we can all be apart of creating a better world to live in. Everyone wants to be apart of helping solve the world’s issues, whether this is buying Toms Shoes to give a pair of shoes to those in need, or starting the next Harlem Children’s Zone. Take note there is a growing market for goods and services that produce positive change, complimented with a growing array of issues. But it is on us, the consumer, to demand goods or services that have a social impact. If we demand it, the market will, unequivocally, provide it. So immerse yourself in an issue, create a solution, and as cliché as it may sound, Ghandi was on to something when he said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Crisis & Opportunity: Ebola’s Lesson


The wake of Ebola has not only taken the lives of many, but also ravished the hopes of West African economies. As devastating as Ebola has been, a valuable lesson ought be learned: invest in developing country’s healthcare systems.


Why? Because an investment in other country’s healthcare systems is an investment in your country’s security and economic interests, too.


Having adequate healthcare systems ensures three things:


(1)Security: Adequate healthcare systems guard against instability in a state due to disease. A disease as deadly as Ebola can force the government to impose quarantines, close seaports and airports, seal borders etc. Such isolation in fragile economies runs the risk of creating unstable states, or worse failed states – which can become the breeding ground for terrorist activity.


(2)Economics: Diseases with the ability to spread regionally or globally often originate in countries that lack proper health systems because they are generally ill equipped to prevent or manage highly contagious or dangerous epidemics. With the high level of trade and travel in the global economy today the ability for a disease to evolve into a pandemic has the potential to disrupt global trade and trade relations, which developing countries often count on for economic stability. When an outbreak as deadly as Ebola or SARS shows its face to the world, the economic toll on the country of origin and the world community is outstanding. The Avian Flu (H5N1) that originated in Asia cost the United States, alone, $3.8 billion dollars, after President Bush asked congress for $7.1 billion dollars to prepare for The Avian Flu outbreak (Global Health Governance, Youde, 2012). Such an outbreak has the ability to change the behavior of people resulting in an indirect decline in profits for other industries such as the airline industry, tourism, public transportation, restaurants, retail stores, foreign direct investment in infrastructure, and so on. The SARS epidemic resulted in a 75 percent decline in air travel to Hong Kong and a 15 percent decline in retail. The plague outbreak in Surat, India resulted in a $1.7 billion dollar loss in trade and tourism revenue (Global Health Governance, Youde, 2012). For Ebola, the virus has taken the lives of roughly 10,000 individuals. And Ebola has caused similar socio-economic destruction. Depending on the circumstances, the cost of Ebola to West Africa could exceed over $32 billion dollars (World Bank, 2014).


(3)Human Rights: The right to health is something that is innate to all those who share in the human experience and to deny them a basic right to health because of faulty, or in some instances non-existent, healthcare systems would be a gross violation of human rights and be a monumental setback for the body of codified international law that seeks to promote and strengthen the notion of human rights. And no, this is not an argument for, or against a government run healthcare program, it is simply a statement that there needs to be a basic level of quality healthcare facilities available for all that are in need of medical attention.


Developing countries need to be integrated and adequately resourced with current medical knowledge, training, and equipment.


Recommendations for solving such an issue center around building up the capacity for healthcare systems in developing countries to have access to the world community in cutting edge knowledge, training, and tools necessary to not only spot diseases as they emerge, but also to contain, treat, and share information on disease. The current way of operating, seemingly throwing money in the form of foreign aid, does not seem to be working. Aid needs to come in the form of direct investment into these facilities. This should be done through lower trade barriers so these facilities can have access to the medicines they need, subsides for tech and medical companies to invest directly in healthcare systems – ensuring that foreign aid money does not fall prey to the will of corrupt government officials – and the restructuring of foreign aid to allocate more attention to the health systems, themselves, so the facilities in developing countries can survey disease, find innovative solutions, and share research with the world.


Developing countries cannot continue to be dependent on developed countries for their problems, by building up their healthcare systems they have the ability to take control of a part of their destiny and produce their own drugs, research, devices, and knowledge on how to contain and mitigate disease outbreaks. If this were to be the case then dependency on aid for healthcare would, theoretically, decrease. And reducing dependency on any type of foreign aid is very much needed as “aid” itself usually comes with strings attached and is a catalyst for creating a cycle of poverty – which is why many developing nations are so indebted to developed nations, due to their inability to repay their debt obligations on loans for aid (Dead Aid, Moyo, 2009). Moreover integrating developing countries healthcare systems with cutting edge technology allows the world community to keep a close eye on emerging diseases and allows for a faster response time with the sharing of information, training, and resources.


The old saying is “help yourself by helping others”; never has this statement echoed more truth than in the age of globalism.