United Nations Climate Discussions: The Current Proposal is Weak but Necessary to Gather Momentum

In my white paper, I examine the ability of the United Nations to influence national policies regarding climate change. After examining the Kyoto and Montreal Protocol, I search more in-depth into the issues that have hindered the current proposal from reaching the success that world leaders and climate scientists agree should happen. I point to 4 key considerations that need to be met for a successful agreement; political, environmental, economic, and enforcement. While the proposal is not likely to change much in the upcoming year, world leaders should do their best to combat their individual emissions, setting the elimination of climate change as a priority for the 21st century.  Continue reading United Nations Climate Discussions: The Current Proposal is Weak but Necessary to Gather Momentum

The United States Should Lower the Minimum Legal Drinking Age

The role of government preventing the consumption of alcohol began with the Prohibition era. In the current day, we have found ourselves in a neoprohibitionist era where those deemed ‘adults’ are unable to purchase and consume alcohol due to government regulation. In this paper I attempt to argue why reducing the minimum legal drinking age to 18 would be more beneficial to the safety of the young adults in America. By making the drinking age 21, we have forced over half the drinking population in United States college universities into drinking situations where they are more likely to drink heavily and are forced to drink in uncomfortable and unsafe conditions. The 21 minimum drinking age also makes it extremely difficult for university administration and campus safety officers to properly protect their students from unsafe drinking as they have to constantly flirt around the minimum legal drinking age law.

Complementary video on the topic:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufXLSRtsCGQ

Link to my paper: White Paper

Resource Proposal- Business

While “Before the Fall: Lehman Brothers 2008” is a Harvard Business School case, it features several lengthy direct quotes from Erin Callan, the CFO of Lehman Brothers. The case contains the direct responses given by Callan during a CNBC interview in April, 2008. Callan faced questions regarding Lehman’s need to raise additional capital that spring following the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan a month before. The reason Lehman needed to raise capital was that they were facing a liquidity crisis as the housing bubble began to burst. There was balance sheet was loaded with mortgage-backed securities and CDOs, which were now failing as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis.

Callan’s responses during the interview further drive home the fact that Lehman was seriously in trouble. In hindsight, its clear that the prestigious firm was falling hard in the wrong direction. However, at the time Lehman’s struggles were looked at more as a bump in the road, not the tip of the iceberg of the Great Recession. The interview supports my argument that Lehman was facing a serious crisis, which was caused by extremely risky mortgage investments.

The information is certainly reliable, as it comes directly from the transcript of Callan’s CNBC interview. It emphasizes the severity of Lehman’s situation, foreshadowing the end of the firm that would come just 5 short months later.

Rose, Clayton S., and Anand Ahuja. “Before the Fall: Lehman Brothers 2008.” Harvard Business School (2011)

Resource Proposal- Society

Too Big to Fail, by Andrew Ross Sorkin, is a 2009 novel that focuses on the events leading up to the demise of the financial industry in September, 2008, and the actions that were taken by the Federal Reserve in the months that followed. Too Big to Fail begins in March, 2008 with the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan with the help of the Fed. The novel supports current thinking about the financial crash, and it does so in tremendous detail. As a result, the reader gets an excellent feel for exactly what went down in the months leading up to the crisis, specifically the crash of Lehman Brothers and merger of Merrill Lynch and Bank of America.

Current thinking generally focuses on how the Fed “let Lehman fail”, despite the prestigious firm potentially being “too big to fail.” However, the novel goes in depth about exactly what happened behind closed doors leading up to Monday, September 15th, 2008, when Lehman collapsed. Sorkin supports my broader goal of showcasing a systemic problem with the financial industry as a result of deregulations that took place in the decades before. He highlights the extensive risks investment banks were taking, which enhances my argument.

Sorkin is a renowned journalist who was won many awards over his young career. Working for the New York Times and CNBC’s Squawk Box, he has established a history of credibility and consistency regarding financial reporting. He is a credible source who greatly improved the evidence featured in my White Paper report.

Sorkin, Andrew Ross. Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis–and Themselves. New York: Viking, 2009.

How to Afford the Biggest Investment of Your Life

A look into the current student debt situation and a proposal for how students could be more educated in the future.

Continue reading How to Afford the Biggest Investment of Your Life

Resource Proposals- Government

This source is the conclusions drawn from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) in 2011. The FCIC focused on the causes of the Great Recession in 2008. Currently, most people pin the blame of the financial crisis on Wall Street, the investment banks, and their irresponsible tactics. The conclusions drawn by the FCIC further added to this popular belief. The FCIC concluded that there was a systemic breakdown in accountability and ethics. Additionally, there was an erosion of standards of responsibility and ethics that exacerbated the decline of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the financial crisis (FCIC 22).

The topic of my White Paper revolved around the deregulation leading up to the Great Recession in 2008, the financial crisis itself, and then the regulation that resulted from it. The FCIC report brings light to the irresponsible actions the investment banks were taking leading up to the Great Recession. The irresponsible actions were made possible through significant deregulations of the financial industry beginning with the Reagan Administration in the 1980s and running through the late 1990s. Therefore, the FCIC report strongly supports a significant portion of my report.

Lastly, the FCIC conclusions report serves as an extremely reliable source. Put into place by the government itself, the FCIC served as a neutral third party evaluator of the causes of the Great Recession.The FCIC may not have drawn light on many previously unknown causes, but it did strongly support the preconceived notions and ideas that had been put in place.

Conclusions of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, 2011.

White Paper: Feed People, Not Landfills

The average American wastes around 20 pounds of food each month. That means that each month, we throw away as much food as we consume in 5 entire days of regular eating. Not only are we throwing away natural resources and wasting money, but we are also adding to the growing greenhouse gas emissions that pollute this country. Not to mention the thousands of Americans who suffer from malnutrition each day, there are many reasons why wasting food is having a major impact on our society.

To read the full report, click the link below.


Government Surveillance Versus Citizen Privacy

The attacks of September 11, 2001 provided an opportunity for the government to pass both the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security, which provide the federal government with unprecedented, so-called “preventive” powers to block potential threats to the nation and its citizens.  As a result, the nature of surveillance has changed dramatically over the years. The original form required an evidence-based court order to intercept the communications of an individual suspect. Surveillance was authorized if it was necessary to capture potential terrorists, and the infringement on liberty was proportionate to the nature of the crime at hand. Today, however, surveillance agencies intercept massive quantities of communications from millions of people and then search through this database for information related to terrorist suspects.

Government Secrecy Versus National Security- A White Paper

Conscious Consumption and the Millennial Generation

Conscious Consumption Teaser:

A shocking 83% of millenials stated that they sleep with their Smartphone. Wait, is this actually that shocking? Advances in technology are continuing to be made every day allowing society to always be connected and “plugged in”. Continue reading Conscious Consumption and the Millennial Generation