Cultural and racial inequality in Health Care

Executive summary

“Overwhelming facts reveals that racial and cultural minority groups are more likely to receive poorer quality health care than white Americans, even when factors such as insurance status are controlled” (American College of Physicians 2010).

As the cpuntry’s population continues to grow and diversify, the health care system will have to change and adjust to meet the needs of an increasingly multicultural patient base. The statistical and anecdotal facts of racial injustice in American healthcare are undeniable.

Studies done since 2003 by ACP shows systemic in addition to clinical discrimination, health practitioners, legislators, and normal citizens can no longer ignore the fact that America focuses on the color of one’s skin and the national origin of one’s ancestors still largely determine the quality of health care a consumer receives (American College of Physicians 2008; Urban Institute (2005).

America thought that the issue of racial injustice and inequity was long gone, but it is shocking that the vice still endures largely, not only in the common platforms, politics and socials, but in a more critical issue like health care.

After controlling the differences among the races in socioeconomic status, health insurance, access to health care and geographic differences, the statistical facts still demonstrates that Blacks and Latinos still get lesser and substandard medical attention than their counterparts, the whites, irrespective of whether those services are for treatment of cardiovascular disease, chronic diseases, mental illness, child medical care or HIV/AIDS.

Comparing these minority groupings (African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos) with the white Americans, they are more vulnerable to chronic illnesses, higher mortality rates, and worst health effects (Bardach 2009). Among the disease-specific examples of racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. is the cancer incidence rate among Blacks that is 10 percent more than among the white Americans (Barrett, Dyer and Westpheling 2008; Kettl 2007).

Also, adult Blacks and Latinos are almost twice more than Whites prone to diabetic complications. Although African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans suffer and succumb to diabetes more often than then whites, research show the disease is not well handled among minorities.

Paradoxically, Black, Native and Hispanic Americans have more medical attention services than do whites for those undesirable medical attentions, for instance amputations, and cesarean section among others. Although these are necessary attentions, they are considered undesirable because a patient would rather avoid them if at all they had an option, for instance many patients would prefer to keep a leg if it could be made healthy, rather than going for an amputation.

Undisputedly, ignoring these injustices would take the efforts of social scientists, researchers, health care providers, legislators, environmentalists, clergy, and patients among others to adequately attend to the matter (Lurie and Dubowitz 2007; Schlotthauer et al. 2008; Zuckerman et al. 2008). Although the issue is multi-sided, this paper looks at the policy solutions available.

Overview/Background

Lexically, health inequalities refer to the gap in the quality and accessibility of medical attention among racial, ethnic, socio-economic groupings. Almost as long as there have been hospitals in America, there have been racial disparities in the health care system.

The first hospital founded in the U.S. was the Pennsylvania General Hospital, established in Philadelphia in 1751 from private funds, donated for the care of the less-fortunate and the mentally unstable. In the beginning of its operations, records from Pennsylvania General did not show that any patients other than whites were admitted for care.

The institution was, in fact called the “First Anglo Hospital”[1] in the U.S. nevertheless, historical records reveals that the institution eventually began to admit non-Caucasian patients.

Beginning in 1825 and 1829 respectively, Pennsylvania General began to record the “color” and “national origin” of admitted patients, confirming that the hospital at some point began offering services to both Black and white patients (Baker et al. 1996).

In fact, before end of slavery in America, the judicial record reveals that African-Americans got a significant healthcare whenever need be; their health influenced their monetary value as property of slave-owners. After the Civil War, giving access to African Americans took on a different dimension.

Waves of Blacks migrating from the south began to mount pressure on health care amenities to serve Black and white patients the same. During the Reconstruction, racial segregation, surfaced both within healthcare institution used by both the non-native American and white patients, professional, and physicians, and in the structure of the hospital industry itself.

Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes that “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane” (as cited in ACP 2004). Ever since overt racial disparities has grown and still looms.

Arguably, health disparity starts shortly after conception. One pointer of a child’s healthy birth, making other lifetime outcomes more probable to be successful, is whether mothers get early medical care at pregnancy. 25% of African-American women do not receive prenatal attention at the first trimester, while 11% of white women get none (American College of Physicians 2007; Bach et al. 2004; Dorn et al. 2008).

For African-American women, 6% do not receive prenatal attention, but only 2% of white women, one third the number of 27 blacks, get no or too-late care.

Considering infant mortality during the first year of life, there are 14 deaths for African-American and six for native Americans/1,000 live births. However, proper prenatal care likely could have prevented some of these deaths.

Infant mortality and morbidity are enduring, thus the high rate of African-American infant mortality shows the probability of a similarly higher rate of black infants who survive with unhealthy conditions that make school and lifetime success more difficult.

It is these disparities in pregnancy and childbirth, which are eventually reflected in racial inequality (Winkleby et al. 1992).

Discussion

Inequality of access to health care in the adequacy of care different cultural and racial groups get can include:

Difficulties with patient-practitioner communication. In delivering medical care, communication is essential so as to administer proper and effectual treatment and attention in disregard to racial group. As miscommunication could lead to inaccurate analysis, wrong medication, and failure to get a follow-up attention. As Flores (2007) describes, “Cross-cultural differences in information-seeking patterns, communication styles, perceptions of health risk, and ideas about prevention of disease [have] an impact on health.” In the US language barrier is even worse, especially among the non-natives groups. Statistically, “less than half of non-English speakers who say they need an interpreter during health care visits report having one. In addition, communication barriers crop up from the lack of cultural understanding on the part of white providers for their minority patients” (Halbert et al. 2006).
Practitioner inequity. In some cases the medical care practitioners either unconsciously or consciously attends to some racial patients in a different way than other patients. Some studies show that racial minority patients are “less likely than whites to receive a kidney transplant once on dialysis. Critics argue that certain diseases cluster by ethnicity and that clinical decision making does not always reflect these differences” (Institute of Medicine 2004).
Lack of preventive care. According to the 2009 National Healthcare Disparities Report, “uninsured Americans are less likely to receive preventive services in health care, for instance racial minorities are not regularly screened for colon cancer and the death rate for colon cancer has increased among African Americans and Hispanic people”[2].

“Many people of colored skin are facing poor health care than whites from the cradle to the grave, in terms of greater rates of infant mortality, chronic diseases and disability, and pre-mature death” (Peterson and Yancy 2009). These health disparities take a significant human toll, but in addition inflict a huge economic weight on America.

A recent research conducted shows that the direct health costs, that is, related with health inequalities, extra costs of medical services incurred due to the greater burden of diseases suffered by the minority groups-was more than US$250B in the period between 2003 and 2006.

Aggregating the indirect costs related with health inequalities, for instance foregone salaries and yield and foregone tax revenue, the total costs of health inequalities for the country was US$1.24B in the same duration (Kettl and Fesler, 2009).

With the inception of Obama administration, things are looking bright. With the enactment of the Health Reform Law, this will see more than 32 million uninsured Americans, the majority being the minorities get insurance coverage.

These laws will avert insurance companies from exploiting new enrollees and rejecting claims due to the earlier conditions and more medical care providers will get more incentives to work in “medically underserved communities, among other expected benefits. These legislations will improve the current state of health care for people of colour, who are disproportionately un- and under-insured and who face greater barriers than whites to receiving high-quality care, even when insured” (Herbert et al. 2008).

A research commissioned by the Institute of Medicine (2002) estimated that: “over 886,000 deaths could have been prevented from 1991 to 2000 if African Americans had received the same care as whites. The main differences were due to lack of insurance, inadequate insurance, and poor service for the minority patients.”

Recommendations

Youdelman (2007) and Smedley (2008) argue that “The correlation between socioeconomic position and health, is a pervasive correlation, which is seen across periods of time, across places in the world, and across groups… and it is almost invariably in the same direction,” as socioeconomic position increases, health improves.

Youdelman opines that although there are various means to explain health inequalities (from a racial and ethnical dimension, socio-economics, and geography) socioeconomic inequalities should take center stage in the health policy talk, because application of some policy functions can worsen this issue.

However, according to Schillinger et al. (2003) ‘race is not an issue’ when it comes to matters of health inequity. He notes that the income differences across racial groups, exposure to social and economic adversity over the time and subjection to prejudice and institutional bigotry can influence the health of the minorities in several ways.

Schillinger et al. (2003) “underscores this by revealing that majority of the socio-economic group of black women have almost or even higher rates of infant mortality, low birth-weight, hypertension and obesity than the lowest socioeconomic group of white women.”

Blendon et al. (2008) emphasize on the use of specific approaches to contain racial disparities and urges that the health policy should be redefined so as to take account other sectors of the community, which have health impacts.

It is noticeable that the minority groups face distinctive and intricate challenges in modern policy environment, from crisis alertness and response to equal access to proper medical attention. Recognizing the situation, those representing these groups should join forces and put forward a strong voice in addressing these intricate (Williams and Jackson 2005).

To reduce the health inequalities, more emphasis should be made on evidence-based techniques modeled to overcome the groups struggle against medical and public health research, together with:

Result-orientation: research entrenched in a community background modeled to achieve substantial outcomes and attain the optimal performance.
Community collaboration: partnering “with” the groups, instead of giving things “to” them;
Ethnical tolerance: models custom-made for community demands and reaches;

Notably, equity of access to quality health care cannot be guaranteed through uniformity in a multicultural community, but through cultural sensitivity in delivery of medical care is equally necessary in achieving this equality. In ascertaining cultural tolerance, we should find if the current delivery of health care is impartial, and if it is as it is, then know how to reverse the situation.

A more practically approach in dealing with this is “ethnic match”[3] which seems to have a remarkable effect on the patients and providers in terms of access and utilization of health care services. In America, Barrett, Dyer and Westpheling (2008) observe that the more the minorities’ workers working in a mental institution, the higher the utilization rate by the minorities.

Moreover, many surveys have revealed that an “ethnic match” between patient and the practitioner normally increase utilization rate while reducing the dropout rate. However, in addressing such inequalities numerous viable options have been raised.

These options range from simple and realistic to involving a whole change to the system. Blanton et al (2002) notes “improvements in quality of care can simply begin with multilingual information, link workers, appropriate diets to a multi-faith approach in hospital.”

While on the other hand, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2008) advocates for “anti-racism service delivery” which involves “ensuring that providers are reflective of ethno-racial communities and knowledgeable about issues of race, gender, power and privilege, that people of color are involved in planning, implementing and evaluating these services and that services are appropriate to the needs of communities of color”[4].

However, the provisions made on the health reform law do not assure an answer the health care inequalities issue, as going by studies having health insurance doesn’t assure access to quality medical services neither does it considerably better health services. Instead, it is notable that health disparities continue due to differences in the neighbourhoods of the minority and non-minority groups.

Racial and cultural minority groups are more probable than white Americans to live in segregated, poverty-ridden populations, people who have ever since experienced lack of health care resources (Zuvekas and Taliaferro, 2003).

Even worse, majority of these people stare at a host of health dangers, for instance a lot of environmental stressors, and an influx fast food outlets and liquor shops and have rather countable health-conscious investments, for instance grocery outlets. One’s environment has a considerable effect on his/her general health status. 25% of preventable diseases globally are associated to poor environmental quality.

Reschovsky and O’Malley (2008) recommend that “The government at all levels can improve health opportunities by stimulating public and private investment to help make all communities healthier. It can achieve this by providing incentives to improve neighbourhood food options, by aggressively addressing environmental degradation, and by de-concentrating poverty from inner-cities and rural areas through smart housing and transportation policy.”

Many of these strategies are highly cost-effective; however addressing health inequities that are the outcome of environmental stressors can be a complex and challenging task. Moreover, policymakers should come up with a set of measures to track environmental stressors and how they impact on the health inequities of racial and cultural minority groups (Gaskin et al. (2007).

According to the American College of Physicians, although America has made some tremendous advances towards achieving health care equality, a lot still needs to be done.

“Closing the disparity gap is not only morally and professional imperative, it remains a glaring civil rights injustice that must be addressed,” the ACP (2010) says. Improved communication is one of the core issues in bridging the inequality gulf in a country where approximately a quarter of the inhabitants are not native English speakers.

Also, given that by the year 2042, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, “half of America’s population will be people of colour, it is imperative that we be prepared to address the health needs of an increasingly diverse population”[5].

It is also recommended that all third?party payers, such as Medicare, pay for the services of interpreters, and “language services”. In addition, medical professionals should be trained to have racial and ethnical tolerance so they appreciate the medical care practices and misunderstandings harboured by racial and ethnic minority groups (Hoffman and Tolbert 2006).

“Organizations that set standards for medical education”, the ACP (2010) reports, “are becoming believers in this kind of training — an encouraging sign of progress. To create a more diverse physician workforce, we should strengthen the education of minority students, especially in math and science, at all levels to create a larger pool of qualified minority applicants for medical school.”

Similarly, medical schools should enrol and retain more minority faculty. One nagging societal ills highlighted in the ACP report is the advertisement of tobacco and alcoholic products, and fast foods to minority groups.

Conclusion

Racial and cultural inequities in health care emerge from the interaction of many intricate factors, including past and current discrimination in health care, genetics, unequal educational opportunity, income and health care access disparities, cultural beliefs, and community systems.

Bridging the disparity gulf is not easy, but it is a moral imperative that appropriate resources should be made to address these differences.

Reference list

ACP. (2004). Language Access in Health Care: Statement of Principles. ACP. Retrieved from
http://www.acponline.org/advocacy/where_we_stand/access/language.pdf

American College of Physicians. (2008). Achieving Affordable Health Insurance Coverage for all Within Seven Years: A Proposal from America’s Internists. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians.

American College of Physicians. (2007). Achieving A High Performance Health Care System With Universal Access: What The USA Can Learn From Other Countries, 2007. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians.

American College of Physicians. (2006). Language Services for Patients with Limited English Proficiency: Results of a National Survey of Internal Medicine Physicians. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians.

American College of Physicians. (2010). Racial and ethnic disparities in health care, updated 2010. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians.

Bach P et al. (2004). Primary Care Physicians Who Treat Blacks and Whites. NEJM, 351, 575-584.

Baker, D. W. et al. (1996). Parker RM, Williams MV, Coates WC, Pitkin K. Use and effectiveness of interpreters in an emergency department. JAMA, 275, 783-788.

Bardach, E. (2009). A Practical Guide to Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving, 3rd Edition. New York/London: Chatham House Publishers, Seven Bridges Press, LLC.

Barrett, S., Dyer, C. and Westpheling, K. (2008). Language Access: Understanding the Barriers and Challenges in Primary Care Settings. Perspectives from the Field. McLain, VA: Association of Clinicians for the Underserved.

Barret, S. R. et al. (2008). Health Literacy Practices in Primary Care Settings: Examples from the Field. Washington, DC: The Commonwealth Fund.

Barrett, S., Dyer, C. and Westpheling, K. (2008). Language Access: Understanding the Barriers and Challenges in Primary Care Settings. Perspectives from the Field. McLain, VA: Association of Clinicians for the Underserved.

Betancourt, J. et al. (2005). Cultural Competency and Health Care Disparities: Key Perspectives and Trends. Health Affairs, 24, 499-505.

Blanton, L. et al. (2002). Racial/Ethnic Differences in Cardiac Care: The Weight of the Evidence. New York: Kaiser Family Foundation and American College of Cardiology.

Blendon, R. et al. (2008). Disparities in Physician Care: Experiences and Perceptions of a Multi-Ethic America. Health Affairs, 27, 507-517.

Dorn, S. et al. (2008). Medicaid, SCHIP, and Economic Downturn: Policy Changes and Policy Responses. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from
http://www.kff.org/medicaid/upload/7770.pdf

Flores, G. (2007). Language Barriers to Health Care in the United States. NEJM, 355, 229-231.

Gaskin, D. et al. (2007). Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Site of Usual Source of Care. Journal of the National Medical Association, 99, 22-30.

Grumbach, K. and Mendoza, R. (2008). Disparities in human Resources: Addressing the Lack of Diversity in the Health Professions. Health Affairs, 27, 413-422.

Halbert, C. H. et al. (2006). Racial Differences in Trust in Health Care Providers. Arch Inten Med, 166, 896-901.

Herbert P. et al. (2008). When Does A Difference Become a Disparity? Conceptualizing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health. Health Affairs, 374-382.

Hoffman, C. and Tolbert, J. (2006). Health savings Accounts and High Deductible Health Plans: Are They An Option for Low-Income Families? Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from
http://www.kff.org/uninsured/upload/7568.pdf

Institute of Medicine. (2002). Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Institute of Medicine. (2004). Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. Washington: National Academies Press.

James, C. et al. (2009). Putting Women’s Health Care Disparities on the Map: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from
http://www.kff.org/minorityhealth/upload/7886.pdf

Kaiser Family Foundation. (2006). Supplemental Coverage Among Medicare Beneficiaries, by Race/Ethnicity, 2006. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from
http://facts.kff.org/chart.aspx?ch=519

Kettl, F. and Fesler, J. (2009). The Politics of the Administrative Process, 4th Edition. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Kettl, D. F. (2007). System Under Stress: Homeland Security and American Politics, 2nd Edition. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Lurie N. and Dubowitz T. (2007). Health Disparities and Access to Health. JAMA, 1118-1121.

Peterson, E. and Yancy C. W. (2009). Eliminating Racial aand Ethnic Disparities in Cardiac Care. NEJM. 360, 1172.

Reschovsky, J. and O’Malley, A. S. (2008). Do Primary Care Physicians Treating Minority Patients Report Problems Delivering High-Quality Care? Health Affairs, 27, w222-w231.

Schillinger, D. et al. (2003). Closing the Loop: Physician Communication with diabetic Patients Who Have Low Health Literacy. Arch Int Med, 163, 83-90.

Schlotthauer, Y. et al. (2008). Evaluating Interventions to Reduce Health Care Disparities: An RWJF Program. Health Affairs, 27, 568.

Smedley, B. (2008). Moving Beyond Access: Achieving Equity in State Health Care Reform. Health Affairs, 27, 447-455.

Williams, D. and Jackson, P. (2005). Social Sources of Racial Disparities in Health. Health Affairs, 24(2), 325-334.

Winkleby, M. et al. (1992). Socioeconomic Status and Health: How education, Income, and Occupation Contribute to Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease. Am Journal Public Health, 82, 816.

Urban Institute (2005). Going Without: America’s Uninsured Children. Washington: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved from
http://www.rwjf.org/files/newsroom/ckfresearchreportfinal.pdf

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Health Literacy – Fact Sheet: The Basics. Retrieved from
http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/quickguide/factsbasic.htm#one

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2008). Health Literacy – Strategies: Improve the Usability of Health Information. Retrieved from
http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/quickguide/healthinfo.htm#three

Youdelman, M. (2008). The Medical Tongue: U.S. Laws and Policies on Language Access. Health Affairs, 27, 424-433.

Youdelman, M. (2007). Medicaid and SCHIP Reimbursement Models for Language Services. Washington DC: National Health Law Program.

Zuckerman, P. et al. (2008). Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Treatment of Dementia Among Medicare Beneficiaries. Journal of Gerontology, 63B(5), S328–33.

Zuvekas, S.H. and Taliaferro, G. S. (2003). Pathways to Access: Health Insurance, The Health Care Delivery System, And Racial/Ethnic Disparities, 1996-1999. Health Affairs, 22, 139-153.

More reading from Grumbach, K. and Mendoza, R. (2008) and American College of Physicians. (2006).
As cited in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2007).
See more discussion on “ethnic match” by Barret, S. R. et al. (2008). Health Literacy Practices in Primary Care Settings: Examples from the Field. Washington, DC: The Commonwealth Fund.
Also cited by Kaiser Family Foundation (2006).
Cited by James, C. et al. (2009). Putting Women’s Health Care Disparities on the Map: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Retrieved from http://www.kff.org/minorityhealth/upload/7886.pdf

Running head: Environmental Studies

Introduction

This paper presents a summary of land ethic as an approach to conserve the environment. According to Leopold, land ethic serves to change people’s perception of their relationship with biotic community from being “conquerors” to being “plain member and citizens of it”.

Leopold contends that land ethic hasn’t been developed or achieved by the American environmentalists. If it is developed and embraced faster, success in conservation of the environment will be realized. He suggests that proper education based on the right content, that seek to create obligation on the part of the human community and the devaluation of the primacy given to economic determinism are the ultimate gate-passes to the realization of the land ethic.

The proposal can be used to develop land ethic that supports economic relations with the biosphere. In this case, a cognitive picture of land as a “biotic mechanism” is developed. There is also a need to adopt “biotic pyramid” image instead of the “balance of nature” view which according to him did not capture accurately the little we understand about the soil, waters, fauna and flora.

Leopold’s view of humans and of biotic communities

According to Leopold, man is part of an interdependent community whose actions have ramifying effects on biotic community. He is contended with the fact that man is self-centered/selfish and is only motivated by economic gains. He adopts a pessimistic view of human being and regards them as being deficient of the requisite social conscience necessary for the formation of land ethic, and therefore man appropriates land on the basis of benefits to be accrued regardless of biotic community.

The result is a conflict of interest where human being strives to maximize economic gains while the biotic community fights to perpetuate their species albeit being on the losing end. The biotic community, Leopold asserts, is dependent upon interdependence with humans.

Leopold held that the biotic community is not passive in the perpetuation of the community life though he reckons that such biotic mechanisms were so intricate that their workings were never fully discernible. He believes that the biotic community was dependent upon the integrity of their human counterparts for continuance. None is more important than the other.

How to resolve the conflict

Education for conservation is recommended to solve conflict in the eco-system. Conservationists and government agencies concerned with conservation issues should design sound education that has content on conservation. The training will seek to create obligation on the part of the humans to ‘love, respect, and admire the land’.

Include conservation issues into the mainstream development e.g. in road construction. Environmental impact assessment needs to be done and findings respected and followed to the latter. Develop a system of conservation devoid of economic self interest in order to preserve those species that have no economic value.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Leopold’s view

a. Strengths

Interdependence of parts seeks to create an awareness of how human community in the absence of biotic community is incomplete and therefore the need to coexist. Secondly, education should precede rules, while content should seek first to create obligation towards biotic community by capturing the need to revise the approach to education for conservation.

The idea that the government, private and corporate entities ought to partake in conservation measures is a strong point held by Leopold. Furthermore, Leopold does believe that obligations are meaningless in the absence of conscience.

He calls for the strengthening of conscience-building approaches based on intellect and emotions. A position that human history is pegged on environment (biotic) highlights the fact that the future is much a product of what we do now with our land.

b. Weaknesses

While painting a gloom picture of the present and the past, he succeeds in painting a deem future. This is a pessimistic view and is a strong de-motivating factor. The government should be in forefront in conservation issues but Leopold talks of it as having been overburdened.

Two fundamental claims of the American conservation movement

No land ethic yet –He says that it has failed to create ideal sense of obligation on the part of the humans, since even though we proclaim our ‘love for and obligation to the land’, its surely not the soil, waters, plants nor animals that we cherish as we continue to plough down- slope leading to soil erosion and water pollution not to mention the wanton extermination of fauna and flora a due to our self-centered economic orientations.

It presupposes that land ethic shapes human orientation from conqueror to being member and part of the biotic community. Lack of this ethic has made it hard to move away from economic determinism.

Wrong approach and Lack of uniformity among the conservationists – the education content did not succeed in establishing that sense of obligation and respect for the biotic community. Also the various groups have divergent views as to what really constitutes the biotic community and therefore scattered policies. In trying to make the conservation subject simple, it has trivialized it.

Has American environmentalism moved in the direction Leopold advocated?

No. Leopold faults the conservationists for not being serious on rules they formulate. For example, the 1933 case where the offer was “widely accepted” but the practices were “widely forgotten”.

This shows the negligence and lack of seriousness on the part of conservationists as no follow-up was ever made to ensure full implementation. Also, he contends that much burden has been given to the government as private farmers fail to perform. And government contributes to extermination of some species in stead of protecting them.

Business Ethics

Outline

Memo
Facts
Positions of responsibility
Business and individual relationship
Clare’s authority
Issues
Clare’s offer
Ethical issues
Analysis
Ethical theories
Recommendations
For Henry

MEMO

TO: Henry Carpenter, ABC, Inc. Manager

FROM: Clare Cook, XYZ, Inc. company representative

DATE: October 1, 2010

SUBJECT: Offering Material Assistance.

Having informed me in confidence about your son’s requirements to work on a project at school and your financial position, I have resolved to offer desirable assistance. I propose to send over to you a digital camera and color printer and charge only the company’s cost on the devices as per my company’s regulations.

My decision to take this action was after a detailed and careful consideration of the legal requirements, company laws, responsibilities, and obligations I am bound to while working with this company and decided to act in my capacity as our company’s representative.

In addition to that, I took this course of action bearing in mind the close working relationships between your company ABC Inc. and XYZ Inc., my cordial working relationship with you, information of your budgetary constraints you confided to me, and my knowledge about you.

I am entitled with the authority to act in the capacity as XYZ Inc. company representative to enhance client relationships as I deem it necessary.

Looking forward to improving our company’s working relationship with you and acceptance of the offer I am making to meet your son’s needs.

Facts

Both Henry and Clare hold positions of responsibility which come with business obligations and responsibilities. Henry is ABC Inc.’s marketing manager and Clare is XYZ Inc.’s representative .ABC deals in computer equipments and office supplies in the retail market.

XYZ sells new products to ABC Inc. Henry is responsibility for purchasing new products for ABC Inc. from Clare. There is a business relationship between Henry and Clare. Clare and Henry are single parents and do occasionally meet and spend a lot of time together.

Henry confides to Clare about the failure of his son’s school to give him prior information about his son’s projects and the requirements for the project. Henry discloses his budgetary information to Clare and the position that he could not afford to meet the expenses for a new digital camera and a color printer.

Due to their relationships, Clare offers to use her position as XYZ Inc.’s representative to give Henry her organization’s digital camera and a color printer. Clare clarifies to Henry that she had authority to act in that manner.

Issues

Should Henry accept Clare’s offer of the digital camera and color printer for his son for the sake of improving customer relationships? What could be the consequences of Clare’s actions of passing over company assets to Henry in relation to her position in the company she works for? What are the ethical considerations for Henry in accepting or rejecting Clare’s offer?

Should Clare have acted by providing Henry with his son’s requirements on private information?

Here, Henry is in an ethical dilemma to accept or to reject Clare’s offer of company property. On the other hand there is a direct conflict between Clare’s ethical considerations and her actions. Clare has to make a choice.

Legal Issue

What will be the legal implications on the part of Henry in accepting a camera and a color printer for his son and to Clare in providing that assistance in view of their positions?

Analysis

Utilitarianism

Henry’s dilemma could be solved using the utilitarian theory in decision making. The utilitarian theory combines both Hedonism and consequentialism. Hedonism draws on the extrinsic good or bad and the resulting pleasure or pain of one’s actions. Consequentialism draws on the consequences of one’s actions.

Henry has to evaluate the moral integrity of his decision in accepting or rejecting Clare’s offer and the consequences of his decision. Henry’s action not only could result in pain or pleasure to Himself, Clare, the companies they work for, but also to the business environment as a whole. Henry’s actions should reflect an upright, fair, and just person (Melden 120).

Under this theory, Clare has to critically consider the consequences of her actions and their impact on her job and the company she works for. Giving the color printer and digital camera may result in greater pleasure for Henry and his son, but if the action results in greater pain for her, she may not be justified to act in that manner.

Giving the color printer to Henry may result in greater pain if the company’s equipments are given to Henry on the basis of his relationships with Clare. That could have the possibility of generating distrust on the moral integrity of Henry and Clare. Henry could be viewed with distrust by accepting the offer if it causes pain to Clare such as getting reprimanded, creating a bad image, and damaging the company’s goodwill.

On the other hand, if Henry receives the color printer and digital camera, he has to evaluate the impact that action will have on his position and the relationship between him, Clare, and his company. Accepting the equipments may cause displeasure and be in direct conflict with his company’s laws.

Some of the consequences may include an undue influence by Clare on Henry for a good business relationship. Therefore, the act may not be moral.

Each act has some intrinsic good and bad. Clare and Henry have to carefully weigh the consequences of their actions to themselves and their respective companies of work and the moral justification of taking a course of action each chooses (Melden 105).

According to the theory, the utility of Henry’s and Clare’s actions should reflect a degree of moral integrity. Henry’s act of accepting the offer should purely reflect a utilitarian act evident of a just, fair, honest, caring, and trustworthy individual not to cause Clare pain. On the other hand, Clare should weigh her action in view of its consequences to herself, Henry, their respective companies, and the environment.

The Golden rule

According to Melden, the Golden rule lays emphasis on the need for individuals to do to others as they would like others to do to them (100). The reciprocity of this theory emphasizes on positive and passive forms, prohibitive passive forms, positive active forms, and the silver rule (Koons 1).

Fieser argues that this theory is very popular and traverses many cultures of the world (1).

If Clare decides to give Henry the equipments he mentioned to Henry, she could foster and enhance the working relationship that exists between her and Henry in addition to enhancing their own relationships. On the other hand, Henry should carefully weigh the kind of relationship between him and Clare and the effect of the choice of the action he should take.

Given Henry’s position, Clare is justified to act by giving him the color printer and the digital camera. However, Henry should evaluate the fact that if he were in the shoes of Clare, the moral values attached to his actions and their effects on Clare’s job, himself, and the companies they work for.

The golden rule lays emphasis on the reciprocity of actions by either party in an issue. Henry has to evaluate Clare’s actions by carefully identifying and determining if her action is simply reciprocating the business offer between both companies and his good relationship to her. On the other hand, Clare has to carefully evaluate if by doing Henry the act of giving him the digital camera and color printer, she and others are bound to gain from that act.

Kant’s “categorical imperative”

This theory focuses on the premise that each individual should act in a manner that one’s action becomes a universal law. The deontological theory has its foundation on the morality of duty. This raises the question on the morality of Henry and Clare’s actions. Moral duty is innate.

We have personal inclinations that are summed up in our raw desires and wants and our actions are enshrined in moral statements. The Act and rule imperatives significantly underpin the general form of this theory (Liuzzo and Anthony 23). The theory lays emphasis on the moral standing of actions.

Henry’s action could be moral and in a manner that it becomes universal because it is universally acceptable. However the benefits he is bound to gain by accepting Clare’s offer has to be carefully evaluated since his act may conflict with other universal values and beliefs. A universal act in this case is one that is acceptable to all and by all. Therefore, Henry’s act of accepting Clare’s offer should be evaluated against the fact of it becoming universally acceptable.

A universally accepted act should reflect fairness and justice on the part of both parties in view of the business, climate, industry, organizational, society, and personal levels. Henry’s act of accepting the offer should reflect fairness and integrity while Clare has to critically evaluate and distinguish between duty and inclination.

Henry has to evaluate the moral nature of his actions if he accepts these equipments by carefully weighing the resulting impact of the action on Clare, her employer, himself, and his employer. By accepting the color printer, Henry could be asserting the universal nature of his actions.

That implies Henry’s act of accepting these equipments is an act that can be duplicated elsewhere. However, careful consideration indicates that this action could look to the public eye as accepting an inducement and not a moral act. This could adversely affect the image of Henry’s company and be a disaster rather than a benefit.

Virtue ethics

According to Liuzzo and Anthony, this theory focuses on virtue as a trait that should be imbued in human beings (23). Every one runs away from vice but seeks virtue. Such a trait could be good for every person. The theory emphasizes on love, social feelings, and the quality of the relationship between people and the moral motivation for taking certain actions (Fieser 1).

Clare could act based on the love she has for Henry and the social feelings that are likely to be strengthened between Clare and Henry. Clare has strong feelings about Henry’s position and impelled by virtue that has been cultivated in her, she could be justified to give Henry the color printer and the digital camera for his son.

However, she has to carefully weigh if her virtuous deeds are in conflict with the company she works for. Different companies operate on different laws and their employees are bound by different legal requirements. Clare’s decision should also be evaluated for impartiality.

On the other hand, Henry should critically evaluate the motivating factor behind Clare’s offer not to lead to personal conflict and conflict of interest.

Recommendations

Henry should accept the color printer since the act could be ethically correct. In Henry’s view, accepting the digital camera and color printer could result in pleasure and could neither cause Clare nor the companies they work for any harm. Henry could be given these devices by charging some company fee. This could justify Henry’s moral integrity, trustworthiness, and fairness in accepting the offer since he could pay the fee.

The fee payable could alleviate any act of dishonesty in both Henry and Clare. Henry could need Clare to offer him assistance that she could have liked to be given were she in a similar situation. Such could be a universally acceptable act. In this case, this offer is virtuous, human, universal, and moral.

Accepting this offer on the basis of enhancing business relationships with a client and acting consistently with the laws of his employer could agreeably enhance working relationships and enhance the company’s image. However, Henry has to carefully weigh the company costs levied on the digital camera and color printer before accepting the offer.

Works Cited

Fieser, James. Business Ethics. 26 Sept. 2010.
http://www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/vita/research/Busbook.htm

Koons, Robert, C.The Problem of Evil. Preliminaries. The Virtual Office. University of Texas. 13 Jul. 2002. 26 Sept. 2010.
http://www.leaderu.com/offices/koons/docs/lec19.html

Liuzzo, Anthony & Anthony, Liuzzo. Essentials of Business Law. 7th ed. Harbor Town, New York. Career Education, 2009.

Melden, Abraham, I., Ethical Theories. 2nd ed. New York, Prentice-Hall Inc., 1950

A Critical Evaluation of Qualitative & Quantitative Research Designs

A wealth of literature demonstrates that research is a discursive practice that must be carried out using meticulous and systematic means so as to meet pertinent norms and standards, especially in regard to its validity, reliability, and rationale (Lankshear, n.d.).

Equally, good quality research must have the capacity to elucidate strong evidence in the form of quantitative or qualitative data that is relevant to a phenomenon or variable under study.

The development of an effective procedure or guideline of undertaking the research is of paramount importance in the context of allowing objective data to be collected, organized, analyzed and presented in ways that will allow people to acknowledge that the findings are not only informative, but the inferences drawn upon them are logical.

This paper purposes to evaluate some of differences and characteristics between quantitative and qualitative research designs.

Both qualitative and quantitative research studies have unique characteristics. To start with, it is imperative to note that qualitative researchers are mainly concerned with studying the subject matter in the natural settings in an effort to make sense of, or to understand, observable occurrences in terms of the meanings attached to them by people (Patton, 2002).

One of the characteristics of a qualitative research study, therefore, is that it is interested in studying real-world situations or occurrences as they unfold naturally without controlling or manipulating any variables. In essence, it is not predetermined as is the case with quantitative studies.

The second characteristic is that most qualitative studies utilize purposive sampling procedures. Specifically, cases designated for study are selected by virtue of the fact that they have the needed information and provide valuable manifestations of the phenomenon under study.

In most qualitative studies, sampling of cases is aimed at getting more insight about the phenomenon under study, not empirical generalization from a sample of subjects to a population as is the case in quantitative studies (Patton, 2002).

The third characteristic of a qualitative research study is that the design adopted must be open and flexible enough to enable the researcher adapt to new inquiry depending on the level of understanding needed.

A qualitative design must have the capacity to accommodate new situations as they emerge in addition to allowing the researcher pursue new paths of discovery as opposed to a quantitative design, which utilizes rigid, unresponsive design (Patton, 2002).

Quantitative studies, on the other part, are basically undertaken by means of developing a testable hypothesis or research questions, and collecting data, which is then ordered and statistically analyzed to come up with findings. Finally, the inferences from the findings will differentiate whether the original hypothesis is supported by the evidence collected from the field (Creswell, 2003). One of the unique characteristics of a quantitative study is that the researcher is independent from the phenomena under study as opposed to qualitative study, where the researcher must always interact with the phenomena under study.

The second characteristic is that reality in a quantitative study is viewed in an objective and singular manner, intricately separate from the researcher (Creswell, 2003).

A qualitative study, however, views reality in a subjective manner. Finally, the facts collected from the field must be value-free and unbiased, but in a qualitative study, the facts are often value-laden and prejudicial.

The type of research design adopted by the researcher to a large extent influences the sampling method to be used for the study (Patton, 2002). A sampling method, according to Creswell (2003), is basically a technique employed in drawing samples from a larger population in such a way that the sample drawn will assist in the determination of some observations or hypothesis concerning the population.

There exist different types of sampling methods, each with its own practical importance in relation to the kind of research design employed for the study.

As such, most quantitative research designs utilize probability sampling procedures, which includes random, systematic, and stratified sampling techniques. It is imperative to note that in probability sampling procedures, every subject within a population has an identified non-zero chance or probability of being selected (StatPac, 2010)

In random sampling method, the nature of the population must first be defined to allow all subjects equal chance of selection. This is the purest form of probability sampling, and greatly assists quantitative researchers to come up with objective and unbiased data from the field (Creswell, 2003).

In stratified sampling technique, a stratum or a subset of the population that is known to share some common aspects is used to select the sample, thereby reducing sampling error. When the relevant subsets are identified by the researcher and their actual representation in the population known, random sampling is then employed to select adequate number of participants from each subset.

This type of sampling is helpful to a quantitative researcher since it allows him or her to study the subgroups in greater detail while in their own naturalistic world and free from value interferences or bias (Marshall, 1996; Creswell, 2003). Still, this type of sampling assists the quantitative researcher to study some unique subsets within a population that may have low or high incidences of a particular phenomenon relative to the other subsets (StatPac, 2010).

Systematic sampling, on its part, works more or less as random sampling, but selects every Nth member of an already predetermined sample. The technique assists a quantitative researcher to remain objective, and it is also simple to use.

Most qualitative research designs employ non-probability sampling procedures, with the most common type being the convenience and purposeful sampling techniques (StatPac, 2010).

It is however imperative to note that some non-probability sampling techniques such as convenience sampling can be used in quantitative research and some probability sampling techniques such as stratified sampling can also be used in qualitative research (Creswell, 2003).

In a convenience sample, subjects are selected by virtue of being at the correct place at the right time. In short, subjects are selected based on convenience. This is helpful to both quantitative and qualitative researchers since it does not only saves time, but also money (StatPac, 2010).

Due to the depth of information required in qualitative studies, most researchers employ purposive sampling technique to get the participant who is well placed to offer comprehensive and detailed information about a case or phenomena under study (Creswell, 2003).

As such, this technique is not interested in calculating numbers about sampling errors and sample representation as is the case in samples used in quantitative research; on the contrary, a purposive sample is interested in gaining an in-depth analysis of something, and therefore may be value-laden and subjective. However, these externalities form the basis of qualitative research.

As such, it can be said that a sampling method such as random sampling will assist in quantitative research since the nature of the research design is more mechanistic and only interested in coming up with results that can then be generalized to the wider population.

However, a sampling method such as purposive sampling will serve qualitative studies well since they are interested in providing illumination and understanding of complicated issues that can only be answered by the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions (Marshall, 1996).

Such questions can only be answered by someone who is knowledgeable enough about the case under study, thus the use of purposive sampling.

Second, it is known that for a true random or stratified sample to be selected, the unique aspects under investigation of the whole population must be known before hand. This is only possible in quantitative studies, but is rarely possible in many qualitative studies (Marshall, 1996).

Third, random or stratified sampling mostly used in quantitative research is likely to generate a representative sample only if the underlying characteristics of the study are generally distributed within the population.

However, “…there is no evidence that the values, beliefs and attitudes that form the core of qualitative investigation are normally distributed, making the probability approach inappropriate” (Marshall, 1996, p. 523). Lastly, it is clear that individuals are not equally good at perceiving, understanding, and interpreting either their own or other people’s actions and behavior.

This translates to the fact that while some sampling methods such as random sampling are best suited for quantitative research since the studies are only interested in coming up with results that can be generalized to a wider population, it would appear more plausible for a qualitative researcher to employ a sampling technique such as purposive sampling, which will enable him obtain information that is richer in context and insightful.

Reference List

Creswell, J.W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc

Lankshear, C. (n.d.). Some notes on the nature and importance of research design within educational research. Retrieved September 25 2010
http://uob-community.ballarat.edu.au/~clankshear/Some%20Notes%20on%20the%20Nature%20and%20Importance%20of%20Research%20Design%20within%20Educational%20Research.doc

Marshall, M.N. (1996). Sampling for qualitative research. Family Practice, 13(6), 522-525. Retrieved September 26 2010 http://fampra.oxfordjournals.org/content/13/6/522.full.pdf

Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods, 3rd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc

StatPac. (2010). Survey sampling methods. Retrieved September 26 2010
http://www.statpac.com/surveys/sampling.htm

Immaterial Labor

Introduction

Immaterial labor refers to the two aspects of labor: informational content and cultural content. Informational content are the skillful changes utilized by workers in the labor processes that occurring in the industrial and tertiary sectors while cultural content refers to all the activities that cannot be categorized normally as work but determines the cultural artistic standards, fashions, tastes and consumer traditions that shape quality of service or product.

Mass intellectuality

Empirical research and theoretical reflection of the new forms of work organization led to the radical modification of the management, composition and control of the work force that have profoundly influenced the roles of intellectuals within the society. Manual labor has undergone great transformation into intellectual labor due to the demands of capitalists and self-valorization as factors of production.

Intellectual labor requires workers to be subjective to the organization as the aim of modern management strategies is to make workers’ soul be part of the organization. The subjectivity of workers to the organization is the basis of achieving quality and quantity immaterial labor in production given that work is the ability to activate and manage a team of workers productively.

In addition to subjectivity of workers, activity is another attribute required for optimum productivity in an organization since the heart of productivity is collective learning and innovation of new organizational functions.

Subjectivity has a disadvantage of generating conflicts between various social classes within the organization because capitalist demands absolute subjectivity, which is practically impossible in the view of the competencies of the workers. The management concept of subjectivity seems to be an autocratic management as capitalist seeks to have a communicative process that totally involves and emanates from their subjects.

Immaterial Labor

Immaterial labor activities entail forms of networks and flows characterized by the precariousness, hyper-exploitation, mobility and hierarchy hence its power depends on the professional and management capacities.

The challenge of immaterial labor is its interface position between production and consumption, which compels it to promote both productive and social relationship through the process of subjective though it seemed to be autocratic.

The big question revolves around the independence and ability of immaterial labor to develop organizational capacities and corporate relationship. According to the economists, industries do not create new power but takes an on-board power by adaption. On contrast, immaterial labor requires new forms of work organization to be innovated through activity.

The two differing views arise; one is the neoclassical analysis that tries to redefine the market problem by introducing cooperation and intensity of labor to optimize production. The other view is the system theory that conceives organization factors such as material or immaterial, individual or collective in eliminating market constrains.

The immaterial labor leads to the improvement of productive cooperation in aspects of production and reproduction of communication thus enhancing the concept of subjectivity. Integration of consumption into the immaterial cycle by Fordism and subsequent integration of communication disrupts producer-consumer relationship.

Conclusion

In immaterial labor, informational and cultural content are the aspects that determine productivity in an organization. Harmonization and optimization of the aspects results in the expected quality and quantity of immaterial labor in production.

Although immaterial labor is very productive, capitalist’s demands of absolute subjectivity is an autocratic management characterized by the hyper-exploitation and generation of conflicts between different social classes within the organization.

The History of sexuality

The term sexuality had been a puzzle for many people for a long time. A lot of research has been done on the topic by many philosophers as well as historians. Among them was a French philosopher known as Michel Foucault who researched on the history of sexuality. Sexuality basically means the identification of difference in gender.

It is the main feature for the identities of people. Philosophers have before claimed that sexuality operates in an unstable manner and it is developed through social interactions. Therefore the history of sexuality can be said to have started long ago as people tried to find out more about the creation of God.

Research shows that not every person understands all about sexuality. Different people and cultures have their own different perception of the term. In countries like Japan, China and India the word sexuality is seen as something that is normal and no one is ashamed of talking about it. Though they keep it as a secret they find no harm in discussing the topic of sexuality.

On the other hand, the western society has a different perspective about the term. They find it to be a secretive term and not to be publicly discussed. It can therefore be said that one’s understanding depends on an individual’s egotism.

During the course of my study in high school I got to see how people may be confused by the term sexuality. There was one of our school mates who had male characteristics yet she had been born a female. The reason behind this was that she had been born a hermaphrodite; that is having both sexual organs.

The doctors who first examined her after birth decided that it was easy chopping off the male sexual organ other than surgical procedures on the female sexual organ. With this, they did not consider anything to do with the hormones, internal organs or the reproductive cells. Since all babies are identical despite the sexuality no one was able to notice any difference.

The problem arose during her high school life when her body was undergoing hormonal changes. The body started developing visible male features and characteristics such as beards, hoarse voice, no breasts and many others. Since we were in an only girl’s school, she could be easily distinguished. The issue about her sexuality greatly affected her social life and eventually academically.

It was after much consultation with her parents that she realized the mystic about her sexuality and underwent another surgery to convert her to the male sexual being she was supposed to be. The problem can be dated back to the doctors who first examined her. They did not understand that sexuality is more than just the sexual organs. Sexuality has a lot to do with personality and many other factors which may not be visible. This was a serious mistake costing the teenage life of a person.

It can therefore be concluded that sexuality is a very important issue to human beings. Ignoring and taking sexuality for granted is wrong just as described by Foucault. He says that people of the Western society suppressed the word sexuality.

Considering the effects that are bound to arise because of negligence of sexuality, it calls for immediate change of state of the situation. That is, people should critically look at sexuality and begin to put more recognition on it. Doing this will create a freely interactive and sociable community.

Critical Thinking

Introduction

Critical thinking originated back during the times of great Greek philosophers like Socrates and Clausewitz. Socrates used logic in his quest for reason and wisdom while Clausewitz viewed critical thinking as the strength of the mind. Currently, various definitions has led to misconceptions of what really constitutes critical thinking.

According to Guillot, critical thinking is “the ability to logically assess the quality of one’s thinking and the thinking of others to consistently arrive at greater understanding and achieve wise judgments” (2004).

Basing on this definition, critical thinking is simply a logical assessment of internal and external dimensions of our thinking. This essay is going to apply the elements of critical thinking to the report of September 11, 2001 concerning the attacks on the United States.

The purpose

The purpose is one of the elements of critical thinking which assesses our thinking and actions in a given situation. Assessment of the purpose is very important to a critical thinker to avoid self-deception on thoughts or actions (Guillot, 2004).The purpose of the 9/11 commission report is to explore terrorists’ threats and give out the appropriate recommendations to the United States government to be implemented.

Then report has both the right and the false purposes in trying to address the problem of terrorism. The right purpose of the report is to explore humane ways of addressing terrorism threats world wide like preventing the continued of Islamist terrorism, protecting against and preparing for any terrorists attacks (The 9/11 Commission Report, 2005).

The false purpose is of attacking terrorists and their organizations because critically thinking demands that the government should not be a terrorist in order to fight terrorism. If the government can prevent and prepare for any terrorist attacks, there will be no threat of terrorism to the United States Government and its citizens.

The question

There are three ways of looking at critical questions depending on their continual use, the need to ask and answer at the right time and their interrelationships in the identification of the real problem. The main objective of critical thinkers is to institute whether the point in question is about addressing the right issue or not. Three types of critical questions exist; questions about facts, preferences, and judgment.

Questions of facts have definite answers while questions of preference have indefinite answers. The questions of judgment are complex to answer and require critical thinking (Guillot 2004). The 9/11 Commission Report tries to answer many questions of judgment, for instance, who are terrorists? What is the best way of combating terrorism? Alternatively, how can American protect its citizens?

Information

Information is very important in making day-to-day decisions as the decision we make depends on the quality and validity of the information analyzed in our minds. Critical thinking demands the mind to identify and filter the raw information obtained and the processed information in order to differentiate between quality and biased information.

Our minds can to take information in three ways. One way is to store information inertly which has no benefit, the other way is through activated ignorance which is a dangerous use of false information as truth while activated knowledge is the third way and entails powerful use of the true information, leading to deeper understanding and wise decision making (Guillot, 2004).

According to the 9/11 Commission Report (2005), the information on terrorists’ threats has been too much resulting into inert information that has no use. There have been also rumors of terrorists’ attacks providing a false information thus activating ignorance, which is the dangerous utilization of false information.

Concepts

Concept stands out as the major critical component in the field of decisive thinking. Concepts enhance understanding of new challenges that we face in life. Multiple applications of concepts by conceptual thinkers enables them change their focus and the way of viewing challenges hence they are flexible in the light of new concepts.

In the 9/11 Commission report (2005), the United States is said to be “a nation transformed” as the new concept of terrorism to use planes as weapons made the Central intelligence Agency to reconsider their strategies and change their conceptual thinking.

Inferences

Inferences here refer to the reason behind any conclusions made. Proper interpretations of the assumptions require critical judgments of the assumptions. In the 9/11 attacks, many people falsely concluded that people who were responsible for the attacks were Muslims but critical inference in the report proved that the people who were responsible for the attacks were Islamic extremists and not all Muslims.

The assumption that the masterminds and executors of these attacks were Muslims was inevitable given the fact that the Islamic insurgents involved are part of the Islamic society. Nevertheless, it is wrong to assume the attacks were “Islamic.” This is why critical thinking isolates Islamic insurgents from the Islamic community pointing out they were the ones involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Assumptions

Assumptions are very importance in making inferences given the concepts. These assumptions are believes made based on the reality or our expectations. When the information is lacking or limited, logical inferences are made consciously using assumptions.

Subconscious assumptions are dangerous as they give false inferences that can have serious implications. For example, the 9/11 attacks can give false inferences that Muslims are terrorists but thanks to critical thinkers who can turn subconscious assumptions into conscious assumptions to be assessed.

Point of view

Critical thinking involves having a view of a given situation from multiple points of view to have a complete picture if the situation. The 9/11 Commission Report (2005), viewed the concept of terrorism locally and internationally, from political and security points in drawing of necessary recommendations.

Implications

Implications are the expectations of the consequences of a decision in terms of beliefs, opinions, and actions. Critical thinking of implications must consider all reasonable possibilities from worst to best cases. The 9/11 Commission Report (2005) must have considered implications of declaring war on terrorism as it will cost lives and money.

In weighing the implications of the decision to fight terrorists and their organization at the expense of billions and losing the lives of their soldiers demands great critical thinking. Non-critical thinker would just opt to protect its citizens locally and reduce huge expenses in fighting what seem to be imaginary terrorists.

Conclusion

Critical thinking is an invaluable strategy of understanding complex situations that require logic in the understanding major challenges in life. Then internal and external dimensions of critical thinking provides basis of conflict resolution as the conflicting parties can share a common logic.

Since critical thinking is robust, it help leader to make decisions and mange strategic environments. Commissions employ critical thinkers in preparation of a report by considering all the critical thinking elements.

References

Guillot, Michael. (2004). Critical Thinking for the Military Professional. Air and Space Power Journal. Retrieved, 27 Sept. 2010, from
http://www.airpower.au.af.mil/airchronicles/cc/guillot.html

The 9/11 Commission Report. (2005). Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. The US Government Printing Office.

Retrieved, 27 Sept. 2010, from
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/index.

The Market Place: A Woman with a Child

The development of a tableau vivant is considered to be a challenging and rather captivating assignment. It “is a much more complex form of representation” (Voigts-Virshow 130), this is why it is very important to focus on details and evaluate each piece of the work that should be introduced by means of a tableau.

The Scarlet Letter is one of the amazing works created by Nathaniel Hawthorne where the themes of love, betrayal, passion, devotion, and care are introduced in various educative ways.

To create a tableau on this romance means to understand each character and to evaluate the emotions which are inherent to different people. In this paper, one of the first significant scenes, Hester’s appearance, will be evaluated as the first impressions are usually the most sincere and candid.

“When the young mother stood fully revealed before the crowd, her first impulse was to clasp the infant closely to her bosom – not from motherly affection, but so she might conceal something that was fastened onto her dress” (Hawthorne and Josephson 34). The choice of this scene has a number of powerful grounds.

On the one hand, it is a bit challenging to express the emotions and thoughts of the main characters in the chosen situation. On the other hand, it is possible to consider the feelings of several characters and define a true nature of a story and attitude of several characters at once.

It was the first time when the main character, Hester Prynne, appears on the public and demonstrates her sin. There are no men close to her at this moment, but still, she has a child in her hands.

Her eyes are full of fear and misunderstanding: why so many people, both men and women, cannot understand what has happened to her. She tries to hold her child as close to her chest as possible in order to hide the true reason of her shame. However, the evidence is clear: she has a scarlet letter on her chest, “A”. Now, it is her present and future.

Her past is somewhere behind, and she can do nothing to change the situation. To make the tableau more vivid and true, it is possible to use the figure of a minister who is also involved into the story. At the beginning, the reader cannot guess that the minister is the father of the child; however, it is necessary to underline his presence in Hester’s life.

Finally, it is possible to use the images of people who are very much alike because they introduce the crowd. Separately, the members of the crowd are weak because they cannot do anything in life; however, when they are together, they introduce a power that can rule other people’s lives like they have already predetermined the life of Hester.

In general, the tableau offered should consist of several people: Hester with a child, the minister who wants to hide his face, and several people from the crowd who want to blame the woman.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel and Josephson, Wayne. The Scarlett Letter. Charlottesville, VA: Readable Classics, 2009. Print.

Voigts-Virshow, Eckart. Janespotting and Beyond: British Heritage Retrovisions since the Mid-1990s. Tubingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 2004. Print.

The Art of Self-Portrait: Rembrandt by Rembrandt

Outline

Introduction.

The art of portrait in Baroque.
Rembrandt’s vast heritage in self-portraits.
The evolution of style and meaning in Rembrandt’s self-portraits:
the early years;
the successful years;
the years of decline.

Conclusion.

Introduction

Since times immemorial, art has been a way of reflecting and interpreting the reality surrounding people in their daily life. In order to comprehend the reality in all its variety, artists have striven to depict as many objects and phenomena as they could only find.

One of the most intriguing subjects for reflecting upon via art is human being, and this fact is confirmed by the vast amount of works of art depicting people. In painting, portrait as a way of contemplation on the human nature has enjoyed enormous popularity for centuries on end.

Artists of various epoques, styles, and nationalities have depicted people of all possible ages, social backgrounds, and occupations. Among portraits, the genre of self-portrait appears most attractive due to the specific quality of the artist’s self-reflection present in the paintings.

The present paper focuses on the works of one of the most famous portraitists in Baroque period, Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), whose oeuvre cannot be imagined without a multitude of his self-portraits.

Against the background of the general popularity of portraits in the seventeenth century, the gallery of Rembrandt’s self-portraits stands out as an exciting encyclopedia of the evolution in the artist’s personality. This artistic transformation can be observed through tracing the changes in the elements of the techniques, the style, and the tone in Rembrandt’s paintings.

1. The art of portrait in Baroque

After the rejection of any individualism and the resulting oblivion of the portrait genre in the art of the Dark Ages, the era between the late Middle Ages and the seventeenth century celebrated the renascence of portraiture. The commonly known anthropocentrism that dominated the Renaissance art resulted in a dramatic increase in the artists’ interest to human personality, which in its turn found reflection in the genre of portrait.

Creatively responding to the growing popularity of portrait, artists elaborated on the genre; as a result, a whole range of sub-genres emerged, featuring “full-length portrait”, “three-quarter-length portrait”, and various kinds of “head-and-shoulder portrait”.[1] Within those sub-genres, different poses and positions of the sitters were practised, with the most widespread being the “profile view”, the “three-quarters view”, the “half-length” and the frontal, or “full-face view” (Schneider 6).

In addition to developing variations within the genre of portrait, by the seventeenth century artists had sufficiently expanded the range of their subjects, depicting not only the aristocracy and the clergy, but also members of many other social groups. “Merchants, craftsmen, bankers, humanist scholars and artists” themselves sat for portraits and thus appeared in the public eye (Schneider 6).

The latter addition to the subject range appears especially revealing for our discussion, since it means that artists started to openly depict themselves and thus emphasize their own social significance.

The tendency to individualism and personal identification in painting reflects the general interest to personality in the art that continued the anthropocentric ideas of the Renaissance and developed throughout the Baroque epoque. In the literature of the period, one can observe a definite interest to various kinds of autobiographic narrative, and more and more self-portraits appear among the paintings as a kind of autobiographic sketches made by the artists (Schneider 113).

It is noteworthy, however, that the notion of self-portrait as such did not exist at the time, and what we now call a ‘self-portrait’ would then be described as the artist’s “own picture & done by himself” (van de Vall 98).

2. Rembrandt’s vast heritage in self-portraits

Although the genre of self-portrait was popular and widely practised by most artists in the Baroque period, Rembrandt remains unsurpassed in terms of the quantity of autobiographic images: apart from multiple etches, over forty paintings of himself have survived up to the present time (van de Vall 98).

A popular cartoon depicts Rembrandt as “a rather plump, jowly artist, palette and brush in hand, turning from his easel and calling [to his girlfriend]: “Hendrickje, I feel another self-portrait coming on. Bring in the funny hats” (qtd. in Wheelock 13). However, there is probably much more behind the multitude of Rembrandt’s self-portraits than a mere wish to try on another fancy headwear.

The reasons for emergence of this many Rembrandt’s self-portraits can be searched for in two directions. On the one hand, the artist could have used his own body as a material for exploring the complexity of human nature on the whole. On the other hand, Rembrandt’s self-portraits can be viewed as an opportunity for self-investigation and revelation of the artistic inner self. In addition, there might emerge still another interpretation: since Rembrandt’s self-portraits were meant for the market and sold, they could serve as a way “to gain honour and immortality and thus fame, and to appeal to a public of buyers and connoisseurs” (de Winkel 135).

Such commercial intent can also be interpreted more deeply, since through looking at the artist’s self-portrait the connoisseurs of his work could admire both the artist’s personality and his excellent technique (van de Vall 99). In each separate case, the intent behind Rembrandt’s self-portraits can be deduced individually, since in various periods of his life the artist produced astonishingly different samples of autobiographic paintings.

Conventionally, Rembrandt’s self-portraits can be grouped according to the three chronological periods: the early years in 1620s, the middle years spanning the next two decades, and the late years starting from the late 1640s. Each of those periods can be characterized by a certain purpose that inspired Rembrandt to paint his self-portraits, as well as features stylistic peculiarities indicative of deep internal motives underlying each painting.

3. The evolution of style and meaning in Rembrandt’s self-portraits

The early years. The epoque of Baroque brought about an obvious progress in exploration of the emotional side of personality. While the masters of the Renaissance observed the ways to render the inner emotion through pose and gesture, the art of Baroque expanded the artistic techniques by adding facial expression to the wealth of expressive means. Thus the interpretation of feelings in painting could be dramatically intensified and varied.

In his early self-portraits, Rembrandt definitely explores the multiple effects of facial expressions. Face becomes the focal point of his compositions, performing the key function of feeling representation. “Alarm, worry, torment, fear” — those are but a few of emotions depicted in etchings and paintings of the 1920s (Schneider 113).

Experimenting with his own face in front of the mirror, Rembrandt worked out a whole list of facial features, the interplay of which could render a widest possible range of emotions: “a forehead, two eyes, above them two eyebrows, and two cheeks beneath; further, between nose and chin, a mouth with two lips and all that is contained within it” (qtd. in Bruyn, van Rijn, & van de Wetering 165).

A brilliant expert in facial anatomy, Rembrandt apparently taught his pupils to closely observe one’s own face: “thus must one transform oneself entirely into an actor (…) in front of the mirror, being both performer and beholder” (qtd. in Bruyn, van Rijn, & van de Wetering 165).

One of the most significant facial features possessing an extreme expressive power was viewed by the seventeenth-century artists — and Rembrandt himself — in the mouth and the musculature surrounding it (Bruyn, van Rijn, & van de Wetering 165). This being a difficult facial element to depict, Rembrandt spent years perfecting his skill in constructing various facial expressions with the help of different mouth positions.

Experimenting with the shades of colors and the play of light and shadow, Rembrandt seeks for the most successful rendition of most varied emotions. Self-portraits with open mouth let him place in the teeth as an additional expressive touch. A mouth open in a cry of astonishment, surprise, despair, joy, or without any obvious reason — all this diversity can be seen in Rembrandt’s early autobiographic sketches.

As a result of his multiple experiences with facial expressions, by 1630s Rembrandt had worked out an encyclopedia of human emotions that he could apply in his later works. Such, for example, is the famous laughing face which occurs not only in the early self-portraits, but also in those of the late years (Bruyn, van Rijn, & van de Wetering 165).

A remarkable feature of Rembrandt’s early self-portraits is that — however renown the artist is for his ingenious depiction of clothes — there is hardly any attire in his early sketches. The reason for this can be found in the fact that during the initial period of his artistic work, Rembrandt appears to work in the tradition of a so-called tronie.

By this word is meant a picture that focuses on a certain detail of face, without emphasizing the unique personality of the sitter (de Winkel 137). Therefore, familiar and recognizable stereotypes were depicted, such as a wrinkled old man, a soldier, or a pretty young girl.

Since the image stopped at the level of the sitter’s shoulders, not much of clothing could be fitted in the picture. Rembrandt’s depicting himself as a tronie can be seen as a way of de-individualizing the image in terms of clothes. However, this lack of outward information was compensated by a splendid rendition of facial expression.

The middle years. As Rembrandt gradually gained social recognition and enjoyed considerable success as a commercial artist, his self-portraits demonstrate a tendency to a multitude of experiments.

It appears quite laborious to investigate all the range of techniques he employed in his paintings of 1630s, since it is extremely wide. The reasons for this can be found in the fact that Rembrandt ran a series of workshops at the time, and due to time pressure he often had to resort to assistants’ help in finishing the paintings.

Such can be the case with some of the self-portraits as well: while Rembrandt outlined the composition in general, especially talented apprentices were allowed to work on details of body and clothes in order to speed up the process (Wheelock 19). While the result of such collective work demonstrates excellent painting technique, it is difficult to assert whether some of Rembrandt’s self-portraits are his own works or workshop productions.

Against the background of social success, Rembrandt gained the opportunity to experiment with a large number of altering roles and social positions in his self-portraits.

Making use of the general understanding of clothes as a way of creating the desired image of self, Rembrandt juggled an endless number of costumes and attributes creating a new character in every painting. The question of which image reflects ‘the real’ Rembrandt of the time still remains unsolved: was it a prosperous burgher, a learned gentleman, or an insightful artist that he really was?

In terms of costume in Rembrandt’s self-portraits, one can single out three main tendencies: self-portraits in contemporary clothing, in antiquated costume, and in working dress.

It is quite rare that Rembrandt depicts himself in a formal pose and a fashionable dress. The reason for such preferences in attire can be viewed in the fact that Rembrandt wanted to show his difference from the average customers that ordered their portraits from him. Unlike other artists who depicted themselves in the same sumptuous robes as their customers, Rembrandt positions himself independently from the general crowd.

Taking into consideration that the artist was wealthy enough at the time to allow rich garments, such reluctance to mix with the general style can be viewed from the perspective of social inappropriateness of exuberant clothing for lower estate. Despite the exception provided to talented painters for breaking social stratification, Rembrandt apparently prefers to preserve the distinction of his class (de Winkel 147).

Perhaps one of the details that immediately springs to one’s mind when thinking about Rembrandt’s self-portraits is the beret. Indeed, in the self-portraits of the middle period, the painter used this kind of headwear most frequently. The more surprising is the fact that in the seventeenth century beret was an outdated type of clothing, either worn by servants or used as a part of official scholar costumes (de Winkel 164).

It can be therefore suggested that by widely using the outdated beret in his self-portraits, Rembrandt demonstrated a connection with the famous engravers of the previous century, Lucas and Durer, highly appraised by him (de Winkel 188). Thus Rembrandt’s historicism and reverence for the art of the past can be deciphered through one small detail of costume.

Depicting himself in a working dress, Rembrandt demonstrates yet another peculiar way of distinguishing himself from the generally accepted standards.

As of the seventeenth century, there existed no specific occupational dress for the artists of the time, and yet Rembrandt appears in a working dress now and again in his self-portraits (de Winkel 151). Not only can working clothing be noticed on the paintings of the middle years, but it is also the dominant attire in Rembrandt’s late self-portraits.

Taking into account the peculiarities of Rembrandt’s late style (to be discussed below), this deviation from the rules and appearance in everyday clothes can be interpreted as the artist’s statement of individual freedom and non-conformance to the generally accepted standards.

The late years. As compared to the flamboyant images of the middle years, Rembrandt’s self-portraits of the late period demonstrate a dramatic change in tone and style. An “increased sense of gravity and serenity” dominate the portraits of the impoverished artist who enters “a brutally honest phase in his life” (Stein & Rosen 116).

Critics remark on the especial “fuzziness” and “lack of sharpness” in the images (van de Vall 93). Although this quality can be ascribed to the artist’s worsening eye-sight, there can be yet another explanation. By alternating the areas of sharpness and blurredness in his self-portraits, Rembrandt creates a lifelike effect of really looking at a person.

This effect corresponds to what happens in normal communication, when people tend to alternate direct look and side glances at the interlocutor. Therefore, the “moments of blindness or unfocused seeing are just as essential as moments of sharp sight” for perceiving the image (van de Vall 105).

Another peculiar quality that strikes the viewer in the late Rembrandt’s self-portraits is the authenticity with which the painter renders the eyes in his face. Having gathered the experience of his whole life, Rembrandt reveals himself as “a virtuoso of vision, both with regard to what he saw and also with regard to the way in which he represented seeing” (Durham 14).

“Believable eyes, living eyes, seeing eyes, even eyes looking at something we cannot see” are impeccably rendered by Rembrandt with a highest professionalism ever reached in the history of painting (Durham 14).

His look pierces the viewer of his late self-portraits, as if extending the frame of the picture and letting the image step out of it. Through this mastery of the eyes, Rembrandt renders the message of an extremely deepened spirituality he achieved in the last period of his paintings.

Conclusion

During the Baroque period, the genre of self-portrait enjoyed its golden age in the studio of Rembrandt van Rijn. Through his many autobiographic works, one can trace Rembrandt’s astonishing evolution from an artist experimenting with the expressive potential of mimics, through an artist playing with his social positions, to an artist deeply submerged in the spirituality of painting.

Thus, self-portrait for Rembrandt becomes a way to reflect not only the outward changes but also the crucial inner transformations in the artist’s world.

Works Cited

Bruyn, J., van Rijn, Rembrandt Harmenszoon, & van de Wetering, Ernst. A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings: The Self-Portraits. Dordrecht: Springer, 2005. Print.

Durham, John I. The Biblical Rembrandt: Human Painter in a Landscape of Faith. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2004. Print.

Schneider, Norbert. The Art of the Portrait: Masterpieces of European Portrait-Painting, 1420-1670. Trans. Iain Galbraith. Koln: Taschen, 2002. Print.

Stein, Murray, & Rosen, David H. Transformation: Emergence of the Self. Texas A&M University Press, 2005. Print.

van de Vall, Renee. “Touching the Face: The Ethics of Visuality between Levinas and a Rembrandt Self-Portrait.” Compelling Visuality: The Work of Art in and out of History. Eds. Claire J. Farago and Robert Zwijnenberg. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2003. 93–111. Print.

Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. “Rembrandt Self-Portraits: The Creation of a Myth.” Rembrandt, Rubens, and the Art of Their Time: Recent Perspectives. Eds. Roland E. Fleischer and Susan C. Scott. University Park, Center County, PA: The Pennsylvania State University, 1997. 12–35. Print.

de Winkel, Marieke. Fashion and Fancy: Dress and Meaning in Rembrandt’s Paintings. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006. Print.

1. Schneider, Norbert. The Art of the Portrait: Masterpieces of European Portrait-Painting, 1420-1670.
Trans. Iain Galbraith. Koln: Taschen, 2002. 6. Print.

Reflection Paper

Allan G. Johnson, the author of the book, Power, Privilege, and Difference, provides vital information about the concept of the systems of power and privilege as applied in societies. In this book, Allan explores how the society preserves privilege, how it interacts with power, and how it can create a difference by interacting with the systems.

In chapter one, he identifies the common problem and posits that all people contribute towards them. I concur with him not only on this opinion, but also on others, as pointed out in chapters two and three.

Allan’s argument that all people are responsible for any problem facing the society is true and to the point. It holds that any change, constructive or destructive must originate from the people.

For instance, race-related problems, sex, and gender are the major problems encountered in every society. They have become part of our daily life such that we hardly realise our connections with them. Basing my argument on how people intermingle with these fields on a day-to-day manner, it stands out that any inconvenience affecting these among other areas must result from the people.

Though Allan focuses his views on the American society, I extend this by treating America as an illustration of a society. This comes from his implication of privilege and power in chapter two. He considers these two as the pillars upon which the entire societal conflicts are built because people have acquired title and given the mandate to handle things they have not worked for. This is true because these favour some on the expense of others.

Not all can be powerful neither can all be privileged. When one has one or both, the rest feel lower-ranked and begin yearning for equality. By so doing, troubles arise affecting the whole society. A way out of this quagmire is people’s cooperation regardless of ranks to influence their society for the better. Neglecting the negative implications of the two words as seen by the society, they ought to bring a change enjoyable by all members of the social system.

In chapter three, the issue of capitalism is brought forward. Every social organization has its own reliable resources, which ought to be distributed uniformly to all the members. Allan points out the problem that is born when this is not the case as capitalism. From my experience, this holds everywhere.

This brings his issue of difference. The society views it as imbalance and rejects it since it seems to be advantageous to some while it is an expense to others. According to it, all social units should be equal. The powerful should ensure that powers are not only felt by some but all in the society. Everyone needs not to treat himself or herself as favoured rather than similar to any other member.

From all the categories of problems faced by the society, man will always play a major part to cause them in as much as he/she lives. From my view, he acts as the force or power behind every activity that happens whether good or bad. He/she is also liable of changing the situation by participating in solving the problems since he/she is able to.

People only need to change their mindsets pertaining to the existence of privileges and power. They need to join hands in discussing these issues openly neglecting the shame-blame notions portrayed by many. To pose a suggestion, they need to look at the present state of the society, identify the prevailing problems, think of their relevant solutions, and then cooperate to implement them.

All these calls for people’s involvement and thus Allan’s opinion that people contribute towards a problem is true though it needs to be broadened to include them as part of the solution.

Go Top