Causes for World War 1 beyond German Culpability

WWI Cover Image
Skirmish during the First Word War Image Courtesy of Gemalde @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:K%C3%A4mpfe_auf_dem_Doberdo.JPG

‘War begins in the minds of men.’

Atharvaveda, ancient Indian text.

Prologue: Is Germany Alone to Blame for World War 1?

Few events have left an imprint as vast and permanent as the First World War. The world had never seen before such an all-pervading conflict or the calamitous devastation which altered the global landscape to its very foundations.

Aggressive German nationalism did hasten the conflict, but other nationalism variants were equally guilty. By 1870, Otto von Bismarck welded fractured German principalities into a coherent nation. But in doing so, he sowed seeds of distrust across Europe that would reap a bloody harvest. Anxiously energetic, the young German nation restlessly sought a leading position at the high table of international politics.

Trench Warfare in World War I
Trench Warfare in World War 1

Britain was the chief empire of the day, on which ‘the sun never set’. She and France were apprehensively jealous of Germany’s meteoric rise since 1870. All imperialists take the mile before reluctantly conceding the inch. Britain and France ferociously denied the deserving inch to Germany who, then, decided to grab the whole mile instead.

World War 1 Causes: The Context

‘Oh! If I only knew,’ was German Chancellor Bethman’s reply when quizzed on the causes of the First World War. Complex and interrelated, developments that triggered World War 1 (1914-18) must be seen in the context of related phenomenon viz.:

  • European Industrialization
  • Intense Nationalism
  • Social Darwinism
  • Globalization of Conflict
  • Absence of Peaceful International Dispute Resolution Mechanism

Rapid industrialization in 19th century Europe created the need for industrial powers to seek colonies and spheres of influence in distinct lands for obtaining cheap raw materials, assured markets, cheap labor, and lucrative investment destinations. This sparked off a mad race for colonies among numerous European powers.

By 1914, most non-industrial world in Asia, Africa, and the Americas was divided as colonies or spheres of influence between Britain, France, Germany, Italy, United States, and Japan. Further imperialist expansion was possible only by snatching someone else’s possessions.

And expand they had too. Colonization produced a chain reaction – a colony was needed either to protect an earlier colony or the route from the mother nation to it or both.

Decline of the Ottoman Empire had exposed the Balkan Peninsula to imperialist designs. The chief rivals were Russia and the Austro-Hungarian empire. Germany too eyed the Balkans as did Britain and France.

Nationalism is a sense of belonging, a feeling of unity felt by a certain people. A positive concept, it was twisted by the prevailing politics to mean industrial, military, and colonial might. In combination with the concept of Social Darwinism i.e. survival of the fittest, nationalism became a tool to legitimize imperialism.

Having arrived late in the scramble for colonies, Germany felt left out. Nationalism had unified Germany. But the perverted version of nationalism was wrecking havoc across Europe. It was this young, nervous energy that coerced Germany to start World War 1 by attacking France on August 4, 1914.

Military Alliances Globalized
Military Alliances Globalized the Conflict
Image Courtesy of Nelson Harding at http://www.johndclare.net/causes_WWI4.htm
Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chain_of_Friendship_cartoon.gif

Imperial powers were divided in armed camps. Russia was aligned with Serbia, France, and Britain while the Germans were in agreement with the Austrians and Italians. The United States was more interested in its trade interests than direct colonization and Japan was vying German areas of influence in China.

In the absence of an international conflict resolution mechanism, these military alliances escalated an isolated discord between two rival powers into a global strife.

World War 1 Causes: The Triggers

Summing up the sentiment in Europe at the time is a relevant quote by French politician Raymond Poincare: ‘if our generation has not been living in the hope of getting back Alsace and Lorraine, then I don’t see any other reason why she exists.’

Following factors sparked off the war:

  • German Nationalism was triggered by industrialization and her quest for a ‘place under the sun’. Germans made rapid strides in coal, iron, and steel production – the essentials of any development – and rivaled Britain’s production capacity by 1914.

In an atmosphere charged with suspicion and the distorted interpretation of nationalism, strife was inevitable.

European Military
European Military Alliances in 1914
Image Courtesy of Historicair, Fluteflute, and User: Bibi Saint-Pol at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_Europe_alliances_1914-en.svg
  • Bismarck’s Policy of Backdoor Treaties and Manipulation planted doubt in the minds of European rulers. Secret treaties meant nobody was sure who was supporting whom! The armed alliances were:
    • Triple Alliance 1882: Italy joined the 1879 accord between Germany and Austria-Hungary. These formed the Central Powers with Bulgaria and Turkey. Italy, however, switched sides.
    • Triple Entente of 1907: Russia joined the 1904 French-Britain Entente Cordiale. These were the Allied Powers. Japan, United States, Portugal, Greece, and Romania joined later.

Here is an example of Bismarck’s manipulative politics. Wanting a pretext for war with France, Bismarck publicly released a doctored version of a telegram, making it look that the Kaiser (German emperor) and the French ambassador had insulted each other in a meeting over Spanish succession.

As expected, public opinion on both sides bayed for blood and there began the 1870 Franco-Prussian War. In this war, Germany snatched the resource-rich Alsace and Lorraine provinces from France that later became a cause for hostile French nationalism.

  • Arms Race gathered pace after the armed treaties. Germans bolstered their navy from 1897. Britain reacted by launching the Dreadnought, the most advanced warship of the early 20th

By 1914, Germans had over 4.5 million forces under training, Britain had less than a million. Russians up-scaled military training and expanded to 5 million.

  • Tragedy of Miscalculations by everyone precipitated the crisis. Serbian rise and her desire to throw off Austrian yoke gained strength, particularly after she fared well in the 1913 Second Balkan War. This irked Austria and Germany. Germans interpreted relative British detachment from continental politics as her unwillingness for war.

The assassination of Francis Ferdinand, Austrian Duke and heir-apparent, on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo set off the spark in these explosive conditions. With unconditional German support, Austria issued an ultimatum to Serbia. The Russians ordered a military mobilization, as did the Germans.

European Political Map 1923
European Political Map 1923
Image Courtesy of Historicair and Fluteflute at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_Europe_1923-en.svg

Both sides wrongly interpreted mobilization as war. Germany declared war on Russia and France and attacked the latter via Belgium. This forced British entry in the war for Belgium is just opposite the English coast.

The war had started. Soon, Europe would be the biggest loser.

Epilogue: World War 1 Effects

Directly, the war killed over 16 million. Adding the injured, missing, and prisoners plus deaths due to war-caused epidemics, starvation, and genocide, the figure skyrockets to 37 million.

European domination of international politics began to wane with the end of the First World War. Tremendous economic losses put Europe in debt, mainly American. Plus, there emerged the Soviet Union.

Allies’ propaganda of the war ‘defending democracy’ aroused nationalist feelings in their colonies. How could the Allies talk democracy when they denied it to their colonial subjects? Decolonization gathered steam and dented European supremacy.

Ironically, imperialism picked up after the war. The victors imposed ruthless penalties, particularly on Germany – $6.5 billion war penalties, return of Alsace-Lorraine to France, military restrictions, and breakup of colonial possessions among others.

Austria and Turkey faced similar fate. This further intensified and distorted German nationalism post World War 1.

European industrial heavyweights went to the ‘war to end all wars’ to preserve and expand their colonial prowess. Paradoxically, they ended up provoking a more calamitous war – the Second World War which hastened just the opposite i.e. loss of colonies and global hegemony.

 

Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words is the author of this article. For more such historical content with conceptual clarity, write to us at info@falconwords.com. Visit Falcon Words for sterling content on 10+ areas.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Content Marketing

AI Falcon Words
Artificial Intelligence (AI) enables you to read the customer's mind and customize your Content Marketing

The Customization Roller Coaster

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Content Marketing is fast becoming the jewel in the crown of customization, a crown studded with illustrious feathers named Crowdsourcing, 3D Printing, and Social Media. Mass customization is the rising sun; mass production, a soon-to-be relic of the past!

Winds of customization are sweeping Planet Earth even as technology enables unprecedented global connectivity and opens up fresh opportunities like never before. It is only a matter of time before the gentle breeze gathers hurricane force and transforms into a juggernaut of global proportions.

Back in 1895, farm equipment maker John Deere first printed The Furrow, widely regarded the first application of content marketing.

Alan Turning argued for the thinking power of machines in his pioneering paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” in 1950.

Since then, Deep Blue has beaten then chess champion Gary Kasparov in 1997 and IBM’s Watson trounced human opponents in Jeopardy, a TV game, in 2011.

How AI is Solving Marketing’s Biggest Problems

Customer is the king and the way to the king’s heart goes through catering his desires. How? Via personalized content.

This is precisely where AI comes into play – helping you read the customer’s mind! Once you know what the king craves for, your content marketing strategy can address these desires.

Content Marketing delivers relevant content to target audience

Please note, customization is the critical key to successful content marketing. Consider this:

  • 60% marketing guys have tough time personalizing content;
  • 52% customers may change their brand in the absence of personal communication; and
  • 61% companies with pioneering game plans are already harnessing AI for identifying opportunities.

Internet usage generates tons of data. Interpretation of such, huge information is simply beyond human capacity. Predictive analysis, natural language processing, and generation of algorithms are the main tools of AI that provide insights into:

AI in Content Marketing: Present & Future

AI is focused on reporting, publication, and analytics at present. The combination of content marketing with AI thrusts the customer to the center stage and allows you to generate relevant and tailored content to guide your present and potential clients through all phases of the marketing funnel.

With the knowledge of customer requirements, you can:

  • Personalize:
  1. Targeting of Potential Customers: by delivering useful data through their favorite channel at the right moment. For best results, employ a multi-channel communication strategy. Take Netflix, 75% of its suggestions are based on algorithms;
  2. Social Media News Feeds; and
  3. Content Curation: find and share great quality and relevant content.
  • Improve Customer Experience: by minimizing the customer time and effort required to obtain personalized responses. Moreover, you enrich customer experience by providing knowledge-based value.
  • Create Content Automatically: this application is limited to simple reports and news pieces. For example, Washington Post uses its robot Heliograph to write news pieces.
  • Fine-Tune Customer Service via Chatbots that provide automated replies to customer queries.

How AI Can Change Content Marketing in 2019 and Beyond

As we move deeper into the 21st century, AI may overcome its present limitations viz. human creativity, communications with a human touch, accountability, and compassion. It could also start writing more complex content pieces by itself.

AI Future
AI in Content Marketing combines the best of Man and Machine

Currently, AI is necessary but not sufficient for successful content marketing. Humans still have to work on the insights it makes available.

Despite expected advances and contrary to popular fears, AI will not replace content marketers but be their valuable assistant.

Machines have always performed best when stewarded by humans. There’s no reason why this time will be any different!

 

Indrajeetsinh Yadav has created this article. For exemplary content that beyond the obvious on 10+ subjects, write to us at info@falconwords.com.

The Priest & The Brat

Reading people's minds is winning half the battle of wits

Why the ability to read minds a.k.a. emotional intelligence is so important!

(This short narrative is a work of fiction and is a redrafted version of an old story)

Just as he placed the parcel at the church’s doorstep, the unrepentant man knocked the door. He did not waste any more time and faded away into the depressing night as if nothing had happened, as if he had not sinned!

Howling winds and rattling window glasses reduced the knock to a faint tap. Or perhaps the priest was too absorbed in his study to take note. Winter was a month away, but dusk had brought along gusts of chilly dry winds on the moor and ended an otherwise balmy day in a cold, dreary night.

The old, ‘lighthouse’ church stood atop a small hill that rose gently from the main village street. Well past its ancient glory, the church’s ragged walls wore a dark, soiled look. But the solid structure and graceful architecture were alluring and bore testimony to its bygone splendor.

The Lighthouse Church
The ‘lighthouse’ church shined like a beacon

Church architects had built a glass walled fire pit over the bell tower. Every evening, church servants lit a fire and, even on this bleak night, the church shimmered like a beacon from afar. Just like a lighthouse!

Diligent and forthright with exhaustive knowledge of the world, religions, and philosophy, the priest hated interruptions when studying scriptures before he retired for the night.

Nine hours a day was about the only time he could dedicate for study these days. He never slept for more than six and began his day at the crack of dawn. Unmarried by choice, he focused on God with a single minded devotion.

He was about to dismiss the hazy knock as a figment of his imagination when he heard a muffled, barely audible cry. That was it. There was no more uncertainty. The priest strode purposefully to the main door and opened it on to the spacious front porch.

Placed on the porch was a bundle wrapped in a warm blanket. The priest rushed to the package just as the moon brushed aside the veil of obscuring clouds and unleashed milky white light, right on the parcel. It was a baby!

Without a moment’s hesitation, the priest picked up the bundle. His first thoughts ran to the infant’s health and safety. Deeply religious with an unshakeable belief in virtuous behavior, he would never make a burden out of the bundle.

‘Richard,’ the priest called in a gentle but commanding voice as he picked up the baby.

‘Yes Father,’ replied the attendant hurrying to the front door.

‘Some warm milk, err . .  quick.’

Richard did what he was told. As always. The baby boy stopped crying and lapped up the milk greedily. After that, the boy did not hesitate getting used to the new setting. And when he slept, he did as if he belonged there.

‘As shameless as his real father,’ thought Richard but did not dare utter a word before the priest.

‘Isn’t he lovely Richard?” The expression was more of an order than a question. “He’s a gift from God. We will call him Gabriel,’ the priest continued.

And that was that. Gabriel grew up quick into a mean, naughty brat. Richard was often the target of his pranks that bordered on the terrifying. He once killed a snake and hung it over a sleeping Richard. The spoof nearly gave Richard a heart attack and it was weeks before Richard recovered from the shock.

Gabriel roamed around with his ‘gang’, not returning to the church for days at end. He got into bloody fights with village lads. And he developed an eye for girls as the girls did for him. “Just like his real father,” Richard went telling around the village, careful his gossip would not reach the priest.

So much so, the brat never learned to read and write. More than anything else, this irked the learned priest. But Gabriel did have a talent for quickly reading people. Within minutes, he knew if the person he was dealing with was a softie or a toughie, a man of action or a man of thought, a serious candidate or a bluff. And, playing hardball during tough bargaining matches came naturally to him. These hardnosed, worldly skills were, however, lost on his bookish father.

The priest played it smart. Or he thought so. He made Gabriel ring the church bell each day for a small stipend. After a while when Gabriel got used to the pocket money, his father ordered all church workers to be at least barely literate if they wanted to keep their jobs.

All in vain. Why would Gabriel need a stipend when he made much more in card games at the run-down village bar? Helped, of course, by one of his gang who could lie hidden on the battered roof and another member who relayed the message with his eyes only! The boy readily abandoned his errand of ringing the bell. That broke his father’s heart.

Finally, on Gabriel’s fifteenth birthday, the priest mustered every ounce of his rather shaky resolve.

‘If you don’t learn to read-write and do not straighten up, leave my church right now.’ The priest somehow managed to put down his jittery foot.

There followed a bitter war of words. The father steeled his mind and, finally with a heavy heart, threw out his adopted son.

The priest could not touch food for two days.

Neither could Gabriel. But only because he could not buy or steel any! He had squandered his gambling winnings in the village bar right before his father kicked him out. The rascal was of the kind born without a sense of guilt.

Wandering cold and hungry on the desolate, unforgiving moor for two days, he finally came across a farm of a well-off cigar trader. Instinctively, Gabriel sensed the cigar trader’s soft corner for the unfortunate. Gabriel begged for food. He was a good actor. The owner took pity and fed him leftovers.

This brought our lad back to his true self. He prayed the owner to let him sleep in the barn for the night. He actually took a short nap to recover strength. And then, just after midnight, without so much as a whisper, Gabriel stole a large box of cigars, a horse, and some clothes before vanishing into the night.

Two hungry days had taught him something about life although Gabriel would never admit it. His first stop was the house of Edward, his most trusted old gang friend. Edward was also the toughest – twice he had beaten Gabriel in a friendly fight, the only one to do so. Together, they rode hard for a day to a distant town where cigars were a prized commodity.

Gabriel and his gang had often visited the village for its peculiar, sweet wine and knew who could shell out the most for cigars. After making a windfall and regaling for a day, Gabriel and Edward purchased guns before returning to the cigar trader’s farm.

This time he did not steal. He proposed partnership! Even after spending nearly a quarter of his recent fortune, Gabriel had enough left to impress the trader. In fact, the trader was awed – he had never yet seen such huge profits.

Within two years, Gabriel amassed enough wealth to start his own cigar factory. And within five years, he was a filthy rich tycoon. He knew all the places and people who could cough up the most for cigars and abused the information to the fullest. The old cigar trader was now his junior partner!

Never the one to follow the law, Gabriel rarely paid taxes. Or paid the least possible sum. His methods for business were simple – beg, borrow, steal, and bribe. And if these failed, shoot! Edward came in handy here.

To cover his dark deeds, he began donating to charity. With much aplomb and always making the grant look more than it was. He even paid fat allowances to his old father’s church. But the priest would not approve of his ‘sinful’ ways.

Gabriel was now looking to invest his immense wealth. Loading three stagecoaches with gold, silver, and coin money, he took his lawyer along to meet an investment banker in the next county. Edward and his mounted musketeer guards rode along for the convoy’s security.

Gabriels Money
Gabriel’s money convoy rode hard to the next county.                                             Image Courtesy of Georges Jansoone (JoJan) at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anoniem_002.JPG

The investment banker had heard of the notorious Gabriel Gang. If ever he wanted a client, this was it! Not just for the money, but also for the influence that would come with the deal. He rolled out the finest red carpet, wore his best jacket, and ordered the most delicious lunch from town.

Gabriel ‘the tycoon’ arrived late and got down to business without as much as nodding to the banker. Even the seasoned banker was fascinated by Gabriel’s shrewd investment sense and grasp over tiny details.

After lunch, the lawyer and the banker drafted a detailed contract. Smiling eagerly and respectfully, the banker presented his gold nipped pen to Gabriel to sign the contract, bowing slightly as he did so.

‘Forget the pen. Get me a stamp pad,’ Gabriel ordered gruffly. ‘You’ll need my thumb mark,’ he added without a shred of embarrassment.

For the first time since Gabriel had ignored him after arriving late that morning, the banker felt sure of the ground beneath his feet. After all, he had that, at least one quality his prosperous and influential client did not – education.

There was now the faintest of twinkles in the banker’s eyes. Sometimes, the eyes of even the most hardened professionals fail to conceal their inner feelings.

‘Forgive me Sir’, the banker interjected as he composed himself, recovering from the momentary jubilation. ‘But you could have made much more with education’, he added withdrawing his pen.

Gabriel had already noted the tiny twinkle. He was after all, a master at judging people.

‘Wrong,’ growled the tycoon, ‘with education, I’d still be ringing the darn church bell!’

Moral of the Story: Never underestimate uneducated or less educated people. They might have read less books or none at all, but they are usually better at reading people and excellent judges of character. Emotional Intelligence, as they say.

Please note, education is more important than ever before in this age of technology and emotional intelligence is not a trait absent in the highly educated.

 

Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words is the composer of this short narrative, which is a work of fiction based on an old story. For captivating and informative content on 10+ subjects, write to us at info@falconwords.com.

Archimedes Principle & Buoyancy Force: Why Denser Bodies Sink in Fluids and Vice Versa? (MLA Format)

Rising and sinking of Submarines and the floating of Aircraft Carriers is based on the Archimedes' Principle
Floating of Ships and Rising-Sinking of Submarines is based on Archimedes' Principle

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Professor

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Date

Archimedes Principle & Buoyancy Force: Why Denser Bodies Sink in Fluids and Vice Versa?

Abstract

Wood floats in water, but steel sinks. Why then do ships made from steel hulls not sink? Moreover, submarines can float and sink at will. Such phenomena are explained scientifically by one simple property i.e. density. Objects sink if their average density is greater than that of the fluid, while those with lesser overall density float. The scientific concept which elaborates what sinks and what floats is the famed Archimedes’ Principle, which, even after 2000 years after its discovery, continues to be the focus of multiple engineering and technology content writing endeavors as well as academic content writing papers. So fundamental is the notion to physics and fluid mechanics, it continues to command the attention of researchers across the world over two thousand years after it was discovered (Mohazzabi 836) by the illustrious Archimedes of Syracuse. The present experiment used four separate objects, including an empty tin can, of different shapes and materials to check the influence of density on their floating behavior. Results indicated that objects less dense than water float, while those denser than water sink. When floating objects were forcefully submerged in water, an upward force was felt. Finally, while the empty tin can floated, it sunk when filled with water.

Introduction

Primarily, the present experiment verified if bodies with density lower than that of water float while those with greater density sink by investigating the buoyancy force, which objects experience when immersed in fluids. Four objects of distinct materials and shapes were placed individually in water inside a vessel with a beak after calculating their average densities. Floating bodies were further immersed in water to check if they sunk. Thereafter, the empty tin can was filled with water and placed in the beaker to examine if it floats.

Theory

According to the Archimedes’ Principle, any object partially or wholly immersed in a fluid displaces a volume of fluid equal to the volume of its submerged part (Kires 484); and the object experiences an upward force equal to the weight of the displaced fluid (Keighley et al. 67).

Forces and pressures acting on body immersed in a fluid

Figure 1. Forces and pressures acting on an immersed body

Fluids exert a hydrostatic pressure on all surfaces they contact. Hydrostatic pressure is given by (eCourses):

PH = ρFgh                                        (1)

Where:

ρF is the fluid density;

g is gravity; and

h is the depth of the surface.

Consider figure 1 for an object immersed in water inside a beaker. Upward hydrostatic pressure acting on the object’s lower surface is:

PL = ρF gh2                   (2)

Similarly, downward hydrostatic force acting on the object’s upper surface will be:

PU = ρF gh1                   (3)

Horizontal hydrostatic pressures acting on all vertical sides balance out. Therefore, the net upward hydrostatic pressure is:

PNET = ρF g (h2 – h1)                 (4)

Now, (h2 – h1) = H. PU and PL act on the same area viz. L * B. Therefore, the net upward hydrostatic force will be:

FNET = ρF g H L B                   (5)

But, H * L * B = V = volume of the object, which is also the volume of the displaced fluid. Therefore:

FNET = ρF g V               (6)

Right hand side of equation 6 is the weight of the displaced fluid, which equals the net upward force i.e. the force of buoyancy. Buoyancy (BF) is:

BF = ρF g V                 (7)

For a body to float, its weight (W) has to be equal to or less than the buoyant force. Mathematically:

W = BF

ρS g V = ρF g V; or

ρS = ρF                      (8)

Where, ρS is the density of the solid i.e. object. From equation (8), we define three floating conditions. Objects with density:

  1. equal to the fluid’s, float with their upper surface along the fluid surface;
  2. less than the fluid’s, float with their upper surface above the fluid surface; and
  3. greater than the fluid’s, sink (BC Campus).

For condition 2, we have:

ρS g V = ρF g V’

Where V’ is the submerged volume; V’ < V. Solving for V’:

V’ = V (ρS / ρF)                       (9)

Apparatus

Equipment:

  • vessel having a beak, the vessel being large enough to accommodate all the objects;
  • measuring flask, spring balance, sinker, measuring tape, and stand; and
  • four objects viz. metal (mild steel) cylinder, wood block, tin can, and brass key.

Procedure

With reference to figure 2., the experimental procedure involves:

  1. Measure the mass of the four objects. Calculate their weight in air. Take g = 10 m/s2.
  2. Measure the dimensions of wood block and mild steel cylinder. Compute their volumes.
  3. Immerse the brass key in a known quantity of water inside the measuring flask and determine the volume difference, which is the volume of the key.
  4. Repeat step 3 for the sinker. Attach sinker to tin can repeat step 3 to evaluate the tin can’s volume.

Experiment setup for the Archimedes' Principle trial

Figure 2. Experiment setup

  1. Calculate the densities of the four objects.
  2. Separately attach the three objects (except the tin can) to the spring balance and place them in the vessel with the beak and measure their weight, which is their experimental (measured) apparent weight.
  3. Attach the tin can to the spring balance and place it inside the vessel which is completely filled with water. Collect the overflowing water in the measuring flask and calculate its weight.
  4. Compute the theoretical (calculated) apparent weight of all objects by subtracting buoyancy force from their respective weights in air.
  5. Push the floating bodies deeper in water and record if you feel any upward force.
  6. Fill the tin can with water and note if it sinks.

Results

Table 1. Experiment data

Sr. No. Object Mass (Kg) Weight in Air (N) Volume (10-5m3) Density (Kg/m3) Buoyant Force (N) Weight in Water (N) % Error
Calculated Measured
1. Metal Cylinder 0.982 9.82 12.6 7793.65 1.26 8.56 8.19 4.52%
2. Wood Block 0.271 2.71 48 564.58 2.71  0 0 N.A.
3. Brass Key 0.217 2.17 2.496 8693.91 0.25 1.92 1.847 3.95%
4. Tin Can 0.093 0.93 1.281 7259.95 0.92 0.01 0.00 N.A.

Calculations

  1. Mild Steel Cylinder.

Height = 10cm, Radius = 2cm

A. Volume = πr2h = 3.142* 2*2*10 = 125.663cm3 = 0.000126m3

B. Density = 0.982 / 0.000126 = 7793.65 kg/m3

C. Buoyancy Force FB = V ρF g = 0.000126*1000*10 = 1.26N

D. Calculated Apparent Weight = Weight in Air – Buoyancy Force = 9.82 – 1.26 = 8.56N

E. % Error in Apparent Weight =

Absolute Value of [(Measured Weight – Calculated Weight) / Measured Weight] *100

= [(8.19 – 8.56) / (8.19)] * 100 = 4.52%

  1. Wood Block.

A. Volume V = LBH = 10*6*8 = 480cm3 = 0.00048m3

B. Density = 0.271 / 0.00048 = 564.58 kg/m3

C. Sumberged Volume V’ = V (ρS / ρF) = 0.00048*(564.58 /1000) = 0.000271m3

D. Buoyancy Force FB = V’ ρF g = 0.000271*1000*10 = 2.71N

E. Calculated Apparent Weight = Weight in Air – Buoyancy Force = 2.71 – 2.71 = 0

3. Tin Can.

A. Volume V = 12cm3 = 0.000012m3

B. Density = 0.093 / 0.000012 = 7750.00 kg/m3

C. Submerged Volume V’ = 92cm3

D. Buoyancy Force FB = V’ ρF g = 0.000092*1000*10 = 0.92N

E. Calculated Apparent Weight = Weight in Air – Buoyancy Force = 0.93 – 0.92 = 0.01N

Discussion Questions

Q.1. Why is step 7 in Procedure necessary for the tin can? Why its buoyancy force cannot be calculated similar the wood block’s?

A.1. Although tin is denser than water, the empty tin can becomes less dense than water because of the air that fills it. Unlike the wood block, the empty tin can (tin + air) is not made from single material, making it tough to directly compute its average density that is necessary to determine its submerged volume, which, in turn, helps calculate buoyancy force.

Q.2. Why does the tin can float when empty but sink when filled with water? Explain its analogy with ships and submarines.

A.2. With air occupying the space inside the tin can, its average density is less that of water and it floats. However, when filled with water, its overall density rises above that of water. Similarly, the average densities of ships are less than water because of the empty spaces in their structure. Breached hulls allow water in, which escalates their average density and sinks them. Submarines take water into their ballast tanks to dive underwater and force it out to rise (Brian and Freudenrich 1). To maintain stability, unloaded ships take water into their ballast tanks and release it when loaded.

Q.3. When you force the floating bodies further inside water, do you feel experience upward force? If yes, why?

A.3. Yes. Forcing floating bodies further inside water increases their immersed volume. With more water displaced, the buoyancy force also rises and, therefore, we feel the net upward force.

Q.4. Is there any relation between buoyancy force and Newton’s Third Law? Explain?

A.4. Yes. A body immersed in a fluid exerts the force on the fluid. The fluid, therefore, exerts a reaction force in the form of the buoyant force (Mohazzabi 838).

Q.5. Will 1 kg of iron and aluminum experience the same buoyant force in water? Will 100 cm3 of iron and aluminum feel the same buoyancy force?

A.5. Iron is denser than aluminum. Therefore, 1 kg of aluminum will occupy a larger volume than the same mass of iron. Aluminum will displace more water and, therefore, feel the more buoyant force. However, 100 cm3 of iron and aluminum will feel the same buoyant force since they displace the same volume of water.

Conclusion

The objective of the experiment was to check if objects with a density lower than of the fluid they are immersed in float and vice versa by examining the upward buoyant force. Results proved that bodies denser than water sunk while those less dense than water floated. Equipment errors and discrepancies in noting the readings introduced differences in experimental (measured) and theoretical (calculated) values of apparent weight. The percentage error for both floating objects is not applicable (N.A.) because the denominator is zero.

 

Works Cited

BC Campus. “Archimedes’ Principle.” https://opentextbc.ca/physicstestbook2/chapter/archimedes-principle/. Accessed 5 Oct. 2018.

Brian, Marshall, and Craig Freudenrich. “How Submarines Work.” How Stuff Works, 17 Aug. 2000, https://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/engines-equipment/submarine.htm. Accessed 5 Oct. 2018.

eCourses. “Fluid Mechanics – Theory.” https://www.ecourses.ou.edu/cgi-bin/eBook.cgi?doc=&topic=fl&chap_sec=02.3&page=theory. Accessed 5 Oct. 2018.

Keighley, H.J.P., F.R. McKim, A. Clark, and M.J. Harrison. “Archimedes’ Principle and Floatation.” Mastering Physics, Macmillan Master Series, 1984, pp. 67-80. Springer Link, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-07381-8_8.

Kires, Marian. “Archimedes’ Principle in Action.” Physics Education, vol. 42, no. 5, 2007, pp. 484-87. Research Gate, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/243676727_Archimedes’_principle_in_action.

Mohazzabi, Pirooz. “Archimedes’ Principle Revisited.” Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics, vol. 5, 2017, pp. 836-43. Scientific Research Publishing, https://doi.org/10.4236/jamp.2017.54073.

 

 

 

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The Fundamentals of Ecological Footprint (APA style)

Green Earth

 

 

 

 

 

The Fundamentals of Ecological Footprint

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Institutional Affiliation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract

Ecological Footprint (EF) is a simple and, therefore, popular measure of evaluating environmental performance in our quest to understand and address critical issues such as Global Warming and Climate Change. Its simplicity is an asset when explaining environmental issues to laymen, but somewhat of a liability when trying to comprehend ecological challenges in their entirety. Precisely why other measures have evolved. Since the dawn of the industrial age, humans have taken their liberties with nature to unprecedented levels. So much so that today, the very existence of humans on this planet is endangered. Environment supplies us with all the resources we need to survive and thrive. It also absorbs all our wastes, but very slowly.

The more resources we consume, the more wastes we create. It is precisely the imbalance between the galloping rate of resource extraction and waste generation on one side with the lumbering pace of waste assimilation and resource regeneration on the other that is at the root of the evil of pollution. If we have to leave a better planet for future generations, we have to adopt sustainable development. The sooner the better, for “there are no rewards and punishments in nature, only consequences’” as aptly summed by William Ralph Inge.

Keywords: ecological footprint, global warming, climate change, sustainable development, carrying capacity, pros and cons of ecological footprint, environmental performance index, environmental conservation, industrial revolution, pollution, natural resource degradation.

 

The Fundamentals of Ecological Footprint

Emergence of Sustainable Development

Any debate on present day environmental issues has to begin with the Industrial Revolution. The process ushered in the era of machines, which skyrocketed production quantities even as greater exploitation of resources became the norm. Consumption expanded alongside and created more wastes. Unless we seriously re-examine our lifestyles, an irreversible environmental disaster of biblical proportions is just round the corner.

Seeking to strike a balance between economic development and environment, there emerged the concept of sustainable development. The term as such was coined at the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development or the Brundtland Commission and was defined as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (International Institute of Sustainable Development [IISD], n.d.)

Economy-Environment Link

Environment is simply the sum total of all planetary resources, biotic and abiotic (National Council for Education Research and Training [NCERT], 2007). An ecosystem consists of all living and non living elements of a particular area that are bound in a complex web of relationships with each other and with their surroundings. Environment is, therefore, the sum total of all ecosystems on the planet that serves three important functions:

  • provision of resources
  • assimilation of wastes
  • maintenance of biodiversity and life on earth

It is the environment supplies us with all resources, including those used for economic production. The processes for their conversion to finished goods and subsequent consumption generates wastes, which the environment can absorb and reconvert to resources, but only at a snail’s pace.

When the rate of resource extraction and of waste generation respectively exceeds the rate of resource regeneration and of waste assimilation, pollution results and hampers the ability of the environment to maintain biodiversity (NCERT, 2007). Such imbalance has gathered pace since the advent of the industrial age.

Biodiversity includes all life on the planet and it is the interrelationships between living creatures and their reciprocal connections with the environment that sustains life on earth. If we are to continue with an unsustainable development trajectory, life on earth would disappear sooner or later. Now, that is a haunting prospect requiring a prompt remedy lest we all perish.

Ecological Footprint as a Measure of Sustainability

Among the earliest measures of sustainability is the Ecological Footprint (EF) that was developed in the early 1990s by William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel (Bunker, n.d.) in Canada. EF is defined as ‘the land area needed exclusively to produce the natural resources that population consumes and to assimilate wastes that it generates indefinitely’. It is measured in hectares per person.

EF is based on the concept of ‘carrying capacity’ of a given region i.e. the maximum rate of resource extraction and waste discharge that the region can sustain indefinitely without negatively affecting the functioning of its relevant ecosystems. EF links the first two functions of the environment and its third function that is essential for sustainability.

Available capacity is that area of biologically productive land available for a person to obtain his resources from and absorb his wastes. On the global scale, only 2.1 hectares of land is available for every person on an average (Pulsipher, 2012). EF is calculated by dividing the total production of a country by the land area needed to support this production and absorb the wastes that the use of this produce will generate. The global average EF was 2.7 ha per person in 2010 (Pulsipher, 2012).

Figure 1. Ecological deficit as of 2013 (Issacdaavid, 2018)

Comparing the available capacity and EF (required land areas), we are overshooting the use of our land area by 33 percent. What is more alarming, we have not even considered the area required for other species. If we were to leave half of this planet for animals, which we as a greedy species will certainly not, the available capacity becomes 1.05 ha person and our usage is 157 percent of the available. From where are we going to bring another one and a half planet?

Simplicity is the foremost merit of the EF concept. Even laymen can easily grasp this concept in terms of the land area needed. And because it is simple, it motivates people to lower their EF. It is based on the scientific principle of lifecycle of resources and the wastes that they generate.

Reflection of its simplicity is also found in its methods of calculations because it clubs together different categories of consumables as well as environmental consequences into a single entity. Such bundling enables general comparison based on the near total consumption, not isolated comparison based on usage of specific goods.

By focusing on consumption, EF brings out the importance of a low demand lifestyle. The lesser you consume, the less wastes you generate and the better you are from the environmental point of view. And since the world is divided into wealthy nations and people consuming more and poor nations and people using fewer resources, EF maintains the emphasis on equity and global justice (Holden, 2004).

A major fallout of EF’s simplicity is its rather limited approach, for it includes only those consumption and emission types that are extracted from land and absorbed into land while ignoring conventional pollution of air and water (Acrewoods, n.d.). Then again, it is completely silent on the quality of life of the people (Acrewoods, n.d.).

Some of the techniques employed for the calculation of EF are questionable. For example it does not measure water usage against water availability but takes into consideration the amount of power / energy needed to provide water. Moreover, the methodology employed for measurement of land required to neutralize the emitted carbon dioxide is not foolproof.

Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is probably the best measure of sustainability. EPI was developed in 2008 and has evolved from the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI). The EPI ranks countries based on how close they have performed on the environmental public health and the ecosystem vitality fronts in relation to declared policy goals in this regard (Environmental Performance Index, 2012).

The EPI score is based on the difference between the quantified policy goal and actual performance of a country on 25 environmental performance indicators that are placed under six defined policy categories. For e.g. if the stated goal is to make drinking water available to 1 million people but was made available to 0.5 million only, the difference will reflect as a low score on this indicator. All the scores are added and the final value is arrived at.

Conclusion

Most statistical techniques and measures cannot be said to be completely irrelevant. Their utility is usually contextual. Possibly as an acknowledgement of its simplicity that imparts mass appeal to it, the Global Footprint Network is trying to make EF relevant to policy makers and businesses by standardization of the calculation techniques used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Acrewoods. (n.d.). Ecological footprinting – Methods and limitations. Retrieved from http://www.acrewoods.net/environment/ecological-footprinting

Bunker, G. (n.d.). Ecological footprint analysis: Background and rationale. Retrieved from http://geog.utm.utoronto.ca/ecofootprint/efbackground.html

Environmental Performance Index. (2012). Retrieved from http://epi.yale.edu/

Holden, E. (2004). Ecological footprints and sustainable urban form. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 19(1), 91-109. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/41107246?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD). (n.d.). Sustainable development. Retrieved from http://www.iisd.org/topic/sustainable-development

Issacdaavid. (2018). World map of countries by ecological deficit (2013). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World_map_of_countries_by_ecological_deficit_(2013).svg

National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT). (2007). Environment and sustainable development. In Indian Economic Development (pp. 162-178). NCERT.

Pulsipher, J.L. (2012). What is an Ecological Footprint? Retrieved from https://carbonfund.org/2012/09/07/what-is-an-ecological-footprint/

 

 

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Writing Killer Statements of Purpose (SoP) for University Applications

goal

Writing a killer statement of purpose (SoP) for university applications is critically important today because it becomes the key differentiator when the academic credentials of candidates are fairly similar. And with more and more universities taking the admission process online, the number of applications has skyrocketed.

Grades only tell half the story making it harder for the tutor to select the most appropriate candidate. What is more, few universities actually hold interviews. Your purpose statement could be the only opportunity to talk directly with the tutors. And for courses that do interview, the statement sets the stage for it.

While a statement of purpose (SoP) is largely professional, a personal statement, as the name implies, is more personal:

  • Statement of Purpose focuses on your research interests, how your prior academic and professional experiences have fine tuned them, and how the interested course will further refine them. The focus here is the course.
  • Personal Statement showcases your innate traits that made you naturally develop the research interests. It goes on to chalk out the real-life experiences which shaped your outlook. Most importantly, it defines why you are suitable for the program / profession at the innate, personal level. The focus here is you.

Graduate programs rarely ask for a personal statement, they will most likely require a statement of purpose (SoP). Short-listers look for:

  • clear thinking;
  • passion;
  • persuasive and simple writing style;
  • basic knowhow of the university and education program; and
  • value you can add to the program.

Before you start writing your purpose statement, remember the tutor has a huge pile of statements to look into. Clearly he / she is not going to read each in detail. Here are few guidelines to write killer statements of purpose for university applications:

  • Research the education program thoroughly;
  • Start with a bang and keep the tone lively yet professional – never bore the reader;
  • Define your key skills most relevant to the education program;
  • Explain how you acquired and employed these skills and and how you can further develop them; and
  • Provide specific examples in brief when necessary.

Let the take a fictional student named Nathan White who has just completed Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of North Florida, Jacksonville. A passionate researcher and an environment enthusiast, Nathan has achieved some success in his chosen career path and volunteering activities. Now, he wants to take his research to the next level. Here is how he can go about writing a killer statement of purpose (SoP) for university application:

Nathan White Statement of Purpose (SoP)

“Of all the goods transported across the face of the globe, shipping carries an overwhelming 90 percent. And if it were a country, shipping would be the sixth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide.” Professor Bell remarked emphatically in the Fluid Mechanics class during my second year undergraduate course. “Design something that genuinely cuts shipping emissions and you will make the world a better place,” she continued in her usual invigorating manner. Professor Bell’s capacity to galvanize even an intricately technical class had never failed to amaze me. Growing up in Jacksonville, FL, ships were a familiar sight. Prof. Bell’s comments directed my professional voyage in the pursuit of ‘green’ ships, to explore the impact of various parameters on hull performance with the ultimate objective of boosting ship propulsion efficiency.

Thus far, the journey has earned me a research internship at the Fort Lauderdale plant of Wartsila, numerous awards at seminars, volunteer experience with marine environment organizations, and excellent academic grades. It is with the purpose of taking my research to the next level that I hereby request you to consider my application for admission to the Naval Engineer’s Degree – Program in Naval Construction at the Mechanical Engineering Department of your prestigious organization.

What naturally caught my eye in the early days of research was Professor Anthony Brennan’s Gator Sharkote project at the University of Florida. That someone could successfully devise an eco-friendly hull coating which cuts down algae fouling by a staggering 85 percent was simply inspiring. After all, fouling escalates ship fuel consumption by a mindboggling 40 percent! Not for nothing was the project creating proverbial waves in marine engineering after making literal waves in water.

As I dived deeper, the sprawling expanse of eco-friendly ships, its various facets, and their reciprocal linkages became apparent. Most importantly, I came to grasp the subtle, organic connection between concepts and practices of core Mechanical Engineering (my Major) subjects and those of Fluid Mechanics (my Minor). Staying in sync with the big picture without losing sight of treacherous, tiny details demanded studying Mechanical topics viz. Thermodynamics, Machine Design, Mechanics, Propulsion, and Sensing-Control in unison with Fluid Mechanics areas such as Laminar and Turbulent Flows, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Stability of Immersed / Floating Bodies, Archimedes’ Principle, and Bernoulli’s Theorem.

With my perspective improving, so did my grades. From being a just-above-average someone with 3.2 GPA, my scores surged to 3.8 and stayed there. My earlier inclination to get absorbed in the mathematical aspects and lose track of the overall direction was behind me. Responding to my vehemence, professors guided me and I came to identify how engine power, propeller pitch, gear reduction ratio, speed (RPM), and propeller diameter influence hull performance, which, in turn, affects fuel use and emissions.

Emboldened, I started presenting papers at University level competitions. A participant at one such event spellbound the audience and effortlessly walked away with the first prize not because he presented some exotic topic. But, because he put forth his views in simple words even non-engineers understood clearly. I learned a valuable lesson here, one only experience can teach, which radically transformed my techno-centric approach. The results were exemplary, I started winning presentations. By now, I had enough confidence to volunteer for environmental organizations such as the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast and the Clearwater Audubon Society and utilize their platforms to spread awareness on ocean ecological conservation to a wider audience.

As part of my internship, I had the good fortune to visit the marvellous Pratt School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To say, I was enthralled would be a gross understatement! Discussions with your staff took me through decades of cutting edge development and I was thoroughly convinced I was at the right place for my future studies.

It is with the express purpose of furthering my research on the effect of diverse ship parameters on ship propulsion efficiency that I submit the present application. With a 3.8 GPA, a 333+5 GRE score (169 Quantitative and 164 Verbal), and all the passion I have for hull design, I believe I can successfully make it through the rigorous course regime.

Eco-friendly technologies and advancements will be more important than ever as the downward spiral of environmental degradation assumes calamitous proportions. By accepting my application, I hope you enable me to make my humble contribution in the global endeavour against a truly international challenge.

Thank you for your consideration.

Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words has composed this article and sample statement of purpose (SoP). If you need help writing killer statements of purpose (SoP) for university applications, contact us at info@falconwords.com. We also create eye grabbing personal statements for university and job applications, as well as captivating and to-the-point resumes and cover letters.

PLEASE NOTE: THE STATEMENT OF PURPOSE IS FICTIONAL. THE NAMES OF SOME PEOPLE, PROGRAMS, AND INSTITUTIONS ARE REAL. THE OBJECTIVE HERE IS TO PRESENT HOW TO WRITE KILLER STATEMENTS OF PURPOSE, NOT CLAIM ANY ASSOCIATION WITH THE REAL ENTITIES WHATSOEVER.

Inequality & the Fall of Civilizations Part 3 : Why Morality Matters?

Romulus Augustulus Surrenders before Odoacer in 476 A.D. Marks the Formal End of the West Roman Empire

History’s Take on the Moral Hazards of Inequality

 “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

George Santayana.

Once Upon a Time . . .

Long, long ago, humans lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers. They barely managed to make anything beyond subsistence levels. Plus, they had to share their possessions. The end result: they did not leave behind much for their sons or daughters.

What changed things decisively was the transformation from wandering pastorals to settled, farming-based life. Now, humans produced extra material goods and had more to pass on to their successors. Thus began the perpetuation of inequality across generations. In the second article, we have seen how inequity originates when someone earns more than the average and how the rich get richer as the poor get poorer.

Milking Cows in Ancient Egypt
Milking Cows in Ancient Egypt

Immorality creates inequality. Pronounced inequity arouses unrest, which, left unchecked, can descend into cultural destruction. Chaos spurred by inequity played a definitive role in bringing down the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Hittites, Mayans, and Incas. The same inequity provoked turbulence in Sudan, Burundi, and Bahrain. And, it teamed up with resource paucity to foment civil war in Syria.

There’s another dimension to inequality. It is called environmental degradation. Mother Nature supplies us with all resources, of which the elites control and consume more than their fair share. The rest are terrified there isn’t enough left, a feeling that inspires insecurity and, eventually, unrest. The turmoil is, in fact, a mad scramble for scant resources.

And with Climate Change making its presence brutally felt, resources are dwindling rapidly, adding fuel to the already raging fire of uncertainty. The ecological imbalance has at least partially disintegrated the Easter Island, Classic Lowland Maya, Angkor Wat, Soviet Union, Zaire, and Yugoslavia cultures.

But if the conflict is a squabble over resources, can it not be controlled with fair resource distribution? Well, yes and no. As we shall see, during the early stages of a civilization, resource allocation is somewhat principled. Over time, things take a turn for the worse and culminate into discord. The answer lies in the reasonable allotment and responsible use of resources. Easier said than done, for sharing is a lot tougher than owning.

The Bare Necessities of Civilization

In order to survive and thrive, a civilization has to strike a balance between the following elements:

  • Strong Moral or Religious Foundation: that binds society together;
  • Optimum Population Levels: for production of goods and services;
  • Surplus Resource Levels / Production Capacity: ensuring there is more than enough for its population;
  • Centralized Government Mechanism: that channelizes resources and provides governance via tax collection, infrastructure creation, and offering protection;
  • Fair-Minded Division of Labour between Leaders and Workers: wherein leaders command the respect of workers and can motivate them towards greater efficiency and, when necessary, sacrifice; and
  • Atmosphere that Promotes Innovative Problem Solving: because innovation thrusts a civilization miles ahead of others.

Moral foundation is, by far, the most important. People listen only to leaders with ample moral authority. If the nation is at war, the situation demands all sections of society to unite. Say, the leaders appeal to people to enlist for military service and donate money. Common people agree to such pleadings only if the leaders have made similar sacrifices. And, if the leaders have ‘ethically compelled’ the elites to make identical contributions. In the absence of moral force, all hell breaks loose.

Rise & Fall

Liberty produces wealth and wealth destroys liberty.

Henry Demarest Lloyd

The road which numerous civilizations have taken from rising to fall is very much alike. They usually start by freeing themselves from some sort of subjugation. The ensuing climate of free thought and openness promotes innovation and development, thereby creating wealth. And this is when the ground normally starts falling from under the feet! Few feel it though.

Political Marginalization Triggered the Sudan Civil Wars
Political Marginalization Triggered the Sudan Civil Wars    Image Courtesy of Rune Eraker at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SPLA_Second_Sudan_Civil_War_01.png

Affluence makes people, fist the elite and then the commoners, move beyond luxuries and seek carnal pleasures. Materialism, greed, laziness, and selfishness pick up as people start regarding sex and violence as a kind of liberation. The fall of morals is slow and insidious, exactly why society does not sense it.

Common people often imitate the elite. Why? Because lifestyles of the super-rich are seen as habits of successful people. The elite has enough clout to coerce governments into providing legal (but amoral) tax breaks and other concessions. And, the more unequal a society is, the more the laws favor the rich. The common people replicate such lobbying by ganging up along racial, religious, caste, sectarian or other lines to demand free lunches – unfairly of course. And there begins the mindless rush for resources.

By now, governments are remarkably corrupt and fragile. What is more, they have irrevocably surrendered their moral authority and have to appease everyone. This disturbs the delicate balance in the bare necessities of civilizations. With revenues so squandered in mollifying everyone, governments have little left to protect their citizens. Collapse is only a matter of time. Sometimes, civilizations repeatedly recover from the brink of total catastrophe before failing completely.

Speaking of the ecological dimension, imitation of the top brass also takes the form of extravagance. The filthy rich often flaunt their ‘possessions’ – mansions, luxury cars, jets, yachts, and extramarital relationships. Likewise, common folk takes to buying unnecessary things. And since nature provides all resources, such indulgence breeds severe ecological imbalance.

Emissions are a good way to measure consumption. The more you consume, the more you emit. Globally, the top 10% elite emit around half the total greenhouse gases. And with commoners following the moguls, emissions rise thereby aggravating Climate Change. This further depletes resources making the resource rush harsher. Alas, we are blinded by materialism to feel it!

In the first article, we started with BREXIT and Trump victory, at the core of which was inequity rising due to immigration. While not bad in itself, immigration can disturb the delicate balance between the civilization’s essential elements. One, it makes labor cheap and upsets the fair division of labor. With the leaders hiring cheap, immigrant labor, local workers start questioning the morality of their leaders. Not that the locals are paragons of virtue.

Next, uncontrolled immigration can escalate populations beyond the optimum levels, thereby lowering the required surplus apart from overloading infrastructure. Most importantly, it can entrench us versus they mindset, particularly if the immigrants’ religious-cultural beliefs run contrary to those of the locals’. Sectarian outlook gets fortified precisely when the need of the hour is broad-mindedness.

The Multiple Facets of Inequality

“War begins in the minds of the people.”

Atharvaveda, ancient Indian text

Inequality is a multi-faced coin with economic, social, cultural, and political aspects. Professor Frances Stewart breaks down inequity as:

  • Economic Inequality: related to income, employment, and control over assets – natural, financial, human, and social.
  • Political Inequity: covers disparities in control over army, police, and institutions at the national, provincial, and local levels.
  • Social Inequality: considers access to education, housing, and healthcare.
  • Cultural Inequity: based on differences in language, customs, and religion.

Prof. Stewart points out that inequity is more likely to precipitate violent strife when cultural differences are more or less along economic and political fault lines. The civil war in Burundi (1993-2005) sprung from an intense political rivalry between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, both having separate cultures.

Senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, Gudrun Ostby has similarly demonstrated how social inequity matters more than its economic counterpart. Policies in Burundi deliberately limited the number of Hutu students and teachers before clashes erupted.

Massive Protest Rally in Bahrain 
Massive Protest Rally in Bahrain                                        Image Courtesy of Football at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:March_of_9_March_by_Korah_5.jpg

Political violence specialist, Jok Maduk Jok demonstrates the connection between the Sudan civil wars and the Arab North’s conscious political marginalization of the Christian South. Dr. Seth Kaplan likewise relates the 2012 Bahrain unrest to the Sunni elite politically sidelining the Shiites.

Perhaps, people look at those with different social, cultural, and political identities as outsiders. This explains why these inequalities matter more than plain economic inequity, the root cause of the issue. This also explains why mobilizing people for conflict is simpler by linking economic and political exclusion with cultural or social discrimination.

Take the curious case of Syria, where many of these facets joined forces to spark the civil war. The population had expanded before the drought hit hard in the late 2000s. Climate Change combined with policies that withdrew water subsidies at the height of the drought worsened conditions. Farming declined, forcing many, particularly unemployed youth, to migrate to cities. It did not take long for the presence of such frustrated and desperate youth to ignite ethnic tensions when limited urban resources were already stretched to the breaking point. Civil war broke out in 2011.

Morality Goes Before the Fall

Civilizations cave in via slow or sudden conquest by external powers. Or, they descend into anarchy. In all three scenarios, morals break down before the final crash. And so does pride – Rome’s last aristocrats had to swallow their arrogance and queue up for the Pope’s grants while Mayan nobility ate humble pie – the food of the commoners!

Insightful leaders who trace the source of the clash can stem the rot through strong and creative stewardship. And this is perhaps what sometimes brings cultures back from the edge of destruction. Although terribly tough, dealing with such situations is not impossible. History bears testimony to this, another side as well!

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Inequality and the Fall of Civilizations Part 2 : Why Morality Matters?

Combination of October 2011 global protests

Globalization, Inequality, & Parasitic Growth of the Finance Sector

“Inequality is the defining issue of our time.”

Barack Obama.

In the first part of the series, we explored how inequality-inspired undercurrents delivered the BREXIT and Trump victory bombshells. Inequality is capable of worse – civilizational collapse. History bears testimony.

From where does inequality spring up? How does it entrench itself? What role does globalization play in intensifying it? And why does the exorbitant expansion of the finance sector slow down the economy?

Economist Thomas Piketty nails the genesis of inequity in his 2014 work Capital in the Twenty-First Century – it begins when someone makes more than the average economic growth. Mind you, there is nothing wrong if that someone is smarter and works harder than average folks. Perfect equality is a myth. Neither is it desirable for it eliminates the urge to go out of the way as it did in countless former communist nations. What’s the point in toiling harder and smarter if that doesn’t get you ahead of the pack?

In Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization, economist Blanko Milanovic opines that while globalization has slashed inequality between nations (say, international inequality), it has aggravated inequity inside nations (say, national inequality), particularly the rich ones. The author provided valuable insights on the populist reaction against globalization in an interview to Gawker Media LLC. Please note, the book was published in April 2016, before the BREXIT shocker.

Gini Index
Figure 1. Gini Index as an Inequality Metric in the Developed World (Source: OECD)

Defined as the smooth flow of capital, knowledge, goods, services, and workers across international borders, globalization allowed manufacturers in rich countries to outsource industrial production to poor economies where labor came at dirt cheap rates. Importing goods so made from poor countries proved economical than crafting them at home.

Next, globalization allowed the influx of people from poor countries who were humbly willing to work at a fraction of the cost that local workers demanded proudly. Some would say, globalization opened the floodgates to hordes of invading migrants!

For the lower and middle classes in developed economies, therefore, globalization became largely synonymous with job losses and stagnant or falling incomes. Skills are mighty important for globalization rewards skilled labor more than the unskilled. This widens the gulf of inequity.

What deepens this rift is that wealth inequality is greater than income inequality. With greater income, you save more and invest more. Over time, you make progressively greater returns and your wealth swells. Precisely why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The elite of the elite – the topmost 1 percent – make 29 percent of the total global income, but possess an astounding 46 percent of global wealth! No surprises there.

Upward Trends in Income Inequality in the Developed World
Figure 2. Upward Trends in Income Inequality in the Developed World

Between 1998 and 2011, the real (inflation-adjusted) income of this super elite has skyrocketed by 40 percent. The global middle class – those between the 45th the 65th percentiles starting from the bottom – have seen their incomes double. The losers, as expected, are those from the 80th to the 95th percentile – the middle classes of the developed world.

As a result, national inequality has jumped inside rich countries. And because politics is mostly national and elections are fought largely on national issues, national inequality assumes immense importance. The ones caught on the receiving end of globalization decided to allow the volcano of their pent-up grievances to erupt through BREXIT and the Trump victory. In an interconnected world, the shockwaves became a global contagion making the earth tremble!

Another, oft-neglected face of the multifaceted coin of inequity is the parasitic growth of the finance sector. In their 2012 paper, Reassessing the Impact of Finance on Growth, Stephen Cecchetti and Enisse Kharroubi show that expansion of the finance sector helps boost the productivity of the economy only till the tipping point represented by:

  • employment of over 9 percent of the workforce;
  • lending private debt in excess of the GDP i.e. when private-debt-to-GDP crosses the 100 percent

When the finance sector employs more than 3.9 percent of the workforce and lends larger private debt than the GDP, it drags down the economy’s productivity. For example, Ireland’s financial sector galloped at 4.1 percent and that of Spain forged ahead at 1.4 percent between 2005 and 2009. Alas, output per worker dropped by 2.5 percent for Ireland and 1.4 percent for Spain in the same timeframe.

Now productivity is the lifeblood of economic growth. Genuine, long-term growth comes from productivity upsurges as also from greater labor force participation and demographic changes.

Cecchetti and Kharroubi outline the mechanism of this finance tumor in their 2015 paper Why Does Financial Sector Growth Crowd Out Real Economic Growth? Lured more by short-term speculative gains than by long-term wealth generation, the finance sector:

  • Lends more to low-productivity-high-collateral industries such as construction. Why? Because they create tangible assets (buildings) in rather short time spans that can be confiscated in case of default. Contrast this with a high-productivity-low-collateral project such as research and development (R&D). Let’s say, it is looking to build a device to cut the fuel consumption of cars, an inherently intangible process that may or may not succeed. If it fails, what will the financers seize?
  • Diverts talented manpower away from other sectors by offering astronomical pay packages. Manufacturing, R&D, computing, and aircraft sectors lose heavily in this race for intellectual cream.

A June 2015 OECD report How to Restore Healthy Financial Growth that Supports Long-Lasting, Inclusive Growth? as analyzed by The Guardian, brings out the stark contrast in remunerations:

  • Top finance professionals earn a mind-boggling 40 percent more than their counterparts in other sectors. Even at the lower end, this gap is at a startling 15 percent.
  • Among the 1 percent topmost earners, as many as 20 percents are finance professionals who make up only 4 percent of the workforce.

The point is, undue expansion of the finance sector not only creates and reinforces economic fault lines but also dampens economic growth, which can precipitate horrendous strife as we have noted in the first article of the series. Inequality in excess is not just bad, it is cancerous!

Policymakers must surely know of ways to better allow the fruits of globalization and growth. After all, isn’t there a shining example of Scandinavian countries – capitalist economies with meager inequity levels?

Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words is the author of this article. For more such beyond-the-obvious insights on malignant inequality-immorality, keep reading our blog.

Falcon Words takes pride in customizing content to your specific needs on a wide array of topics including finance, academics, history, environment, and economics. Get in touch at info@falconwords.com for content that resounds!

Inequality and the Fall of Civilizations Part 1 : Why Morality Matters?

Anti TTIP Demonstration in Hannover

BREXIT and Trump Triumph in Historical Perspective

The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.

Mahatma Gandhi.

Few would have sensed the overtones hidden in BREXIT. Simmering British discontent against migrants exploded on the fateful, 24th day of June, 2016 and in just two days wiped off $3 trillion from unnerved international markets. This was only the beginning.

collapse of modern civilization
The BREXIT Shock

It never rains, it pours. Storm clouds drifted westward picking up loads of moisture over the Atlantic. The deluge came on 8 November, 2016 when Americans thrust a brazenly anti-global Donald Trump to the White House. The die was cast. You could no longer dismiss BREXIT as an aberration!

Both verdicts were a thumping rejection of globalization by voters in rich countries. Or the present version of globalization. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had famously remarked that arguing against globalization is like arguing against gravity. Why then, were the laws of ‘gravity’ failing and failing so miserably?

The answer: globalization has deepened economic inequality in the developed world. And because politics is mostly based on national issues, inequality inside countries has far reaching ramifications. The ones most hit by globalisation, hit back via BREXIT and Trump victory, sending shivers across the world in the process. But hey, our entrenched mindsets were no less responsible for the shock waves. Open your mind and you can deal with them. For a start at least.

Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of the 2006 book The Upside of Down, names BREXIT, Trump victory, 2008 global economic meltdown, and the ISIS’ meteoric surge as symptoms of an impending social collapse. University of Maryland systems scientist Safa Motesharrei’s research reveals how ecological imbalance and economic disparities trigger such declines.

Scared and frustrated people cling to identities – racial, religious, national etc. Ganging up creates a sense of security and boosts bargaining power. And bargaining power is pivotal in the mad tussle over scarce resources – the root cause of such fracas. Petrified ‘gangsters’ try to exclude all outsiders. Rising inequality is enough to terrorize people into such groups.

Bipin Chandra et al. in India’s Struggle for Independence state that economic stagnation and the consequent cutthroat competition for jobs and business created anti-Semitism, Fascism, Catholic-Protestant clashes in Northern Ireland, racism, Christian-Muslim conflict in Lebanon, and communal strife in India. Again, the answer lies in getting out of the ‘us versus they’ psyche.

There is nothing new in humans scuffling over resources. It is the uncertainty stirred by inequality and dwindling resources that adds to the uneasiness. The elite control more than the lion’s share of resources, immorally of course. The rest are terrified there isn’t enough left, a feeling worsened by the impact of climate change – rapid resource depletion. What also heightens the resource paucity is common people imitating the extravagance of the super rich. Lifestyles of the elite are, after all, seen as habits of successful people.

Make America Great Again
The “Make America Great Again” Slogan Captured the Imagination of the American Voter. Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Make_America_Great_Again_hat_(27149010964).jpg

The more you consume the more greenhouse gases (GHG) you emit and the greater you contribute to Global Warming and Climate Change. The richest 10% emit as much GHGs as the remaining 90%. Emissions also rise with exploding populations. The panic over being denuded of resources can spark off hostilities. In extreme cases, the working population collapses. And with no labor available, so does the elite. Result: fall of civilization!

Immorality breeds inequality, which, in turn, arouses unrest, even cultural collapse. This has roughly been the case for the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Hittites, Mayans, and Incas. Recent examples of inequity-provoked turmoil include conflicts in Sudan, Burundi, and Bahrain. Economic gaps and resource crunch fomented civil war in Syria. And, ecological imbalance at least partially diminished the Easter Island, Classic Lowland Maya, Angkor Wat, Soviet Union, Zaire, and Yugoslavia cultures.

Civilizations have always risen and fallen across the pages of history. Why the fuss then? After all, isn’t that the natural order of things? Well, globalization has increasingly and reciprocally connected different regions of the world. The fall of one major player and the others will come tumbling down like a house of cards.

Only a decade ago, the subprime mortgage crisis effortlessly sailed from United States’ shores and conflagrated into a global economic meltdown. History offers a more relevant example. The Late Bronze Age cultures were woven into a complex, interconnected web. In 1177 B.C., the savage “Sea Peoples” invaded Egypt. Although, the Egyptians valiantly repulsed the assault, they were so irreversibly enfeebled that they collapsed. The interdependence ensured that neighboring civilizations met the same fate. Food for thought!

Lest this sound like a plot straight out of a doomsday novel, the entire issue of immorality-inspired inequality and its possible impact is tricky and unpredictable. The whole truth, as they say in journalism, is somewhere in between! For one, many civilizations have recouped from the brink of disaster and started afresh. The cornered human spirit is no less brave than a tiger! Guilty of prejudice under a shining sun, we are well capable of benevolence under dark clouds.

Second, not all inequality is bad. Why will anyone walk the extra professional mile if he earns the same as the average and below-average guys? Such lack of motivation on account of near-perfect equality was the bane of many former communist republics.

Man will always be man; there will always be rich and poor. If greed and prejudice are human nature, so are compassion and generosity. Often, a calamity is all that is needed to bring out the best. Sweet truly are the uses of adversity!

 

Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words is the author of this article. Follow our blog for the remaining articles of this series where we dive deeper into the cancerous effects of immorality-inequality and how we can ward them off. Falcon Words offers insightful content on academics, finance, economics, environment, history and a whole range of other topics. Write to us at info@falconwords.com for content tailored to your specific needs.

Content: King of the Online Network Economy

Content is King

Prologue

Every business needs a great content writing strategy for websites and social media marketing these days. Gone are the days when good wine needed no bush – ivy bushes advertized wine houses in medieval Europe.

Content: King of the Online Network Economy

Today, the internet has reduced our once vast planet to a global village. And with every ‘winemaker’ vying for customers, making good wine is not enough. The bush must be equally good, if not better. What better place for content marketing than websites and social media?

A staggering 3,087 million worldwide use social media activity on their mobiles, while active mobile internet users stand tall at 3,827 million (April 2018). In or shortly after 2018, the internet is expected to displace television as the world’s number one advertising platform.

Website and Social Network: Business  Essentials

Businesses traditionally required land, labor, capital, enterprise, and conventional marketing to produce and sell. Now, you also need a website and social media. Earlier, a telephone number was your interface with the outside. These days, even Yellow Pages has a website.

The world is inching towards a knowledge economy. Soon, the trot will hasten into a gallop as ideas, accurate data, innovation, research, and advanced technical skills will increasingly drive economic growth.

Knowledge-rich content is already a delicacy for the insatiably knowledge-hungry. Greater knowledge availability has skyrocketed people’s expectations who want more personalization in products, services, ideas, information, customer service, and advertizing-marketing.

But before you customize, you have to know the needs of diverse client groups – precisely what blogs and social networks provide via two-way communication.

Express these insights through appropriate content writing strategy and you will surely capture the imagination of wider audiences. Never forget to explain why your goods or services are relevant to the end-user.

Blend Website and Social Network, Bridge All Communication Gaps

Many surf the internet before making purchases. Your website and social network, therefore, becomes your 24×7 global business card across all time zones. Content can be written, videos, pictures, audio files etc.

Website and Social Network

Your online profile presents necessary data to interested prospects who don’t have to call you in the middle of the night. And, you don’t have to answer the same questions a million times.

What is more, the internet almost levels the field between large and small players. David Lindahl rightly describes the internet as the ultimate merit tool in The Six-Figure Second Income. Size, age, education, or computer literacy doesn’t matter for net users; finding the right thing does.

Build an interactive website and blend it with your social network. The combination creates a coherent instrument making online content marketing, a two-way communication tool with your patrons.

Remember: Positive and consistent engagement is the key to success in the online world!   

Benefits of Content Marketing on Website and Social Media

Brand or Reputation or Image Management is the very crux of what you achieve through persistent, constructive client engagement via correct content strategy.

Benefits of Content Marketing on Website

Such constructive image inspires enduring trust. The image attracts and retains associates – new and old customers, financers, partners. And if things go wrong, they extend you a critical lifeline – benefit-of-doubt!

But to build and maintain your brand via content writing-marketing, you must:

  • Understand Client Requirements
  • Customize Products-Services
  • Explore Competition
  • Project Yourself as the Authority
  • Answer Genuine Queries

Always publicize positive feedback. Lack of personal connection is a genuine pitfall in website and social media marketing, which good feedback eliminates. There will be a few bad comments though.

Marilyn Suttle of Suttle Enterprises argues in favor of hard-to-please customers who openly express negative experiences. If you can address their concerns, they will turn into your vocal advocates.

Through effective content writing-marketing, you can personalize your:

  • Products-Services because you know exactly what your customers want and how.
  • Advertising Messages to the specific needs of a diverse client
  • Marketing is the acid test for any business. Buyers usually make up 50-77% of their mind before contacting the salesperson. Tailoring your website and social media content marketing strategy to customer needs lends you the edge.

Charles Gifford, President of Local Business Network, equates social media marketing with power networking, a multiplicative model that delivers 80-85% capture rates vis-à-vis 2-4% rates of linear, traditional networking.

An undercurrent here is competitive intelligence, the use of publicly available information on your competitors to stay ahead. Following your rivals in the virtual world helps estimate their possible plans and customer reactions.

Branding through the website and social media by utilizing the optimal content writing-marketing strategy helps:

  • Raise Capital via social media, a practice termed crowd-sourcing / crowdfunding wherein people lend capital if they like your ideas.
  • Strategically Price your products-services. Such price is based on the value they add for your patrons, not on production cost.
  • Retain Existing Customers, something 10-20 times less expensive than attracting new ones. Existing patrons generate repeat business, provide referrals, purchase accessories, and will almost always buy new releases.

5 star services

Regular customers will desert you for poor service, unnecessary delays, neglect of feedback, zero personal relationships, and price escalations. Note: price is least important.

  • Attract New Customers who are impressed by the aura around you.
  • Instant Sales because eager buyers have already made up 50-77% of their mind. And because net users are notoriously impatient. This is where their anxiety works for you!
  • Recruitment of the best talent charmed by your brand, something particularly important for start-ups.

Content Writing Design: The Million Dollar Question

Lest the advantages sound like a cakewalk, listen to Linda Kleist’s (of Identity Graphic Design) warning: You have less than 3 seconds to grab the prospect’s attention!

Why? Because innumerable channels and businesses crowd the virtual world, diluting customer attention. Plus, the big fish try to swallow the smaller ones employing mega budgets.

Piling on your misery is the net user’s infamous impatience. Ensure your content writing is:

  • Search Engine Optimized for top rank on the search engine’s result page. Restless net users don’t bother with the bottom half.

Include keywords in your online content for better ranking. But blend them naturally with lowering the overall content quality.

  • Presentable and Operational that inspires the audience to explore further. Presentable content has:
    1. small, 3-4 line paragraphs;
    2. alluring, readable font;
    3. logical flow;
    4. rational headings and sub-headings;
    5. non-intrusive links and buttons; and
    6. easy navigability and operate-ability.
  • Relevant and Brief to quickly explain your usefulness. Videos and images amplify the effect. Remember: net users are restless.
  • Continuously Updated as people regularly want something new.

In Exposure to Closure: The New Age of Frequency Marketing, Stephen Sadler equates updates in digital content marketing to fresh ads on traditional media. Such frequency marketing keeps the audience engaged and your business running.

Finally . . .

Uncertainty is the only certainty in a rapidly changing world. Handling continuous ambiguity requires exploration, invention, and experimentation, tenets which run contrary to the established principles of stability, predictability, and linearity.

Except for change, nothing is permanent. The shift towards knowledge economy is tilting scales in favor of mass customization. After all, it is not the biggest who survive transformations, the most adaptable do!

Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words is the author of this article. Falcon Words delivers customized website and social media content writing-marketing strategy as well as SEO articles-blogs. Write to us at info@falconwords.com for a whole range of content writing services.